Hi I’m Suzy, I am a stay at home mum to 3 young children. I have recently rediscovered my passion for sewing. I have always been a lover of all things textiles, but I have little experience when it comes to constructing wearable garments. I took on the challenge of making a garment from Tilly and the Buttons – Indigo pattern, and using a beautiful Beckford Silk Paisley – Blue and Sage print. I was extremely nervous and unsure if it would be a success, but I gave it a go and I’m so glad I did.
I chose a pattern for a smock dress, with no fastening and a relaxed fit. The fabric is a beautiful paisley Beckford Silk print in blue. The shape, print and colour are most definitely my style so I was super excited to work with the fabric. I was very worried that the silk would be difficult to work with, but it was far less slippy and more robust than I imagined.
The pattern comes with an instruction booklet which is very detailed and easy to follow every step of the way. What I found great is that with one pattern there are several variations of sleeve style, garment length etc. so there is an opportunity to make it your own. It really highlights the benefit of making your own garment. No one else is going to have the same outfit as you, and you can tweak the garment to fit you perfectly.
After laying my pattern pieces out I started cutting. I made sure I had very sharp fabric scissors and I took my time. I used tins as weights as at this point I was conscious of marking the fabric with pins. I later discovered after a few tests that using a fine needle/pin didn’t damage the fabric. It was not as delicate as I thought. So I used tailor tacks to mark the darts and pivot points on the pattern.
After cutting I was ready to sew. I changed my machine needle to a new fine needle. The silk was very easy to sew and didn’t slip around like I thought it would. I tried various methods to hold the fabric in place. I tried little pegs and pinning within the seam allowance. Both worked fine.
I used an iron on interfacing to create the neckline and I was delighted when it sat flat on the body first time! The booklet is full of tips and tricks which I wasn’t very familiar with, like using stay stitching, understitching and snipping the seam allowance in places. This really helped give a neat finish. The variation I followed had pockets, again something I have never attempted before but they were very easy.
The point I was most worried about was the sleeves. I had never made a garment with sleeves before, and I thought they would be difficult. The silk was a dream to work with and easing in the fabric to the sleeve hole was simple.
The design I chose had gathers at the waistline, sleeve and shoulder. I used machine gather stitches in contrast thread and the silk was strong enough to cope with me removing all the gather stitches afterwards.
The finished garment looks great and feels so comfortable to wear. I think this style is very versatile, made with this beautiful silk you could really dress it up or down to suit many occasions.
Sewing has become my ‘me’ time. I find it a very relaxing and when creating something like a garment it gives me a great sense of achievement. I will definitely be doing it again soon! If you are not sure you can do it, I really encourage you to give it a go…it’s easier than you might think.
Thank you to Suzy, for sharing her experience with sewing our silk paisley, sage and blue in silk crepe de chine. Doesn’t she looks stunning in the smock dress she has created!