3 April 2013

Scalloped Neckline Dress

Arrrgghhh... watching myself on telly last night was weird, y'all! Cringe! It brought back all the trauma of sewing under such stressful conditions. Did you catch the bit when I said, "You forget the complete basics under so much pressure... like which way to stitch" - that's exactly what it was like! Your lovely tweets, comments and emails of support really made it more bearable to watch - I truly appreciate how thoughtful you are :)

The twittersphere last night was rather shocked at how harsh the judges were. IRL they were actually rather complimentary too, but that doesn't make such nail biting telly viewing, does it? I really hope that viewers won't let the tough feedback put them off from giving sewing a go. This is such a great opportunity to spread the sewing bug to the masses, so with potential stitching converts in mind, I just wanted to get on my soapbox and say a little something... [clears throat]

Learning to sew my own clothing has brought so much happiness to my life. Sewing has:
- Allowed me to create my own dream wardrobe, exactly as I imagine it in my head;
- Reconnected me with my creative side, allowed me to flex a different side of my brain from the one I use at work, and indulge in a sense of childlike experimentation and play;
- Helped me feel more empowered as a maker and less reliant on other people, experts, factories or shops to make, sell or fix stuff for me;
- Shifted my relationship to consumption, removing my previous compulsion to shop, to acquire things, and helping me to lead a more ethically and environmentally responsible life;
- Encouraged me to appreciate the aesthetics of everyday things, the beauty of the lines on the coat of someone walking in front of me, the folds of the dress on the person sitting opposite me on the tube;
- Made me feel part of a global community of awesome like-minded people who don't just buy stuff - we make stuff.

And you can make stuff too! Go on. Sign up to a sewing class. Read my free Learn to Sew posts. Buy or borrow a sewing machine. Try a super easy sewing project, such as my Miette skirt. Subscribe to some sewing blogs or start your own. Experiment. Have fun! In real life there isn't a Savile Row tailor standing there waiting to scrutinise your seams, so who cares if it's not perfect? It probably looks much better than something you'd get on the high street. It really isn't that difficult to start making clothing that you will love to wear.

Speech over, back to the show.

With eight contestants making three projects each, there wasn't much time to linger over the projects. I thought you might like to see my dress... well, okay, it's not the actual dress, it's a practice one I whipped up in about five minutes the day before the show -  hence the wonky button tabs! - before deciding to redraft it to the flared version you see on screen (which I didn't have time to practise). The real dress was made in beautiful red silk matka, the bodice lined with a scissor-print cotton. While the dress fits me well, on the show I didn't have time to do a full bust adjustment on my gorgeous and curvalicious model, just frantic redrawing of darts, hence the... err... embarrassing baggy nipples! Urgh, those boobs still bring me out in a cold sweat... Shame Patrick isn't a fan of the scallop (who doesn't like a scallop?) as they were the pièce de résistance!

Finally I just want to give a shout out to my fellow contestants, who I love to bits. Their work was seriously impressive, even if you only caught a fleeting glimpse of most of it. This is what I saw from my sewing table:
- Ann was sitting there calmly making tailors tacks. With a ticking clock. That's yoga for you.
- Sandra stitched about 20 buttonholes!!! Seriously. Her dress was amazing.
- Stuart was criticised for the balance being off - err... try getting that right on a model you've just met in 7 hours while talking to a camera crew at the same time! He did a fantastic job, his dress was just lovely.
- Jane's car print skirt was awesome. I want one. How cool did she look driving in that head scarf?!
- Lauren's gave a shout out to indie designers with her super cute Macaron dress. Gorgeous.
- Michelle is an amazing stitcher who took a risk working with silk. In my view, life's too short not to take risks. Love Michelle. Still shocked she was picked to leave first.
- Mark had only sewn about three zippers in his life as his specialism is C18 clothing. This was his fourth zipper. He did such an incredible job on that dress!

Right, that's enough gushing. Stay tuned for next week's show. Again I have no idea what's in the edit and what's lying on the cutting room floor, but from my memories of filming, it's gonna be a corker! Until then...

"Yes Patrick, but as handsome as you are, please can you go away so I can get on with this?" [Not actual quote]

Tilly pops a cake into her mouth hoping no one is looking. Oh the shame!! (Yes, I took a photo of my telly.)