Thanks to a combination of a new job, Christmas, a broken sewing machine and two utterly disastrous pieces, I haven’t completed anything wearable since September. So, armed with Christmas spends and sense of optimism, I went to see if my favourite fabric shop, Fabrics Galore in Lavender Hill (there's a link on the right), was having a January sale.
Hooray for optimism!
I was very excited by my haul, and have already started using some of it. I am aiming for the perfect Summer wardrobe of swishy full skirts and vintage-y dresses, in the hope that the beauty of my clothes will detract from my pasty legs, and sun-induced freckles.
This is a stretch jersey, which is something I’ve wanted to experiment with for a while. It was £1/m, and I would actually wear something made in this – maybe a slouchy boyfriend cardi.
I rather ungracefully dived for this after seeing it out of the corner of my eye whilst queuing. £2/m, and I had the last 2.5m on the bolt. I’m still not sure what to do with it, yet, but that’s part of the fun.
This is my treat. 2m of Liberty fabric, for a (comparatively) bargainous £24. I love the print, fobs and watch faces - a full-skirted dress in this print is exactly the sort of thing my imaginary self-insert Doctor's companion would flounce around the TARDIS in (seriously, this is all plotted out in my head, thanks to occasional bouts of insomnia. There is a full imaginary wardrobe of vintage watch and star prints).
This shop is known for it’s end-of-line Liberty stuff, I just wish I could afford it all. When I am very, very good at this, I am going back for some Liberty silk. They currently have it at £18/m, which is less than half what you’d pay in Liberty itself, and I can’t imagine anything more luxurious.
This stuff, though, this is my real star. It was the first thing I saw as I walked in, and it took me a couple of laps to pick it up, but I’m so glad I did. It has grown on me immensely. It was £1/m, and I bought 4m, and am already well on my way to turning it in the most perfect Summer dress. I’m slightly obsessed with it – as we live in a flat, I try not to use the sewing machine after 11pm as it’s a rattly little blighter, but I could have stayed up all night working on this.
So, mission accomplished. I have got back on my sewing horse, as it were, and hopefully you will see the results very soon.
This dress was made for my birthday party in September. I finished the hem 15mins before we had to go.
The pattern came from the June 2010 edition of Sew Hip magazine. I liked the shape but the dress in the magazine was pretty awful – it just looked like a grown woman wearing a child’s dress (which is odd, because in some ways that is totally the look I go for).
As I hoped, by not using a girly floral pattern (again, which I normally adore) and using something more glam, it turned out a lot more partyish.
It looks even better on, but I’m not ready to put my fizzog on this blog, so you’ll just have to believe me. The pleats in the front create give an exaggerated volume to skirt, which has the pleasing effect of hiding bulgy tummies and making the waist look smaller. Definitely a keeper.
A bit of catching up to do – both #2 and #3 were completed back in September.
The fabric came first in this case. I loved from the second I saw it, and made a special trip to Croydon (the horror!) just to buy it. Good old Ikea – it amuses me greatly that to a dressmaker, they even sell self-assembly clothing!
Because I loved the print so much, I just wanted to do something very simple to best show it off. In hindsight, I used the wrong pattern – too many panels get in the way, but that’s part of the learning process.
The pattern I used came from the skirt of this dress, shortened.
It’s a very simple skirt, but it always makes me happy when I wear it. I see it as a good starting point to things I want to be doing in the future.
First things first, we cannot possibly have all this ogling without formal introductions. Blog, meet Daisy, Daisy meet Blog.
Good, now that we are all friends...
The Coffee Date Dress from Burdastyle is what I would call a classic of the genre (the genre being that of the home-dressmaker), as it is pretty simple, endlessly customizeable, and the pattern is free.
So it was the first thing I tried, et viola!
‘Oh, it’s so pretty!’ I hear you cry. Well maybe. The ruffle’s good. But the material reminds me (whether accurately or not) of a Paediatric nurse’s ‘fun’ scrubs. And the finishing… let’s turn Daisy around, shall we?
Wonky. The waist doesn’t line up. The back of the neck doesn’t line up. There are holes, people, actual holes. And it's got a hunchback.
Turns out (and I’m letting you into a little secret here) that when you are making dresses, things like grainlines and seam allowances are actually really really important. I thought that perhaps, when people go on about them, that it was all just a conspiracy to make things take longer. Y’know, like driving with your hands at ten-and-two, rinsing your rice or washing your hands after using the lav (joking).
First of all, I absolutely promise that I will stop using my Retro Camera app for photos. Promise.
So, I am a dressmaker. Aspiring dressmaker, more appropriately. To date (and subtley ignoring the purple monstrosity I made in GCSE Textiles back when I thought goths were awesome and that stretch velveteen was the perfect beginners fabric), I have only completed two dresses and a skirt. And one of those dresses, I don’t like and will probably never wear outside of the house. The zip took 5 attempts, and it’s still wonky.
I have a very strong tendency to want to run before I can walk. Despite my lack of anything approaching ‘experience’, I already have design sketches for a full 8-piece capsule wardrobe for work, as well as plans to make my other half a 3 piece pinstripe suit for his birthday next April.
Add to this the fact that I have a great reluctance to spend many pennies on my fabric (because I’ll most likely cock it up) and you get a good idea of who I am; clumsy, messy, impatient and stingy.
But I hope I can work with these faults, turn them around and come out producing some gorgeous items. I’m learning as I go, and hope that in sharing my results and progress it might encourage other people who are fazed by how easy some people make it look.