The highs and lows of 2012

This was the year I decided to revisit my love of dressmaking. After completing my Open University Course in Business Studies last year I found a hole in my time that needed to be filled with something more than the TV, Facebook or Twitter.  So it came to be in January my sewing machines made an appearance out of the dark depths of the spare room cupboard where they had resided for many many years.  My journey so far has been sprinkled with triumphs and disasters (which make me Front View_3shudder at the thought of them).  We will start will the greatest high of all, my little black dress, which I might add, made its grand appearance on my Birthday last Thursday.   I totally love this dress for so many reasons, most of all the challenge and the accomplishment that came with making it and that the chances of seeing someone else in it are minimal.

A two piece garment, using layered gathered outer seams

My second high came from another Vogue pattern V1259, again I was drawn to this for the challenge and a challenge it certainly was, more so than V8705 before it.  I realised that fewer pattern pieces doesn’t necessarily mean that something is going to be a doddle to make.  I did some research on this before I started and with each version came very different experiences, some loved it some wouldn’t touch it again with a barge pole. I for one love the fact I receive compliments about it and people cannot believe I have actually made it myself (cheesey grin spreads across my face at the thought).

Front ViewNow we shall take it down a notch and touch on some middle ground where I experienced my first disaster, so much so that when the garment was completed I couldn’t really stay friends with it as it had upset me so much.  This one was Simplicity K2588.  The problem was of my own doing really after buying fabric that was the wrong weight for the dress in its original form, this being a lovely flowing skirt.  Upon completion I realised that the skirt did NOT flow it flared out at the middle because of the pleats and continued to flare out towards the hem, a most unflattering look.  As you can see from the picture once unpicked and reconstructed with a fitted skirt it did manage to redeem itself but the damage was done, I had embarrassed myself by creating the monster in the first place.

Front Full ViewOnward we shall go to the biggest disaster of all, this was Butterick B5676, oh the shame of this creation, I made it not once but twice (what was I thinking) it was wrong from the start really but I persevered and had a second attempt, what can I say? The wrong colour for a start, not to mention the fit which was rather on the small side (too many lumps and bumps on show for my liking) and then there was the gaping neck, for some reason this did not and would not work for me on either version, I tried the facing and also bias tape without the facing and neither one looked right.  I know from seeing it on other blogs that it can look truly gorgeous but not for me, oh definitely not for me.

So to conclude my first year of sewing again after a 10 year break has given me so much to think about and I can honestly say it it has been the most wonderful experience with all the highs and lows that came with it.  What 2013 will hold at the moment I don’t know, I think I will venture into the world of men’s trousers (as my husband is showing a preference in this direction) and might make my first coat or jacket. I am sure it will be as rewarding and fulfilling as this year has been.

Happy New Year to you all!

The madness that is Vogue V8705

A front ViewIt feels like an age since I updated my blog, there has been a very good reason for it. I decided last month that I needed a challenge, having created a few tops recently from knitted fabric I felt the need for something a bit different that would give me something to think about and test my sewing skills. I shall share with you the journey that was Vogue V8705.Full Back View

It all started with 14 pattern pieces, each transferred into single, double, quadruple pieces of fabric of all shapes and sizes.  Initially it was quite straightforward until I had to attach one of the sections to another. Then I realised that each seam and the topstitching had to lie in the same direction or I would lose at least 2cm of fabric and the sections wouldn’t fit together.  Luckily I realised that very early on in the process and only had to cut out one new piece.

The most nerve-racking thing about doing a new project and something that is totally different is fear of the unknown, as the dress progressed some parts didn’t seem to have a purpose and I didn’t really know until it was finished if I had done something wrong!

Close up back view

The back has a concealed zip which to my surprise went in first time without a problem, given that I was working with knitted fabric and there was a seam through the middle I had to match, I presumed at least three attempts would be necessary.Full Front View

The sleeves gave much head scratching, these were attached and taken off four times, the straps were all sewn double thickness and had to be turned inside out and positioned in the correct places and adjusted to suit, then finally the majority of the topstitching had to be done, as well as the hem.

I can definitely say without a doubt, this garment has been the most exciting, nerve-racking and rewarding one to date, a huge smile spreads across my face every time I look at it.