The Seamstress Project Year 1

[taking a lead from Bridget Jones]
(classes attended 4,cushions made 8, projects started 20, projects completed 17, blog posts 13, patterns in stash 20, patterns used from stash 12, hours spent unpicking poor seams and mistakes 30 (feels like), metres of fabric purchased 1000 (looks like), hours looking at fabric online 100)

It is one year ago now that I began my adventures in sewing....and this is most of what I have made in that time! In my opinion not bad at all, and I have really enjoyed learning a new skill. I have attended four workshops over the year (one was online from the comfort of my home), bought three sewing books and acres of fabric. There have been times when I've been confused or frustrated but along with my unpicker I have found a brilliant community of crafty sewists who love to share advice and inspiration, helping to guide me along the way. Here's my year in review: what I've loved, loathed, learned, and would tell anyone starting out themselves...

Sewing workshops I've loved:

I don't think I could pick a favourite from these as each one marks a different point in my sewing journey, and opened up so many new things that I could use to make in new patterns.

Learn to sew jersey tops on a regular sewing machine and Agnes top review

Highlight of the year:

Writing for a sewing magazine.....I can't believe this happened still! It was such an interesting experience and I enjoyed thinking about what I was doing from this perspective too.

Low point of the year:

Struggling to get my second Macaron dress finished in time for the wedding.....there were a lot of problems with it along the way!

What would I go back and tell myself:

Take your time and don't rush!

What I would tell anyone else beginning to learn to sew:

Don't be afraid to have a go. There are so many patterns that are specifically for beginners that will look fabulous, and the internet has so much available to help you can work your way through almost anything.
And you are going to need more space to store it all then you think....

Learning to sew and tips for beginners

Sewing blogs, vlogs and communities I love the most:

  • Tilly and the Buttons
  • Sew Over It
  • The Foldline
  • House of Pinheiro
  • What Katie Sews
  • Handmade Jane
  • Dixie DIY

Makes I wear the most:

  • Chiffon shell top
  • Pussy Bow Blouse
  • Pyjama botttoms
I wear the pussy bow blouse to work quite often as it's really comfortable, and wore the chiffon top a lot last summer. The fabric was so bright and colourful it just shouted 'wear me!'.

Quick and easy chiffon shell top

Makes I wear the least:

  • Macaron dress
  • Mimi blouse
I haven't chosen fabrics that go well with other things in my wardrobe for these I think. I need a jacket to go with the dress if I want to wear it to work (fabric no longer available) and I haven't really worn Mimi that much whilst it's been wintry and rainy weather.

Tilly and the Buttons Mimi Blouse Pattern Review

I really enjoyed making:

  • Wren dress
  • Francoise dress
The Wren dress was so easy it was really enjoyable to make. I made this in the middle of my wrestle with my wedding Macaron and it was such a welcome relief for something to go to plan! in fact it may even have been started and finished in the same day....unlike the Francoise dress which took a lot longer as I mastered brand new skills but I loved being able to make a whole dress on my own!

Colette Wren dress pattern review

Makes that others compliment on in real life:

  • Summer maxi dress
  • Wedding Macaron dress
  • Bettine dress
On holiday so many people commented on my maxi dress I couldn't believe it, especially as I hadn't used a pattern and had cobbled it together with a bit of internet research and improvisation. I also had lots of compliments about the Macaron dress I made to wear as wedding guest... before people even know that I had made it myself (which was really flattering....then my mum decided to inform practically everyone herself).

No pattern easy summer maxi dress

What gave me the biggest headaches:

  • Wedding macaron
  • Liberty print pyjamas with pink piping
I haven't blogged about my pyjamas because I can not seem to get a decent photo of them. I had a beautiful fabric and they feel lovely to wear but I had such problems trying to incorporate the piping....they took forever to make!

Macaron Dress with a sheer yoke for a wedding

Aims for the year ahead:

  • Use up the fabric I have already bought.
  • Learn to love finishing seams.
  • Make a vintage/vintage inspired pattern.
  • Make something for someone else to wear.
  • Get involved in a sewalong as it is happening (rather than a year later as usual).
  • Post a tutorial (maybe a video? let me know in comments of you would rather this or regular image and text)


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Welcome to Sewing and Other Stories; my journeys with sewing and knitting; pattern reviews, tips and guides for beginners. I'm also the designer behind West Beach Knits knitting patterns and I host a Knitting and Sewing channel on YouTube where you can see all of this in person. Come have a look!

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