About the same time the BBC ran a series called The Great British Sewing Bee where sewers from around the UK competed to be labelled the best amateur sewer in the UK. Some of the stuff they made was easy, but some projects were tough! Though I have been sewing for years, I couldn't attempt some of the garments that they were making but I thought I might as well try. I was inspired to look into improving my sewing skills.
Looking up local sewing classes, it turned out that Carlisle College runs adult education classes and include sewing classes. These classes ran from absolute beginners to my class, the advanced sewers. I wanted to learn to alter a pattern to make a garment ME shaped. I also wanted to learn some couture sewing techniques, the nice finishing touches that take a garment from homemade to custom tailored. I go on Thursday nights and it turns out that the night class is a mixed class. There are some beginner sewers and then there are a few at the intermediate level.
I picked out a pattern for a jacket and got some beautiful tweed. I am very lucky as the most beautiful woolen fabrics are produced right in this part of the UK. One of my sons and his family live in Peebles on the banks of the river Tweed! Carlisle itself is home to Linton Tweeds, the factory that produces the woolen boucle' for Chanel. I can go to the factory shop and buy end of run and flawed cloth for my own projects.
The pattern used for my first project was McCalls M6172 choosing to make view B
It was fun to make and I learned a whole bunch while doing it. I took photos during the process.
Laying out the pattern pieces to cut the cloth.
After cutting the cloth came the time consuming task of marking in all the tailor's tacks, little marks on the pattern that help the sewer to match the pieces properly when constructing the garment. I didn't want to skip a single step of the construction.
The construction was fun. I loved figuring out the challenges and plowing ahead. I sought advice when it came time to make the collar and add the lining. It seemed that there as a specific order in which to do things and the pattern directions were unclear. My lovely sewing instructor stepped in at that point and gave guidance. She even invited me to her home one afternoon over Christmas so that she could go over how to proceed.
After putting on the buttons and making the button holes and stitching the last lining hem, I was able to wear the jacket with pride yesterday. It was so great!