Lately I’ve been teaching myself to sew. Again. I did make a few garments when I was a teenager and in the first couple of years of uni, with my mother’s assistance, but I never really knew what I was doing. About a year ago I bought a sewing machine, and in the past few weeks, having received my grandmother’s sewing box in our stuff shipped over from Australia and realising that I’d lost enough weight to be down to a semi-reasonable size for patterns, I decided to buy a book and learn to sew properly.
So this is my sewing book and so far I’ve found it very clear and helpful. I’ve committed myself to working through the patterns in the book and have started with the drawstring “Margot” pyjama pants. I was really pleased with how well these worked and how relatively easily they came together. Also with how calm I stayed and that I didn’t just launch in half-baked the way I usually do with new obsessions.
They’re one of the nicest-finished pieces of clothing I’ve ever made and I feel I learned quite a lot about sewing and my machine while making them. They’re a good shape and comfortable to wear, even though the fabric is a little stiffer than I think is ideal for them (given my uncertainty about my skills and the high cost of nice fabrics, I bought a bunch of fabric from Ikea to test out these patterns with – at £3-5 a metre, you can’t go wrong!). I do think if I make them again though (if my measurements haven’t changed) that I might grade down in the hips – making the size that fitted my waist has meant that there’s a lot of material around the thighs, which I could probably do with less of. I’ve done just this – graded down a size at the hips – for the pattern for the A-line skirt which is the next pattern in the book (seen on the cover above). I’m really looking forward to making this one, but have been having trouble sourcing an invisible zipper foot for my machine and don’t want to start a new project then have to leave off halfway because I’m lacking crucial equipment to finish it, especially when my measurements are a little – shall we say – fluid at the moment and I could well have shrunk out of it before I finish it. Would rather wait until I have the foot and can just proceed than waste fabric.
So in the meantime I’m having a go at a top. I found a nice simple indie pattern on indiesew.com – the Lou Box Top – and am giving it a go. I’m not 100% sure it’ll suit me but am crossing fingers. I’ve been a bit daring with the fabric and bought a length of this gorgeous Atelier Brunette cotton lawn print from Sew Over It:
However, having spent two days preparing the pattern (so. much. masking tape.) and now cutting out the fabric, it seems that the XL-XXL size is going to totally swim on me. For the first time since I can remember, I actually don’t need the biggest size!!!!!!!!!!!! I chose that one though because my bust measurement actually fell squarely between the upper size for the M/L and the lower size for the XL/XXL. Generally it’s better to have things too loose than too tight, but given the amount of ease in this pattern, I think the smaller size will be better. 15 inches of ease is really an insane amount – 7 will be much more flattering, I’m sure. Fortunately it’s a simple shape so tomorrow I’ll prep up the smaller size bits I need, then I should just be able to cut them out of the sections I’ve already cut. There’s plenty of fabric left over – so much that I’m thinking about making the scarf pattern from my sewing book to go with the top, and hatching plans to use the rest as lining in a bag perhaps.
It feels really good to be working at making clothes again and being able to think about what I’d like to wear as opposed to just having to take whatever happens to fit around me regardless of style. Fingers crossed this top works OK…