This week I had an attempt at another one of my creative goals set back in January.
For years I’ve had a mixed relationship with a needle and thread. People think that just because I can crochet that I am also an expert at darning socks (literally no idea about that one) and hemming things (a little more experience there as I’m only 5’1”). The reality is that I am a bit hit and miss with sewing. I am not good with the fiddly things and my precision leaves a lot to be desired!
I have vague memories of doing a term of textile classes back when I was in school and I think I enjoyed it. Whilst I had no idea what I was doing, there were a few useful bits which stuck in my brain, mostly to gather dust.
Several years ago I bought myself a mini sewing machine with great intentions to customise clothes, make curtains and all sorts of ambitious projects… I made a couple of wobbly cushions with some amazing Alice in Wonderland fabric I found at a vintage fair and that has been about the extent of it.
So when I was at the Knitting and Stitching Show in London last month, I purchased a sewing pattern for the Cleo Dress from Tilly and the Buttons. I follow a lot of talented sewists on instagram and was assured that this would be suitable for beginners. Plus I love a dungaree dress!
It was my intention to take the entire bank holiday weekend off to work on this and other personal projects but inevitably life look over and I was left just with the Bank Holiday Monday to work on the dress. Well, I was a girl on a mission!
Rather than write too much about how I got on, I thought I would show your my little picture story!
I gave the dress a wash this morning and I’m a little scared I won’t get back into it but I had a fun, challenging and exhausting day AND I got something to show at the end (and have teenage nieces who would get into it if it has shrunk).
But what did I learn?
Here’s a summary:
- I am hopeless with scissors (left handed problems!)
- I am impatient with fiddliness or precision accuracy
- I remember why I don’t go near irons very often
- Dressmaking is physically kinda hard on the back and eyes
- Interfacing is tough to get right
- I should have pre-washed the fabric
- I am not a natural
So this week’s takeaway. (It’s like the moral of the story at the end of the cartoon). When you have no idea what you’re doing and you are given instructions, read them and appreciate the wisdom of the write. You can try winging it (like I did in places) but there’s probably a reason they are telling you to do it a certain way. Life is full of enough challenges where there are no instructions so when you get given them, take advantage. Winging it may lead to an amazing discovery, but it also may be a dead end that sends you back to the start.
I’m all for breaking the rules, but it helps to understand why they are there first!
When can I try again?