Welcome to my very first blog entry on ‘Did You Make That?’. So much to talk about. First of all, may I introduce you to a sewing paradise: Walthamstow market on a Saturday. The below two photos were taken only a couple of hours ago. There are several stalls selling fabric and others selling as many notions as you can carry. Many of the fabric suppliers are catering to local Indian and African communities with sari fabrics and rolls of those strong, colourful African prints. It was only when I started sewing last year that I realised a) there’s a huge portion of the female population that isn’t catered for at M&S and b) that there must be many, many sewing enthusiasts scattered around London and the world. For those of you who are London-based, I recommend a Saturday visit to Walthamstow for bargains galore. Don’t just visit the stalls – check out Saeed Fabrics near Sainsburys. Honestly, you’ll think you’ve died and gone to heaven. A very cheap heaven.
In other news, I recently finished sewing the Rooibos dress from Colette Patterns. A Colette Pattern is the sewing equivalent of a limited edition hardback of your favourite novel: you want to keep it somewhere safe and take it out to stroke it. The patterns are beautifully put together.
I love this dress; I didn’t make a muslin. Yes, you can guess what’s coming, can’t you? It isn’t quite perfect. The adorable tiny turn over collar isn’t working. I put the dress on to go out last night and ended up changing back into jeans at the last minute. The collar just won’t sit right. Correction, the lining won’t sit right. Part of the issue seems to be that the bust area isn’t, well… Filled enough. This is my problem: I have a body that wants to be a bit fat everywhere other than in the bra department. Aren’t bodies contrary? So several options face me:
1. Wear the dress and just accept that the collar won’t sit right.
2. Never wear the dress.
3. Rip out the collar and try to bodge some adjusted neckline. Yes, I can just imagine how well that will work.
3. Try to do something to make the collar sit right. Do something… Yes, well done, Karen. That’s a great solution. But what is that ‘something’ exactly? Um, dunno.
Here’s a photo of me wearing the dress. Helpfully, the details are shrouded in shadow so you probably can’t even see what the issue is.
Here’s a detail shot of the collar, with me holding it down:
For anyone out there who is considering making the Rooibos dress I would say this: do it! It’s a gorgeous pattern, it really is. But choose your lining fabric carefully. If I make this again, I will use a very simple cotton for the lining. You know cotton? The fabric that does just what it’s told? That’s what I would use.
In other news, I am currently knitting this pattern from Ravelry. I saw the original Anthropologie scarflets in their store on Regent Street, priced something ridiculous. This pattern is an almost perfect match and with a ball of Rowan Cocoon wool (gorgeous stuff!) you can make yourself one for half the price in a couple of evenings.
I’ve already made this once as a Christmas present for my boyfriend’s mum. I liked it so much that I decided to make another one for myself. The first one I knitted in cream and it was a perfect colour for the pattern. For myself, I have chosen a deep brown wool. Why? Because it will go with a lot of coats and outfits. I think this has been a mistake. The fun of this item demands a light, fun colour. Not a sensible brown. Hmmm. There’s a theme emerging in this very first blog post: Things That Karen Gets Wrong. Anyway, here’s a photo of the work in progress:
See? It’s very … brown.
And finally, I must finish sewing together the pieces of the Mrs Darcy Cardigan that I’ve recently knitted. The pattern writer is endearingly relaxed in her instructions: ‘We will be keeping a 3-stitch border of garter stitch at the right edge, and remember to do this because I didn’t really include it in my instructions. Just use your common sense and you’ll be fine.’ Love it! A girl after my own heart. I really have no excuse not to finish this item. I have even bought the buttons to go with it. I’ll share a photo with you in my next post. There’ll probably be some detail about what I did wrong.
Perfection? It’s overrated.