Sunday, 12 June 2011

Delusions of being a dressmaker

Will someone please remind me that I am a rubbish dressmaker? I lay before you the evidence (well, the remaining evidence that I haven't disposed of under cover of darkness):

Exhibit 1
The gauzey, wear-with-everything, it's-going-to-be-the-best-top-I've-ever-owned top.

Simplicity 3887

Verdict: Never worn. Looks great on the hanger, but the fabric was itchy, the neck was too wide, and the cap sleeves were voluminous. Attempted remedial work, but banished to the scrap bin as a lost cause.

Exhibit 2
The shoplifting dress.

the one-sleeved sack

Verdict: Really, need I say more??? Wrong fabric, wrong size, unsalvageable.

Exhibit 3
A stash of fabrics and patterns bought specifically for dressmaking, languishing unused in an underbed storage box.

Verdict: Quit while you're ahead and still solvent.

So why is it that I am yearning to make a Beignet Skirt (Colette patterns)? I've been haunting the flickr pool for Colette patterns and have found some lovely examples there. I've even chosen my fabric - this organic crossweave cotton from Raystitch (there isn't a colour I don't like).

I just need to remind myself that the finished skirt, knowing me, will be unwearable. So if you see me hovering over that 'add to cart' button, please save me from myself.


  1. I have a yearning to do some dressmaking. I feel I would be unsucessful, maybe I should quit now....
    and those things look lovely btw from here....

  2. Frankly, I think you should go for it! Sometimes patterns just aren't great, it's not your sewing skills. Do you ever go to Sewing Pattern Review to check what people are saying about a pattern before sewing it? I find it really helpful.

  3. I've had some disasters too, but don't give up! Some patterns like Karin said are just not great or well written, why not give very easy vogue a go.

  4. When I think of how many things I try on in the shops that aren't right for one reason or another, the source of my dressmaking problems becomes clear. If only I could stitch up a new body!

  5. Don't give up! The first few are going to be rubbish. It will get better with practice and experienc.

  6. Definitely don't give up, you just need to find a pattern that suits you. Think how many things you try on in a shop and reject (or is that just me?!) I can recommend the Barcelona skirt, v.flattering and the first thing I made that I actually wear.

  7. I think skirts are so much easier to get right - there are fewer variables - and if they turn out too big it is quite easy to remedy!

    Pomona x

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  9. I'm good at making things that are just too small. Just.

  10. Ha, ha know that feeling. Still, practice makes perfect, it's just that it seems such a waste of time and materials whilst were getting there. I was going to suggest making kids clothes as a good way of praticing without wearing it yourself, but then I remembered how my daughter (only 2yrs old and already has a strong opion on her clothes god help me) turns her nose up at the clothkits dress I lovingly made her.

    Maybe this is a good excuse to start browsing the adult education course brochures that start appearing this time of year and book yourself on a dressmaking course for next term - if only for the time to do the sewing uninterrupted!

  11. I've had similar experiences with dressmaking. Amusingly I read your comment 'quit while you're ahead' as 'quilt while you're ahead' and thought, oh yes, good idea, make quilts instead...

    Totally agree about the crossweave cottons from Ray Stitch - they are stunning.

  12. I just found your lovely blog and when I read this post, I identified with it so much. I have sewn such items too. But I would like to encourage you by saying that it gets better with time and experience. I'm still not an expert sewer but I do have a few pieces that I've sewn and like to wear. I guess we learn as we go along about fabric and how it drapes and also about our own body and what works well or not and also how to tweak a pattern so that it fits better. My usual gauge now is to put an item of clothing that I already own which is similar to the pattern I want to sew and see which is the best size to choose. Better luck on your Beignet skirt and I hope you don't give up :)


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