Sunday, 28 April 2013

Pressing on

I wonder how many of us have fired up our sewing machines with renewed enthusiasm for dressmaking after watching the Great British Sewing Bee. I'm still waiting on the blouse pattern I ordered for my floral cotton print (it doesn't resemble either of the ones I linked to below - I am nothing if not fickle!). Unable to get sewing for myself, I stumbled on the very timely Kids' Clothes Week sewalong, kitted myself out with the Oliver + S puppet show tunic pattern (thanks, Kate, for the heads up about this being available as a digital download now that it's out of print), and hacked into some pretty blue and white floral print and a seersucker gingham.

The puppet show tunic pattern is super-cute, with pretty little details such as a peter pan collar, puffy sleeves with a button cuff, and a contrast hem facing. I really like the finishing touches on the Oliver + S patterns, like the button placket and hem facing on the birthday party dress I made a good while ago for my eldest. This time the littlest is my victim (apparently puppet show tunics just won't cut it in the 9-year old style stakes!).

puppet show tunic 011
pressing the peter pan collar
If there's one thing I've taken away from the Great British Sewing Bee, it's that just as discretion is the better part of valour, so too is pressing the better part of sewing. Did you notice how Ann and Sandra, the two most experienced seamstresses, were constantly seen to be pressing seams, or sending a jet of steam at more delicate fabrics? If there's one thing I love about working with fabric, it's the notion of ease, the difference you can make by gently rolling a seam so that the facing sits on the inside, or working a bit of magic with a steam iron. The peter pan collar on the puppet show tunic is a case in point; a judicious bit of pressing, topstitching, then pressing again, and the collar sits perfectly. I shall be stitching peter pan collars on everything from now on.

puppet show tunic 026
topstitched darts
puppet show tunic 020
tacking the run and fell seam
puppet show tunic 023
run and fell seam

It's been a slow affair, but I'm really enjoying the process, little things like topstitching the darts, and sewing run and fell seams (not called for in the pattern but I'm trying to be a pro like Ann and Sandra!).  I've pressed on with the tunic, and just have a tiny bit of handfinishing to do tomorrow, then I shall try to persuade my model to actually put it on!

puppet show tunic 015
puppet show tunic in progress


  1. Ha! Yes, it has made me cut out a pattern too (though it's from a Japanese book, so I'm still in the painful stages of adding seam allowance before I can cut the fabric - grrr).

    Love your collar! This time I am going to try and be neat with all my finishing a la Ann!

  2. I bought a pressing ham the other day ;-)

  3. I think it had that effect on me too! I've found myself abandoning scraps and quilts for buying fabric by the metre, and googling patterns.

    Buying and googling is as far as I've got, though. Sigh.

  4. I came across your blog while looking for ideas to sew myself some clothes. I used that blue fabric with white flowers to make myself some trousers in about 1987! I still have the trousers but I am gradually cutting them up to make other things.

    1. How funny! I bought mine a few years ago now, but was told it was a print used by Boden for their children's clothes. What will you make with your chopped up trousers? I was thinking of using some of my leftovers for patchwork as it's such a nice weight.


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