The Vintage Shirtdress … at last

Hello sewing chums,

I normally try to post each weekend with an occasional mid-week post but the combination of end of term madness and Wimbledon has meant that I have fallen behind with my self-imposed schedule … now I get why the more sophisticated bloggers schedule posts.  Still, I have been active on Instagram and am very pleased with just how frequently I am wearing my own makes these days. Anyway, the only reason I am bothering to give you this little explanation is just in case you were following my progress at the Sew Over It studio to make my Vintage Shirt Dress; I blogged Week One, then Week Two – were you having restless nights worrying about what happened on Week Three? Well fret no more – it’s finished!

image

I have to admit the final workshop was not a happy experience for me.  Following the problems of the previous week I had done a lot of work at home to get back on track and arrived at the class with only the neckline facing, buttonholes and hemming to go. The first task we all had to do was choose fabric for our next shirtdress. Lisa had kindly arranged for each of us to have a new pattern and fabric so that we could make another shirtdress (if you read about week two you’ll understand this).  I picked a floral in deep, rich colours which I thought would make a great layering shirtdress in the cooler months (what is the matter with me thinking about autumn at the start of the summer holidays?) but yesterday when I was wearing my Gabriola and thinking about how much I enjoy wearing a maxi, I suddenly realised what a great maxi it would make.

image

Anyway, back to class. The neck facing went on swiftly and I began to get excited thinking I might actually be able to wear it to see  The Importance of Being Earnest later that week (a theatre trip with colleagues to see farewell to a lovely lady who had been at our school for 29 years). Well, that was SO the wrong thing to do.  Once I had had that thought, nothing went right.  I spent about two hours faffing about with the buttonholes and didn’t get a single one finished.  It turned out my machine was at fault but by the time that was established I was in a complete strop and left the workshop in tears. Apologies to Julie if you read this.  I must repeat here what a wonderfully patient sewing teacher Julie is.

image

Our school library is actually much better appointed than this photo would indicate!

Another frustrating feature about this is that my own machine had a fault with the button hole function and as I haven’t got it fixed, I couldn’t finish my frock at home.  Hoorah for working in a school – I went to the textiles room after work and finished my button holes.

My not very good buttonholes - I need to work on this

My not very good buttonholes – I need to work on this

I struggled to get decent photos – tried to get a few in the garden but it was overcast and the others were taken at school on my first day of wearing the dress.  It was Prize Giving day (linked to Y13 leavers) so it was actually worn under my academic gown  (no photos of that piece of ridiculousness).  Thanks to my colleague Liz for taking photos in the library for me.

image

A silly picture of me twirling - it seems to be the rage in blogs at the moment

A silly picture of me twirling – it seems to be the rage in blogs at the moment

I will definitely make the dress again – I actually really like it and it fits well after all the alterations but next time I will make it in the right size.

imageI really must comment on the gorgeous fabric.  It’s Liberty Tana Lawn bought in Cloth Kits, Chichester.  They always have a good selection of Liberty including some on sale (which this was).  The design is Winter Dreams of Spring and if you study it closely all sorts of lovely things come into focus but from a bit of a distance it looks rather subtle.  I bought three metres as the pattern suggested I needed and managed to also get out of it a Sorbetto (of course I did) and made a tie for my colleague to celebrate him passing his NQT year.

Sorbetto worn at work with chinos

Sorbetto worn at work with chinos

I think it works really well as a tie

I think it works really well as a tie

I haven’t seen the tie on yet as I only gave it to my colleague on Friday – the last day of term – but he seemed pleased with it.

Well, it’s been a picture heavy post and not too many details about the actual shirtdress.  I think that’s because the making process was fraught and not a happy experience for me so I didn’t want to dwell on the detail but I am certainly pleased with the outcome.

And so begins, seven happy weeks of holidays with much reading, sewing, running, tennis, cooking and hopefully blogging planned.

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

image

Advertisements

Vintage Shirtdress Workshop – week one

Hello all, I hope you’re having a good week?

Yesterday I went to the first of three workshops at Sew Over It to make their Vintage Shirtdress. It’s my fourth workshop there and I really can’t recommend them enough. My favourite make EVER is the 1960s coat I made – blogged here.  The studio is gorgeous – tea and (homemade) cake permanently available and best of all, a brilliant teacher to take you through the pattern and help with all the fiddly bits.

Took both fabrics to the workshop but eventually decided on the charcoal one - a Liberty Tana Lawn called Winter Dreams of Spring

Took both fabrics to the workshop but eventually decided on the charcoal one – a Liberty Tana Lawn called Winter Dreams of Spring

I was really pleased that the teacher was Julie who is super patient and highly experienced.  There were six of us.  A lovely generational divide: three young women in their twenties and another three who I would estimate were at least twenty years older (I hope I haven’t offended anyone by writing that!).  That is one of the lovely things about sewing – it unites people who might otherwise not appear to have much in common.  There was a little bit of chatter but everyone was really busy measuring and cutting out – we didn’t actually get to do any sewing at all.

Only roughly laid out here to check I had enough fabric.

Only roughly laid out here to check I had enough fabric.

It does seem that most patterns over-estimate fabric requirements.  I had bought three metres and was worried that I would have to eek it out but I had a considerable chunk left over.  I wonder if you can guess what I plan to make with that?! Sew Over It have toiles made up in all sizes so that you can check your fit first.  The last few things I have made at home have been too big – I do always measure myself but perhaps I just don’t hold the tape measure tightly enough?  Anyway, I decided to try on the 10 toile instead of my usual 12 and that was to big so I ended up with the 8 …. which I am surprised about because I am definitely not an 8!

It is going to be an expensive couple of weeks – I am incapable of going into a fabric shop without buying something and last night was no different.

Cornflower blue linen and my very own ham!

Cornflower blue linen and my very own ham!

I was really excited to see that Sew Over It have expanded their fabric range and put more shelves in to accommodate the additional choice.  This weekend just gone I made a dress (yet to be blogged) which I was really disappointed with. However, I resolved to call it a wearable muslin and have another go.  I have a little bit of blue Queue for the Zoo Liberty leftover from  my Belcarra (blogged here) so I thought I would use that for the yoke and make the dress with this contrasting linen. What do you think old hands – will a bodice of tana lawn (one thickness – it has interfacing rather than being fully lined) hold up a dress of linen?

I bought my goodies before the class but then at the end Julie gave us our homework and to be honest, I am not sure I will get anything else done.  I jotted down what I thought were the couple of tasks on the top of my instruction sheet but the list just kept on growing!

My homework

My homework

I said to Julie, “I’ll be bringing in a complete dress next week at this rate” and she replied that it was just basic sewing and then we could concentrate on the fiddly bits such as fitting and doing the collar: good point, well made!

I’ll let you know how the homework goes – as a teacher myself I am very diligent about such things!

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x