Barbara suggested a wonderful idea for a regular monthly blog post. We could do a member's profile each month, to be posted around the 15th. Barbara had another great idea for a regular feature at around the 1st of each month, that would mean two posts that will hopefully be accompanied by lots of non-themed posts by as many members of the Dressmakers Club as possible! The more the better: a blog like this lives from many different people posting, the different areas of interest, of focus and the different voices make the blog a more lively and interesting place to check out.
In order to kick things off with the member's profile for January we thought that I should do the first one. I didn't put myself forward for being first out of the gate, but it is a great idea that I really love so I better put my money where my mouth is!
Member profile of the month - January
I first became interested in sewing as a teenager, around 15 probably. I would get fabrics and patterns and cut into them blithely and utterly unconcerned. I made quite a few mistakes (catching huge chunks of the skirt fabric in the waistband? That might sound familiar to lots of people) but managed to make quite a few things. I wasn't really concerned with the technical aspects of sewing back then which now makes me feel even a little jealous of my naivité because it enabled me to just have a go. I could do with some of that now!
Life intervened with job changes and house moves and I only picked up sewing again when I moved to London quite a number of years ago. I did a few courses and particularly loved one on tailoring. Unfortunately I never finished the jacket I started then and still think of its lovely dark red colour. My figure changed since then so it's a good thing I got rid of it.
I started sewing again around six years ago. I am now very interested in the creative aspects as well as the technical skill that goes into dressmaking. My aspiration is to learn to sew well enough so I can tackle some of those creative ideas that keep whirling through my head.
I was going to write about a collar I did some work on, but will keep this for a future post. Watch this space!
My favourite sewing item to use right now is bias tape. I already wrote a bit about it: it is just so useful for bindings (around seam allowances) or as facings at necklines, armholes and even hems. I feel that using bias tape as a facing gives a much smoother result then folding over and sewing down does. I now make my own so I can pick and choose what fabric and colour I want to use.
A sewing technique or concept (is that the right word in the context?) at the moment is garments cut on the bias: where the pattern's "grainline" runs at a 45 degree angle to the two straight grain lines of the fabric. A bias cut top will hug your body and flow lots better. This uses up huge amounts of fabric though which is the main reason that I haven't made more of them already. That's on my to do list!
My biggest sewing frustration is the bad fit I get from most commercial patterns. I find it so very frustrating to be slaving over a new project only to find that I hate how it looks on me. I am getting better at figuring out how to make bought patterns work by using certain adjustment techniques (like FBA, and swayback adjustments etc) but I am still not completely happy with the results. Because of this problem I became interested in pattern drawing: making garments to your own measurements and your own pattern blocks. I attended a number of courses on that and absolutely love pattern drafting!
The websites I find most useful are Pinterest as already mentioned above, MySewingCircle (it is a bit like Ravelry but for dressmakers!), Pattern Review and other dressmakers' blogs - so inspiring!
Please tell us how you came to sewing, about some of the challenges and triumphs that you encountered and what you particularly enjoy about sewing!
Please post in the comments, and we would love a member profile to add in the coming months so that we can all see the many diverse perspectives of different members.
Here are some projects that I haven't finished yet:
Here is one I finished but I am not very happy with, the stiffening of the peak pulled the stitchline up on top of the brim:
Some other projects I started in the last two years, in various states of completeness, or I should say non-completeness.