Everyone has been busy on the farm getting ready to sell Christmas trees. There’s a long list of “things to sort out” before we open and all of it seems to need doing in the last two weeks of November, which makes life a little fraught some days.
To offset the Christmas tree mania, I’ve done a little sewing in the evenings. As a teenager I decided to make a dressing gown from an old candlewick bedspread. My mother told me it wouldn’t work as I had no dressmaker’s pattern and only a vague idea of my intended design. Well, it worked, even if it was a little bulky under the arms, so a few years later I bought Betty Foster’s Adapting to Fashion book convinced that I would design all my clothes. The idea of the book is that you take all your measurements to create a master pattern unique to your body shape and then piece the bits together, adapting as necessary, to make garment patterns. I made several skirts, tops and dresses that I was pleased with and wore (though in retrospect most things look fine when you’re young and confident so I’m not sure how good they really were).
I made several dresses for my daughters when they were younger but got out of the habit of making my own clothes. Dress fabric seems so expensive nowadays and gets harder to find and of course the days have passed when you wandered into a shop and selected a pattern from the book, which would then be handed over. I haven’t the patience to find a pattern, order it and go back to collect it. The moment will have passed.
I kept looking at the dresses Jane sews and intended to make something to wear for the summer, but of course we didn’t get much summery weather and what I needed was a raincoat not floaty summer dress. Then I read Elizabeth’s post about skirt making without a commercial pattern, remembered my “Master Pattern” and after a bit of searching around, pulled out the book. Thirty years and four children on, my measurements aren’t quite the same but, with a little adjustment, I drew out a pattern for a skirt and started cutting.
I copied Elizabeth’s idea for the hem and used a contrasting fabric for the facing. It’s a very simple skirt (and I put the darts slightly too far apart in the back) but it fits and I’m happy with it. It’s certainly very satisfying to make something to wear and I suspect I’ll make another one.
Do you sew?
Do you use commercial patterns?