A Victory (ish) for Ava (ish)

Considering I got my sewing machine in 2007, the first non-vintage sewing pattern(s) I ever bought was the Perfect Pattern Parcel #1 earlier this year. Previously, I was loathe to spend the money for two main reasons; firstly, because the few vintage patterns I’d got from charity shops had ended up unfinished due to fitting issues, and secondly because I naively thought I could draft out whatever pattern I wanted myself and have it fit perfectly. (I think a lot of my early sewing was spent stitch-ripping and sewing in my underwear as I trial-and-errored my way through projects).

When I read about the Perfect Pattern Parcel, I decided maybe I shouldn’t be so prejudiced against every sewing pattern ever drafted. Even if my mistrust of patterns was validated, part of the money was going to charity and I’d have to get some good karma back for that, right?Ava dress | Pattern . Paint . Pan I decided to start with the Ava dress by Victory Patterns (and now you understand the post title, non-sewing friends!), thinking it could be a possible dress to wear to my best friend’s wedding. But with my pattern mistrust, I decided to use some cheap fabric first: a floral polycotton on sale at my sort-of-local fabric shop (Trago Mills near Liskeard), and a polycotton broderie anglais from my local fabric shop (The Remnant House in Bude), both at about £2.50/m. Ava dress | Pattern . Paint . PanI didn’t make a muslin, which was probably was my first mistake. I did however add 2 inches to the bodice along the lengthen/shorten line because of my height. I swear I measured properly and chose the right size for the rest of my measurements, but after sewing the darts and one bodice side seam, it was obvious it was ridiculously big and no pinning (admittedly I gave up pretty quickly) fixed it, so it got thrown in the corner for a few weeks.

After reshaping and increasing the width and length of the front darts, and increasing the seam allowance at the top of the side seams, I figured it was acceptable enough and finished the bodice, and added a waistband and gathered rectangle skirt instead of the pattern’s skirt (due to lack of fabric and because I was being lazy).Ava dress | Pattern . Paint . Pan

The zipper went in without any hassle, and was pretty well hidden, except that since the dress has been washed one side of the lap has decided to flip the wrong way just above the waistband. I could get the iron out. But I won’t. Ava dress | Pattern . Paint . Pan

I wasn’t really sure how to finish the seam allowances on the zipper side, so used some extra self-fabric bias binding from the neckline and arm holes. The seams on the opposite side are faux french seamed on the bodice and french seamed on the skirt. I also faux french seamed the shoulders and the contrast fabric to the main fabric, and hand stitched the waistband facing down, although my patience did not extend to hand stitching the hem so it’s a narrow double turned machine hem. (Spot the multiple thread colours in the photos below!)Ava dress | Pattern . Paint . PanAva dress | Pattern . Paint . Pan

And then, once it was all finished, somehow the combination of not taking enough time over fitting and losing a few pounds has meant that it’s got quite a lot of excess space at the bust, and a little at the waist, although that comes in handy for those big lunches and sneaky summer ciders. Ava dress | Pattern . Paint . Pan

So, when I remake Ava, which will be happening in the near future, I think I’ll be going down a size, however this dress is still my most worn item at the moment, so it’s a win in my book.Ava dress | Pattern . Paint . Pan



Me Made May 2014

I really had every intention of starting this blog in time for Me Made May, so I made my pledge and took photos and wrote imaginary blog summary posts, and felt a bit guilty (and silly) once May had finished and no blog had appeared. But I figure it’s not too crazily late for one big summary post, right?

But for all those non-sewing people, who, to be honest, are the only people reading this blog right now seeing as I don’t have any real life sewing friends, first let me tell you about Me Made May (or copy some stuff from the founder’s blog actually):

What is MMM’14?
Me-Made-May’14 (MMM’14 for short) is a challenge designed to encourage people who sew/knit/crochet/refashion/upcycle garments for themselves to actually wear and love them. The me-made and self-stitched challenges have been taking place for over four years now and they work on both a personal and community level. The participants decide the specifics of their own challenge pledge, so that the month is appropriate and challenging for them.

Based on the amount of me made clothing I have with me in Cornwall currently and to avoid too many repeats, I decided that my pledge would be to wear at least one item of me made or upcycled clothing on 15 days. Which, to be honest, is about a 5-fold increase in what I would normally wear in a month given my love of RTW jersey dresses.

But enough of the waffle, let’s get on with the (very bad) photos, don’t let day 1 and 2 fool you; it deteriorates into badly lit selfies rapidly.

SewingDay 1: Grey, navy & green feather print jersey Lady Skater dress (pattern from Perfect Pattern Parcel #1). I also made my nephew’s green velvet smoking jacket, more info in a future post perhaps.
Day 2: Black, blue & yellow viscose dress (self drafted).

MMM14Day 3: Floral cotton lawn top (self drafted) and denim gathered skirt (self drafted).
Day 4: Mystery silky fabric collared top (self drafted years ago) and upcycled cord skirt.

MMM142Day  5: Floral chiffon & viscose faux placket top and another denim skirt.
Day 6: Repeated feather print lady skater

MMM141Day 7: Upcycled viscose skirt.
Day 8: Navy & cream jersey dress (pattern traced from RTW dress).

MMM143Day 9: Floral viscose dress (vintage pattern).
Day 10: Zebra & striped jersey dress (lady skater bodice & self drafted skirt).

MMM144Day 11: Repeated skirt from day 3.
Day 12: Wearable muslin floral peplum (Simplicity 2444 bodice & self drafted peplum) and denim skirt from day 5.

MMM145Day 13: Repeated feather lady skater again with an even more terrible photo!
Day 14: Repeated skirt from day 7 and knitted cowl scarf.

MMM146Day 15: Repeated skirt from day 4.
Day 16: Repeated dress from day 10.

In conclusion, I actually did 16 days wearing at least one me-made item, although towards the end there were quite a few repeats cropping up. It has definitely made me more conscious of choosing more me-made clothes, and in the few weeks since the end of May, I think a higher percentage of my outfits have been me-made as I’ve finished a few dresses from the Simplicity 2444 pattern and an Ava dress from Victory Patterns. More on those later!