I went to Devon recently to visit my delightful friend from university. Whilst there she made the incredibly valid statement – ‘I always feel like I shouldn’t buy things that I know I can make myself’. This is definitely the way I want to live my own seamstress-led life too. Why spend hundreds on things I can sew myself, in my own choice of fabric and my own custom fit?
As a thank you present for the wonderful hospitality, I decided to make my friend an apron (as previously stated – she hadn’t yet bought one for fear of being able to whip one up herself). The pattern is – of course – Cath Kidston, and is actually one created to fit a child. I had to adapt the pattern slightly so that the apron was bigger in length and had longer straps, thus making it ‘adult sized’. As you can see from the stunning photo of me modelling said apron – it fits perfect. Result.
For the main apron I used a blue floral print cotton, with a larger print for the band at the bottom, the waist tie and the neck strap. I cut out the big flowers from this fabric and appliqued them around the top for a bit of extra excitement. The apron also has a plain cream backing. I attached the waist ties using some metallic gold and blue buttons which I think make the end result look much more professional.
Now that this beautiful apron has been posted to Devon, I think I’m starting to miss it slightly. I definitely need to make one for myself - I love to bake, and I’m most certainly not the tidiest of chefs! For the moment though it will have to wait… we’re moving house at the end of the week and it’s time for my sewing kit to be packed away. It’s absolutely getting added to the ‘to-do’ list though.
I finished my skirt a couple of weeks ago now, but failed in uploading it straight to my blog. I think I was so distracted by wearing it and it not falling to pieces, that it completely slipped my mind. Anyway – here it is!
The pattern told me it would take 1 hour to sew the skirt together. From start to finish it took me about a week, but that’s including cutting out the pieces, editing the length and fit, plus inserting the zip and attaching the broderie anglaise trimming. Not bad whilst I was working full time in between?
The photo here shows the zip and hook-and-eye fastening I used on the back of the skirt. The zip was surprisingly easy to sew in. The pattern originally called for a button hole to be made, but everything was going so well that I didn’t dare ruin it at the last minute! I decided to go for the hook-and-eye instead because it was a lot easier.
The only big hurdle I had to jump was regarding the length of the skirt. Due to a little too much editing and a little too much hemming, I managed to take off far too many inches from the bottom and had a bit of a panic! My mum suggested I added some sort of trimming, so I trekked back to the material shop and found a length of broderie anglaise which has done just the trick. I had to use black though, because navy apparently does not exist. It looks alright though, and I doubt you’d notice. Perhaps I need to stop pointing it out!
So far I’ve worn it twice to work. The first time I was a little apprehensive (and worried) that it may just fall off whilst I was walking around! My colleagues think I look like Alice in Wonderland wearing it. I disagree, but I guess that’s almost a compliment? I even put the skirt through the washing machine (a very scary moment) and it came out in one piece. Fantastic – can’t wait to make another now!
After making various cushions I decided to begin something a bit more adventurous. A skirt. I went down to the Remnant House and bought (far too much of) this lovely navy floral cotton. It’s quite thin and so easy to sew with. The photo doesn’t quite do the pattern justice, as the little roses are more red in real life.
I was originally going to trace around an existing skirt to create my own pattern, but decided that this was possibly a little TOO adventurous. Instead I had a flick through various pattern catalogues and came across one by New Look. It’s a pattern for 5 different a-line skirts, some with extra darts, some a bit longer and some with a side split. I cut out the pieces for the simplest design (top left skirt on the photo below), and away I went.
The skirt consists of 4 pieces of mateial: a front piece, 2 back pieces and a waistband. It also requires a 7″ zip and a bit of interfacing for inside the waistband. I cut out the material according to the ‘size 8′ guidelines but soon discovered that it was going to be far too small. And that I’m a secret size 16. It turns out this pattern is made for a skirt to go around the wait. I want a skirt that goes around the hips. This meant re-cutting the back 2 pieces to extend the width a bit. I also chopped off half the length to create a more youthful look.
As a first-time dressmaker, I’m finding the pattern a little difficult to follow and have had to either Google/ask my mum what some of the terminology means. ‘Layering’ seams and ‘line with interfacing’ are not expressions I’ve previously encountered. That out the way, I’ve so far managed to piece my skirt together, machine stitch it all, and have just attached the (interfacing lined) waistband. More to follow.