Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Some Thoughts on Fabric


Last week, while in The Eternal Maker, I bought two metres of this fabric - Peaceful Cooing, by Nani Iro. I was drawn to the summery pattern and the colour, which reminded me of cornflowers and deep blue skies.


It is a 100% cotton double gauze fabric, and it the softest fabric I have ever felt. It has a very pleasing drape and weight to it that I think would lend it particularly well to clothes.


The trouble is, I am not a very able or confident seamstress and I have never made clothes before. But I really want to use this fabric and am determined to have a go.

I need your help. Can anyone recommend any patterns or books for easy dressmaking? My ideas for this fabric are either a swishy, knee-length summer skirt, a top to wear with jeans, or pyjama bottoms. Pyjama bottoms are particularly appealing because this soft fabric would make dreamily comfortable bed wear, but also, and more importantly, is doesn't matter if it all goes horribly wrong. Thank you in advance!

After only three days we already seem to be back in the whirl of school and work routines. Dropping off, picking up, cooking, eating, practicing spellings, reading books, washing, ironing, dentist appointments, meetings...it feels quite all-consuming and I am already wishing for Friday. I hope you are having a good week, wherever you are.



33 comments:

Vintage Sheet Addict said...

Super fabric....I'm no seamstress either, sorry! :) x

rachel said...

I started making my first dress when I was 9. I still haven't finished it.

I'd take the fabric into Samuel Taylor in Leeds - all the staff are very knowledgable and would help find a pattern that would be suitable for the fabric and your level.

Alternaitvely buy a pattern, start cutting it out, freak out and send it to my mum to make - thats what I do!!

Lili@creativesavv said...

Hi Gillian,
I would suggest either the skirt or the pajama bottoms, either will be easier to get a good fit, than a top. But whichever you choose, look for a pattern that says something like Sew Easy, or Quick and Easy. There will be fewer pattern pieces and less work overall. A super easy version of a skirt would be a wrap skirt. You can get a full swingy skirt look, without the hassle of installing zippers.
Also, I break the work portion of sewing up over several days, just to keep myself from getting too frustrated or feeling rushed.
Beautiful fabric that you chose!

Ellie Foster said...

Dear Gillian
Beautiful fabric - it reminds me of white blossom against a blue spring/summer sky. I would love to offer you some help but am not a seamstress either - having only just recently mastered making bunting but not measuring! Good luck with it - taking it to a haberdashery/material shop sounds like a good idea to me.
I'm looking forward to seeing what you create.
Best wishes
Ellie

Anna @ Miss Beatrix said...

Such lovely fabric indeed Gillian. I think we're all craving those blue skies. I've done a little shoutout on Twitter to see if anyone can advise :) x

Helen - sittinginthekitchensink said...

Amy Butler has a nice pattern for loose PJ bottoms I think. I too have just bought some of the nana iro fabric - the plum floral one, can't remember the name. It does feel so lovely. It's turning into a light scarf with a pom pom trim as a present for mother's day (google 'village haberdashery scarf' for the tutorial - I would link but I'm on my phone and can't get it to work). Do show us what you make!x

Anonymous said...

I would buy a book about general sewing or dressmaking, probably a dressmaking one is best. I wouldn't use a book with patterns they tend to be a fiddle, not much choice and limiting. Then I would buy a normal pattern from a fabric shop or department store from the easier range that most pattern makers have. Pj bottoms would come into this category as would many skirts. Take in your fabric if you are going to Samuel Taylor as advised. Also know your measurements so you know what size pattern to get.

Then take it very slowly! Read up about things first. So, start to read about cutting out your fabric, pinning, tacking/basting, marking fabric etc. Learn about notches and other markings on the fabric and what they mean - for instance a pattern will have a symbol to show you to cut on a fold or on the straight grain of the fabric. Your book will tell you lots of this stuff and you can have it wafting around in your head just before you set your self loose on the fabric. Then you will need to cut out your pattern - firstly from the pattern pieces in the envelope, as you will get different sizes or choices of garment in one pattern usually. I prefer to do this the evening before - it isn't much fun. Then the next day, I cut out the pieces from the fabric and start sewing.

If there is anything you aren't sure about, practice on spare fabric first looking up stuff in your book or going online to ask/answer questions that you get. If you are worried about putting elastic in your pj bottoms for instance, see if you can read up a couple of tutorials first, or watch someone do it on YouTube. Then by the time you do it you will feel confident. Order a book from Amazon, and while you are waiting just do some research for fun. There are lots of helpful people demonstrating things on YouTube.

You will really enjoy it all I'm sure. Books that seem very good and recommended are this http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sewing-Book-Alison-Smith/dp/1405335556/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1361990628&sr=1-4#_
or this one http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dressmakers-Technique-Bible-Complete-Techniques/dp/0715329545/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1361990628&sr=1-2

A book will really help you and is I think an essential reference. Good luck and remember to enjoy yourself and have fun. Don't be frightened to have a go!

Annie @ knitsofacto said...

Simplicity 9871 for PJ pants, which as this looks like a knit fabric not a woven would be my recommendation for what you should make. Have fun :)

Irene said...

Hello Gillian

Do you not have an old pair of PJ bottoms you could use as a pattern, lie them flat on floor on top of paper and draw around them. I know it may sound silly but try the paper pattern against yourself and if you are happy use old fabric to make up before you cut into your fabulous fabric.

Hope this helps.
luv
irene
xxxx

Susan Smith said...

Hi Gillian,
Although I've been sewing on an electric machine since I was 7, I would recommend The Dressmaker's Bible by Lorna Knight. It was printed in 2008 so should still be available, especially over the internet. (and it's english).
Good luck with anything you try and if you need help via email, let me know.

SaraJ said...

Sorry - I can't sew at all! But am joining you in longing for Friday. It was soooooooo..... difficult getting up this morning! Good luck with your sewing. x

the linen cloud said...

Gorgeous fabric Gillian ... haven't a clue about sewing clothing ... I can't wait to see what you make though ... pjs would be so pretty ... Bee xx

sweetpea family said...

The fabric is delicious - I am not much of a seamstress I think I would hem it and have an amazing sunny scarf or shawl x

Ladybird Diaries said...

I have no dress making skills whatsoever but just wanted to say that that fabric is absolutely gorgeous. Looking forward to seeing what you make as I'm sure it will be lovely.
M xxx

Jenny said...

Not a clue here. A drawstring type thing sounds like something I might attempt . . . I've often wondered about just finding a piece I like for cheap at a thrift shop then taking it apart and using it as a pattern. Wonder if that works?

I'm sure whatever you attempt will turn out lovely - your stuff always does!

x
Jenny

Alicia said...

I think a skirt would be easiest, as someone suggested a wrap around, or you could get matching stretch material, made a wide fitting band, and gather the material and sew it to the band to create a flowy, no zips or buttons, look.
I am a 'make it up as I go along' sewer, I tend to lie clothes flat and use them as a pattern (like someone previously suggested)and go from there. Good luck!

Squiggling About said...

Looks like it would make a perfect skirt, gorgeous fabric. Sarah x

Jennifer said...

I don't have specific pattern recommendations but I think this fabric is perfect for a full, swishy kind of skirt. Good luck. :)

Jo Shedden said...

I really love this and I think I LOVE the name the best! 'Peaceful Cooeing', now that is poetic! I am not any good at sewing and still have a top I have not finished from about 5 years ago!! Good luck with this, Jo xx

A little bit Country said...

I'm only a beginner sewer but I buy fabric even though I can't really sew. Ever the optimist. Good luck and I can't wait to see the finished product xo

Coal Valley View said...

LOVE this fabric Gillian. The clouds and colour have that dreamy quality about them. I've only just started to sew (and haven't used a pattern yet) so not much help. The first thing I make for myself will be the Tova top/dress as I've heard its pretty good for beginners. If you don't want to buy a pattern for PJ bottoms, the very first thing I made at the beginning of the year were PJ pants for my daughter from ones she already had. I used this tutorial - super easy!

http://mycottoncreations.blogspot.com.au/2010/07/christmas-eve-pajama-pants-tutorial.html

Mel x

Anonymous said...

I don't know any patterns I'm afraid - try pinterest :) the fabric is beautiful though, it's really lovely. I think a reallu simple knee length skirt would suit it though? Meredith x

Jo said...

No use asking me, it's hard enough for me to sew on a button. It looks a lovely swishy material though, perfect for a skirt I would have thought. Eleanor's first school project in her textile class were pyjama bottoms so you should be able to find a nice easy pattern.

Col | Hello Olive said...

That fabric is beautiful! I think it would look lovely as a skirt. However I can't offer any advice on easy patterns. Good luck! I'm sure it will look fab whatever you choose to do. x

Thomasina Tittlemouse said...

Looks absolutely gorgeous fabric, Gillian! If I were you I'd pick a commercial pattern you like the look of by one of the mainstream pattern producers - Simplicity or Butterick are very good and have a huge range and pick one that's marked "easy" or "two hour skirt" or whatever. There's nothing more depressing than cutting lovely fabric to make something that's too complicated to get right and you end up not wearing it and feeling bad about the waste. The smaller the number of pattern pieces the better to begin with. A simple swishy skirt need only have a front, a back and a waistband. I'd avoid anything much more complicated than that to begin with. The mainstream commercial patterns have good comprehensive instructions as well as well-cut patterns so this makes them a good starting point. Have fun! It will be gorgeous and before you know it you'll be tackling all sorts of complicated patterns! E x

June said...

I can see why you were drawn to the fabric - it is lovely! Other than that can't help! Sorry.
June

A Normandy kitchen said...

Hi Gillian,
If I can sew... you can sew! Just go slowly, make a pair of pj's trousers from an old sheet or cheap off cut FIRST and make your own pattern from it (using another pair of pj's that you like) and just sew (slow!). Also look at how seams and drawstrings are on other bought items. I make my own curtains mainly (all straight lines but I have even made a wedding dress for a very daredevil friend (who was delighted I must add - I don't want that sort stress again though!). Just enjoy it, as you have the talent already! Beautiful fabric don't forgrt to line it up!
Ivan
:)

vindiebaby said...

That's beautiful :)


www.vindiebaby.com
Vintage Inspired Fashion by Independent Designers for Your Little darling

Oh Abigail said...

I think I want to eat that fabric! xxxx

aLittleBlonde said...

Beautiful fabric! You could try making a basic elasticated waist skirt - all you need is two rectangles, but remember to leave a small seam allowance 1.5ish cm on each side, enough to make a small hem at the bottom and enough at the top to wrap round your chosen elastic for the waist 3 times. All you need to do is sew up the sides, turn up the bottom and hem and then fold over the top to make the elastic casing, leaving enough unsewn to thread your elastic through, thread through the elastic, try it out to find the right place to sew the elastic together, sew the ends together, close up the hole and voila! Because you're just using two rectangles you can fold the fabric and fold it up beforehand to try and work out how big the pieces need to be.
Good luck whatever you decide to make!

The Custards said...

Hello fellow Eternal Maker visitor! Just found your comment on knitsofacto's blog so popped round. You came from Leeds to buy fabric? Ho ho - that is indeed devotion. Wish I could recommend a pattern but I tend to make mine out of bits of newspaper so no use to anyone!! If I have particularly liked a skirt I have simply drawn round it and made one that way....not always 100% successful....
Best wishes
Jenny

tea with lucy said...

You could give this a whirl....

http://www.teawithlucy.blogspot.com.au/2012/06/make-your-own-maxi-skirt.html

Just cut it off at knee length to suit. It's just two rectangles sewn up each side. hemmed and then ribbing around the waist. or you could do an elastic waist.

if only you could just pop over for a quick lesson!

rachel xo

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