Sunday, 30 September 2012

Road to No Regret

I am typing this in the same room as a large, uninvited spider, last seen scuttling under the desk. Because of this distraction, there may be typos and grammar issues along the way.

My lovely Bernina sewing machine is away for a service so I dusted down my old Singer Melodie 40 to get on with the toile for my 1947 dress. The Singer has been out of use for a while and although this is the machine I use for sewing things I wouldn't allow near the Bernina (paper, plastic, rubber etc), it's working a treat, much better than the ailing Bernina.  

My sewing machines don't have names, but I am quite sentimental about them. The Singer was my 18th birthday present, and a very fine present it still is, because with it I have had the opportunity to experience all sorts of creative adventures - making clothes, hats, bags, curtains for numerous windows long left behind. It took a hot summer of overtime as a chambermaid to save up for the Bernina. However, I discovered last week Mr K has named my dressmaker's dummy after the robot in Metropolis. For the past 23 years it has just been "the dummy" as far as I was concerned, until Mr K needed to borrow it for a work display and then it turns out she's called Maria. 

Mr K asks Maria about her favourite fabrics
There have been occasions over the past 20 odd years where I have been needlessly bored; I could have been sewing or making something. But I just have to push on and make the best use of now. To be fair, in the past three years there has been little time to squander. This year has been a fairly creative period, although I hoped I would have achieved more than I have.  

I now have a bit more time and money for creative adventures as last month, I finally got round to taking my driving test. I had Mr K's dad's driving gloves in the car for luck, as he was a calm, encouraging presence when I was learning to tackle single track roads pitted with potholes on our missions to find good tea and cake around the region. What has this got to do with sewing? Well not much directly, but Mr K's dad also helped me appreciate the value of having a project on the go - which is why I started my year-long project of making a garment a month. I wrote about it in this blog entry

So, to the business of actually making stuff. My local sewing shop had no calico so I have had to make up my toile in this poly cotton gingham. The dress is actually quite quick to make and the instructions are straightforward. This is how the toile turned out (this is it straight from the sewing machine so it's a bit crumpled); I eventually settled on the size 12:
Butterick B5209 1947 dress - toile

Initial thoughts: am wondering if pleating might look smarter for the skirt rather than the gathers? Does the front midriff really need a seam up the front or would one piece be better? Or should I just get on with the real thing now? It needs to be a little neater to the body on the side seams under the armholes - it doesn't look so bad on Maria but it's a little flappy on me. 
Maybe I could make more of a cap sleeve... or just get on with it.

Here's the fabric I've bought for the actual dress. I had to buy two lengths from different suppliers but the dyelots seem pretty similar in daylight. This should give me enough to match up the pattern at the midriff and skirt seams.
Joel Dewberry Aviary 2 - Sparrows

It's not the cheeriest fabric for a wedding, so I was thinking a cocktail hat in a plum or deep pink colour and some vintage style shoes might jazz it up. I have been a bit crap at sticking to my garment-a-month rule (so long as I have 12 things by the year end) but I have been utterly resolute in the no-buying-clothes-except-underwear-and-shoes part of the plan. This is what I'm reminding myself as I feel a bit of guilt for buying these shoes online last night. There were some lovely raspberry coloured ones but they had sold out. These are probably more sensible anyway. Will definitely need to add a bit of colour with the hat now.
Fly London Peak shoe 

Buying the shoes online means I shouldn't have to cram in another trip to Edinburgh before Kath's wedding...which is a shame because I was hoping to catch up with my friend (and ask for an invisible zip masterclass) who makes the lovely things that you can see at  Mister Thread's Needlework Emporium

My Bernina has since come back good as new! It sounds so much quieter and the feed-dog has been reset - what a difference. I'll not leave the service quite so long next time (16 years - not good). So the Singer is back in its case. Poor old Singer.