Well I started MMM15 and lasted a day.
I’ve had a lot going on in my personal life and the stress of only having 1/4 of my wardrobe to choose from wasn’t going to make things any easier!
Having said that it made me realise two things; 1. I hate having to stick to the rules, I love wearing whatever I feel like wearing and 2. Most of my handmade clothes are not really work appropriate so in order to wear handmade everyday I need to make more basics/work appropriate clothes. Which is probably never going to happen!
Seriously guys I made a freaking shirt!? How’s that for awesome! For anyone wondering if they should sew the Archer shirt, DO IT, if for no reason than it makes you feel like a freaking goddess.
Grainline’s Jen breaks the shirt making process into easy to manage chunks so if you want to sew the shirt over a long period of time you can. I enjoyed making this shirt so much that I sewed everything up to the collar and cuffs in one go.
The collar, cuffs and buttonholes are arguably the trickiest part of the pattern. I sewed the plackets first attempt without any problems and was really impressed with how well they came together.
Everything I’ve made so far has been “frosting” and no cake, this is definitely a cake pattern. It’s mainly for work because I don’t really wear shirts in my casual wardrobe. I don’t usually make workwear but I kept seeing lovely RTW shirts but none of them were quite perfect. I wanted a shirt of nice fabric, a loose fit, longer length with no pockets. The glorious part of dressmaking/sewing is being able to make something specific to your tastes and fit. I just couldn’t bring myself to buy RTW when I knew I could make something and feel so accomplished.
My favourite part of the pattern was all the top stitching which makes you feel like a sewing God, even if you don’t quite manage 1/16″.
I was most worried about the collar and the buttonholes. I was advised to use this tutorial
instead of the instructions which I did and found it really straight forward and easy to follow. The buttonholes also were really easy to do – just don’t run out of bobbin thread halfway through like I did! I ended up sewing the buttons on by hand as I didn’t want to snap my machine needle trying to do it automatically and found it really therapeutic.
The fabric is Essex linen by Robert Kaufman which is a linen/cotton blend. Its quite thick which makes it ideal shirting especially for my first shirt. The buttons were from the Clothhouse
Unfortunately the shirt is a little small around the hips, I cut a straight size 4 but should have graded out. That along with the thicker fabric means that I’ve only worn this shirt twice despite spending so much time on it.
Don’t you just hate it when that happens!?
I started out sewing with this mentality of not even bothering back tacking seams or pre-washing fabric. The horrors!
GBSB basic dress in faded florals
Merchant and Mills Dress Shirt
GBSB basic dress in Cabbages and Roses
Stylish Dress Book E in Merchant and Mills gingham
Merchant and Mills Dress Shirt in Ikea linen
Tessuti Lily dress in M&M Blackwatch linen
Lilou dress in boiled wool
Cambie dress in Cerise Podge (Cabbages and Roses)
Sample Staple Dress
Marianne Dress – fabric from eBay
Marianne top with Miette skirt in M&M denim
Marianne dress – fabric from eBay
Marianne dress in Minerva Crafts ponte
Staple Dress in Art Gallery Fabric
Emery Dress in M&M linen
As I’ve grown in confidence with my makes I’ve also grown in perfectionism. The insides now annoy me if they don’t look pretty. Despite no one ever seeing them! I’ve even started lining my dress bodices instead of facing them despite it taken sooo much longer because facing is ugly.
I’ve recently finished sewing the Miette
skirt, a nice easy beginners pattern before I start my Archer shirt, and the pockets at the front are slightly misaligned. Oh yes I am going to unpick that bugger and redo it! Most unlike me a year ago.
So what have I learned?
• take my time, I will be happier and love the garment more if I don’t rush it and sew it with care
• I love sewing sleeves (!?)
• I love sewing with knit fabrics (after some cursing and throwing fabric around my kitchen)
• zips aren’t as bad as you think
I wonder what I will have learned in another years time?
I’ve tried a few different crafts, crochet, knitting, jewellery making, embroidery but none has captured my heart and soul as dressmaking.
For me, there’s nothing so satisfying than making an outfit from your imagination (and sewing machine). With most crafts there is a limit on things you can make, with knitting it tends to be; hats, jumpers, gloves but with sewing the possibilities really are endless; dresses, jackets, jeans, underwear.
I am constantly thinking of which outfit to make next and have endless ideas.
However, there are some inspirational knitters out there that are really tempted me to get my needles cracking, if only my RSI didn’t flare up after only an hour or so. When people say to me, how do you make that, it’s so complicated, that’s how I feel about knitting.
One day I might be able to finish a knitting project.