My very first sewing project

Karens post this morning of Did you make that? fame got me thinking of my very first dressmaking project.

It was and yet it wasn’t a failure!

Let me explain. I made my first anything – a dress – when I was 13. Back then in the 60’s (yes I am that old) we had craft in school. Mostly we would learn how to knit and embroider but this year we had a new teacher, who had big ideas for us girls. The boys would be doing woodwork such as a cutting board or a bird-cage.

At the beginning of the year our teacher decided that we should learn how to make a dress. It was to be a short sleeved straight dress with collar and buttons down the front. We had two fabrics to choose from – a yellow or a green waffle cotton. I chose the yellow fabric as the green was a dull moss-green, which I didn’t like.

We were all very excited and although progress was slow with only one short lesson per week, we ended up having a beautiful cotton dress before Christmas. Let me explain – this took place in Denmark where the school year start in August and finish in June the next year.

We learnt such wonderful things as cutting and seeming, finishing seams, attaching sleeves and collars, sewing on buttons and making buttonholes.

We could not take the dresses home at that time. All our work for the year was to be on display in the last week of the school year, i.e. in June. It was too cold to wear a short-sleeved cotton dress in the middle of winter anyway.

Finally, end of school came, and I rushed home and into my bedroom to put on the dress so I could show my parents and siblings how clever I was.

The dress had been a success right up to this moment. Now it was a huge failure as it didn’t fit me. Our new teacher had totally forgotten to take into account that girls age 13 grow quite a lot over a year. The dress had been made to my August measurements, but my June measurements were substantially different. I can’t remember how much I had grown that year, but it was a lot.

I never wore the dress, but the teacher had achieved something. My desire to sew had been born and I had learnt how to do a lot of things. Fortunately my mother was a wonderful home sewer, and she helped me throughout my teens and taught me a lot of what I now know, although learning never stops.

What was your first project?

Happy sewing!


NZ Merino Wool

In February last year I went to NZ for a holiday. I spent a few days hiking near Queenstown, a couple of days cruising the Milford and Doubtful Sounds and another four days canoeing down the Whanganoi River before being lazy in the Bay of Islands.

Whilst in Te Anau I walked passed a store selling knitting wool, and what caught my eye was this

I just had to have it!

Now, I am not really into knitting. My last project was a jacket which I finished last week – after 5 year of knitting!!!!! I will blog about that soon.

Anyway the lady assured me that there is enough yarn for knitting a lacy scarf. And here is the result…

Hmm – the light is obviously important. The yarn is in daylight and the scarf was taken indoor this evening. Daylight is obviously much better!

Happy sewing

Pattern Sale! Woo-Hoo!

There can’t be many sewers in Perth. One fabric store after the other is closing down making options for fabric more and more limited.

I will really have to start buying on the net as I can rarely find what I am looking for. I like to feel a fabric before I buy but I will soon have to trust the descriptions on fabric web sites.

One fabric store that closed down some time ago was stranded with a lot of patterns. I am a member of a Burda Sewing group, and yesterday our group was given the chance of going through all the patterns and select as many as we wanted for only $2 each!

There were Vogue, Butterick, New Look, McCalls and Burda patterns – 1000s of them.

Here are a few of the drawers full of patterns – there were many more ……..

I feel really sad for the people who had to give up on their business and probably lost a lot of money as a result.

The opportunity wasn’t lost on me though. This is what I bought …… I hope they will all get made up into beautiful garments ….. dreaming ………

More of the same – oh NO

Note to self – there are other patterns out there and it would be OK to try something different.

Hmmm yes …but…

Ok this is the last and final version I will make of the dress I have shown in the last couple of posts. I saw this fantastic stretch lace and couldn’t think of anything I could do with it. In addition I needed something of an evening attire and I had nothing suitable.

I placed the lace onto a white jersey and loved the look. The lace pattern wasn’t symmetrical, so placing it on centre front didn’t quite work out. Regardless of how I placed the lace on the pattern, there would always be something looking ‘wrong’ near the neckline. In the end I just did the best I could.

As I wanted it longish, i felt it needed a wide band of black at the bottom. How to select the right width was a problem. I looked through the web and came up with 1:4. I don’t think it looks quite right and I would love to know if there is a formula for things like that.

Anyway, the dress came together quite easily and I had the needed outfit – although I haven’t worn it since. Not quite comfortable – doesn’t feel quite right.


First one was OK – I’ll try another

The first dress turned out Ok I think – so why not make another?

Indeed, I used the same pattern on a white, red and grey abstract pattern that had just come into the shop. I was the first to buy I was told.

I love the colours and I am happy with the result. This time I used self fabric for the neck and armhole binding.

This dress is just so easy, but I need to ease myself into sewing again. I can’t start with failures now, can I?

I have a few other items I have made over the last six months that I wanted to blog about, but somehow never had the courage.

Now that I have started blogging and found it is not that scary (in fact there are wonderful friendly people out there, who say really nice things in their comments) I want to show all those items. Once that is done, I will show what I am working on at the moment. Much more challenging and interesting things ……

Stay tuned..

My first dress

So now I am up and blogging!

This is exciting and thank you for the comments. Frankly, I didn’t think anybody was reading my blog so soon – so what a wonderful surprise.

I began this year with a simple knit dress. Knit fabric is so forgiving and my fitting issues were mostly hidden. I used a couple of patterns – took the bits out that i liked and deleted things I didn’t. Then I added a bit of my own idea and came up with this very simple dress.

The fabric came out of my stash. The print design is black jeans inspired. I wasn’t very fond of the fabric and only chose to make it as a muslin. However, I have really come to love it – even though Mephistopheles doesn’t like the red trims. He thinks it should have been boring black. Oh well!

How to solve my problem?

My main reason for giving up sewing such a long time ago was that I no longer could get my creations to fit. Years take their toll on the body – well at least that is what happened to mine. I used to be a straight size 38, then size 40 in Burda, but when I later in life came to make the size 42, problems started to pop up. Things didn’t fit any longer!

So what are my problems? I wish I knew. I have wrestled with those problems for so long and not having a sewing friend, I eventually gave up. Now, however, I am going to figure it out – somehow.

I decided that a dress-form would be ideal. I could simply dial in my measurements – and woo-hoo I could figure out my ‘issues’ really quickly and I could start making my dream fashion!


What I hadn’t realised (silly me) was that the dress-forms only adjust to suit the standard sizes. I.e. it will not adjust to mould the wide shoulders, slightly rounded high back and the bigger abdomen.

I tried to pad out my dress form. I donated an old bra and stuffed that with towelling – no too hard and inflexible wadding. It was too soft and didn’t work, but I haven’t found anything better so far. Frankly, I have become a little disillusioned.

Then the other day I saw a great idea on Gorgeous Things blog. They were using Commercial fitting patterns to create a ‘Double’ using a dress form. I am waiting in great anticipation to see how that works out. I may decide to copy their work.

Cheers for now