Sewing Again

I used to sew a lot. I made most of my own clothes for years, and usually had good results. There were always a few miscalculations or bad choices, but most things turned out well. I hate shopping for clothes, so sewing them made me much happier.

Then I stopped being a size 8, and the fitting problems began. Armscyes didn’t fit, sleeves were too long, too short, too narrow, the ease was in the wrong place, the darts were in the wrong places, etc. etc. etc. Sewing became discouraging, even though I have a judy. Sometimes I didn’t even know where to begin to fix a pattern and make it right. I love fabric and I love sewing, but you can’t unravel a sewn garment and try again the way you can unwind a knitted one and have another go. I ended up knitting more, but I still bought fabric and patterns.

So, a few weeks ago, I decided it was dumb to have all this sewing stuff and not sew. Either I would begin to sew again, or I’d (shudder) get rid of it all and reclaim the space. (We won’t even talk about the sewing machines. I think there are eight of them, but I might have forgotten one. Or two.)

Naturally, this meant a road trip to a favorite store – yarn and fabric – to buy some fabric. My first project isn’t a success yet, but it’s getting there. It’s a shirtdress in a charcoal and white striped cotton that I love, with contrast in a Liberty of London floral print in purple and black.

BlueBlackThe pattern has been a challenge, to say the least – confusing directions for the front band, a really odd back pleat that made a puff in the middle of the back, plus the back cut in a T shape so that it also puffed under the butt when seamed to the straight front. Now the front band is done (although I still think it’s bulky), the odd monster pleat has been banished and replaced by pintucks, and the back is cut straight – which also got rid of some of the bulk in that monster pleat. I have to sew on the collar – which also looks strangely wide – and have cut sleeves for it, too. BUT progress is made and I do like it better now. It’ll never be the flared dress I anticipated from the pattern drawing – it’ll be straight, but that’s better than puffy.

I also went through some of my stash, and found several things already cut out, including a dress of this cotton print with an embroidered border. I’m excited about sewing this one!


I also (ahem) bought a new piece of woven rayon in a summery print, and cut out a dress last night. I’m excited about this one, too – the print looks like summer to me:


There are several people I talk to about sewing. One is Melanie, a local librarian who either knows the answers to everything or where to find them. I complained to her that there wasn’t a site for sewers like Ravelry – of course, she sent me a list of links. Here are a few of them, if you’re looking for some fellow sewers out in the world, or some comments on patterns before you cut.

Pattern Review – I joined this as DCDsews. Interestingly, no one has found issues with the pattern I’m currently wrestling, but I did make a correction to the pattern with for the embroidered cotton that will address an issue peeps have found with that one. (Ha.)

Melanie told me of three more, which I have yet to check out.


The Fold Line


I also visited a craft store yesterday, to get supplies for yet another creative venture. Yes, there is polymer clay in the house, in 24 colours… More on that project as it develops.

Do you make anything? Tell me what and how – and what online resources you use.

4 thoughts on “Sewing Again

  1. Dear Deborah, I enjoy reading your books and I love your blog. I don’t knit or sew but it’s fun to see the things you are working on and read about how you solve the problems you run into. Little stories in themselves. Now I’m waiting to know how these dresses turn out.


  2. I’ve been crafting for as long as I can remember. My favorites through the years have been cross stitch, crochet, and now quilting (since 2012). If you get too frustrated with your garment-making, you might want to try some quilting – no sleeves, collars, waistbands, etc. And we try not to have any pleats!
    I recently saw a cool project with polymer clay – faux marble bowls. Now I have to think about whether I have any clay in my craft area….


    • LOL Annie – I have quilted as well. That’s yet another fabric stash. I have several tops that need quilting (I prefer to hand quilt them, which means they don’t get done quickly) and one that’s in the midst of being pieced. I’ll show them to you one of these Fibre Fridays.


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