Sunday, 1 April 2012


Thanks to a generous transport grant from the Queen of Bloomsbury (my friend Clara), I got my sewing machine back last week. And thus I discovered how hard it is to sew clothes in a tiny box room when you're used to having half a house to spread out over with a hardwood floor and a big dining table. Right now I have to use my bed as my paper cutting zone.

And then I was using the floor as a fabric cutting table, until I realised that I could just about jimmy enough space on my desk if I moved my laptop onto the windowsill. I need my laptop when I sew to listen to the radio or podcasts. This project was completed with 1 episode of This American Life, 3 episodes of Woman's Hour, and various hours of Absolute Radio.

By the end of the first day I had sewn all the main seams (bar the collar) and got the pockets on. It's the cutting at the start that always takes the longest, urgh. Oh and dismantling whatever you're making your stuff out of. This was 2 vintage pillowcases but they were pretty easy to destroy because the stitching was so old.

On day two I had to trek up to John Lewis on Oxford Street because it seems to be the only place in London that sells interfacing. Ridiculous. I also went to East Street market to buy some buttons too, there's one stall that sells baggies of buttons for £1, and another that had buttons in tubes that you can buy individually. It's the best value place for buttons I know, a lot of places now will charge you 20p for a bog standard 5mm fish eye button, grr.
By the end of day 2, I had a handy sweatshop employee.

And finally, this morning I had the heart-wrenching task of choosing the right buttons...

I settled for the fake moonstones at the bottom to add a touch of glitz.
And finally, after 2 and a bit days, I was done! To make minimum wage on this damn thing I'd probably have to charge £60 at least. But eh, I don't sew to make a living wage, I do it because I love it. This blouse is for sale though, I'm planning to set up an Etsy store this month when I get back from Aberystwyth (oh yes, I'm going to the seaside next week!).

So there you go. I personally think it would look great with white cropped jeans, or a 50s style skirt. I'm happy with how I've done because I really took my time and paid attention to detail, but there's still room for improvement. Now that I know my machine has a fantastic overlock stitch, I need to get in the habit of overlocking my seams so they don't fray.

You wanna see the back? It needs an iron but I'm not talking to the iron after burning every single fingertip making my own bias binding (huge pain in the ass and a time sink, but cheaper and easier than trekking off to find somewhere that sells it).

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