As a sometimes sewist I have been trying my hand at bits and pieces for a few years now, the odd curtain or cushion cover; simple sewing patterns that don’t require a lot of skill, time or attention. But since this blog is dedicated to my sewing progress it would be unfair not to update you on my past dabbles – although it would definitely make my first blogged ‘me made’ more impressive if you all thought it was my first garment make ever!
My first real project was down to an evening course I took at a local dressmaker’s house. It was a short course, 10 hours at the most, and the first session was spent on the requisite introduction to a sewing machine, making a pin cushion and then selecting the pattern and fabric for the item we were to make in the remainder of the sessions. I'm fairly sure only one person on the course finished their garment, and it definitely wasn't me!
I may not have been successful in what I set out to do there, but the course did teach me the basics to cutting out and following a pattern, how to make use of tailor's tacks, and how to gather fabric to create a sleeve. It was on this course I discovered I had narrow shoulders – it’s not really something you think about until you try fitting a pattern to yourself, but there was a good inch to come off each shoulder.
Since then I have tried my hand at making and adapting a few patterns and trying different techniques.
The Grainline tiny pocket tank was the first pattern I bought, cut and stitched all on my own. It’s not a difficult pattern, a front, a back, bust darts and a bias bound neck and sleeve (I left off the pocket). I was pleased I managed to complete it on my first attempt, and even finished with French seams! When I triumphantly tried it on the neck seemed awfully low and I felt quite busty in it (despite being modestly proportioned in that area). Disappointingly, it was an uncomfortable wear that has been hidden away since then!
For my second attempt, I adapted the back to make it a crossover and I raised the neckline slightly. This was a much more successful make that has even made it out in public!
My third completed item was a self-drafted skirt for a wedding in 2014 - Pinterest is a wonderful thing, it makes you believe you can do anything! I am still impressed I managed to stumble my way through to a finished item, concealed zip and all! But I've only ever worn it that one time and I'm constantly considering refashioning it into something more usable....so watch this space!
I don't know what happened in between but there's a big gap in my sewing history, until summer 2016 when I made the Emmeline tee by the Little Tailoress. I adjusted the neckline so it's a little more like a boat-neck, and I even crafted contrasting turn ups for the sleeves of one version! I loved this pattern so much I made three! And then I made my friend make one too!
Since then my pieces have been slowly snowballing...
I have had a stab at the Violet shirt by Colette, but I didn’t like the way the collar sits so I’ve put that to one side for now. And I am three quarters of the way into this slouchy Burda blouse (my first attempt at a button and button hole!).
I have made the Sew Over It Kimono Jacket (below left) three times (twice for myself) and I love it. It’s an advanced beginner pattern so it's quick and easy to make and quite rewarding too – the stand-up collar is such a nice surprise!
I made the short version in a cotton lawn (The classic 'Bye Bye Birdie' in black by Atelier Brunette) and the long version in a heavier cotton twill that still has a soft drape, lovely for summer cover ups! There's a good chance you will see me making this pattern again, I just know it!
Next came the Sailor top by Fancy Tiger Crafts (above middle), which on me has a slight gape at the back of the neck but otherwise I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out. It's a beginner pattern but the gathered neckline can drive you crazy trying to perfect!
The tally on this pattern is two for me and one for a friend!
It’s right about here that I discovered the concept of making a muslin….this is surely going to be a game changer?!! I definitely intend to test out adapting the neckline for the next Sailor top I make.
I've even found time to recover a mid-century footstool (above right) that I picked up on eBay for less than £4 (check out the piped seams and concealed zip!), and made some bunting and soft baskets for a nursery.
So whilst I like to say I'm new to sewing, I think the evidence suggests it's time to stop pretending! I can clearly sew a straight line, so I guess I should look at sewing something more challenging...
Anyway, now you know my sewing history. No skeletons in this handmade closet!