My new-found fascination with sewing started with the second series of Great British Sewing Bee. I don’t know whether it was the bonhomie of the sewing room, the little cut-aways delving into the history of sewing, or the implausibility of Claude’s fringe which did it, but I was hooked. I knew my way around a machine, in fact, my ‘proficiency’ is showcased in my Yr8 home economics project: a fried egg oven mitt “thingy” which languishes somewhere in my parents kitchen (I’ll try and find a picture)… I desperately needed someone to get me up to speed to actually make something fit for purpose! After some hunting around I discovered Sew Over It. I picked this place from the others offering “intro to dressmaking” type courses due to the range of courses they have on offer, demonstrating a commitment to progression through learning new skills. That, and the combination of two of my favourite things: cake and puns.
Intro to Dressmaking – Circular Skirt
I couldn’t rest on my “fried egg oven mitt” laurels for much longer, so this course to learn some basic sewing techniques, such as inserting a zip and putting in a waistband, seemed ideal. I have to admit, my main learning point was in using an iron (I know!), and with a circular skirt, there was plenty of scope for error in the hemline, which was about 1 mile long! I took the evening course taught by Dominique and was amazed by how quickly the 3hr sessions flew by. Taking my finished garment home I was absolutely thrilled with the neatness of my sink stitching, although my hand sewn fasteners left a little to be desired as I ran out of time toward the end.
Verdict: great cake, great course, but a shame it was the only “beginner” course on offer, as I don’t think I will wear the circular skirt in everyday life (for some reason my body is too “square” for this style!), so would be nice to have the option to make a different garment at a similar level of complexity.
Ultimate Shift Dress
Buoyed by the previous class, I signed up to another evening course with the Ultimate Shift Dress. I felt that after the Intro course, I still needed some help before I set myself free, and this course offered the opportunity to learn more skills – facing a garment, darts, overlocking(!) and basic fit measurements. I was really keen to learn how to put in sleeves, so I took this option from the pattern (although strictly speaking this isn’t part of the standard course). I have to say I enjoyed this course more – there were only 5 of us (as opposed to a full house of 8 on the previous course) so we were a little more relaxed and free to chat (whilst eating cake, obviously). Dominique proved a fantastic teacher again. The content was more challenging too, which I thrived on, although was knackered afterwards. Filled with summery optimism, I picked a woven striped fabric, which I thought would give a lovely seersuckery summer dress feel. No, no, no, no, no. I realised a) it was too heavy and had zero stretch or drape, b) it matched my duvet cover and c) as it came closer to completion, it, drew unfavourable comparisons with “the Boy in Striped Pyjamas”… Oh dear! A lesson in fabric choice well and truly learnt.
Verdict: more great cake(!), a challenging, fun and relaxed course (loved learning new skills such as the sleeves and facings), but I probably suit more fitted styles and better choice of fabric! So, what next? Well, I bought Sew Over It’s Ultimate Trouser pattern and will be attempting this All By Myself… watch this space!