A lingerie workshop was held by my regions Sewing Guild this past weekend so I went along. Lingerie isn’t my thing but I thought it would be a good opportunity to learn clothing making and a chance to stitch with something other than quilting cottons.
I was completely out of my element. The only clothing I’ve ever made were kids skirts and nightgowns I’ve never made anything for adults. Before the weekend my friend and I went to a fabric store and she had to guild me through the fabric I could use and help me find a suitable pattern that I could make with stretch cotton. I decided at the workshop I would make myself a nightdress / top out of cotton. It’s not lingerie but it did have some elements of lace in it and it was something practical I would be able to wear. I was happy with fancy pyjamas.
I turned up to the workshop with all my fabric that I had prepped and all my sewing gear. I decided which pattern size I would make and started tracing out the pieces when I hit my first hurdle. I ran out of tracing paper. I was using it from a roll but it never occurred to me that I would run out of it. I guess I’m used to only tracing out small pieces for toys and nothing larger. I was lucky that my friend had some spare so gave me a piece. Tracing away I was thinking that this top was going to be very difficult to sew as it had so many pieces. Not knowing patterns I didn’t realise that I didn’t need to trace out all items listed in that group but only certain pieces. I traced out about 4 more pieces than I needed. Oh well it didn’t matter it just gave me experience in tracing pieces out. What I didn’t know was I needed to mark things like grain lines and all the notches so I had to go back and put those on the pattern pieces. I’ve never traced out a paper pattern from a packet before so I had no idea what I was doing.
My 2nd task for the day was pinning all the pieces onto my fabric. This is where I hit my next hurdle. I didn’t have enough fabric to make all the top in purple. At the time I purchased the fabric I had 2 colours and asked for more of one colour than the other but it looks like the shop assistant may have cut the same length for both colours. The other possibility was that in the shop I decided on a smaller size but even at looking at the pattern I should’ve had enough for the larger size and I always buy more fabric than that is required so we think it was more of the wrong amount being cut. Never mind I improvised by cutting the main body sections of the top out in purple and using the blue fabric I purchased (to make matching shorts) as the sleeves and inside neck facing.
My 3rd task for the day was to mark out the darts and stitch them in. I’ve done darts before by hand on soft toys so I had some clue as to them but I did ask the advice of others on stitching them by machine and finishing them so the darts didn’t leave pucker marks. I was able to pin the body front and back together just before it was time to pack up for the day.
As soon as I got there on day 2 I set up my overlocker and stitched the side seams and the shoulders of the top. I then attempted to make the neck facing only to discover that I need to line it with interfacing. I didn’t have any so opted to just do like a binding / rolled facing on the neck to cover the seams. I machine stitched one side of the neck but am yet to finish hand stitching the inside where I rolled the edge over. My side seams matched so I was very pleased
My next step was to attempt the sleeves. I added the cotton lace trim to the cuffs then did the tacking stitch so I could ease the arms into the arm holes. I’ve never done any basting or tacking before so I had to get other people’s advice on stitch lengths and widths to set my machine. The arms were much easier to do than I expected and it was my first time ever sewing a circular shape on an overlocker.
Even though I never got the garment fully finished on the weekend I’m happy with what I achieved. There is only some hand sewing to do now and to snip the cotton tails but it looks and fits like a proper top. I’ve never made myself clothing before so for a first attempt I’m over the moon.
In the afternoon we did a practical lesson on sewing lace and elastic. On my first attempt I did one of the stitch lines in the wrong place but after I unpicked it and started again I got it right. I never knew it was so easy to do lace cutaway. As someone mentioned add a side seam to this and Barbie has a new skirt. We also did a second sample piece where we stitched lace to the bottom of the piece and did another different elastic at the top but my sewing machine kept eating the bobbin thread so after 2 attempts I gave up on it. I will try the experiment another day. It was a hot day so I think my machine was protesting.
As mentioned before this workshop I’ve never read a paper pattern before. I have no idea how anybody folds them up so nicely to fit in the little envelopes. Even thought I wasn’t making the same items as everyone else I was learning things about sewing. I had no idea that certain pins were better for pinning certain fabrics or that there was even a good way to place the pins in the fabric until someone gave me some advice. I listened and absorbed everything everyone was telling me and my mind started to use this knowledge. I started thinking about the direction I would be sewing and the placement of my pins. I started thinking of other areas of sewing that these new skills could be used. The workshop was great. I would like to say a big Thank You to all those involved.