Posts Tagged ‘dressmaking’

Lesson learned

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

I have been planning to make a Barcelona Skirt.  In fact I have been planning it for the last three years.  A few weeks ago I chose the fabric, I cut it and I even sewed the zip on.  Then lots of other little projects and distractions came by, and the pieces of the soon-to-be-skirt were left neatly folded… OK let’s just leave it at folded on the side.

So last Saturday was the day that I was going to finally finish it.  That was it, I had made the decision.  So after breakfast, I packed my fabrics, pattern and my best intentions and headed to my sewing club.

Where is the skirt you might ask?  There is no skirt.  I couldn’t finish it.  Why?  It is only a simple A-line skirt!!!  Well everything that could possibly go wrong went wrong.  I was not in the mood, but I pushed it.  And as you would expect things kept going wrong.  All that went through my mind was “I can do this, I have done more complicated things that this and much faster”; I thought other things too but it would not be appropriate to mention them in a blog like this.

Large Floral (Botanica) and Thistle Leaf (Hope Valley) fabrics

To make a long and painful story short, I folded the pieces once again, put them in my bag, gathered all my bits and pieces together (by this I mean my shattered confidence and bad mood) and left.

Needless to say this is not the first time it has ever happened to me.  I should know better; I should stop when things start going wrong, not in a defeated way, but in a wiser “this is not the right time for it” way.  I will finish the skirt this week or maybe the following.  I will proudly show you photos of it, but for now I am just going to go and read a good book and relax.

Have you had days like this?

Dressmaking Classes in Oxford area

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

For all of you who live in the Oxford area here is some good news for you, there is going to be a new Dressmaking Course and a Saturday Sewing Course.

I met Caroline King a few months ago thanks to one of her previous students, she is not only a great and patient tutor but also a very hard working woman and passionate about what she does.

Starting next month she will be running a Dressmaking class on Saturdays and also a Sewing Club that will be held once a month where you will be able to work in a range of projects of your own and have  Caroline’s advice and guidance at hand.

If you are interested or would like more information about either the course or the club, drop Caroline an email at shelbee-sewing(at)hotmail(dot)com for more information.

Caroline has not asked me to advertise this course for her, but after I found out about them I thought that our blog might be a good way to get the message out there to people that are looking for an opportunity to learn some sewing skills or if you want to improve your skills and be more adventurous.

Reviewing: Little “Wrap” Skirt

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

As you might already know I have added to our stock Patterns by Wink Designs.  They are pretty designs for girls and what’s great is, the patterns are downloadable, so you get them straight away.  As well being very pretty they are also very easy to make.  Originally, I wanted someonelse to review them and let you know that they are what the label says.  Unfortunately it was not possible and I almost gave up until my always supportive husband asked me “why don’t you make it yourself?”.  Firstly I didn’t want to do it, because I thought my review might sound a bit too much like an advert rather that that of a non-bias critic, but I guess I will leave it for you to judge.  So please have a read, even if you are not interested in children’s patterns you are welcome to join me in my sewing projects.

Wrap skirt made using Memento and Sun Spots from Amy Butler's Love Collection

Where were we? Ah yes, Wink’s patterns.  I decided to go for the Wrap Skirt for two main reasons: 1) it says it is an easy and quick project, 2) I personally love the design.

Choosing the fabrics was an easy task, not only because I have them in my own house, but because I wanted to make something with Memento in Midnight and Suns Spots in Mint they almost jumped off the shelves.   The skirt is more of a mock wrap-skirt, so even if your child is jumping up and down the skirt won’t fall down.

After printing the instructions, I put together the pattern.  There are 2 main pieces, each one of them is made up by putting together 4 A4 sheets of paper together (this would had been much easier if I had closed the windows, I hope nobody saw me chasing the pattern around the room each time a gust of wind blew through! but nothing to blame the designer for).  Cutting the fabric would had been easier had I not been on the phone with my nan, which resulted in cutting the piece of fabric that wraps the skirt the wrong way (again, no one to blame just my lack of multitasking skills).  Instead of cutting more fabric, I decided to use what I had already cut and make a few changes, so the skirt now mirrors the original design (instead of having to tie it to your left, this one ties to the right, no big deal right?).  Which I could say shows how forgiving the pattern is should a mistake be made by the not so experienced or, as in my case, distracted maker.

Before we pass on to the sewing part I want to clarify that I have not sewn any kind of garment for 3 years; ever since I have been moving my sewing machine from one part of  the house to another but not doing anything with it.  I would also say that I am a beginner with some rough sewing skills.  Having clarified that, I feel now more comfortable  saying that it was very easy to put the skirt together.

Back of the skirt but still so not less pretty than the front.

As always, it does help if you press the fabric to get a neat finish and use the right colour of thread.  I used two because I didn’t like the navy blue thread on the mint fabric.  More importantly, reading the instructions from start to end before you start it is always a must (OK I confess, I only read them after I cut everything, but didn’t go any further until I read all the remaining steps).  Reading the instructions will not only give you a better understanding of what are you going to do, but also the way Marina (the designer) has written them, it makes you feel like she is talking to you, something that you don’t often find with many commercial patterns.

Would I recommend this pattern?  Absolutely Yes!  It took me one afternoon to make it, if I hadn’t been on the phone (or chasing the pattern around the room!) I could have done it a bit quicker.  This is the first time I print and assemble a pattern, but because the skirt is made of simple lines and it is a small garment it is much easier than you think.  I didn’t put the pocket on because I love so much the Memento fabric that I didn’t want to put anything on top.  I also used the main fabric for the ties for the same reason.  The final result was a skirt that suits a little lady but the fun contrasting spotty fabric remind us that she is still a little child, don’t you think?

I must admit that making this skirt has filled me with confidence to try sewing other things, so if you don’t have a little girl to make it for, try it anyway, the satisfaction that comes from making something like this can’t be beaten!

Summer dress for all year round

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

After reading Perry Lewis’ article yesterday in The Guardian I end up looking for clever ideas, cool classic dress patterns with modern fabrics, then I found plain and more basic fabric designs matched with quite contemporary patterns 
… then I found the perfect match!  Clever Mary Jo from Five Green Acres made The Liverpool dress using Denyse Schmidt Prairie Rose from the Hope Valley collection.

The Liverpool dress by Mary Jo

 

I can see that sort of dress/shirt being one of the most useful pieces in any wardrobe all year round.  During the winter I could wear it with trousers, a few layers and voilá!  I would probably use Prairie Rose in Piney Wood instead of the grey colour, but I guess that it is one of the beauties of making your own clothes, you can do whatever you want!

Prairie Rose in Piney Woods by Denyse Schmidt

 

Personally, I love the idea of using a pattern from one designer and the fabric from another.  It makes the whole project even more unique and personal.  If you are thinking of making any of the variations of The Liverpool Shirt pattern, take your time and read Mary Jo’s post, and, of course, show us the pictures!