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A Handmade Wardrobe…one in and one out…

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Inspiration, Sewing

A Handmade Wardrobe…one in and one out…

In the midst of floundering for a new art medium when pottery was no longer something I could physically do, I found a pirated version of The Great British Sewing Bee (GBSB) on Youtube while the family was on vacation in Florida. It was 2015. I totally binge watched the first two seasons on my iPhone in our hotel room, and I don’t really watch TV. If you haven’t seen it, it is like the Great British Bake Off for sewing clothes. Folks that were not professionals, but who love to sew were given challenges and competed to “stay” each week. The spirit of the show, even though it was a reality show, was what you would expect of the sewing community, supportive, encouraging, etc. Not like American reality shows at all.

Needless to say, I was totally hooked. I made a “plan” or verbalized a dream of sewing my entire wardrobe in one year. (If you know me well, it is okay to totally laugh out load here.) Jason, my husband, ordered me the pattern book from season two of GBSB as a gift and I got to work. That led to Craftsy classes on couture sewing and designer jeans making and more! I loved it. I made a lot of items, that I honestly was proud of, but truthfully a bit embarrassed to say that I had made myself. I wasn’t sure how they would be received by the world, and I wasn’t sure, after just being diagnosed with a neurological disorder and being stripped of my tough girl identity, if I could handle wearing them in public. These are images of some of my first makes. That green coat has bound button holes, yo! GBSB pattern! The red dress was my first attempt at satin. I couldn’t sit down in it…bahaha! (I also got better at photography over time too…)

So, like any good ADHD chap, I moved on to quilting, with which I also found myself obsessed. It was easier than making something, feeling proud and embarrassed of it all at the same time. I love the challenge of trying new things and designing it seems, and learning new types of sewing was/is fun for me. In all the frenzy of quilting and designing patterns, I lost sight, mostly, of fashion sewing.

Lately though, as I look into my closet and think, ugh, I need some new clothes, I have had absolutely NO desire to “shop.” I just finished a big pattern publication with Make Modern Magazine, so I decided to do something for myself! I would sew some clothes again. I started shopping for fabric. First let me say, that when I started sewing in 2015, there was a local Hancocks. That was the only place I “knew” of to get fashion fabrics. They went out of business, and I met new quilty friends who introduced me to high quality quilting fabrics. ooolala! This time, for fashion fabric shopping, I decided the same must be true, so I started looking on line. I love Hawthorne Supply Co. I love Art Gallery Fabrics. I had felt and seen some of their Rayons in a store, so I ordered three prints of rayon to make three dresses. I also ordered some white solid to make a Confirmation Dress for my 14 year old. I also decided I wanted to make some new jeans, so I found Mood Fabrics and ordered some Raulph Lauren denim. I will save that for another post.

The fabric arrived and I got to work. I had made the Kaylee Dress from Sew Serendipity before, but out of quilting cotton. It was stiff and it choked me a bit. So I determined, after getting my guts up from listening to the Love to Sew Podcast, that I could in fact, hack that pattern!

I lowered the neck a bit on the front yoke. I also added two inches to the skirt because, even in the dress I felt like my hinny was touching the chair when I sat down. I wanted a little more back there! I was pleasantly surprised that all the fit classes I had taken on Craftsy in 2015 were coming back to me. I knew to use my French curve rulers and where to slash and spread! I was in total heaven making this dress!

I always trace a second side of any pattern piece that is cut on the fold to make one large piece. Now, don’t gasp. This is slippy fabric, and I know you are suppose to lay it flat, use weights and a rotary cutter and go around the pattern pieces. I did that, I just layered all three print fabrics. I also thought myself pretty bada$$ to cut out three dresses at once! Honestly though, it actually worked really well. The weight of the fabrics kept them in place better than I think just one would have done.

Once they were cut I realized I could actually get three of the same pattern in the shirt length from the remaining fabric. I want to be more sustainable with my sewing, so I went for it. I also realized that the fabric needed to be lined or I was going to need to make a slip. My husband, who is the pastor of the church, agreed that our daughter could wear flowers to Confirmation, so I cut up that white piece of fabric for the lining. She and I can now wear the same size dresses for the most part. So we can share all three dresses and all three shirts!

I chain pieced, for the most part, all the garments. I used my serger to finish all the inside seams. I probably should have done a rolled hem on the first couple, and plan to try that on the last couple, but I am seriously happy with these makes. I also don’t feel embarrassed to say that I made them. Guess a couple of years of growing is important. I can’t believe how soft the fabric is to the touch. It has a beautiful drape and is honestly, in my mind, what makes this dress. The other nice thing about this dress, is it is flattering without a lot of fitting.

 

Past Sewing Photo Gallery:

Mitzie Schafer

About Author

Mitzie Schafer is a hyper-active, never idle, joyful realist living with Tarlov Cyst Disorder in Prosperity, SC. She is the owner of Jittery Wings - designer, maker and teacher.

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