A Return to Dress Making….

Oh, Great British Sewing Bee, you’ve got a lot to answer for! My sister and I were brought up with sewing and dress making being a part of our lives, from school dresses to matching outfits, The Old Bat would make them all. We both started being given little jobs (taking the pins out that attach the pattern to the fabric) and proceeding on to making our own clothes. However, as soon as we’d left home and started to earn money, the dress making was soon ditched and the temptations of the high street took over, and clothes shopping was something that I think it’s safe to say we took to like ducks to water.

While this sounds lovely, the sewing was done on a sewing machine that my mother had been given by her mother for her 21st, which was therefore fairly old and temperamental and also had lots of sentimental value, so woe betide you if you did anything to make said machine unhappy (and The Old Bat could even hear from the next room if you were doing something wrong, such was the connection between her and her sewing machine). Then add in a sprinkling of The Old Bat (as lovely as she can be, let’s just say she’s earnt her name over the years) and big dash of frugality – never quite the right fabric, quite the right pattern, quite the right zip etc – it means that the learning process was far from relaxing!

However, I’ve had an idea for a dress that I’d like for a while, but I haven’t been able to find anything in the shops, and on the rare occasion that I find anything even close, being a tall bird (almost 6ft) then it never fits, or even if it does fit most of me the hem line is such that it looks more like a top than a dress. Thus I found myself browsing the web for sewing patterns and heading into town on Tuesday morning for a spot of fabric shopping.


I’m going for the most simple of these, so the pink dress in the picture, but using dark blue denim, with the fox fabric for the interfacing.

The dress I’d like to make is pretty simple, just a plain shift dress in dark denim – the sort of thing that I can wear with thick tights and a top under in the winter, or flip flops and a cardi in summer (if we have one). So, I’ve bought my fabric – thin dark denim for the outer, and the foxy fabric for the interfacing – on a practical level I didn’t want the interfacing to be too bulky, which is why I’ve chosen to use a different fabric, but I also love the foxy fabric and a bit of hidden contrast.

So, for the first time in years I’m about to embark on a spot of cutting out – all done on the sitting room floor as is tradition, and even though The Old Bat is safely at home over a hundred miles away, I’ll be able to hear her grumbles if I happen to do anything not quite the way she’d do it….


JP x


Just the sight of a sewing pattern takes me right back to my childhood. All cutting out should be done in the middle of the sitting room floor!




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