Over the next few weeks we have a collection of fantastic bloggers visiting Sew Together to tell us about their Best (sewing) Friend. There will be posts about favourite patterns, favourite people, favourite equipment and other generally favourite stuff! We hope it will help you find new inspiration and try new things.
And who is the fabulous blogger who gets to start the ball rolling?
It's me, Maryanne!! (Being the big sister I get to be bossy every now and then and so I chose to go first!)
So let's begin...
Let's start by acknowledging this is a long post.
But it is worth it...
Now we can really begin...
My best friend without a doubt would be Caroline. I am lucky enough to have my sewing buddy, blogging partner and sister rolled into one. I could chat about her all day long, but you can find plenty of her sewing inspiration right here on our blog. So rather than telling you all about Caroline, I am going to talk about my second best friend - children's vintage sewing patterns.
I regularly browse collections of vintage pattern images online to find inspiration for new sewing projects. I have resisted buying any - I really can't justify spending any more money supporting my sewing habit!! But you don't need the patterns to help your sewing along. The pictures are enough to start you thinking and then it is easy to work from there.
My favourite collections are the Vintage Children's Pattern Flickr group, and the Vintage Patterns Wiki (particularly the Helen Lee Vintage Patterns and the general girl's pages). Searching for children's vintage patterns on Etsy can also be useful.
When I am looking for some inspiration I browse these collections until an image grabs me. The next step is to consider the basic shape of the project - is it a basic bodice with a full skirt, a variation on an A line dress or a standard skirt shape? Once I have worked this out, I pull out one of my basic patterns and tweak it to create the look I want.
Using contemporary fabrics, you can take vintage ideas and create something fresh and modern. Here are some examples of projects Caroline and I have worked on that have taken vintage patterns as their inspiration.
If you have a basic A line dress pattern, you can very quickly draft up this variation and it is also incredibly fast to sew up. If you would like to make one for a little girl you know, click on the read more button for all the instructions.
Before you do, I want to reminder you to check back here on Tuesday. Jessica from Me Sew Crazy is going to introduce us to her best friend!
Make sure your pattern has a fairly wide neck. You pull this dress over your little girls head, so if you think the neck hole is too small to do this, enlarge it a little.
Trace off two fronts and two backs.
Take one front and one back and then lay them out like this, so they just touch at the waist line:
Lay your other front and back pieces out like you did earlier. You will need to make your back arm hole a little longer so that it curves over the corner of the front arm hole. Continue the line of the arm hole straight out to the centre front.
Now let's get cutting.
Cut one front piece on the fold and one back piece on the fold from each of the 2 fabrics you have chosen.
Cut two tie pieces from each fabric - I cut mine 6cm wide by 60cm long
You will also need some ribbon to close the back of the dress. I used 4 lengths - all 20cm each.
Phew, we finally get to do some sewing!
Take one of each fabric, and place them right sides together. Sew along a long side, a short side and a long side. Clip your corners and your seam allowance back to 0.5cm. Turn your tie right side out. Iron it and then top stitch.
Repeat for the other tie.
Sew the shoulder seams together on both dresses and iron the seams open. As this is a fully lined dress, you don't need to finish any of the seams (woohoo!!)
Lay one dress out flat, right side up. I had to use my floor.
Its time to pin and baste the ties.
On the back of the dress baste the fabric ties right sides together 1cm (or your seam allowance) below the front wrap corners on both sides.
On the front of the dress baste the ribbon ties - 1 cm (or your seam allowance) and 15cm below the back wrap corners on both sides.
Now you can sew. Follow the line in the following photo. I promise my sewing was a lot less wobbly than the line in this picture! Remember to leave two openings as shown in the picture of about 10cm. Clip your corners and all the curves.
Now it's time to finish the neck. This is a little fiddly and difficult to explain but hang in there, using this technique results in a neatly finished dress with no hand stitching.
Once you have got your dress right sides out, take a look at your neck. Place a pin at the centre front with the raw edges tucked in. This is your marker pin.
Arrange the neck edge with right sides together and pin it. You wont be able to sew all of it - sew it as far as you can from shoulder seam to shoulder seam. Return it back through the hole and you will have sewn the front edge of you neck line.
Do exactly the same for the back neck line - marker pin, pull through the hole you have left, pin neck edge with right sides together and then sew as close as you can from one shoulder seam to the other, return it back through the hole.
You will have a neck edge with a small opening at each shoulder seam.