So I've approached it differently. I took my time, did a bit of pattern tracing one day, and had a happy few hours choosing fabrics the next day. Then I had a couple of days at University and some more studying at home, before I spent another few hours pinning and cutting the fabric out. The next weekend I sewed everything together, and finally finished the hemming as I waited at the station to pick up Olivia a few days after that. Of course I can still make clothes when I am working or studying. It seems obvious now I write that, but having been given the luxury of staying at home the last few years, it took me a while to understand how.
Over the past few weeks I've made myself two cotton tops. I used the Lisette Market Dress pattern, Simplicity 2211, which I just discovered is now sadly out of print. I bought the pattern when it came out and just hadn't got round to making it. I made the first version exactly as the pattern directed, except that I left off the strange fake button placket down the centre front. When it was finished and I wore it for a day, I had a number of issues with it.
- it has rather a boxy shape on me - snug around the hips and too roomy around the waist.
- the puffed and gathered sleeves look too babyish on a woman of 41
- the interfacing I used on the contrast fabric around the neck and sleeves, left the top feeling a little too stiff at these points. The neck is very high anyway, and the interfacing in it made it sit very awkwardly on me.
|Version 1 - not bad, not great|
|Hemming the first top, waiting in the car to pick up O|
I am delighted with this version. Leaving off the interfacing made the process of putting on the neck much more sweary, as the fabric really takes some serious manipulation in order to lie nice and flat. However, my patience (and swearing) paid off as the resulting neck is still neat and clean, but much softer to wear and somehow a little more casual too.
|Version 2 - much better tailored to my shape, and with more grown-up sleeves|
|Thick, richly embroidered Swiss ribbon|
There will be a third version too - incorporating all the changes I made for the second one. I am just dithering over fabric choices at the moment. A home made top deserves distinctive and beautiful fabric, and one of the reasons I love making clothes is that I end up with something you would never be able to buy in a shop. I wear jeans a great deal, and their plainness is off-set nicely by a fancier top.
This term at University we've been talking a great deal about how we will cope with the stresses of the job once we qualify, and one topic that keeps coming up is that of hobbies and interests outside nursing. Mental wellbeing is something I wrote about a little bit on this blog back in October last year, and I now consider my mental health much more than I used to. I am beginning to realise that although I love having new clothes to wear, I actually love dressmaking just as much for the creative challenge it provides. All the measuring, adjusting, fiddly lining up of notches, pinning, overlocking and stitching requires just enough concentration to take my mind off whatever else is going on around me. And now that I spend my working hours in a uniform with a high polyester content, the importance of beautiful, well-made clothes in natural fibres becomes even more significant.
|The best tailor's chalk in the world, ever|
|Ready to set the sleeve|