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Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Guilt...and Gratification

I knew it was going to be difficult for me to stick to a resolution not to buy any more fabric when I headed, with LDC member Joy, for the Stitching, Sewing & Hobbycrafts show at Excel on 7 April.  It only took us 45 minutes to get there, 45 minutes of non-stop sewing chatter.  In fact, we were so busy talking that we went straight past the entrance to the show and had to turn round and retrace our steps.
Once inside we headed to book some of the free workshops available.  We both signed up for one on ribbon embroidery techniques and Joy also bagged a place on one just about to start and headed off to take her seat in the workshop area.  That left me with about 40 minutes before the start of a talk by Wendy Dolan on the techniques that she uses for her textile art, techniques that I thought might be useful for dress making embellishment. Should you have the chance to hear Wendy talk and show how she creates her work then take it.  She showed some wonderful examples and the lace she created for a wedding gown, using only sewing machine stitching, is just amazing.
Those 40 minutes led me into temptation and by the time I met up with Joy, who had spent the time being very creative in her workshop, I had 2 metres of jersey knit in my bag purchased from the stall of Lili Fabrics .  I had not been able to resist  the dark blue, grey and tan colour way,  as I knew it would go with many items in my wardrobe but I still felt Guilty for breaking the resolution yet again.  The plan was to make a simple knit dress using a pattern that was in the May 2016 issue of Prima magazine.  It had to be something simple because I have had two frustrating makes in the past few weeks, one being a disastrous pair of trousers and the other a dress, which turned out well but caused a number of headaches in the making.  I needed some easy sewing Gratification to restore my confidence.
The yardage requirements for the pattern were stated to be 1.80 metres but the length was just under 20 cm shorter than I wanted so I bought 2 metres.  I should have remembered that in the past I had found that Prima overcalculated the amount I would need and so it proved.  I decided to make a skirt and top instead, giving me the chance to wear them together or separately.
The top was taken from a pattern that I bought in the 1970's  and had made previously.  In fact I still wear the top, now even more fashionable than when I first made it as it is in a quilted knit.  It is worn by the middle figure on the pattern envelope - and check out the flare on those trousers!
The skirt was View D from New Look 6164, bought a couple of years ago in a closing down sale of a Brixton fabric store.  It has an elasticated waist and a centre back seam with a slit for ease of movement.
I made only two adjustments to the skirt pattern , the first was to lengthen it and the second was my usual one for flat buttocks by pinching out an amount from the centre back seam accross the pattern along the hip line, graduating  the amount of the reduction to nothing at the side seam.  I do it by slashing the pattern across the hipline and pivoting it the required amount, then taping it in position.  If I don't do this my skirt side seam will swing forward because I do not have enough derriere to support the shape at the back.
Fortunately for me and my sewing sanity, all went smoothly, the only hiccup being that I cut the top sleeves separately and was just about to cut the second one when, in the nick of time, I realised I had failed to reverse the fabric and was about to cut another left sleeve.
I am pleased with the result.  I am not a fan of elasticated waists but it certainly gives a quick and easy result and is easily disguised with a belt or by a top worn over it plus no worries about overeating as the skirt waistline expands with you.  My only niggle is that the centre back slit seems rather high for modesty but it does mean that I shall have no worries about there being enough leg room for bicycling.
So here it is, top and skirt worn together.
 And taking a leaf out of the book of member Pia, who writes this inspiring blog , I have attempted to coerce my partner into taking some other photos to show the two items worn in other ways.  First the casual jeans mode-

 and next the efficient secretary at work mode-
I wore the top and skirt on 12 April to the Monthly LDC meetup at Ev's, where almost everybody was wearing great examples of their makes- jackets, skirts, blouses and dresses. I can see that I will wear these two pieces a lot as it doesn't crease and can be dressed up or down.  I don't feel quite so guilty now and got so much gratification that I am likely to make these again soon using some knit fabric from my stash to take part in the sewalong starting on 22 April, details here , thus allowing me to feel very virtuous.

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