Last year after getting A Beginner’s Guide To Sewing With Knitted Fabrics by Wendy Ward I set myself the personal challenge to see if I could sew my way through the book. I never set myself any time limits to do it, it was more just something I was going to do over time and enjoy the process. I can happily say I made the last item from it in December so challenge completed in 2018.
To recap the book has 5 projects to make
- Peak t-shirt
- Derwent wide leg trousers
- Winnats tank
- Monsal lounge pants
- Kinder cardigan
- Longshaw skirt
I didn’t sew them in the order listed but I did make them all. Some I made multiple of, some I made additional versions that were in the book. For top / cardigan patterns I used the largest size pattern, for skirts / pants I used the 3rd largest size.
This was the first item I made. My first intention was to make it in the navy fabric but I didn’t buy enough fabric and couldn’t get anymore so I brought the teal fabric and made it in that. I was able to make the blue version after being a little creative with a remnant piece that was in my stash. This is sew comfortable to wear and I wore both of them lots last year. This was such an easy pattern to make. I love the pockets! I do want to try making this again but I’m going to see if I can add a zipper to the front.
This was the second item I made. The pattern is a really simple t-shirt. I used some cotton lycra from stash. This became my gym shirt last year. It is a little bit fitted around my neck but it isn’t uncomfortable. If I was to make this again or should I say when I make this again I’m adding a little extra to the neckband particularly if I use a firmer lycra. Later in the year I made the t-shirt dress variation which is also in the book. I wore the dress a lot last summer and will continue wearing it this winter. This is my go to t-shirt pattern now. This top isn’t fitted so I could possibly go down a size in it particularly if it is softer knit.
This was the third pattern I tried. This skirt was a challenge not because it was hard to make but because my brain could not grasp the concept of how this was sewn until it was cut out and I had the fabric in my hands. I still call this my origami skirt due to the way you fold it to form the pockets and sew the seams. Don’t be afraid to try this skirt, try the brilliant instructions Wendy has in the book and will it come out fine. I used some fabric in my stash just to try out the pattern not knowing if I would like it. I’m not totally convinced this skirt is flattening on me, maybe due to fabric I don’t know. I think this skirt makes me look too hippy or bulky around the thighs. I don’t hate this skirt, the pockets on this are fantastic and I have worn it a bit. I would like to try this again in maybe a black or darker fabric.
Derwent Wide Leg Pants
The fourth item I made using again some fabric from my stash. I had never used wide elastic before and wasn’t sure if I would even like it comfort wise but I love these pants. Because they are white I only wear these at home but I found myself wearing them a lot. The wide elastic doesn’t bother me as it is covered over with fabric. I do get confused which is the back and front of these (I don’t put tags in my clothing) either way I wear them they are comfortable. I do plan on making these again in black so I can wear them to work. The fit is amazing and I am really happy with these. Once again an easy pattern to make and a real great basic for your wardrobe.
Photo Courtesy of Mr Useful Box from Sydney Frocktails on Instagram
The firth pattern I tried was the basic tank top. I had some leftover fabric in my stash that I was planning on making a tank top with at some point and just had enough for it. This I would say is the easiest pattern to make in the book and a great one to start with if you were a real beginner and wanted to try clothing making. I lived out of this top last summer in Sydney as we had many hot days and it was really comfortable. After making the first top I made a black version last month which I wore to Frocktails but will also be my gym shirt for next summer. The fit of this top is brilliant. It isn’t revealing so I can exercise in it without feeling like I’m flashing everyone. I do need to add extra to the bands around the arms and neck as I am not too good with sewing bands on and to reduce puckering I need the extra length. I do have fabric to make another version of this.
Monsal Lounge Pants
The final pattern which I made in December when I decided I would finish the book in 2018 was the shorts. I have made the most basic basic version of the pants. I have only worn them once or twice so far as it has still been too hot to wear them but I know I will wear them around the house this winter. They fit ok, they aren’t designed to fitted as such more just comfortable shorts which they are. I would make this pattern again and maybe try the version with pockets.
I am pretty proud of myself sewing my way through the book. It was fun to do because it is a great book. The minute I saw this book was coming out I pre-ordered it as I just felt I was going to like the book and I don’t like it… I love it! All the patterns are wardrobe essentials that you need. The different versions of each pattern in the book allow you to make version that is for you. If I had to pick a favourite pattern it would be the Winnats tank but they are all great patterns and I want to try all of them again using different fabrics or techniques. It isn’t just the patterns that make the book great but also the explanation of sewing techniques, the knowledge I picked up from this book I have used in making other patterns. This book really boosted my sewing confidence last year and helped expand my me made wardrobe.