For many years I harboured a desire to make my own clothes, dreaming of perfectly fitting garments in a vast array of exciting colours and fabrics, but despite investing in a sewing machine I never actually mustered the courage to have a go.
After watching the last two series of the British Sewing Bee I decided to stop dreaming and actually give it a go. I took the plunge and went pattern shopping in my local fabric shop. After being initially overwhelmed by all the choices on offer the helpful lady in the shop guided me to choose a simple tunic top pattern that was labelled ‘easy ‘ and I chose some simple cotton fabric to make the top from.
When I first opened the pattern I was confused by all the different lines and symbols and even the sizing (which was American) and very nearly gave it up as a bad job there and then. Thank heavens for the internet, as after a spot of Googling, I found some fantastic sewing sites that talked me through the process step by step. So I ploughed ahead and cut out all my pattern pieces and pinned and marked my fabric as instructed and hey presto I ended up with sections of fabric all ready to be stitched together.
I found the sewing relatively easy but was thankful for a sewing machine course I’d done a couple of years ago. Some of the instructions and diagrams on the pattern were a bit difficult to understand but my (limited) knowledge gained from the course did help me to figure out what I needed to do. Afte a few hours at my trusty sewing machine I actually ended up with a top that looked like the picture on the pattern.
The thing I found the most difficult was the sizing and actually getting the garment to fit me. I was over -cautious at first and sized up as I didn’t want to make the top too small as I though it would be easier to alter afterwards. I think it looks ok (for a first attempt) but it is a bit big and I did have to spend a lot of time adjusting and adding tucks and buttons to the neckline to stop it from looking to baggy.
I felt much more confident with my second attempt and cut the pattern pieces much smaller. I also decided not to add interfacing to the neckline as the pattern instructed, as I found it made the top section of the garment a bit too stiff. I think attempt number two is a much better fit and I was really pleased with how it turned out.
I then tried some variations of the top using a different version of the pattern in different fabrics – a Japanese floral print viscose and a multi-coloured spot viscose. I even attempted making sleeves which were a bit tricky but turned out better than I though they would.
I have well and truly got the dressmaking bug now and will definitely say that practice does make perfect. I have also attempted a simple A-line skirt and the next project in the pipeline to to have a go at making myself a dress.
Wish me luck x
The top pattern I used is:
New Look : Misses Pullover Top or Tunic 6871 £5.99
Useful information sites:
The great British Sewing Bee – Sew your own wardrobe
Love at First Stitch – Demystifying Dressmaking by Tilly Walnes