Resewlutions 2014

sewalutions

As it’s the first ‘normal’ weekend of 2014 I thought I’d take the time to reflect on the past year and document my hopes for this new one.

Inspired by attending a number of sewing classes 2013 was the year that I found my sewing mojo. The classes that I attended include:

  • 5 week bag making
  • Beginners quilting
  • Applique
  • Basic Dressmaking
  • Making a top

Via these classes I learnt how to insert seams, sew button holes, add zips and attach bias binding. This lead to me making both my first skirt ¬†and my first tunic although I’m not sure the skirts going to get much wear as I was seduced by the ‘beginners’ label rather than thinking about my style. Last year I also bought tonnes of haberdashery supplies, dress making patterns and gorgeous jersey fabric so now that I’ve learnt the lesson about sewing items that will fit with my personal tastes I’m looking forward to a busy but hopefully inexpensive year of sewing. Yeah right, somehow I doubt the stash will be any smaller this time next year as I’m already 99.9% sure that I’m going to end up buying this fantastic bunting inspired jersey from RayStich. After all my Peony muslim is going to be completed tomorrow and once I’ve gone through the pain of making alterations to the fit (this will also be a first) I deserve some beatiful fabric to make the final version in.

bunting_1In 2014 I would like to continue practicing and developing my skills by:

  • Making the time to sew for a at least a short time every week – I’ve signed up to a dressmaking class at the college where I work so i’ll have two hours dedicated sewing time every Monday ūüôā
  • Continuing with The Monthly Stitch along – I managed to complete my November project in time but Decembers project is still a WIP. However i’m going for quality over quantity and as a newbies surely I’m allowed the odd extension?
  • Take part in Collettes’s ‘The Wardrobe Architect’ project which will involve taking a less haphazard approach to choosing sewing projects. With the aim being to reduce the number of me-made items that I don’t wear by spending the time to planning my sewing so that they reflect my own personal style.

A great British sewing feat – my first me-made dress

TMS_Badge_02_200px

Evening folks. Wanting a push to get me sewing more often, and eventually out of my sewing comfort zone (once I find it) I’ve decided to join The Monthly¬†Stitch Collective. As each month participants are challenged to sew one or ore items based on a certain theme. I was certainly pushed to try something new this month as the challenge was to sew something out of a book.

I’m terrible at buying books based on their gorgeous photographs of colourful handmade creations yet I never seem to get from buying the book to actually making any of the projects. For this months stitch along, having recently purchased a discounted copy of the Great British Sewing Bee, I eventually decided to sew the free tunic pattern from the back of the book. Being a shorty at 5’2 the muslin has ended up as a loose fitting dress however I’m happy with the result.

Having made the muslin in a plain black jersey and with it turning out ok I’ve decided to declare this my first me-made dress! I even wore it to work and a sewing class this week and after a bit of LOOK AT ME I received lots of compliments about the garment.¬†I eventually want to add embellishments to the collar area but seen as I had a job interview on Friday and have another next week (I will hopefully find out about them both next Friday) sewing is on hold for the moment whilst I prep.

Once I’m able to get back into the sewing room I’m also going to make another version of the dress/tunic in ¬†blue flowery liberty jersey as it doesn’t take long to cut and sew the garment pieces together.

Great British Sewing Bee Tunic

No more ill fitting clothes? I can customise them instead!

I’ve just applied for a new post and to bring me luck I’ve already invested in the interview dress. Surely if I already have THE DRESS they got to offer me an interview? Fingers crossed!

PETER JENSEN RABBIT DRESS

The navy Peter Jensen Rabbit dress is from¬†People Tree¬†which is one of my favourite stores, and it specialises in¬†Fair Trade and environmentally sustainable fashion.¬†Although I absolutely loved the dress before I’d even ordered it I knew the high neckline would make me look frumpy so I was already planning on altering the neckline once it arrived.

Making the first cut was pretty scary though. I’ve never altered a garment before and at ¬£68 I couldn’t afford to mess this up. To get the shape for the neckline I pinned the dress up against a v-neck t-shirt that I wear all the time and used tailors chalk to draw around the outline. I then cut down the middle of the shape, turned the material inside and pinned. After trying it on to check that it looked ok I sewed up the seams and wa la, here’s the finished garment:

peter jensen rabbit dress navy
PETER JENSEN RABBIT DRESS
peopletreeVstraighton copy

The neckline has ended up slightly to one side but I don’t think it’s really noticeable once on. Even if it is I’m not too bothered, I have the ability to alter garments to suit my shape, even if it does go a little bit wrong being able to alter my own clothes is still a special skills to have!

A perfect afternoon

On Sunday I spent a perfect autumnal afternoon wrapped up inside Buttons and Bows Sewing Boutique eating cake and learning how to sew a basic capped sleeve blouse. The workshop, which involved constructing a sample blouse using the pattern New Look 6356, has taught me how to sew a concealed zip, ease in a sleeve and how to add bias binding. So not only did I have a fabulous time I came away with skills for life which is an awesome thing to happen on any day of the week but especially on a chilled out Sunday afternoon.

As a beginner the blouse does have a few areas that need ‘practice’ but I did learn that my concentration goes after the first hour then the ‘it’s only a sample’ attitude appears and it’s mistakes galore. Therefor I need to be a lot less slap dash and pay more attention to detail when creating an item to wear otherwise I’ll end up spending a fortune on fabric. Especially as Buttons and Bows stock a beautiful range.

With the new techniques fresh in my mind I’m going to attempt the¬†Sewholic Renfew pattern. I have a rubbish memory so hopefully the practice will help me to remember the techniques in the future. I’ll keep you updated on my progress with the sewing so wish me luck!

Buttons and Bows Belper

Sample top full

sampletopsideview

refew next project

The Hollyburn skirt

As promised earlier in the week I now have better photo’s of the skirt to show you. As highlighted in the close ups shots the skirt does have a certain ‘handmade charm’ ¬†but I’m still really impressed that I’ve managed to create and wear (at the office a day after it’s creation) a piece of clothing that I’VE MADE!!!!. Plus as its October I’ve got at least the next five months were I can wear a thick wooly jumper over the skirt to hid any errors.

Sewaholic Hollyburn Skirt

Hollyburn Skirt Pocket

Hollyburn zip

For my first project I used the  Hollyburn Sewaholic pattern from M is for Make whilst the fabric was sourced from Buttons and Bows Boutique

The things I have  learnt from this project:

1. If I’m going to regularly make my own clothes a dressmakers dummy is needed as I’m rubbish at measuring by eye

2.I am very impulsive when it comes to shopping as I purchased the dressmaking dummy above before I’d even finished the skirt

3.My sewing machine has a zipper foot and hates sewing in zips without it

4.If the sewing machine starts playing up I need to walk away and have a rest

5. Following patterns isn’t my thing. After the first few instruction I became confused and started to refer to the photos from a Hollyburn Sew-Along

6.Creativity and personalisation is my thing. Although you can’t tell from this skirt, as I was too impatient and wanted a finished garment like yesterday, but I had really strong urges to alter the pattern and customise the skirt to reflect style. I can’t ever see me following a sewing pattern step by step and I’ve already started to use pattern paper and my dressmakers module to create my own pattern for my next sewing adventure.

Look what I’ve made!! My first piece of dressmaking.

Ta, da, my first finished piece of dressmaking! Apologises for the poor quality photos but I wanted to show you the straight away. With straight away being as soon as I’d got back from dashing out to the pub to show the skirt off to one of my friends (that’s why it’s a bit creased).

There’s a few ‘home made marks’ around the hem and waist line but I’m rather impressed with my version of the Sewaholics Hollyburn Skirt. I was doubtful that dressmaking would be right for me as I’m not great at attention to detail ¬†but I really enjoyed creating the skirt and it felt great earlier being out and about in an item that I’d made! I’ve got my eye on ¬†a vintage t-shirt dress next and I will hopefully make it home one night this week before it is dark so that I can take some better photographs of the Hollyburn.

Hollyburn skirt front

hollyburn side skirt

What happened to September?

Hello, sewing friends. I’ve missed you so much. Over the past month I’ve been totally consumed by working full time and studying a masters full time, bad times. However in the past month I found an amazing vintage sewing machine in an antiques shop in Matlock and have started an adult education course in dressmaking so my favourite hobby hasn’t been completely abandoned.

VintageSewingMachine

Unfortunately I have decided to quite the dressmaking course as the tutor’s teaching style didn’t fit my needs. Think old school matron and lots of repression, not good if you like to learn by making mistakes. However I have caught the dress making bug and have decided to become a self-taught seamstress! Before I decided to quit the course I purchased the Sewaholics Hollyburn Skirt pattern and have brought some lovely 100% black cotton so the skirt will be this months project.

hollyburncuttingtable