26 May

At some point last year, as I was walking down a road, on my way to a little second hand furniture store to try and find myself a wardrobe and bedside table, I heard someone call out my name. I eventually located the source of the voice to one of my former colleagues, who was in her garden on the other side of the road. I went in for a cup of tea and we spent a couple of hours catching up. She told me about a council-run dressmaking course that she was doing, and that was the start of something.

A few months previously, having been inspired by things that three different friends had sewn (some bunting at a wedding – made by the bride, along with her dress and jewellery, a doorstop made by the lovely Marion – this is the least of what she is capable of, but was just about within my skills, I hoped, and an amazing patchwork quilt, made by the very talented Kate), I’d decided that I wanted to start sewing. I thrown myself into trying to procure a second hand sewing machine with the enthusiasm I usually throw myself into things with (head first, becoming completely preoccupied with the idea and thinking of little else), found one on eBay, picked it up and brought it home…and then it sat there for months, untouched. I just wasn’t sure what to do with it. While I engage in a few ‘creative’ pursuits, I don’t think I’ve ever been a really naturally creative person – I have to have instructions to follow – I love baking, and cooking in general, but the idea of making up a recipe, or just playing it by ear, terrifies me. I’m getting better, but I still prefer to follow a recipe almost to the letter.

The inspiration that was the wedding bunting!

The inspiration that was the wedding bunting! It was beautiful!

Evidently what I needed to get me started on my sewing was some projects to compete, and just some guidance on where to start. I came home from my cup of tea and catch up, immediately looked up local sewing courses, and within an hour had booked myself onto a beginners’ course.

My previous sewing experience was limited – I made a patchwork quilt on my Granny’s old hand-turn when I was about 10, and made a cushion at school, although remember nothing about how I did it! Initially, all my enthusiasm for sewing was about homewares – I had no interest at all in making clothes, largely, I think, because it just seemed like something so above my level that I couldn’t imagine myself ever being able to sew something like a dress! Making the above mentioned doorstop was the height of my ambition!

I write that now being halfway through a dressmaking course, and about to go and do more work on my first dress! How things change. Even on these first few projects, I’ve had so much help and inspiration from reading other people’s sewing blogs – from finding tutorials for things I want to make, to looking up pictures of other people’s finished versions to decide what pattern to choose, and discovering issues with certain patterns before I start making the dress, they’ve been invaluable in the start of my sewing adventure. So I thought I’d post my projects too, if they can be of help to anyone else then great, but for me, it’s a handy record of my progress and past projects, all in one place.

So let the adventure begin!


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chinelo bally

Dressmaker| Author| Blogger| Freehand cutter


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