50% Mary Quant, 50% Mrs Overall…

… 100% Dinner Lady Chic. Anyone with memories of queuing in the hall for school lunches in the late 70s or of watching Acorn Antiques will know what I mean.

I’d be a failure on Project Runway. Quite aside from the hours/days/weeks that it would take me to decide on a fabric in Mood’s, I don’t have the runway aspiration. My goal for dressmaking is to sew the kind of clothes that I wish I could find in vintage and charity shops. Granted, with impeccable finishing and beautiful linings, in today’s easy-care fabrics, and without dubious buttons or the smell of decades of storage. On the Great British Sewing Bee I’m definitely more Sandra or Stuart than Lauren or Ann. Much as I adored Lauren’s Liberty patch pockets I’m more paisley print than ditsy floral.

pre seamingSimplicity 1776 is underway. I cut out the dress pieces at my dressmaking class last week. There was barely enough fabric due to my paisley print cord being under-wide at 110cm and the pattern layout really needing a full 115cm. The pattern called for 1.9m, I’d bought 2m and the pieces fit by millimetres, with a smidge of selvedge in the seam allowance.By contrast, I have at least a metre left of the 150cm wide lining Smile Lesson learned – fabric width is important!

I’ve sewn the darts in the front and backs for both dress and lining. I now need to sit and knit until a tailor’s ham arrives, as I don’t want to press those darts on a flat board. My eyes hurt trying to position the patch pockets – of course there were tailor’s tacks markings, but did they fit my finished pockets? Nope. I didn’t even attempt to match the pattern on the pockets to the dress, but I did loosely match them with one another. The pattern is generally clear and easy to follow and it’s looking good so far, if possibly a touch “too vintage” as my hair-dresser would say (which is fine with me). I’m hoping that my knee-high red boots or some bright pink sandals and a denim jacket will balance the very busy print. Next week’s sewing will be joining the lining to the dress and adding side seams, ready to sew the bright pink zip to the back and then hem. After that will be something far more restrained, I promise.

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