Sunday, 27 April 2014

All sewn up

It took a while; I've been threatening (but failing) to do it for ages, so I am delighted to reveal my new self-sewn dress.

  At last!

 The pattern... from 1978.

Which is probably the last time I made anything from a pattern.

We learned how to make a skirt at school, and I made a few, but never progressed to anything else. We also had to make an apron, which we then used in cookery lessons.

My Domestic Science teacher, Miss Griffiths, was terrifying, and frequently rolled her eyes at my poor efforts (although not as much as the even more alarming Miss Williams, the PE teacher.)

So here you go, Miss Griffiths - this piece of Sheet Chic is for you!

(Alas, Miss Williams' derision put me off sport for life, and not even 35 more years will rectify that.)

The proper sewists amongst you would probably pull a face similar to Miss G, circa 1977, if you took a closer look, but hey, it's a first attempt. I've never done facings or darts before, it took two attempts to put the zip in correctly, and I had to take the bodice in for a better fit.

I find the technicalities tricky, I am not neat or skilled, and I clearly have difficulties with curves and ease.

But I made myself go slowly, press as I went along, follow the instructions and not wing it, and leave it till the next day when I felt myself getting frustrated at my mistakes.

And I really did enjoy the process.

Dress - made it myself (I can't tell you how proud I am to be able to say that!)
Cardigan, bangles, flower and necklace - charity shopped
1960s shopper - vintage fair
Sandals - Ebay 

It's entirely possible that this dressmaking malarkey might become addictive; as soon as I had finished, I wanted to start another project. 

So I did.

1960s pattern - a gift from Vix.

Always so helpful.

We'll see how this one goes. 

Spring in outfit form, I think.

Nina and I popped to the local vintage market after her swimming lesson today; the bribe of a piece of cake helped maintain compliance.

I'm almost as skilled at parenting as I am at sewing.

 My only purchase was a 1970s maxi dress, £5. 
But I enjoyed browsing.

 Smug? You betcha!

Hope everyone has had a great weekend.



Anonymous said...

Oh wow, congratulations on the completed dress, very Spring-like too! Can't wait to see the next one now. Lovely bits and bobs at the vintage fair, and you only made one purchase? That's what I call restraint!

Suzanne Carillo Style Files said...

I am so jealous of your handmade dress! Looks brilliant. And I love how you've styled it with the cardigan and flower. Great job.

I haven't the patience to sew.

Can't wait to see the next one! You're on a roll : )


Asparagus Pea said...

Difficulty with curves and ease? You got curves and ease to spare girl! Nice job with the sewing x

Fiona said...

Top marks that girl!....that's one in the eye for Mrs Griffiths. My Domestic Science teacher was a cow too, Miss Wade, she had a dreadful moustache. Anyway I digress, the frock is a triumph so smugness is allowed. Love the next pattern and wonder if you have another sheet from which to make it? Is that Willow showing us her bum? What a tart. xxx
PS the baby shower was fucking boring.

beate grigutsch said...

dear curtise! this is the best, perfectest first dress i ever seen!!!!!!
you are a natural talent. and how you guided yourself thru the making - bravo!
(i used to make a living from making dresses for 25 years - so this are not hollow phrases)
and i love how you styled the pretty thing! fresh and elegant, the shoes and handbag are really cool - you look like a "bottega veneta" ad!

Mother of Reinvention said...

What a bloody brilliant dress. It looks great and you styled it beautifully. I love the fabric. Yay, for sheets! Here's to more sewing but beware, ti can take over your life :) xx

Bobbi said...

It looks great! You did an awesome job. I hope you make more dresses from that pattern - it's very flattering on you.
I'm too familiar with Helpful Cat Syndrome. I know they try to be useful but, well, you know.
It's time to search the interwebs for those patterns that must become part of my collection. (I don't have a problem. I can stop any time I want.)

Northern mum down South said...

Lovely piece of sheet chic - not easy to say out loud - you have every right to be smug.
There must be something with cats and sewing patterns, they can't help themselves but get involved. x

Emma Kate at Painted Style said...

Spanktacular! It's a gorgeous dress and you look great in it. You should feel very smug. xxxx

Miss Magpie said...

You didn't buy those cats???

Your dress is bloody fabulous I hope you are feeling suitably proud of yourself.

Ripple Dandelion said...

Oh, the places you'll go with this dressmaking malarkey! With your vision, sense of humor and deep-seated need to show those dreadful old teachers of yore, the sky's the limit. Your dress, quite honestly, is lovely and not the slightest bit squirrelly. You may just have the perfect proportions for using sewing patterns, and that's a very fine advantage indeed. Wonderful, wonderful job--I'm so impressed and happy for you!

Melanie said...

Awesome, Curtise!! I love that dress. And I love that cats helped. You are an explosion of sun and flowers. Of course I look forward to seeing more of creations.
A+ parenting skills as well.

Kezzie said...

Very impressed with your dress!!! I'm not surprised you're proud!!! I wish I could say I've done the same. I was always hopeless at sewing but I really want to be good at it (just not got around to doing anything about it!!) Well done!
(I'm also impressed by that cake with chocolate fingers on!) x

Frocktasia said...

You have every right to be smug, making a dress from scratch is totally smug-worthy in my opinion.
I'm no proper sewist either but I think your sheet chic creation looks mighty fine from where I am sitting.
Because I moved schools a few times, I had three different sewing teachers and they were pretty much uniformly unpleasant individuals to be around. I still remember how they would inspect your work, tut and shake their heads, unravel half an hours knitting or crocheting, or hand you a seam ripper and tell you to start again. I much preferred the wood work teachers, they didn't slam down on you injecting a little personal flair into the projects.
I have the identical twin of your new maxi dress. I love that frock, the print is amazing but it is the fluttery sleeves that really makes it magic. Can wait to see you rock it :)

Laurie Duncan said...

Love how your dress turned out! Can't wait to see the next one! :)

Sue @ A Colourful Canvas said...

Well done Curtise! Your dress is fabulous and, in true Curtise style, you've accessorized it beautifully! I guess one of the gifts of growing older is understanding that sometimes slower is better. That and knowing when it's time for a break...used to be I'd know it was time for a break after I'd sewn in a sleeve backwards. I'm looking forward to your next looks as though you've got some seriously handsome helpers...never fails...fabric + pattern tissue = cat!

Annie said...

I'm just trying to catch up with my blog reading at the moment, and have been looking back at your fab posts. I've really enjoyed all your 'out and about' adventures, and as ever, I love your wonderful garden.

You should be very proud to have made such a gorgeous dress. I must say, between you and Vix, I'm quite tempted to have a go at something myself. I shall have to lie down in a darkened room with a wet flannel on my forehead and wait for the urge to pass :)

Annie xxx

Angels have Red Hair said...

I LOVE it ... and the colours are perfect on you. I sense the beginning of a brand new hobby. Fun times ahead :0)

Sue said...

Well done, pat yourself on the back honey you did good!!!! But a size 16 pattern, no wonder you had to take it in! I love your helpful cat, Oscar likes to help when I am cutting things out on the floor. Looking forward to your next sewing project. I had an old biatch sewing teacher at school, so I am truely surprised that I still sew occasionally. I ain't that fussy on the inside and do tend to make stuff up as I go along, but if it fits I wear it!!

Helga! said...

Smug?! You have every right to be!!! I bloody LOVE your frock, and would never have guessed you haven't sewn since 1978!!! It IS so satisfying to be able to say you made it yourself!!! I've been doing it so long I forget that sewing is actually quite difficult at first. I look forward to many more Curtise Brand frocks!
Hurrah for bribery! It's only fair. Those who love us have to suffer our addictions, so it's quite polite to sweeten the deal for them!
Loving YOU!

PinkCheetahVintage said...

Great job on the dress!! I, too, bribe with cake!!

Ladan Ladanu said...

I love that fabric, it looks fantastic. I have sewn a bit but decided to take classes and I was amazed at how much I learned. I recommend it as it really is quite an addictive thing when you get going.

Patti said...

Congrats and brava to you! Your dress is simply charming. My cats always want to "help" with my projects too, my little assistants. Keep it going, C., you have what it takes! xox

Sheila said...

Count me among the impressed! Amazingly lovely sheet dress - you're so talented!

Goody said...

That is a really beautiful dress, I would have thought you sewed regularly from the look of it. Everything looks even!

Animals-what is it about them taking over a piece of fabric laid out on the floor? We had a dog that took fabric as an invitation to come over and play.

It really doesn't look like a sheet, though I guess you now have the perfect excuse to fall asleep in your clothes.

Shawna McComber said...

It's fantastic and looks so pretty on you! It's nice to see your legs and my goodness you have lovely arms. I am very envious as I have lost a lot of muscle tone with my relapse.

I hate sewing but I would love to have that level of control over my clothes. Interfacing and darts and zippers-oh it sounds perfectly horrid. Good for you! You have every right to be pleased with it, and I look forward to seeing more dresses that you make in future.

I also want to say that I love your photo montages. You have a fantastic eye for those!

Kylie said...

OMG Curtise, great minds and all that! I have just finished sewing my first ever dress too! It is a reissue of a 60's shift (Simplicity 3833) and although I should've made it a size smaller (and will next time. Yes, there's going to be a next time. Ha!) it has turned out (surprisingly) well. I have the same sense of pride and accomplishment (and amazement) as you. Stay tuned for pics. You've done a lovely job Curtise. Big claps to both of us x

Kylie said...

p.s I have a new version of that jiffy dress pattern Vix gave you. So good there still producing it!

two squirrels said...

Oh Curtise that is bloody fantastic!!!!!!! You are brilliant.......well done. I have been just to scared to give it I think you are amazing.
You look just the happy yellow for spring.
Oh my gosh I so want the two blue picnic sets!!!!!
Sending a big old hug and happiness.
Love v
Sorry for my lack of comments.....I have been are always such an inspiration.

Olga Rani said...

I can imagine how proud you are with the dress! It turned out just wonderful, fits you perfectly and looks amazing! Especially in the company of the orange cardigan, so summery!

Caroline said...

That's fab! Huzzah for homemade.

Bribery is the best form of parenting. FACT.

Vix said...

You've done an absolutely bosting job! that dress is gorgeous, a great fit and the fabric and print are beautiful - well done. here's to many, many more (with feline assistance, obviously!)
A bit of bribery never hurt anyone. Nina looks more than happy to tag along if cakes involved. look at the look of ecstasy on her little face!
Less than an effing week...eeek! xxxxxx

señora Allnut said...

dear lady, you rock sewing!, you've even attached a zip properly!!, that's more than I'm able to do!, and your dress looks pretty like sunshine, love its orange and yellow print, so summery. And you look gorgeous, obviously!
I'm also involved with some sewing projects, but I'm going to have a professional seamstress help!
besos & flores

Jane and Lance Hattatt said...

Hello Curtise,

Goodness! This is an amazing achievement. We cannot even thread a needle between the two of us, so this seems like a conquest greater than reaching the summit of Everest!

The dress looks wonderful on you. A great fit, flattering style and fun fabric. What is not to like? And, you have dressed it up with some great accessories. The bangles are particularly attractive and really do add a stylish touch. Fabulous!

Liesl said...

Love the dress, I have a pattern for a summer dress for my little girl that I keep looking at and putting down, have bought the fabric (she chose it of course)maybe I should just take the plunge.

Winter Moon said...

You've done a great job, it's so pretty and the colours really suit you.

Lovely, helpful kitties :)

I have lots of vintage patterns I haven't used in quite a while. I shall have to dig them out, or my poor sewing machine will pack its bags and leave!

Have a lovely day xx

Trees said...

YUS!! It looks amazing :D I'm so happy for you!! I can't wait to see more creations, don't get to hung up on things like darts being perfect - whatever you make will still be better made than anything on the high street ;) Was it a rule that all sewing teachers had to be horrible humans? I had two in my life and both terrified me! I finished taking sewing class as soon as I could (second year of high school)- I wonder how skilled I would be now if I had actually had a decent teacher.

Pull Your Socks Up! said...

Take THAT Miss Griffiths!! What a gorgeous frock Curtise, you're filling it out in all the right places - you look like dynamite woman!!! I absolutely love it, especially with the red cardi and your beaut flower brooch. I'm so very proud of you too!! I love the look of your next project, a two-piece dress pattern. Genius!! I'm not only happy to see your finished beauty, but glad to hear that you took your time and enjoyed the sewing process without someone peering over your shoulder critically - cats and kids don't count. Look at your cheeky puss! xoxoxoxoxox

Jane M said...

Took me many decades to get over similar a critical home ec teacher but now fashion sewing is a wonderful hobby. You took the right approach and have a spectacular result. Bravo!

Catherine McCourt said...

Your dress looks amazing! I'm fine at altering vintage clothing I've bought but I've never given making one myself a go. If I ever find some nice enough fabric I probably should do. Good job!

Catherine, xo.

Vintage Bird Girl said...

Oh well done Curtise! I'm so proud of you!!! The dress looks fab, I love the style & cut on you. And that bag is so cool too. I hope one day I can say the same, that I made my own dress from head to toe. I am quite enjoying buying things that I feel I can alter to fit. That doesn't feel as daunting somehow. Xx

Kelly Roy said...

Congratulations Curtice! Isn't the moment a dress is finished glorious? Sometimes we mess it up with our perfectionism but it's a very special moment and then we want more and make another one...and that's how we become addictive to sewing.I'm off to start a new project.You even took a minimalist way to style it so your dress will shine!

Forest City Fashionista said...

You have every reason to look smug - nice job on the dress! I haven't tried to sew anything since I made curtains for my old apartment about 20 years ago. I didn't have much patience then, and have even less now ;) I'm sure once you get into it and you do a facing or a dart the second time it gets easier.

I would get very distracted by the furry cat belly!

Kelly Jackson said...

You did a brilliant job, Curtise, and your new summery frock looks smashing on you. I'm in awe of any one who can create clothing. My sewing abilities stop at re-attaching buttons. I like the idea of a "jiffy" dress, though for those lacking in the sewing arts, I bet the dress isn't made in a jif! The market frock looks lovely too. I like the bold colours. Xoxo

Natalia Lialina said...

You have my endless admiration, my beautiful beautiful friend!! What a lovely dress, and what a success (in both sewing and parenting)! I did not touch a sewing machine for many many years. Everything sounds really tricky to me these days, though I used to be a pretty good dress maker. Your dress looks completely wonderful on you, you did a fantastic job, and I love how you styled it with the cardi and the flower and those cute shoes. And I just looooove seeing you happy with yourself! :) Can't wait to see your other creations.

Love you

freckleface said...

Ms Monk, you've nailed it! Look what an amazing job you've done. Forget sewist, you're a bona fide seamstress! Welcome to the fold. You have also discovered our dirty secret - it is SO addictive. Opens up a whole world of possibilities. I finished a garment this morning, wore it this afternoon. Already thinking, what next? Look at littlest and her cake, bless her heart. Haha! Your pusscat is having the best time! Xxxxx

peaches mcginty said...

What was with sewing teachers and skirts! I think I grew out of mine before I ever finished it - smug? you betcha! it's a flipping amazing dress, and gorgeous too. I can't wait to see your next dress and I do think cats are helping de-stress with an extra cute tummy show - I'm hoping to get another sewing machine this year, I'd love to be able to make a dress (and learn what a facing is while I'm at it haha) x x x

The Small Fabric Of My Life said...

So clever - yellow is Spring.

Caroline Mason said...

wait, you MADE this? That's incredible. I wish I had those talents.

I'd love it if you could also check out my blog! xx

silvergirl said...

kudos to you
always impressed when people have sewing skills
great fabric as well

Anonymous said...

Great job ! It does not look like a first sewing projekt an I love the fabric :-)

Indigo Violet said...

You're rocking that dress and there'll be no stopping you because sewing is addictive. It's a great style because of the flared skirt. (Is that what they call a fit-and-flare?) And collecting vintage sheets and fabric is addictive too so there's no hope for you now.

Carina Rosenholm said...

Wow ! great work ! Looks great and you should be smug !

The Style Crone said...

I'm very impressed with your chic spring frock. Love the silhouette, the fit and the floral pattern. Looking forward to seeing more of your creations! This could be the start of something big!

Krista Gassib said...

I'd be telling everyone everywhere yeah I made this, what? It's so prim and proper and perfectly spring. The shape is so flattering. I have given up on sewing before even trying but then again I have Cristi:).
Love you bunches!

thorne garnet said...

Yeah for the sewing project! The dress fits you really well and the hems straight. Three cheers!!

Daisy Jones said...

woooo hooooo another addicted convert to sewing well done to you, looks very neat and fabulous from where I am sitting (promise not to inspect the inside!!)
can't wait to see what you sew next...loving your choice of patterns.
bestest daisy j xxx

Jean at said...

What a gorgeous dress!!! It's a real one, with darts and a zipper and everything!! I love the fabric and the way you styled it. I also love the pattern for the new project! Can't wait to see it.

Your parenting skills are absolutely intact. Offering cake is an excellent technique for motivating children (and others). It looks utterly delicious. In an effort to fit into last summer's clothes, I haven't had any sweets for a month. I'm dying over here, but at least I can finally button my shirts and zip up my trousers.

Love you in yellow!!!! XXXXXXOOOOO

Sacramento Amate said...

How brave of you and such a wonderful result, ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh
Loveeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee the dress and how well it fits.
I couldn´t dare to make anything from scratch I would be terrifies, ahhhhhhhhhhhh
Love all the fun pics.
Love and sunshine ALWAYS, dear Curtise.

Val S said...

Excellent outcome there! That's a pretty pattern for a dress - I love the skirt.

Lesley Extance said...

Clever you ! you look wonderful in it Curtise, Best wishes xxx.

Vicky Hayes said...

LOVE it you clever mrs! Vicky x

Jane said...

AWESOME! You look beautiful in your frock! :)