Tuesday 17 October 2017

A vintage moment to test my skills

When my daughter first announced she was getting married, my first thoughts were around offering to grow the flowers for the wedding.  My flower adventures can be followed on my gardening blog here.  As the weeks passed I started to think that I would have to consider at some point what I would want to wear.  There was no hurry so I put it to the back of my mind. As the weeks passed my sewing bug had well and truly kicked in and I started to ponder whether I could make my own dress to wear.  I was not sure I was good enough yet, but I had a look at some patterns and thought some more.

Then I found the pattern I liked, I do like a bit of vintage and I had enjoyed making the Beach Pyjamas from Til the Sun Goes Down, so I wandered back to their website to look at more patterns.
Firstly I found the perfect fabric, the perfect perfect fabric. I knew whatever I made it had to be in that fabric.  As I looked on the website further I saw that they made kits of some patterns, these kits provided you with the pattern, notions and fabric.  By buying them as a kit you pay a little less for the pattern.  There was the perfect kit with the perfect fabric and perfect pattern.  The only fly in the ointment was the unperfect me, was I capable enough to make it?
Well nothing ventured, nothing gained I decided I would give it a try.  If I failed then yes, I would have wasted some money (never a good thing) but I could go and buy something ready made if necessary.  The wedding was to be in October, so I decided to give myself plenty of time and bought the kit in August.  Much to my delight the kit arrived with a comforting hand written note, saying that they had also made this dress and that it should turn out well.  The comforting hand written note became my comfort blanket as I sewed.  I took it out and read it every and now and again as it made me feel it was possible.
The fabric was a beautiful crepe de chine.  I have never made anything out of this kind of flimsy fabric before, so even the cutting out gave me more anxiety than usual.  I always take great care on the cutting out as one false move can lead to disaster, but I went more slowly and checked more often this time.

I had a few days off work planned and so made my start.  The front bodice was, and this is a technical term, a pig to get right.  The pattern instructions told me that this was the most difficult part of the dress and also vital to get right.  I used an old sheet that I cut to the pattern first so I could practice and get it right.  This was an extremely wise move.  The  crepe de chine is very easy to damage with pins so I need to practice without ruining the dress before I had really got started.  It took me several hours to get the bodice right, but eventually I worked it out and after that the dress came together rather well.
Much to my great relief I decided it was good enough to be worn.

On the day I was very happy with it.  It felt a success.
After completing this dress I felt very chuffed with myself.  I felt I had gone through a rite of passage and could tackle even more.  I sloughed off my beginners mantle and stepped onto the threshold of the purple haze that is intermediate.  I am sure I heard a welcoming tinkle of bells as I did so.


  1. Alison, your dress is fantastic. I have been following your gardening blog for some time and just clicked through from your wedding flowers post. You were so brave to consider growing flowers for a mid October wedding but what a triumph. I’m sure they meant more to your daughter than any shop bought bouquet. A very proud moment for you.

  2. It's a fantastic dress and yes, I've heard about the welcoming intermediate bells before. Not that I'm ready to hear them yet, but perhaps one day?

    1. Well I might have heard them but I can’t say for sure they were for be :))


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