I’ve been in London, returning to a semi organised fabric stash and hoping to sew through it by the end of the year. A stash is handy, but mine’s at the point where I spend longer searching through it for a piece than it takes to make up the fabric.
DD paid a flying visit and organised part of it into fabric groups for ‘old friend’ patterns – that is already tried patterns which fit her. A few garments got sewn this week from those fabric piles :-
Flared skirt in figured natural white silk with six panels. The silk has small flecks of a darker colour in it and an all over wavy pattern in a satin weave. Its unlined, seams top stitched and finished inside with zigzag. Side zip, waistband. Fabric from the North London area, it’s cut in panels because it was left over from another project as narrow strips, but too nice to waste.
Slip in lace. No brainer make – one seam at centre back, small darts at the side in lieu of seams, eased on to a wide stretch lace at the waist. A little tip to make darts less visible in semi transparent fabric, stitch the dart with wrong sides together, making it a little smaller than the finished size, cut away the dart fabric 3 – 5 mm from the stitching line, restitch it enclosing the raw edges, as for french seams. The lace came from a stall in Whitechapel market, the top band from an online lace supplier.
Dress with Vee kneckline in African batik print. It has a central shaped waist panel with four waist darts in the front and two in the back, and a flared skirt set onto the asymmetric line of this panel. The zip’s in the side. The fabric came from the Petticoat Lane area and is sold as lengths for traditional garments. There’s a lot left over.
Cowl neck blouse in Bordeaux silk satin. The fabric came from a Hong Kong supplier, and has a gorgeous soft sheen and drapes beautifully. The top is cut on the bias. I’ve made this countless times – once cut out its very quick to assemble, and looks so much dressier than a Tee shirt. This pattern works in just about any blouse weight fabric you throw at it.
Fuschia flared skirt with tie belt. This fabric length was left over from a dress made years ago. I’m struggling to recall whether I bought it in a London market or a local fabric shop, now closed. Its a lightweight poly, in a stunning colour which doesn’t quite show up on my monitor.
Navy and white polka dot satin dress with cowl neckline and cap sleeves. The fabric came from the Brick Lane area, if my memory is up to scratch. The satin is poly, but has a decent drape and a soft sheen, that is not from the nasty end of polyness. The front bodice part is cut on the bias to get the cowl to fall nicely. This is the one I’m least sure about fit-wise.
All were sewn from fairly basic and quick to assemble patterns used many times. I didn’t time myself sewing each pattern, but haven’t spent all of the last week sewing either, maybe dipping in for a couple of hours a day. (The 4000 sq metres plus outside space has taken a lot of time. I try to strike a bargain with nature. I say ‘you let me grow some of my flowers and I’ll let you grow some of mine’, and nature laughs in my face and shoots out gazillions of brambles when I turn my back for a week. )
For beginner stitchers then, this post is supposed to be encouragement. It takes many hours to learn a new skill, but dressmaking can be pretty useful. After the tedium and frustrations of learning, it eventually becomes quite soothing to indulge in this mildly creative activity, which is more than can be said for weed wacking. Plus you end up with a heap more clothes for little outlay and a faintly smug feeling.