I’m the first to admit that I cycle through hobbies and interest fairly quickly. A couple years ago, four months of my life was completely devoted to embroidery. I thought of embroidery non-stop, and I organized my nights and weekends at home for optimal embroidery time. Then — suddenly — I didn’t want to do it anymore. I now I have two bags of half-finished embroidery projects I haven’t looked at in over a year.
Since then, I’ve been trying to ease into my hobbies a little slower. I still flitter between interests, but I try to find a balance between each, and I don’t let myself do all the work I usually want to do in a day. I’m hoping this will keep the momentum going and prevent burn out!
What’s my latest hobby? Making my own clothes. And I think this one is going to stick. Because not only does it include the the crafts I already love to do (embroidery, knitting, weaving), it let’s me use these skills in a more practical and efficient way.
A few weeks ago, I complained on Instagram about how hard it’s become to find clothes in my preferred style and fabrics. Am I totally out of style? It seems the stores I used to count on for interesting, well-made clothes can’t be depended on anymore. Basically all I want to wear are fit and flare dresses in opaque natural fibers. No sheer viscose that hangs off my body with no shape – that’s what I keep seeing in stores! A friend suggested I try my hand at sewing, and although I initially responded with a “No, I’m really not good at sewing!” I kept thinking about it. And then I started doing it!
Below, my first week sewing garments! I had a little bit of experience sewing before this, but I hadn’t touched my machine in years.
Garment #1 – Sorbetto Top
Pattern: Sorbetto by Colette Patterns (free!)
Fabric: Quilting cotton
New skills: Garment fitting, bust pleats, making bias tape, attaching bias tape
This is a cute tank top, and everything I read said it’s good for beginners! I printed it out, taped it together, and made a muslin in a size 4. I thought that size might be a little big and I may be closer to a size 2, but I figured it’s best to have excess fabric. As it turns out, though, the muslin was HUGE. I ended up altering the pattern quite a bit, as you’ll see in the photos below.
I took in around 16 inches from the body, and I also gave it a slight waist shaping. The boxy cut of the Sorbetto isn’t the best for my body, so I wanted to add in just a hint of a waist!
So I got started sewing. And I’m very glad I was doing the Sorbetto pattern because it really is written for beginners! I made two tops, both in inexpensive (and stiff) quilting cotton from a local craft store. They aren’t the greatest, but they’re wearable, and they helped me start to learn about garment fitting.
Not bad! The fabric is stiff, and the garments have some issues, but they’re wearable, and I learned some new skills! That’s really all I could ask out of a beginner project!
Garment #2 – Ultimate Shift
Dress Top with Ruffled Sleeves
Pattern: Ultimate Shift Dress (shortened to a blouse) by Sew Over It (free!)
Fabric: Linen, fairly heavy
New skills: Customizing patterns by mixing features, full bust adjustment (FBA), front and back facings, topstitching, ruffles
I LOVE this top! I love the pattern, and I love the fabric. I’m so happy with the way it turned out. It’s also totally opened my eyes to garment construction. Having a front and back facing makes it just look so clean! When I look at this, I’m honestly amazed that I made it myself! It’s totally a beginner project, but the results are wonderful.
After I made the muslin, I decided to take in the body just a couple inches around and to do a full bust adjustment. It bothers me a little that you can see the lines from the front facing (just above my bust), so I may trim it back some.
Garment #3 – Full Circle Skirt
Pattern: Full Circle Skirt by Sew Over It (£7.50)
Fabric: Cotton shirting fabric
New skills: Fusible interfacing, zipper installation, snap closure
Lovely skirt, and incredibly easy to make! The detailed work of the waistband and zipper was a bit tricky and will take some practice, but otherwise this is deceptively simple. I didn’t even make a muslin since it only has to fit in one spot – the waist. I’ll be making this a lot, although I’ll probably remove some of the body of the skirt (so that it’s ultimately not a full circle skirt).
Some behind the scenes shots… I have a super helpful assistant Bill. Very, very helpful. If ya need a cat to dive under your fabric or pattern while you’re carefully working on it, he’s your guy!
I ordered some nice fabric online – the stuff that’s actually made for garments! I’ll be playing with that this weekend. I have some cotton lawn, rayon, and chambray. My next project will be the Sew Over It Zoe Dress, which is described on their website this way:
The Zoe Dress sewing pattern is an advanced beginner level pattern. It’s ideal for anyone who has sewn a few garments before, such as the Full Circle Skirt and Ultimate Shift Dress, and would now like to learn to fit a pattern more closely to their body. Made up of panels, Zoe is the perfect pattern to get to grips with fitting. The princess seams and darts offer endless adjustment options, whether you have a teeny waist, rounded shoulders, a sway back or more. Because ideally you will be using an easy-to-sew, stable fabric, concentration can be fully focused on achieving a gorgeous fit.
Seems perfect for the next phase of my sewing!