begin again

A joyous start to the making year as I edge towards my daily uniform of choice – new blog post over on the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network.

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it’s a family affair

When I started sewing a few years ago, I set myself a couple of goals – to sneak my way into the pages of Love Sewing Magazine and join the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network. I managed the former with my Kelly Skirt and I’m beyond pleased to say I’ve now achieved the latter. I’m an official sewing blogger and my first post is now live over on Minerva’s website. And if that is a hop and a jump too far, here are the visuals:

pivotal points

Pivotal points – there were two in the pattern and a multitude IRL as I grappled with my first Vogue Patterns Marcy Tilton. Some have referred to this as an easy sew – I’m not one of those people. And that’s purely because of a feature which elevates this pattern head and shoulders above the rest – those expertly placed pivots. Thankfully, I’d bumped into Ann at The Big Simplicity Blog Meet who diplomatically pointed out to a fledgling sewer, that the pattern had proved challenging to her despite years of stitchery to her name.  If I hadn’t, I’m pretty sure I would have thrown in the towel during the construction of my bedsheet toile.

Labelling up each jigsaw puzzle pattern piece as I cut them, proved invaluable when joining them together – the difference in the front and back of the fabric being barely discernible. Opting for this grey Ponte de Roma from Abakhan was an unwitting masterly move for my first foray into sewing with knits. I’ve since discovered it’s a stable double knit and handles much like a woven. Crucially for me the fabric cost £15 all in and I was conscious that a low cost fail would be a lot easier to swallow.

Unfortunately, it did mean that I wasn’t able to put my newfound sewing with knits knowledge – courtesy of my day in may – into full usage. I did tinker with the differential feed on my overlocker and switch to a stretch needle but as many other bloggers have observed, sewing with Ponte is easy and well worth a punt. It’s not a fabric I would have considered before encountering this pattern but I was drawn to it’s weight and shape. The only misgivings I have is that it’s polyester and the propensity to pill. My sister and I have waged a lifelong crusade against bobbling and the jury is out as to whether this will stand the test of time.

Anyway, back to those pesky pivots. Ann advised me to attach a small square of stretch interfacing over the central point on the wrong side of the upper front, before reinforcing the inner corner and slashing along the centre front to the small circle. A tip, which along with know how garnered from this blog post, saved me from defeat. For me, stitching away from the central point each time and splitting the seam in two was key.

I’m feeling less triumphant when it comes to the neck and armhole binding. Interfacing the edging ensured minimal stretch during construction but my top stitching was woefully off point. As is often the case with a bias bound finish, I failed to catch the material underneath and whilst I could say that the ribbed effect on both neck and armholes was intentional, that would be a lie. Any tips on achieving the smooth finish detailed in the instructions would be welcomed.

If you are practised in the art of pivoting and adopt an organised approach to identifying and storing your pattern pieces, then you will probably find V8975 well within your sewing scope. My temporary undoing was launching in without the requisite skills and naively assuming I was a contender for a Vogue pattern marked ‘Average’. Needless to say, the descriptor would not deter me in the future but it would present a note of caution and prompt a tad more investigation from the outset.

In summation – as is the dressmaker’s wont – I’m declaring this pattern my new favourite and well worth the efforts required to perfect that pivot. Choosing a patterned fabric would make the task much less arduous but I’m glad I opted for a plain palette, which rightfully focuses all the attention on its bold lines and deep folds.

And by way of a postscript, here’s a pictorial celebration of a pivotal point of my own, crafted by the very talented @saltandchilli_emma who is well worth checking out over on Instagram.

Love in stitches