Tuesday, 14 April 2015

sewing along

I have been enjoying my sewing machine lately. I started off the sewing season with a few zippered pouches before moving on to the first garment of the year. In my life, sewing is seasonal, I rarely sew during the winter months because of the poor lighting in the only room where I can setup my machine, the dining room. Romantic lighting might be good to 'hide' crumbs and other detritus but it is really bad for sewing. Come spring with the longer days I take the dust cover of my sewing machine and get going.

I made a dress for Annie using this pattern. She chose version C, for which I was eternally grateful because it was the only version without an ... I really can't be bothered with stuff like that. I once made a little bridesmaid dress for Annie. It had a main skirt and a gauzy overskirt. It was a bit of a faff.

Annie and I have diametrically opposed tastes when it comes to patterns and colours. Invariably she chooses something I would not waste a glance on.... For once though I thought her fabric choice was quite sweet, light blue with colourful umbrellas and raindrops. Befitting for a summer dress :-)


I measured Annie top to bottom and all around, luckily she was exactly the measurements for one of the sizes. I took my time copying the pattern carefully with all the markings (I am a bit slapdash sometimes), cutting the fabric accurately (transferring those markings), sewing bits and pieces here and then. I enjoyed the process very much. The dress is a relatively good fit, too. It is maybe a little baggy at the top but Annie is a developing young woman and it won't be long before it is a perfect fit. She is delighted. I am quite pleased although of course there is plenty of room for improvement.

I have learned/remembered a few things along the way:

:: Always keep a little scrap fabric piece to test the sewing machine settings. Cotton is not just cotton and it may be necessary to try out for the best tension, pressure and needle type. 

:: It is always worth the time to baste tricky bits. There is no rush, is there? I basted the zip in for example, and some of the curvy seams, too. It is quicker than unpicking machine stitches.

:: An invisible zip is as easy to install as a normal zip, if you have the right sewing machine foot. This is essential (I think). Jo at Three Stories High recently published a zip sewing tutorial if you find zips a bit scary. It is for a normal kind of zip.



:: Patterns are not perfect. Retrospectively, I think the zip should be inserted a bit lower down, leaving space for a small button and looped button hook. Inserting the invisible zip right at the top makes it look a bit clumsy and leaves a small opening. I'll doctor this later when I have a little button to match.

Annie will hopefully be sewing her next dress (with a little help). She is booked into a sewing class starting this Wednesdays. She'll learn to interpret a pattern, take measurements, copy the pattern, cut the fabric and sew a pleated skirt. I learned all that during my last year at school, it is a shame that such a useful skill is no longer part of the curriculum.



My next project is a top for myself. I have printed out the pdf pattern sticky taped the pages together already, and have cut the fabric, too. Sewing time! The dog is walked, the house is in order (considering it is the holiday), the laundry folded, the kids busy and I have no chores waiting. 


Have a lovely day! Cx

Edit (a little later): It is so worth it to bother with understitching when you insert lining. This prevents the lining from showing later on. 

28 comments:

  1. Great job! What a pretty dress! I knit up a storm but am a little afraid of sewing. It's using a machine, I think!

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  2. I am a spring/summer sewer for the exact same reasons as you! My machine has been busy lately too ;) Love the dress it looks great!

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  3. looks great! perfect for summer fun!

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  4. Such a lovely dress what a great job you did, Its great you have arranged for her to go to sewing classes a really useful skill to have. :-)

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  5. It's brilliant, well done you. A real shame that useful things like sewing aren't included on the curriculum. I learned to sew at home mostly, although I did do a few terms of school sewing as well. I remember a lovely navy and white striped nightshirt in particular. CJ xx

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  6. Such lovely fabric and you did such a good job.
    Rosezeeta

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  7. It looks absolutely lovely and such a pretty fabric.

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  8. You are more accomplished than you let on, that is a fantastic dress. Keep sewing Chris. I have an invisible zip foot too and they make it an easy peasy job.Thanks for the shout out. Jo x

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  9. Gorgeous dress, beautifully made. Dressmaking is on my very long list of things I want to learn

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  10. It is fantastic that your daughter is interested in learning to sew. Unfortunately, I think it is something that not many younger people are interested in. The dress is a really cute design - well done!

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  11. We learned the very basics of sewing at primary school but nothing at secondary and I wish we had ....I am teaching myself by trial and error, with a lot of error! X

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  12. So pretty ! Annie looks really lovely in it. X

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  13. What a lovely summer dress! No wonder Annie is thrilled - she looks wonderful in it - you've done a wonderful job! I have mentally made a note too remember your timely phrase "there is no rush, is there?" You are so right but so often I find myself going at things against the clock when actually there is no need. Have a lovely evening Christina and enjoy your next sewing project too - I think you might be on a roll! E x

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  14. How fabulous!! Annie looks lovely in her dress!! I think the choice of fabric is lovely for a young lady. xx

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  15. The dress looks lovely, and it's great that Annie is going to take some lessons. Dressmaking is one of those things that with confidence and practice is like riding a bike - you might not always use it but you never forget and you never know when it will come in useful! xx

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  16. Love the jumper, it turned out really cute. The fabric is great!

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  17. This dress is wonderful, Christina. It looks great on Annie and it must have been really nice to work on it together. I agree with you, this should be taught in school. I was probably at the tail-end of the era when they still taught basic sewing in school and I've always been thankful for the fact that I had a chance to learn.

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  18. Oh! This turned out so well. I love the print and the pinafore -styling. I've haven't sewn for myself in ages, but my home and daughter get lots of freshly made stuff! I've been thinking for trying another skirt for me. I have a pattern that has worked for me in the past, but I have changed sizes since then ( smaller, thankfully!) so I wonder if I can get the fit right. Thanks for the inspiration!

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  19. It's so good your daughter is learning to sew. Few kids get any tuition in this at school now and my daughter can't even sew on a button, nor has any interest in learning.

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  20. What a great success for a first-time sewer - it fits beautifully and looks very good. I never feel like sewing much in the winter either, but as soon as the sun comes out and the days lengthen then I think we just feel more energised and inspired to be more creative. Lucky you having daughters to sew with and for! Judy.

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  21. Hey Christina,
    What a pretty girl your Annie is! Bravo for her wanting to learn to sew. I broke every machine at school. They wouldn't let me in the needlework room in the end.
    Leanne xx

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  22. Annie's dress looks great, Christina. Thanks for the tip about the understitching, I had to look to see what that was, looks like it makes all the difference xx

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  23. The dress looks really great and a good fit in my opinion. It's good that Annie is going to learn to sew. When I was at school we had to do sewing lessons and I think it is a very good skill to learn.

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  24. It looks great and if nothing else, I shall take away your words "cotton is not just cotton". I detested sewing at school but looking back, I'm glad I was taught the basics (even if my mother did quite a lot of finishing off out of class).

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  25. Really pretty and fits her well. Love the pattern of the material.

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  26. Your sewing adventure turned out much better than mine. Annie looks perfect in that dress, it suits her so well. Love the fabric and the design. You are a sewing superstar!
    Hugs,
    Meredith

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  27. It's fabulous, what a great job you've made of it. Annie is quite the model too. How wonderful that she's going to be taking some lessons, I agree about sewing being on the curriculum. I got taught sewing for one term at school and that was it, needless to say I don't know where to begin now. Eleanor took textiles as an option and took a GCSE in it so she knows the basics but I think every child should be taught at school.

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  28. I love, love, love Annie's dress!!!! And I need to go an a dress making course. I made myself a few tops last summer but with my own makeshift patterns. They're very basic. No darts, etc. I want to be able to follow ready made patterns. There are a few garments I'd like to make. Anyway, enjoying sewing. I can't wait to hear about Annie's sewing adventures. X

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Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment, I love to hear from you, I really do. I sometimes reply by email but I am not all that reliable... Christina xx