Beginner sewing plan – everything but the pants

It’s been three months now, so how is my beginner sewing plan going?  I set out to make 9 specific patterns to practise my beginner sewing skills, through a range of patterns and fabrics.


Heidi and Finn hoodie
Heidi and Finn Cowl Dress

Still to go

Stretch top ( I made one but it was rubbish…..)
New Look skirt (In progress)
Jenny skirt (did make a similar style pencil skirt…yet to be blogged)
McCalls Dress

What else have I made?

4 Oliver and S sets of Pyjamas
Oliver and S popover dress
McCalls skirt 
McCalls Blouse muslin

What have I learnt from all this?  The biggest obstacle to my sewing was my not understanding the full capabilities of my sewing machine, and the variation of settings, and remembering to change them all back again when I’m done….  Sewing with Knits was much easier than previous attempts as I learnt how my machine responded to a variety of knits.  By forcing myself to try a range of knits close together, I’ve found that I could quickly troubleshoot when things went askew.

Interestingly, the biggest thing I have learnt is not to rely on the sewing pattern (for most brands) for helping me achieve the best finish of the garment.  Sure, it might be assembled correctly, but really sitting and making decisions about how to do my seam finishes and other details before I started cutting/sewing makes a huge different.  Not waiting until I get to the line “and now finish your seams” to make a decision.  By thinking about the fabric first, and then the pattern instructions I’ve got a clear idea of what seam finishes might look best, whether I need to change anything before cutting out, if I should do extra stay-stitching, I want to line the garment?  Underline, interline, there are just SO many choices.  Should I hand stitch the hem, machine stitch, stitch to the underlining, or maybe even finish the seam with bias binding?  It seems I make so many versions of the same pattern until I’m really happy with the final result.

So really, beginner patterns can become intermediate patterns as there are so many ways you can improve/change them to suit your preferences and skill level.  I think I have a long way to go, and I’m going to keep practising my skills of sewing before I even get to big fitting issues.  No more quick fixes here, these are going to be quality garments!

Now, I realise that there aren’t any pants in the beginner sewing plan.  Obviously the Thurlow pants were not out by then!  I’m sure I might sneak in a pair….But after a cambie, I’m dying for some new pants…


Sorbetto and the first FBA

Oh how frustrating!  This post was fully written and set to auto publish, and then reverted to the first draft on publishing.  Lets try again.

With most pattern companies making patterns for a B cup, many sewers have to do a full bust adjustment (FBA).  It’s pretty

Colette Patterns Sorbetto

Sorbetto first muslin

daunting for the novice sewer, as the idea of making any adjustments are terrifying, especially if you haven’t mastered a zip yet.   The Colette patterns sorbetto is a fantastic pattern to practice this on as it’s a simple cut, pretty quick to sew up and it’s a separate top.  The first bust adjustment I attempted was on a dress.  The front turned out to fit like a dream, but the back was…wrong.  Just wrong.  I’m not even sure how that happened.

To make the fit right, two muslins were made and then the final Sorbetto was in the blue silk.  It had a lovely printed design on it so the pieces were fussy cut to have the print running along the hem front and back.  Which by the way turned out a treat.

Colette Patterns Sorbetto

Second muslin with FBA

The first muslin as you can see on the right had the gaping arm hole and the shape of a tent as I cut a size 10 based on my bust measurement.  The second muslin eliminated the gaping arm hole and was a size 6.  It was still fairly loose, but the pattern itself is a loose fitting top and a decent amount of ease is part of the style.

Happy with the second muslin I cut out and made the silk final (two muslins and the final was about 3 hours sewing all in which is pretty good).  Turns out fussy cutting the print in was the worst thing that could have been done as it ruins the drape of the top at the bottom.  Not to mention I never wear this style of top, and if I do, it’s worn like below tucked in with a belt.  Where you can’t even see the print.  Yet another reason why I’m making a 2012 sewing plan and learning to sew again.  Time to examine the wardrobe and make quality well fitting garments that are my style.