Thursday, 31 March 2011

A bit of dressmaking in the offing...

Many years ago, I used to make most of my own clothes.  But marriage and motherhood, combined with the closure of all the decent fabric shops I knew, knocked that out of me and I don't think I've made anything for myself since my wedding dress.

I have done odd bits of dressmaking since then - mostly bridesmaids outfits for  friend's weddings, nightdresses for Miss U-t-B and some of her friends, and a couple that I'd like to think are heirlooms of sorts, namely a christening robe (from the remnants of my wedding dress) and this...

Miss U-t-B's First Holy Communion dress, which was in the wardrobe that got dismantled to make way for shelves I put up the day before yesterday.  I loved making this!

 Cotton organdy oven cotton pique, with tiny daisy trim.

French seams and tiny button loops (yes!  I did turn those!) with pearly buttons down the back.

And a big bow at the back!
She did look lovely in it!

It has to be said that it turned out that cotton organdy is not very comfy to wear, and though it looks lovely when newly pressed and on a hanger, about one nano-second after putting it on, the dress comes to look like a piece of mad origami - not quite the look we had imagined!

Anyway, I digress...
As I was saying, dressmaking has not been a big part of my life these last twenty years or so.

But a fellow blogger's posts a few months back about her stylish creations got me inspired to have a go again.  Finally, on Sunday, I googled 'dressmaking patterns' and stumbled on Jaycotts, an online shop where you can peruse dressmaking patterns from Butterick, McCalls, Vogue, Simplicity, Burda and New Look, amongst other sewing paraphernalia.

The first thing in my virtual basket was this...

McCalls 5431
I thought of getting this pattern last summer, when some fabric I'd bought on ebay arrived looking perfect for a Boden-style skirt, but never got round to it!  I just need to find some fabric for the contrasting band and I'll be off on this one!

Then I noticed that all Simplicity patterns were 50% off!
So into the basket went this one...

Simplicity 2322
...and this one...

Simplicity 2696
And then, with the new babies in the family in mind...

Simplicity 2625

Simplicity 2392
All the images are from a brilliant website I have discovered - 
It allows you to read reviews and see photos of the items made by others from a given pattern.  Very useful and well-worth a visit if you fancy a bit of dressmaking but are uncertain about which pattern to choose.

The patterns arrived on Tuesday - good service that - so now I've been spending odd 

moments browsing online fabric shops such as 'Favourite Fabrics' on ebay (who I have 

bought from several times before) and Shaukat

 who have a vast and tempting range of Liberty 

fabrics at reduced prices (but who I haven't used before).

(Sorry - spacing's gone all peculiar!) 

Oh!  Decisions, decisions!

And thanks to the blogger who inspired me to get back in the dressmaking saddle, so to speak!  


  1. I'm glad you've got your creativity back - the little dress you made is just beautiful. I too was inspired by other people's blogs to get back to knitting and sewing. Looking forward to seeing what you make.

  2. Oh Alix, the holy communion dress is gorgeous and I love that piccy of your daughter - soooo pretty.

    Love the skirt you've chosen to make, can't wait to see the finished result.

    I'm in the middle of making a top (the first one I've ever tried to make) and am having a torrid time. I'll try not to give up though! It's my day off tomorrow, so I'll look at it again then. You're right about being inspired by fellow bloggers - they are such a creative and clever bunch!!

  3. the tunic patterns look nice, can't wait to see pics!
    Josie x

  4. I don't sew clothes for myself any more either. I haven't done in maybe 30 years and I did at one time make all of my own clothes. My mum used to own a fabric store so I would just pop in and help myself:) So, good for you. Let us see what you make.

  5. Your dressmaking skills are amazing! I would love to be able to sew clothes for myself, but it was something I tried at school and found myself hating. I think it was the way it was taught, the teacher managed to make it sooooooo tedious! I really look forward to seeing what you make. Em x

  6. Love your blog and this particular post caught my eye, lots of lovely information about sewing. Jaycotts looks worth a go thanks for posting. Have you made any of your outfits yet?
    You should post them on your blog if you have. Happy sewing

  7. I was just browsing through your site! What a lovely little spot! I think you did a wonderful job on the first communion dress. I have never sewn with cotton organdy but it sounds similar to silk organza which doesn't wrinkle as much. I am a big fan of Boden too and I love the patterns you bought.