Friday, 30 September 2011

Sewing under pressure

I could also pull this face at 7 years old
It's a skill passed down through generations

At the beginning of the summer I made a dress for an article that I wrote for Cloth magazine. The idea behind it was that I would keep a diary of how I cram sewing into everyday life as I often find myself wondering how on earth people find time to create balldresses/hand knitted shoes/felted dog coats seemingly overnight.

eating breakfast and sewing, don't try this at home kids

I won't re-write it all here, if you want to read it you can buy Cloth or a magnifying glass and read it here. I think buying Cloth is a better use of your money. To give you a taster, it did include tantrums, magic tricks and nearly flashing the father of one of my daughter's friends. All in a day's work for me.

she is soooo busted

After I finished writing it, my and my girl had a lot of fun re-creating moments from my diary (see grumpy time-out photo and chucking stuff out of the bath above). It makes more sense if you read the diary.

But I did want to show you the dress I made and write a little about the book I got the pattern from as I was really pleased with how it turned out.
I used Couture Dress and Smock book, a book that I have to admit I have overlooked a little. I'm not sure why as it is full of things that I want to make. I chose the dress on the right (below) because it was a nice simple fitted shift shape.
Because it had a high neck which doesn't suit me, I used the neckline from the dress on the right which worked out nicely.

I made a rough version of the dress out of a duvet cover as the sizes in this book were a little different to previous Japanese books I have used. It turned out well, I think the only tweak I made was to take a bit out of the neckline as there was a slight gape and I dropped the arm holes a little.

I had all sorts of ideas fabric wise and was holding off for some Echino fabric I was expecting. (It's just as well I didn't wait too long as it still hasn't arrived.) In the end I chose some bright lightweight cotton from my stash, liking the way I could play with the stripes on the waist.

The dress has a big long zip up the back which I think was the one problem I had as otherwise it went together very well. My zipper foot seriously misbehaved and it doesn't look as neat as I would like. Once day, I might take it out and try again (who am I kidding?).

With both kids at school now and some spare time in the day, I want to get back into making some more clothes, and then actually wear them. A few things have caught my eye in this book.

this top makes me think of Florence

I like the neckline and details on this dress...

And I might start here with this top, it's hard to see in the photo but it has pretty pin tucks on the neck and sleeves. I would have to make it quite a lot longer as I have a very long back and it already looks short in the picture, but I think that would be pretty easy.

I finally got round to buying a big roll of paper from Morplan to trace out the patterns and a super sharp tracing wheel after talking to pattern cutting pro Kerrie.

All I need now is the perfect fabric, but I want to make a rough version first to check fit and maybe tweak a few details. It's exciting to be back sewing again!


  1. LOL I may not have kids but I have a job and a bf which can be compared, or at least I choose to believe that ;) It can be hard, I remember weeks with very little sleep trying to finish a certain dress but in the end it is all worth it. I love your dress, it looks really cute :) and you did it again! :)

  2. Kate, I thought you had photographed my five year old as she pulls EXACTLY the same face sometimes! x

  3. The article sounds fantastic and the dress looks wonderful - although I wish you'd also include some photos of you modelling it too. I can't wait to read all about it in the magazine.

    I love the staged tantrums and naughtiness - some people pay Italia Conti a fortune for that kind of acting experience!

    I'm delighted to be synonomous with pintucks! I'm so pleased they made you think of me. I have that book too - it's wonderful isn't it. There are so many things I want to make from it, not least another version of the balloon-sleeved jacket that I made last year.


  4. Oh Kate, thank you for your most generous words! I love the dress. I take back all the comments about navy and stripes! I look forward to seeing your next piece.