Monday, 26 October 2015

Last of the summer sewing

Well, there’s no escaping it – summer is finally over. October saw the start of autumn and the end of British Summer time, and just a few sewing projects completed.

First to be finished (and now put away for next year) was a picnic blanket to go with a new picnic basket. It was made from a fent of wool curtain fabric which was only £7 from Standfast & Barrack and backed with some ripstop nylon from Abakhan. I found the same fabric online for over £400 but I’ve no idea if that is for a metre or a complete roll.

Next was a quick foldable shopping bag for future fabric purchases. Now the carrier bag charge has been introduced, I usually have a plastic bag with me, but it seems wrong to put new fabric in a bag that has carried groceries and the like. This bag was made from less than half of a 50p misprint of Liberty lawn, again from Standfast & Barrack, and will be kept in my handbag just for fabric (and maybe clothing) purchases.

The final project for October saw me return to dressmaking for the first time in many, many months. This is the drapey knit dress from the Great British Sewing Bee and I managed to find the pattern and instructions free online. There is rather a lot of ease in the upper part of the pattern which makes sizing uncertain and Melissa from Fehrtrade had warned me on Twitter to check the hip size, but I also wanted to lower the pockets, so a toile was definitely needed. Dropping the pockets by 3” was a success, as was cutting a smaller size than usual for the top, but I forgot about how this would affect the sleeves and a fat arm adjustment was needed. The toile was made wearable with a small insert in each underarm seam to widen the sleeve and the addition of a wide cuff to lengthen the sleeve.

As this was only supposed to be toile, the inside finishes were quick and easy – pinking shears for the seam allowances and a twin needle for the hems. The pockets are my favourite feature on this dress, whereas I’m not too taken by the main design element of the folded drape at the front. For the next one, I might remove this and just make a feature of the seam lines. I could even dust off  the overlocker and coverstitch machines if I’m feeling really keen! 

If you fancy making this dress, Love Sewing magazine featured this dress in issue 12. The pattern pdf is free to download from the magazine website and the instructions are part of the free magazine sampler available via the Love Sewing app for phones/tablets or from Pocket Mags on a computer. The dress also features in the latest Great British Sewing Bee book, "Fashion with Fabric".