The Maiden Post

‘She looked as if she had been poured into her clothes and had forgotten to say ‘when” – P.G. Wodehouse

Meet my thin twin. She and I are embarking on a voyage into the un-sewn…

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Santa was good to me last Christmas. He brought me a Brother DS120 and relived me of so much of my hard earned money that I had to look for a new way to feed my clothes obsession. In fact, inspired by a friend who made a very bold bet with her boyfriend, I have pledged to refrain from buying a single item of clothing for an entire year. No socks, shoes, knickers, bras.. NOTHING. Instead of which, I am to become a master seamstress…

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The last time I had a crack at sewing I was a 15 year old figure skater with a penchant for electric blue lycra and feather boas. Needless to say, the unfinished garment is now collecting dust under my childhood bed. Since then I have been stockpiling remnants of pretty fabric that I have come by over the years, with the vague intention of making some chintzy cushion covers or suchlike. Since acquiring a sewing machine and completing my first garment I have stepped up my ambitions somewhat.

I decided to just to barrel in; buy a pattern and start sewing. I headed for fabric land in Kingston, whose website promised I would not struggle to find materials suitable for the beginner… The first lesson I have learnt is that this hobby can get VERY expensive. As a beginner resist the temptation to buy all your kit and fabrics from places like John Lewis. It is much easier to deal with things going wrong when you’ve only spent £3 a metre (and as you will see, things will go horribly, inexplicably wrong). I purchased my thin twin – so called because we share the same proportions, she is just considerably skinnier all over – from ebay for the princely sum of £29.00. One feels infinitely more professional when in possession of a mannequin, even if one hasn’t a clue how to alter anything to fit it.The pattern I chose was the very easy vogue shift dress pictured below:
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Very Easy Vogue Pattern V8146

The fabric I chose was a cheap, dodgy (and itchy) grey tweed. I had to ask the wonderful lady in fabric land to help me pick out everything I would need as, at this point, the back of a pattern was entirely meaningless (more on commercial patterns later). I armed myself with Dressmaking by Alison Smith , hereafter referred to as “the Bible”. So I think I would rather take you through the individual techniques I have learnt in separate posts but here are a few photos of the work in progress.

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The top photo shows the finished article but doesn’t really give an impression of the fit. I’ll try to post a picture of me in the dress so you can see. It’s not perfect but it greatly exceeded my expectations in that it is wearable.

SO onto the next one. I hope this is the start of an amusing and informative account of my entry into the sewing realm. I welcome all comments and corrections but please be kind – I’m only a fledgling.

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