1 January 2010

Look, I made a dress!

Hello blogosphere!

So... the idea behind this blog is to track my progress (or not) in the world of sewing, starting from the position of a complete beginner.



I've always loved clothes from the 1920s to the 1960s but don't have the patience to trawl through overpriced vintage clothes shops in the hope of finding a non-putrid gem that vaguely fits me. I've recently become sucked into the world of fashion blogs, developing friendship crushes on American "thrifters" (that means charity shoppers in English, I do believe) and finding inspiration in their words and pictures. From there, I stumbled upon images of vintage dress patterns which made me drool all over my keyboard (not literally, that would be hideous) and gave me the itch to start making my own frocks.

I'd never learned to sew before as I started secondary school at the same time as a new feminist headmistress who replaced home economics with IT (which is a good thing, obviously). And while my mum went to fashion college and often took me to the Victoria & Albert Museum to draw the dresses when I was a little girl, the sewing machine always seemed to be a boring Sunday night trouser altering machine rather than something I could get to grips with and learn to love.

Anyway, I decided to give it a go and got a sewing machine from my mum for Chrimbletide and spent the last few days on an intensive Introduction to Dressmaking course at Oh Sew in Brixton.

For my first project, I used Easy McCalls pattern M2401 with fabric sourced from Cloth House on Berwick Street. It's very near my office, so I imagine I will spend many a lunchtime ogling pretty prints.

In spite of such disasters as wonky darts, pin-shredded fingers and nearly sewing my armpits up, I loved it. And here she is, my first ever homemade dress!

 

I couldn't resist adding some little bows to the sleeves, inspired by Sarai of Colette Patterns.



I can't wait to get started on my next project!

26 comments:

  1. love the fabric. very retro. is that what i'm supposed to comment?

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  2. It seems like you got a really good fit too with your first pattern! The little bows in the sleeve are very cute. I'll have to bank that idea away.

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  3. Your dress is absolutely gorgeous. Hard to believe this is our first one; you did such an excellent job. I'm really looking forward to seeing your future creations.

    Trudy
    www.sewingwithtrudy.blogspot.com

    Stop by when you get a chance.

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  4. Greetings to you from Wyoming, USA!

    Wow... that is your first dress? It's fabulous! You have such talent!

    Can't wait to see more!

    You go girl!!!!

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  5. Extremely cute. The skinny belt was a nice touch. Colour combo reminds me of being a Brownie, which lasted all of three weeks.

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  6. Darling dress, I just love the fabric you chose.

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  7. Gorgeous dress. I love the colours of the fabric. I'm sure your love affair with sewing will last forever, once you start you can't stop.

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  8. Gosh, what a wonderful dress. It suits you very well. I wish I could pull of a fabric with such a strong yellow in it. Your matching belt, bag and broach drive me wild!

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  9. I love your yellow dress! And your yellow satchel! It looks like it fits really well - and yes, once you get hooked on the vintage patterns it becomes an all-consuming passion! Can't wait to see more!

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  10. oh, just found your blog. i love this dress it looks so good on you! i am glad you gave it some vintage-y touches! great!

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  11. Thanks so much for your lovely comments, y'all. It's really encouraging! I'm working on another dress from the same rather dull pattern, but dabbling in adapting it a bit to make it more interesting... watch this space!

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  12. I've just started on the same course (6 week rather than intensive, though, so still a way to go) and am doing the same pattern! Yours looks great - it's nice to see how it looks in 'real life', and I also love the yellow satchel and belt.

    Lib

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  13. I love the dress, and it's really good to and inspirational to see a beginner sewing so well. I am getting into sewing as well, but i get frustrated when i don't get it right. But seeing your dress gives me hope. I live in London, so i might give that course a go.

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  14. Hi Tilly! This dress is adorable! Very impressive. Is it this pattern? It looks a little different to me and just says 2401: http://mccallpattern.mccall.com/m2401-products-702.php?page_id=108&search_control=display&list=search

    If it is the same, I'm amazed! Yours is so cute, it's a wonder what good fabric choices can do.

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  15. Hi Britt, yes that's the pattern. The illustrations look rather bland but it turns out as a nice (if simple) dress, and easy to make.

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  16. Hi Tilly, I share your passion for vintage dresses but I am only little and so shopping for real ones would just be a nightmare. I have also just started to make my own and would really love to have a go at this one. Problem is, I can't find the pattern in the UK, did you get it online or in London?

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  17. Hi Anna, I got it online - you can buy it from here (about halfway down the page, there's a photo of a square-neck, red version): http://www.sewdirect.com/acatalog/McCall_Dresses.html. I'm little too so it's great to be able to make dresses that don't swamp me! Let me know how you get on...

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  18. i saw this on burdastyle. just wanted to say - good for you! this dress has a ton of personality and it so cute and flattering. i can hardly believe this is your first project - i'm really impressed!

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  19. OMG I love your dress! I am so impressed! I make desses from the slew of patterns I've aquired at garage sales/antique shops and I feel that some people think it's pretty lame to not only wear homemade cloths, but to have sewing as my hobby (I'm 25). I love seeing women my age who do the same and also think it's as cool as I do ;)

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  20. Love it...very suits you..

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  21. I love it ! And the yellow bag is cute.

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  22. this is stunning! what an amazing first dress. the fabric and styling is great, too.

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  23. simply beautiful, I have just stared sewing this year now I am obssed cannot wait to post what I have made so far. Love ur projects

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  24. Hi, i've just stubbled across your blog and love it already!

    I'm looking to buy a sewing machine, and wonder which one you would recommend for a comeplete beginner?

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    1. Thank you! You don't need to spend too much money starting out. I've got a Janome J3-18 which I find perfectly adequate - good, even - for pretty much everything I want to do. The Thrifty Stitcher has written a useful digest on sewing machines for beginners: http://thethriftystitcher.co.uk/sewing-basics-a-guide-to-buying-a-sewing-machine/. Good luck!

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  25. You are SO fabulous Tilly! Letting you know you have a big fan in New Zealand! Plus, love the cambridge satchel - I have the exact same one! Xxx

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