Wednesday, 17 July 2013


Sew it yourself

I made something!

The genesis of this not entirely spur-of-the-moment project came back in February, in a shop filled with lots of lovely vintage-inspired clothes that, newly unemployed, I just couldn't justify buying. A close look at some of them got me thinking: I could make that.

Three months later, something far less trivial also got me thinking. The Rana Plaza disaster might have been an accident waiting to happen, but it wouldn't have been quite as likely if high street retailers went beyond the minimum in scrutinising their suppliers' ethics.

Apart from making me really assess my shopping habits, I decided to try to make some of the things that I saw and wanted to buy.

Knowing my limits - it's twenty years since I last used a sewing machine - I wanted an easy project. The top that I eventually decided on is the Sorbetto vest by Colette Patterns, an independent pattern company. And it's a free download! This pattern is near-ubiquitous in the online world of sewing blogs, so there was plenty of advice to get me started; it's worth saying that for a (near complete) beginner, the wealth of information online (including Tilly Walnes' blog; I didn't watch The Great British Sewing Bee in case you were wondering) made things a lot easier.


In terms of the pattern, I felt brave enough to mix things up a bit. The original is a fairly loose-fitting, Sixties-inspired boxy vest, and when I cut a test-version out of cheesecloth at the recommended size, it had all the design elegance of a sack. Cutting the next size down and adding two darts in the back helped to give it some shape, and I changed the pleat layout to create more of a flared outline. Technique-wise, I had four darts to sew and I got to make and use my own bias tape. Not bad for a total beginner.

The fabric came from one of the many excellent fabric shops on Goldhawk Road - I used about a yard in total, which cost £6. I reckon the total cost of the make comes in at under £8, which includes a bit of thread and some buttons from the local sewing shop.

I'm really pleased with my efforts, not least because it's given me some confidence. I'm realistic about the fact that not everything will go quite as smoothly (the blunder count on this one scored two for burnt fingers, and one for nearly sewing over a pin) but I'm looking forward to my next project.

Posted by em at 19:17 | Comments will be back one day. Please email me instead!