Way back in April, I was introduced to the Simplicity Blogger Challenge via @ZoFlo – a fellow #CraftBlogClub-ber who joins in with the weekly craft chat on Twitter. As a newbie to dressmaking, and by that I mean ‘all enthusism and no real clue’, I thought it would be the perfect kick up the bum I needed to give it a go with no workshop tutor in sight! It was a simple process to apply, so before I knew it, I was in receipt of the pattern sent out to all ‘Newcomers’ – Simplicity Learn to Sew 2286.
Naturally, family life intervened and the pattern disappeared under a small mountain of other mail, artwork from pre-school and work related paperwork! However, always one to rise to a last minute flurry of activity, I spent my evenings over the bank holiday weekend choosing the design that I’d like to make (A – of sorts), looking through my fabric stash for the perfect combination, measuring, pattern cutting, adapting (some intentional, some unintentional) and finally sewing!
Not being a huge fan of elasticated waistlines, it took me longer than I care to admit to decide how I would work my way around this, as my dressmaking skills are somewhat limited at present. First, I read through all the instructions, which is fairly novel for me as I tend to plunge headfirst into projects! They were relatively simple to follow and gave me the confidence to make a start despite the late hour. I decided that I would use Design A as a starting point, but would make a contrasting waistband to add interest, instead of the ribbon trim. I also thought that I would fold the fabric at regular intervals instead of gathering it at the waist. This may be the undoing of my entry, as I haven’t followed the pattern, but it did state:
Your challenge is to use the above pattern as a basis for your own bespoke creation. The only rule is that there are no rules! Using the pattern as your foundation, go wild with fabric, colour, nips here, tucks there and feel free to accessorise to the hilt! Whether fabric is your forte or your signature style is more haute couture, simply show us what you’re made of and stamp your very own style on these patterns.
One thing that I can honestly say that I have learnt from this challenge is not to cut fabric after ten o’clock at night! After cutting out the pattern without any issues, I held up the pieces in front of me and decided that I would need to lengthen it, as my day-to-day life either revolves around bending over and picking up my one-year-old or leaning over children’s desks at work. As I was working late in the evening, I decided that a cheeky shortcut was in order and so I drew the excess ‘pattern’ shape onto the wrong side of the fabric. My next move still haunts me, as I completely ignored this and carefully cut around the pattern itself! Doh! At that point, the skirt then developed into one with a matching waistband and hemline!!! Which, as it turns out, I prefer – phew!
As I have previously said, the pattern was simplicity itself to follow – groan! My hemline added an additional level of difficulty initially, but I just used the bottom of the skirt pattern as a template. This was then sewn onto the length of both front and back to extend the overall length before construction. When I reached the instructions regarding gathering the waistband, I made a small overlap/tuck in the skirt every 7 cm instead – ensuring that they pointed towards the sides of the skirt. This seemed to work better than even I had dared hope! For the bottom hem, I folded over the raw edg by 1 cm, then folded this up to the skirt itself (thus covering the inside raw edges). This was then topstitched into position.
….. and finally, a skirt was born!
OK, so for a competition, I probably should have gone to town with the embellishments as recommended in the blurb, but my style is fairly classic and simple. For a newbie who has only ever made two items of clothing under the supervision of a workshp tutor (thanks, Mhairi and Zoë), I’m ‘proper chuffed’ with my new skirt!!! Regardless of the outcome of the competition, I am definitely hooked for life! I have already bought four more Simplicity patterns, Zoë’s Dolores batwing pattern and a few from IndieSew. Who knows, next year, I may be confident enough to go for ‘Best Dressmaking Project‘ or ‘Best Vintage Make‘?
In the meantime, is anybody willing to look after my two littl’uns while I crack on??!!!