In the aftermath of Fashion Revolution Week, my yen to stitch came to an abrupt standstill. What next? A question I’m still pondering whilst taking part in #memademay16 over on Instagram. This annual challenge could not be better timed for me – it’s a year since I started making my own clothes and the perfect opportunity to celebrate achievements to date. I’ve decided to appropriate May as a kind of sewing retreat – a time to reflect, refocus and hopefully re-emerge with renewed enthusiasm into another year in stitch.
With inspiration in short supply, I fully expected the machine to stay in the cupboard this month. The seeds of conscious consumerism had been planted in my brain and the desire to create quashed. However, the damn was not completely dry and my thoughts were oscillating around a project I’d had at arms length.
During the holiday which never happened, a dismal morning was significantly brightened by a package from my staunchest follower and fellow blogger over on The Up Sew. We are unlikely comrades – Eimear being the champion of austerity and I having a penchant for fine fabrics and shiny new offerings from independent pattern designers. Indeed, following her blog has been one of a number of catalysts, leading me to consider the deeper incentives for fashioning a wardrobe from my own hands.
Eimear and I share a love of vintage stylings and it’s thanks to her that the Butterick 5784 Jean Muir Jumper Dress came into my possession. I’m lacking in the necessary superlatives to laud this pattern highly enough – suffice to say, my admiration is off the chart. For the toile, I knew I’d need a heavier cloth than the dwindling supply of craft cottons in my stash. I was considering a charity shop trawl when I found my muse – an old roman blind I’d attempted before learning the building blocks of my chosen craft.
The blind’s operational life was short – being the source of daily mental flagellation. Huge swathes of material had been butchered during construction, as I had no concept of the importance of grain and angle. Nevertheless, I held on to the material – the classic colour and slub like texture begging for re-invention. Despite a long standing ‘Gone with the Wind’ style fantasy to make a dress out of a curtain, this fabric was only intended for practise purposes.
That is until I started to assemble the pieces and I realised how the material and pattern were perfectly suited. Thankfully I have a familial source for more of the same which I’ll be tapping into for my second attempt. Construction was fairly straightforward and I’m particularly proud of my first invisible zip and the button loops on the bodice.
Adhering to the pattern instructions necessitated edging in fold over braid but I opted for a cleaner, bias bound internal finish. I realised mid-sewathon, the pattern sizing – whilst perfect at the bust – was in no way going to accommodate my bottom heavy figure. But I carried on regardless and am most pleased with the resulting accidental tunic.
This is definitely not where the story ends and I predict my love affair with Butterick 5784 will be a long standing one. I fully intend to dip my toe into solo pattern adjusting and even have a stab at lining. But for now I’m taking a break and enjoying this unintended outcome.