Monday, 4 July 2016

How I caught the sewing bug... and a blast from the past!

If you ever asked yourself, when and how I started sewing, I have to tell you: I've not been sewing my whole life. I am not one of those that followed the call early on and dressed their dolls. I regarded sewing as something you can do, when you need something. A necessity Not as something that's actually fun and makes sense.
Hence, I discovered sewing as a hobby rather late.
My mother used to sew and knit a lot of clothes when she was a student and she sometimes would make or alter something for me. But I was never allowed to use her machine (I am not sure whether she thought I would break it or sew through my index finger...) neither did she introduce me to sewing techniques or pattern alterations. Her old dresses did make a lasting impression on me, though. In 2001 I was close to catching the sewing bug, when I had a short phase of LARP. I first looked at buying a costume but then decided I could make it myself (financial reasons). I had chosen the character of a forest elf (*no comment*) and I suppose due to the general lack of fabric of my costume, it made a lasting impression on some attendents of the Cons. After making this embarrassing piece of my past public (forgive me, I was 20!) I will also show you pictures of said forest elf: 

The cloak was really brilliant, half circle with hood, patchwork from lots of different green and brown fabrics. With inside hidden pocket. Cute, eh?!

see what I mean about the lack of fabric?

Ieeek! That's faux leather with a feather collar. Nightmare to sew faux leather. Really put me off.

So, after that short phase of LARP (1 year) I stopped sewing. I can't remember what happened, in 2006/7 I suddenly wanted a "Mina" dress. Probably I had watched Bram Stoker's Dracula with Winona Ryder and that epic red dinner dress. So I found all those sites with people that made their own dresses (especially Victorian dresses) and made my very first "real" dress. I used a Truly Victorian pattern but only a small "off the rack" waist cincher corset. Shocking, I know. At least I WAS wearing a corset and a small bustle underskirt. Also, the entire thing is made from Polyester! Ugh! :) I noticed quite quickly that polyester s***s, because when i ironed a seam, I melted that fabric. (Put bow on the place, it's behind the elbow, invisible in this picture). 

The next thing I made were rococo stays ( Version B with front lacing), not too bad choice, i'd say, but then the dress... I chose Butterick 3640 - I wore it once, scared the neighbours and then recycled it). it was so bad, i don't even have a photograph. I then changed the decade and made a Regency dress. And then came the wedding dress. 

I really got into sewing when no wedding dress would do and I was dreaming of a 1880s style bustle dress (and I can't even remember, how that happened... I suppose still the Mina aftermath...). After frustrating visits to bridal shops (some of the dresses looked so outrageously awful on me...), I decided I would have to do it myself. I bought the patterns (truly victorian), got a proper sewing maching and proper fabric (silk for the first time!) and got started. I also made the suit for my husband (laughing moon patterns). Of course it's a modern adaption, not a reproduction (was never meant to be). :) I made lots of fitting muslins, took real care while fitting and making the clothes and was SO happy with the result (and still am). 

now THAT's a Cul de Paris!

(Still just a waist cincher, thought, I didn't dare to make the real deal corset...)
From sewing my wedding dress I dabbled more into historical sewing, mid-20th century inspired "sort-of-suitable for everyday-wear" stuff, children's clothes, books on pattern drafting and serious sewing techniques (like welt pockets and hand-made button-holes). And that's where I am now.

I would like to mention my post about Minimalism and Sewing and how that works:

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