Saturday, 18 April 2009

sewing project one

So it was a sunny day a few weeks back, and I was walking round Chalk farm and stumbled across a sewing shop. A brief browse and friendly chat with the proprietess later and I emerged with a paper pattern and a plan. Only chink in the plan - no sewing machine.

I'd noticed years ago a little shop selling used and new sewing machines, just down the road in Camden. So, fired up with the plan, I hopped on the tube and lo! the shop was still there so I entered and had a little chat about sewing machines.

I almost purchased a second hand toyota, a bulky new looking thing. And then I saw this in the window - a similar model to the machine my Mum got for her 21st birthday which is still running perfectly today.

I asked after it, and the helpful sewing machine shop man told me elna was like the rolls royce of sewing machines. Swiss made, and very reliable. I fell in love. I bought it!

The shop, by the way, was still run by the son of the man who established it, way back in 1936. It was lovely and cosy and they were happy to stay open half an hour after closing time to give me a demo and to find all the pieces and chat about the shop. A truly lovely shopping experience.

Anyway, I got home and I looked at the pattern and it was like trying to read Arabic, so I put it away again and waited until the weekend before last, when I was heading home.

My mum isn't a prolific seamstress but she made her own lime green suit to wear to her first interview, she made all our ballet costumes when we were little, and I remember her in home-sewn clothkits clothes back in the 80s. She knows what she's doing...

And she has this fine sewing stash!

I cut my pattern out of newspaper in case it went wrong, and because I thought if I cut it out I wouldn't be able to use it again. Not sure why I thought this, now I think about it a little more rationally, but there we go. It was quite a lot of work and I started to get disheartened. It had looked like a simple pattern to me and I'd had this lovely idea in my head that I'd just 'whip it up' in an afternoon....

Fabric cut, the sewing began, as did the arguments. I enlisted help, then stroppily refused it as the logics of the pattern frustratingly eluded me. I tried my hardest to be patient, but it is not something I am skilled at when it comes to making things - I kind of want to Just Get Going!

But I was a good girl, and I did lots of pressing of seams, and pressing of this and that (you can see here though where I neglected to cover up my gathering stitches - oops!)

Two days, and a lot of wonky sewing later....

...I finally ended up with something (almost!) ready to wear. So, it still needs a zip, and the bodice doesn't sit quite right. I also can't decide whether to make it a short dress or a long top (it's shown folded under here). I have however, kind of suceeded! Woo!

But now I realise what I thought was a simple pattern really wasn't that simple, and think I need to start off a little easier, really build up the basics.

So, if anyone has any recommendations for good sites with free basic patterns on, good books which will be a reference easy enough to understand for a complete novice, please pass my way!...

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