Posted on

Summer 2017 at Dress fabrics

Summer 2017 at Dress fabrics

First of all – a Big thank you to all who supported our summer sale.

We understand it’s not the perfect time of year to be stockpiling fabrics as theres so many other distractions and expenses with kids off school and holidays so a big thanks.

Royal Canal, Westmeath – Longford Border.

We have had a few short camping trips and days away and are planning on another camping trip (weather permitting) before the boys are back in school and the Autumn begins. The boys have had their best summer ever  – they’ve got to do a few summer camps that they really enjoyed and other day trips and workshops that were right up their street. Its means that I have had little time or energy for sewing – I had a bit of a list but I have barely made a dent in it. Anyway in a few years time – they will be older teenagers and won’t need me so much!!

My Self Drafted Linen Coat – Nearly there!!

I’ve made significant progress on my linen coat – I decided I would try waterproofing it to make it more useful in an Irish Autumn so that put a delay on it. I googled it and decided to try a few waterproof sprays I had for shoes (they say they are suitable for fabric too). The Punch one seems to be fine and after performing rigorous tests it does make it a bit ‘showerproof’? So I now don’t know whether to spray it before I put in the lining or to wait til if finish it completely and then spray? More procrastination!!


Another big project I wanted to start this summer in preparation for a return to the Grafton Academy this winter is a Jacket for Laurens. I’ve made the initial block and it fits ok apart from the shoulders/ sleeves which is to be expected. That’s parked now until I can find the energy needed to puzzle it out – more procrastination..

Back to business –

We have some new fabrics in stock that arrived earlier in the summer and dare I mention the ‘C’ word???
We have new christmas fabrics online if you want to make a start on your xmas decorations etc..

We also have a selection of Halloween fabrics if that more your thing!

We have a few new prints that just arrived this week along with a restock of some regular fabrics.

Find all our NEW Fabrics here..

Ponte De Roma - Black Floral Design
Ponte De Roma in a Black Floral Design
Black Floral Print Poly Crepe
Black Floral Print Poly Crepe


[box]Don’t forget there’s still free shipping when you spend over €50!![/box]


Payment Details Update:

We have expanded the number of ways you can pay for your orders online and by phone. We have added Stripe as a method of credit card payment. Simply choose the option to pay by Stripe and it will prompt you for your card number and usual details. Its a secure way to pay without having a Paypal account.

I would ask you all to consider switching to Stripe – it’s as secure or more so than Paypal, it was started by an Irish person and the fees are substantially lower than paypal, so I can save an average of €1 every transaction. This in turn  means I can keep costs down – not increasing the shipping costs for example and maintaining the fabric prices as they are.

Previously customers who phoned in an order – had to send a cheque or postal order to pay for their fabrics. However, now thanks to Sum Up we can take credit card details over the phone and securely process the payment so your order can be sent to you straight away.



[box]Sewing Classes:

We will be starting our sewing classes for adults again in mid September. There will be 2 hour sessions on Tuesday and Thursday mornings and evenings. If you would like to be added to our waiting list please get in touch – or 0874395792.  I will text all of our existing students and those on the waiting list in a few weeks with all details for the first term.[/box]


Kids Workshop – Applique Cushion

[box]Kids Workshops: Our children’s workshops are proving popular so we are going to start holding monthly sessions on a Saturday afternoon. We will have the first one towards the end of September to allow everyone to settle back into the old routines. If you have a small person (age 9+ / teenager) who would like to learn to sew – get in touch. Our workshops are generally 2.5 hours and include all materials, a machine is not necessary but if you have one – bring it so they can get used to it.[/box]

[box]Open Day:

We will be announcing our Autumn OPEN DAY next month. It will be sometime at the end of September or beginning of October. Keep an eye on our blog posts or newsletters and the usual social media outlets 😉 [/box]


Posted on

My Grafton Academy experience. Drafting dress and coat blocks and putting it into practise.

Grafton Academy

Pattern Drafting Experience at the Grafton Academy, Dublin.

Back in November I took a notion and rang the Grafton Academy to find out how their evening / part time classes worked. I always had a dream of attending to learn the secrets of pattern design and to get some professional sewing classes. I was either broke (when I was a young student) or no time (ever since!!). After speaking to the lovely people at the Grafton Academy and getting help with the kids school pick ups and  drop offs I signed up for a course of 12 classes. I decided to do two classes on a wednesday to save on travelling time etc.

My tutor was Anne and I really enjoyed every class. I have also met other budding designers and dressmakers and learned loads. It was quite intensive and to get the most from it I felt I had to do a fair bit of homework.

I already had made the skirt, dress and trouser block last summer with Tiina so I had an idea how that worked. We started by drafting a new bodice/dress block and I was stunned to find that it was almost  a perfect fit on the first attempt.


I started this dress over the christmas break – it’s a princess seam dress in a linen/viscose mix fabric and lined with a gorgeous taupe satin. I made the pattern from my dress block however it’s still a work in progress because I have been distracted by lots of other things but it may be time to get it finished and wear it.


The second week, Anne decided to challenge me by drafting a jacket block and collar. We drafted the main body of the jacket from my bodice block with a few adjustments and then Anne performed a few magic tricks to make the collar and facing. I was totally perplexed. I went home and had a few weeks off as the college was closed for Christmas and worked on making a calico of the jacket.

First muslin – I didn’t like the big collar for this jacket – maybe in a nice wool for next winter!

It turned out much too big and I didn’t like the collar much. When I returned in January we redrafted the jacket block and got it to fit perfectly. Then we had another go at drafting a new collar and facing and luckily I could follow the process a lot better the second time around.

I went home after the third day with a pattern for my jacket, so now came the tough decision of which fabrics to pick. As you all know I have a large fabric supply aka Dress Fabrics shop!! I hummed and hawed and eventually settled on this Khaki Cotton Twill.

Khaki Twill Fabric

I ordered it in a few months ago when I was making my Kelly Anorak. I had great plans to make a few Kelly jackets in different colours. Those plans are on hold – I’m still thinking I’d like a navy hooded one using this Navy twill.

I wanted to use a lining that would be a bit warmer than regular poly lining so there was only one that fit the bill and was a perfect colour match.

Green and Red tartan - brushed cotton
Green and Red tartan – brushed cotton

This is a lovely soft and warm brushed cotton. It added a good layer of warmth to the jacket. I used this normal lining in the sleeves for ease of use.

Lining up the jacket pieces.

I started to assemble the jacket, first up was to interface strategic areas as instructed by Anne.

Grafton Academy
Used two different types of interfacing for this jacket.

I used two different interfacings – neither are your bog standard iron on vilene! I discovered hair canvas – which is a stiff fusible interfacing and I used that in the collar. The other is a woven interfacing used for coats, jackets – it has lines on it. I purchased both in the school but I now have a roll of the woven interfacing in the shop since I hope to make lots more coats and jackets in the future.

I interfaced the collar, the princess seams, most of the front of the jacket and along the hem turns. Here is a good tutorial on coat construction if you want to read up on this technique a bit more.

Sewing up the coat and attaching the lining was simple enough – just follow any pattern instruction on that but the collar was where I had most issues. I had to give it a few attempts and the ripper was used. I got there in the end with Anne’s help but it’s still not 100% even – not even 90%.

I top stitched around the edge of the collar and down along the front edges. I was told then I could have finished my seams a little better ie rolled the seams behind. Next one will be better!! I also topstitched along the princess seams to give it a bit of definition – one of the other students suggested that and I’m glad I took her advice.

Here I am wearing it with buttons and all. Anne gave me a great tip – to make the button holes with two spools of thread – like if you were using a twin needle but thread both strands through the single needle. This was a eureka moment for me – I have since used it to top stitch a pair of jeans and love how it turns out. Much better than faffing about with topstitch thread and tension etc.

I love how this jacket fits me in the back – this is the reason I sew and I am learning about pattern drafting. It has a centre back seam and princess seam. We have concluded that a centre back seam is the best option for me in most garments due to my shape and I am ok with that. In the front the design lines follow a princess seam from the armhole to the top of the pocket and then go at a slight slant to the side seam. There was a bit of engineering to get the corner of the pocket to lie flat but it’s all a learning curve. It was worth it to have those big pockets to stick my hands into and still big enough to fit phones, wallet and hankies!

I love my jacket – I’ve worn it a lot. Its a good weight for our climate – just warm enough for most of our mild winter and cool spring.

I have signed up to do another block of classes in May – June in the Grafton Academy. I cannot wait, I’d like to do a bit more work on my jacket block, draft a few different collar options and maybe a shirt.

Its taken me 3 months to finish this blog post hopefully the next one won’t take so long!!

Enjoy the rest of the Easter break,


Posted on

My Pattern Drafting Class Experience Part 1

Pattern Drafting Class

Pattern Drafting Class

A number of us completed a pattern making class earlier in the summer where we learned to make a skirt, trousers and dress block. Basically a standard pattern made to fit our own bodies.

I met our teacher Tiina at our open day back in April, she was telling me all about her career as a pattern designer, that she was living locally and an idea began to form. We made arrangements, found a room big enough for us to spread out and off we went.

So first up we made a skirt block, – straightforward enough with just a few basic measurements and a bit of plotting and maths to get the front and backs drafted with darts. She then showed us how to manipulate the darts and how we could slice up the block to make different styles of skirts – flared, pencil, with waistbands, yokes etc.

We went home the first night and our homework was to make a muslin or toile of the skirt. That was fine and we tried them on the second night and Tiina made whatever adjustments were needed.

We then started on our trousers block. Again with the minimum number of measurements, we drafted the block and went home to do a muslin.

Pattern Drafting Class
Dress Block


Third and fourth classes were spent making the dress and sleeve blocks and making muslin and sorting out the fitting.

Original pattern Pieces from Block

We went home after the 4 classes with blocks adjusted to fit us perfectly and it was up to us to make use of them.


Dress Block Muslin

I had great plans to spend the summer months practising on these as I had so many ideas in my head. But theusual stuff got in the way and I didn’t get to look at my blocks until the last few weeks.

I started by tracing the pattern pieces above onto pattern paper and started slashing and moving darts around, adding pleats to the skirt, making pockets, short sleeves and keeping the fitted bodice. Basically an easy to wear, comfortable and flattering dress.

First draft:

Pattern Drafting Class


I realised I had to raise the waist to what would be my natural waistline and scoop out the neckline a bit (red permanent marker on muslin).

I just made the changes to the paper pattern and decided to cut out the dress in the final fabric and go for it. I used this linen fabric from the website and regular black lining.

Before I added the sleeves and lining:



Finished Dress:


20160913_183026 20160913_18295520160913_183213









I’m so happy with this dress, it’s such a treat to just pull out a few pattern pieces and make something that doesn’t need 10 fitting adjustments before you can even cut out of your fabric. I think I will try another version of this dress shortly with long sleeves in a ponte knit for winter.

Of course I ran out and bought some books then just to put more pressure on myself!!  The measurements used in these books are different to Tiinas but it will give me an opportunity to practise on a few different blocks. I have since started working on an easy fit dress block, I got as far as the sleeve and stalled.

Pattern Drafting reference books


We will see about running the classes again – we found a great teacher in Tiina. More on that in the future



Posted on

Sewing Classes are starting!!

Sewing Classes

Sewing Classes

It’s that time of year again, you know – the kids are going back to school over the next two weeks, the evenings are drawing in. It is also the time that all of you crafters get to start planning new projects and maybe deciding to learn or improve your skills.

To enable to you local folks out there I have put together a program of dressmaking sewing classes aimed at beginners and improvers.

Sewing Classes schedule:

Tuesday/Friday mornings 10.30am
Tuesday /Thursday evenings 7pm
Class length is approximately 2 hours
Cost – €50 for a block of 4 classes

You can learn to use a sewing machine, make a tote bag, a t shirt, sew stretchy fabrics, make a pair of jeans, a dress for christmas. Whatever it is you want to do I will get you started on your journey.

Its best to have your own sewing machine so you can figure out the settings and learn to use it to its potential but if you are a complete beginner and want to try and see if you might like it before you invest, we have a few spare basic machines that you can use. Classes are held here in Dress Fabrics HQ, on the main road between Kells and Oldcastle.

You will have access to our full collection of patterns, notions and fabrics. However if you have your own stash (fabric collection!) already you are most welcome to bring that along for your projects!


Sewing class version 2

Places are limited to 4 per class to allow for space and attention and are filling up fast. Get in touch if you would like to book a place or for more details.
Contact Maeve on 087 439 5792 for further details.