Friday, 25 April 2014

Bridie: The First of Many Dresses

So I asked my friends if they would do this challenge with me half thinking they would be to busy to be able to do it. Which I would of completely understood, sewing your own clothes does take time and for a lot of people there aren't enough hours in the day to do the things we all have to do (usually the boring things we all hate doing!) let alone take time out to sit at a sewing machine for hours to make a dress. To my surprise and delight they were all really up for it and got the ball rolling straight away. We hadn't even got to our official start date and Laura and Lu had already whipped up two stunning dresses!
It's taken me a little longer to make my first dress, although I did start when the girls did, I have a beautiful six month old boy who takes up the majority of my time so I have to fit sewing in around him. Not the most easiest thing I've discovered! Although luckily for me my hubby (not official but as good as) has taken some holidays off work so as well as being able to spend time with him I've also been able to get on Fred (my sewing machine don't get any ideas).
I thought for my first garment of the challenge I should brush up on my pattern cutting skills, god knows its been a while since I did any. So using our bible also known as Winifred Aldrich's pattern cutting book I set to making a block. It took me a few times to read through and jog my memory but eventually it came back to me. For the most part.
Once I had my block I did a few quick sketches of some dress ideas. Nothing like my days back at uni where we would have to thirty variations of a design and more often then not go with your original design. I wanted something simple summery and with a vintage vibe. Which I think I achieved.
I had already picked out a fabric I wanted to use a beautiful vintage piece I inherited from my grandma. 

When it came to cutting out my pattern pieces I felt very nervous there's something about cutting out vintage fabric that makes the whole thing a lot more nerve wracking. Which might be why I made a silly mistake for some reason I thought creating a curved waistband was the way to go about things instead of making a straight one. Which I realised was wrong but not till after I'd cut out my fabric and started pinning it.

Eventually after correcting my mistakes I finally got to get back on this lovely lady. This is Fred which is short for Freda she was my grandmas pride and joy and I now look after her because my grandma is no longer with us. I think she would have liked our challenge!

So once I started sewing things went quiet smoothly and all the skills I'd learnt years before started coming back with some help from some good books!


I was particularly pleased with my under stitching I think its the neatest it has ever been. My zips however need considerable work. I've always hated putting zips in. There's a lot to be said for buttons! 

 The finished dress. I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out seen as though it's the first thing I've made in years .
This is a very pale looking me trying it on for the first time my self portrait skills are a lot to be desired!

Finally this is me with my legs out for the first time this year. They most defiantly need to see the sun more! It was a lovely day and myself, my partner and my little man took a walk into town. It was a nice feeling knowing I'd made my dress myself and no one else had one like it! 

Hope you enjoyed this post, many more to come this challenge is going for a whole year so we have plenty of sewing to do!

Bridie x




Friday, 18 April 2014

Laura: My First Dress of the Challenge

Unlike my friends I do not have bags and boxes full of beautiful fabrics to rummage through, organise and fall in love with all over again, because I’m just not the type of person to save things. I'm not a hoarder, you see I like things clean and tidy. (and I’m sure my friends will definitely agree with this) I will throw out most things before thinking will I need this in the future. So this meant I needed to go fabric shopping, something I have not done since university. I decided to go to Doncaster market (my home town) to see if they had any fabric stalls and well I was pleasantly surprised to find a lovely stall with lots of floral, patterned, embellished dress fabrics.

I bought a lovely collection of floral and patterned fabrics ranging from 100% cottons for just £6 per metre and viscose cotton mixes from £4 per metre.

When I got home I got my sketch pads, watercolours and pens out and got sketching some summer dresses, its surprising how quickly a passion which I thought had gone came back. I forgot how much I love coming up with lovely designs and thinking how can I make this, without the added pressure of thinking this is going to be marked it needs to be better.

I came up with these 3 dress designs and decided straight away to get started. I dug around for some old pattern paper, my pattern master, pattern cutting book and all of my old pattern blocks I made from uni and started drafting out the first pattern. Now I actually like pattern cutting I know some people find it stressful but I like the precision that’s involved ad if it goes wrong I like discovering why. 
This pattern was actually quite easy to do, It was a simple 2 block dress with the bodice and the skirt, all I had to do was enlarge it (because sadly I'm not a  size 10 which all of my blocks are) add some little cap sleeves, enlarge the skirt so it can be gathered and turn the bodice so it can wrap over the body.
 I laid out the pattern on the fabric following the grain and pattern, pinned it then cut it out. I didn’t take any photos at this stage because I got carried away with sewing. Next time I will be sure to remember. Any way about 2 hours later I had whipped up my first dress, very happy with the final outcome.

Whilst making the dress I did make a little design change and decided to gather the fabric above the bust, this give the dress a better shape than the straight line it was before and it suits my curvy figure.
The back of the dress has been kept simple and features a simple concealed zip down the middle. 

Side view of the dress showing the wrap around under the bust and the gathered skirt.

So that folks is my first dress of the challenge! Made in 5 hours from making the pattern to the last steam. Lets hope the rest of the year goes smoothly for us all (touch wood) 
Laura x




Friday, 11 April 2014

Jo: Some Things I've Made In The Past

Bridie: I Think I Have A Problem!

In preparation for the challenge I decided to overhaul my sewing room. My partner and I have recently moved houses and it desperately needed doing so this was a good excuse! I was sat for hours folding all my fabrics and piling them into colour coordinated piles. Laura you would be proud of how neat and tidy it looks. I really enjoyed it and realised just how much fabric I own. Which is a lot! I inherited most of it from my grandma and defiantly get my love of fabric from her. It's probably a good thing we started this challenge I need to make a dent on my fabric supply before my house is filled to the rafters with fabric!
Can't wait to start sewing some cute summer dresses. I'm thinking lots of 1950s style day dresses and some wiggle dresses.

I also want to make some high waisted shorts out of the beautiful vintage corduroy fabric I have. Sadly I can't wear them quiet as short as I did when I was at university!