Sunday, 10 February 2013

Sew here it begins!

I was sitting on my sofa, thinking about sewing (as one often does), and it dawned on me that since the beginning of the year I hadn't bought a single piece of clothing. I had made a version of my favourite Simplicity 2444 dress in navy polka dot, bought fabric to add to my growing stash, but pret a porter had not weakened my january resolve.

So why not keep going?

How about over the next 12 months I make or thrift everything i wear? It would be tricky. It would push my sewing skills to the edge. I may look awful sometimes. I may just learn a thing or two.

Now this little beauty, the Simplicity 2444 dress, is just as described. Incredibly simple. It is a full skirted dress with seam pockets and a choice of neck lines, sleeves and a tied waist, should you so desire. On this version I have added a small cuff sleeve to the dress as I like the look and the balance it gives to the full skirt. I am a very typical english pear and my shoulders love a bit of structure.

I have made it 5 times; once in cotton sateen, once in wool and thrice in cotton poplin. I love it. It is a go to day dress for me but the pattern has needed major adjusting. It comes up large, about two sizes bigger and i have found the waist to shoulder measurement long. I have shortened that by two inches (!) to get a smooth front and well fitting neckline. This is the beauty of sewing, however. You can fit to your shape perfectly. Why else would you sew unless you wanted to make beautiful clothes that fit you like a glove?

So why am i doing this?

Over the past six months I have reignited my love of sewing and moved from being a hapless beginner to someone who confidently alters, makes and even designs her own clothes now and again. Those sewing skills I so loved learning at school, but would never admit to loving, as sewing was, have moved from basic to intermediate.

I used to play roller derby until about 18 months ago when i had a car accident that stopped play. For those of you not in the know, the love of derby consumes you. It is your free time, your spare cash, your friends, your family and the sound in your head an awful lot of the time.

My neck and knee injury meant i was at home a lot more all of a sudden. While sat at home twiddling my thumbs my lovely mummy lent me her sewing machine. This eventually led to a permanent settlement for her little toyota (best xmas pressie ever!) and I found myself no longer able to shop without critiquing neck lines, thinking about ways to make that waistline better or marvelling at the tiny tiny seam allowances in Primark.

No more lusting after custom made Antiks for me. It was a tailors dummy i had my sights set on! It doesn't mean i don't still love derby, in fact, i still feel sad when i am reminded that i am too broken to play anymore. But sewing rocks, and is much less likely to result in snapped bones for me. Things change.

So here it is. My love of dress making blossoms and i test our love with a whole 12 months of french seams, gathers, catch stitching, embroidery, and interfacing.

And February is all about The Cambie dress......


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