I made a New Year’s resolution to sew a wardrobe for my baby. Instead, I’ve gone a bit sew obsessed, and have made just about everything apart from a baby wardrobe! I did make a pair of corduroy trousers, and also some bibs, but I’ve been distracted by other things.
I’ve been doing “sew with your baby” classes at Red Thread Studio, which are just brilliant. It’s two hours a week of protected sewing time, while your baby gets to play in the corner. Well, your baby is meant to play in the corner, but mine likes to “help” me, which can be interesting. The course is great for someone like me though, as I’m prone to rushing things in the interest of a quick result. Our tutor makes us slow down and do things like tacking and pinning and pressing, and I’m feeling that my skills have definitely improved. One particularly good thing about the course is that I’ve learnt how to sew with jersey, making t shirts and baby leggings.
The first class of the course was last year, and we started out with simple tote bags. I created one for my mum out of some old curtains from her house, in a vintage fabric with really cute mushrooms on it.
Then I made another one for my friend with lining and an applique hand-embroidered design, which was a little more complex.
The baby leggings were next. I made them using the pattern we were given first of all, but preferred a slightly more fitted style with a central crotch seam. Without another pattern to use, I drew round a pair of existing leggings and made a pattern to fit by trial and error. This resulted in four different pairs of leggings in various fabrics, mostly found at the Borders Scrapstore.
We also learned how to insert zips, so I used two fat quarters to create a little zipped pouch for my sewing stuff.
The next course started a few weeks ago, and we started making clothes for ourselves. First up were some pyjama trousers. I was a bit sceptical about making trousers, as I was worried about the fit and comfort. I couldn’t have been more pleasantly surprised, as these trousers are so comfortable that I didn’t want to take them off! They were sewn from some flowered cotton that I found in a second hand shop, and worked up really quickly.
Next, we started on a more complicated jersey project – a t-shirt to fit an adult. My first one was made in second hand jersey, and I followed the pattern exactly to make a fitted design with three quarter length sleeves. Having had three children and eating a moderate amount of cake, the fitted design wasn’t really for me. I also have a freakishly long body, so could have made it a bit longer. I found a metre of the most amazing unicorn fabric in Remnant Kings, so cut out another t-shirt with no shaping in the body and a bit of extra length.
In between classes, I decided to make a few things myself at home. First up was a Clemence skirt from Tilly and the Buttons. This is a super easy skirt which is made by measuring yourself and cutting pattern pieces to fit. It has French seams and a concealed zip, and can be made with pockets in the seams if you like. I made mine in some amazing swan print cotton from the John Lewis sale, and I’m super happy with it. It will be ideal for ceilidh dancing.
Next, I made a Lilou dress for a family party. This was supposed to have a pleated skirt, but I changed it to have a Clemence skirt attached to the bodice pieces instead. The fabric was from a duvet cover that I picked up in a charity shop, which had been waiting for the perfect project. I added some length to the bodice, but ended up with a lot of extra fabric in the back. Luckily, my tutor at Red Thread was able to give me some guidance about adding darts, and it’s now a super comfy and well fitting dress!
Of course my daughter wanted her own skirt once she’d seen mine, so I made her a Clemence skirt next. This was sewn from a remnant of cotton fabric with a Siamese cat print, using a Hobbycraft fat quarter to add a contrast waistband and applied patch pockets. She looks so lovely in it, and has added a dress to her wish list.
I’ve also been doing an evening class at Edinburgh College in fashion and textiles, and have been learning how to do lots more things properly. I had my first shot on an overlocker, which was highly exciting, and have been discovering how satisfying it is to do top stitching on calico in beautiful straight lines!
I now have a huge pile of fabric and patterns ready to be sewn, so although I might not have managed to make many baby clothes yet, I’ve definitely been productive! Sewing Bee comes back next week, so I don’t think this sewing bug is going to go away any time soon.