Monday, 6 June 2016

Moving onto dressmaking

Over two years ago I stopped making rag rugs, pretty well, because it hurts my hand. The big pink and brown wavy rug, I am heartily proud of it - it is on a round table in my bedroom, the little table we keep photos of our kids on. But I haven't done anything much since then. The bodger used for rag rugs in particular gave me RSI. The speed shuttle was fine, though. I may one day set up my frame and do another rag rug but for now I am focussing on dressmaking and I am getting myself in gear for quilting too!
I also lost interest in a lot of things like blogging when my father died in November 2013. When he collapsed in his bathroom and my mother was trying to call me, to my eternal shame I was out of touch collecting a sewing cabinet from an Ebay seller in Wiltshire. Since then I have upgraded to a bigger sewing cabinet, installed a table for cutting out on, and taken over my mother's Janome machine which is less than 10 years old and a bit superior to my old John Lewis machine.
I have now made quite a lot of clothes, mostly very simple Sewaholic tops - 3 Oakridge blouses, no fewer than 5 - FIVE!!  Renfrew tops with cowl necks which I love to bits and wear all the time!
Today I finished off a really smart classic dress using Simplicity 1586, an "Amazing Fit" pattern. I used size 16, C cup and Curvy fit pieces and added six inches to the skirt length, which was otherwise just above the knee.
I am completely thrilled with the dress and have been posting photos of it on all the sites I subscribe to - Pattern Review, the Sewing Forum, London Dressmakers Club, hoping to garner compliments. Here I am looking very smug. Photo by Aggie. (Sewage pipe by Roman Lake Ltd, installed for their personal toilet on the building site which used to be our garden.)
As well as the good fit round the hips I am pleased with the neckline and I put this down to the fact that I staystitched the neckline AND armholes. I also took a bit of trouble finishing off the seam allowances with my serger, because this lightweight grey suiting is very fray-ish. 
Here are some other things I've been making:
First, a jacket made last Christmas which started out as a shirtdress. The stretch cotton twill was too heavy for a dress, and it dawned on me I don't even like shirtdresses so with the help of a lovely sewing teacher in Ealing I shortened it to a jolly, flowery hip-length jacket. Wore it to parties last Christmas.
Everything has been for me, except I made a simple little pinafore in navy corduroy for Edith. She wants a gypsy blouse but hasn't got round to giving me the fabric she bought for it yet.
I haven't felt I am getting better at dressmaking but when I look at that grey dress and compare it with the thing I made a year ago, which was another Amazing Fit pattern, I think I might have got a bit better.
And compare this monstrosity I made back in 2013 

With this Oakridge blouse I knocked up very quickly for a smart occasion the other day...
I think my fabric choice and pattern placing skills are improving. 
I have some nicer labels now to sew into items I am proud of:
This label is sewn into my proudest achievement so far - a Janet Pray Jacket Express in a lightweight cotton twill. Like the grey suiting I bought this fabric on spec at the London Sewing and Knitting Show in Olympia two years ago. It's so cute and I am so proud of the jacket as it is by far the most complicated garment I have ever sewn in 42 years of sewing! It deserves a blog post of its own. As does my serger....Later perhaps. 

1 comment:

  1. I am absolutely amazed at how many pieces you made! I wish I had as much sewing mojo, I am very envious!
    I think the grey dress is beautiful. The fit looks amazing! (I do love that pattern range but haven't been nearly as successful at actually getting a good fit. More practice needed!). I also love the Oakridge blouse, very gorgeous!
    I like the grey dress so much, I would love to see some detail photographs and a close-up of the fabric. That would be fantastic.
    I am so glad you're enjoying dressmaking, that's so good to hear. Very motivating!

    I am very sorry about your father, it is really awful to lose someone. Sending you best wishes.