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Tag Archives: dressmaking patterns

Pretty pyjamas

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I mentioned on my last post how I had been inspired by The Great British Sewing Bee, to finally make my own clothes, like I had been wanting to do for ages. I wanted to start with an easy pattern and as Simplicity were having a half price sale, ended up buying Simplicity pattern 2116 for pyjama bottoms and two different tops. The tops needed a stretch fabric and the bottoms just a standard cotton, so I got a lovely flowery cotton poplin and a matching colour stretch cotton for the top.

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To start, I never realised how confusing pattern sizes would be. Maybe it is because I’m only a beginner, but I really had to think about what pattern size to cut out. I’m still not sure I got it right, but as they are pyjamas, it doesn’t matter! I also found the instructions a bit tricky and I’m glad I had picked up a bargain book about dress making that really helped with everything. If you are new to dress making like me, I would really recommend Dressmaking by Alison Smith for help on everything from fabric choice, pattern cutting and alterations to sizing and of course, sewing up. It also has patterns in the back with step-by-step instructions on how to make the garments! (I got mine for a lot less than is showing on amazon at a discount book shop) In the end, the bottoms were really easy to make. They are comfy and I can see myself making a lot more. They would also be a nice present for someone!

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There were two patterns for tops. One a regular t-shirt and the other a racer back sleeveless top. I only intended to make one, but after a mix up at the shop, had enough fabric to make both, so I did. The Racer back top was pretty simple, considering it was a stretch fabric, I thought it might be more problematic. I just switched the stich on my machine to a straight stretch stitch (try saying that 5 times fast!) as when I used a regular straight, the stiches broke when I stretched the fabric. All the hems on the tops are raw, which I expect if I wasn’t using a beginners pattern, would be a lot more work. The trouble with sizing in this top became apparent when I tried it on, the arm holes are quite gape-y, so I don’t know if I made a size too big or maybe I need to add some bust darts?

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The t-shirt was also pretty simple. The only slight tricky part was adding in the collar, and that also looks a bit wonky when I put it on, but never mind! Again the fit is strange, because according to the measurements of the pattern, this is 2 inches smaller than my actual size, but it still looks pretty big. I asked someone who knows about these things, and she said to measure the actual pattern pieces to find out which size to cut, rather than go off what to say. A helpful hint for the future! I feel like my first try went well, I didn’t expect them to be perfect, but as I can get  my arms and legs into the holes and they are in the correct places, I will say success! Anyone else just started dressmaking?

The Great British Sewing Bee!

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Source: bbc.co.uk/sewingbee

I am sew(!) excited about this new programme on BBC2 called The Great British Sewing Bee. It is a sewing competition where each week the contestants are given challenges to make or alter items of clothing. Episode 1 the challenges were to make an A line skirt using a pattern they were given, alter the neckline of a simple white top then finally make a ladies day dress to whatever design they liked.  The programme is made or created (or something like that!) by the people who make The Great British Bake Off which is one of my favourite programmes. You can see my attempt at making one of the cakes from the Bake Off here. The show also has little films about the history of sewing and tutorials on simple projects. It is the kind of show I like and reminds me of Projects Runway/Catwalk and The Next Great Artist. I really want to get into making cloths so I will be watching keenly over the next few weeks to pick up loads of tips! In fact I’m off to buy some dressmaking patterns now, I’ll post up my attempts when they’re done!

P.S. If you want to watch, The Great British Sewing Bee is on BBC2 every Wednesday at 8pm!