So this one is for Venetia. She has a nightie already that is a little similar in style, which she loves, but it is getting very worn, not to say ragged in places.
This one is from a thrifted duvet cover. It's a surprisingly thin fabric, too thin to be any use as a quilt back for instance. And it has a few worn areas itself, which I think feet would quickly start to go through if it stayed as a duvet cover. But there's plenty enough good fabric for a few nightgowns or dresses or whatever else might pop into my head.
I used one of Venetia's current tops to give me an idea of size...
|If you do something like this then obviously be sure you allow enough fabric for seams and hems, and be careful you compare all areas for sizing - it's very easy, for instance, to forget to get the size of the armholes right.|
I did scoop out a deeper neckline in the front top piece, but that was the only difference. I sewed the top pieces together at the shoulders, and then drew an arm piece which had a gentle curve, in line with those arm holes but longer, to allow for gathered up sleeves.
Then I sewed on the bottom pieces, right sides together, gathering them evenly as I went. Obviously pinning or basting can help with keeping those gathers even, but I try and avoid pinning or basting wherever possible!
And then - and I feel like I always do this! - I must have got too excited that it was all working and I'd nearly finished, because there's a distinct lack of photos until it is finished! My next step was to sew all the way down both sides from the bottom of the arm holes. Then I hemmed each sleeve piece ready to attach. Sewing the sleeves in was very much the same as sewing on the bottom pieces, they were just little capped sleeves, so I started very close to the bottom of the arm holes and, gathering gently as I went, sewed them to the main dress, right sides together as ever. Finishing just before the bottom of the arm holes on the other side. With the gathers on the sleeves, I made sure that most of my gathering was right in the middle at the top of the shoulder, to give it that slight puffed up look.
I cut and hemmed an opening at the back, with a little button loop sewn in. And then sewed a thin strip of fabric to 'bind' the neckline, just as I might machine bind a quilt really.
Nearly there now. I hemmed the bottom and then machine stitched some lace around my top/bottom join. The lace was just some very basic white thrifted, lace which I bought long ago, and for some reason the girls and I 'dyed' lots of it various different colours, with watered down acrylic paints. This was so long ago that I really can't remember what it was for, but there was enough of a perfect pinky-purple colour left over for this dress. And I do remember that 'dyeing' it was very easy - either by putting it into a small pot of watered down paint, and swirling it around a bit, or actually painting it on the lace if you wanted it multi-coloured. Then we let it drip dry outside before either popping it into a hot tumble dryer or ironing it to 'set' the colours. With this kind of 'dyeing' I always wash it on it's own first too, to be sure the colours are OK. Anyway, it's a very easy way of getting just the right colour lace.
Once it was finished I spotted a small hole in the fabric, but a quick flower sewn over it sorted it out, and unless you look very closely it's really hard to see.
So here it is all finished.
And again it was amazingly quick, easy and fun to make. Hopefully you can see that just from the very basic pieces which I cut out. I'm sure Venetia will love it, it's very much her kind of thing. And again it's a style I could see myself making as a dress or even a tunic top. The only thing that has felt slightly strange and concerning, about both this one and yesterday's night gown, is that, because they are both secret presents, I haven't been able to get the girls to try them on for size as I've been making them. But I feel reasonably confident just from using their existing clothes, and hopefully the styles are also quite forgiving, neither is fitted in any way really, and neck and arm holes are quite generous.
I'm on a bit of a roll with night gowns now, you might get bored with them soon!