Thursday, 17 February 2011

Daydreaming of dresses...

...and an entire handmade wardrobe. Yes, recently I've been daydreaming a lot about making all my own clothes. I buy nearly all my clothes from charity shops, but my turn around is quite fast, as so often the clothes don't fit quite right or are slightly worn out. What if I made all my own clothes? All my skirts and trousers could be highwaisted! I could have chic bedwear! I'd wear big 50s style dresses to parties (and not just the same two I always wear)! It would be amazing! But oh yes, I am forgetting, that little factor called time. So maybe I should start with one project, before I commit myself to an entire handmade wardrobe ~ making a dress for my good friend's wedding.
Where I am working at the moment is in an area of London full of fabric shops (Shepherds Bush for you Londoners). Today I went into one and found this fabric which I instantly loved. The shop was full of gorgeous fabrics that Nigerian woman use for their traditional attire. It's printed and embossed. I think it's perfect for my dress.

One thing that encourages this homemade wardrobe idea is that I have a small suitcase full of vintage dressmaking patterns. Fifties and Sixties are my preferred styles, so, having these patterns means I woud be able to make most of my clothes. Above are the patterns I've picked out for the blue and white fabric. I like the full dress in 4491, with one of those big underskirts in 8117.

I have the best book for dressmaking and I would highly recommend it to anyone who is learning how to dressmake. Readers Digest Complete Guide to Sewing. It has step by step instructions for everything, including how to alter a pattern to fit you exactly. See? I'm all set with everything I need. I could make all my own clothes, but first, let's see how I go with one dress.


  1. I love the 50s style of dresses. So feminine and yet fun. Looking forward to seeing the dress when it is all done.

  2. oh wow, Jill !!! you are amazing ! (and brave ! I tried last year to sew me a blouse, and it was so difficult for me that I don't feel like making another one LOL PS : I hate following instructions !)
    I am SO looking forward to seeing progress photos or the final & completed dress. The fabric you chose is breathtaking ! oxox

  3. the fabric is very 'you' and pretty:
    I used to make all my own clothes when I was in my early twenties:
    Libbie wants me to make her a dress for 'prom' but we haven't found a pattern to suit her taste: {heart shaped bodice, strapless, full skirt, vintage}
    I'm always looking for a pattern for my 'dream dress'!
    there's something very satisfying about making your own unique threads ^_^

  4. i love that post and i have to get that book for my sister, she so talented in sewing...

  5. Fantastic patterns. I have a drawer of the same, all 50s and 60s. I love them but making anything from them has always been waaaaaay down on the list. Maybe your results will inspire me. I might have to come to London for dress fabric though, not much available around here. Your new fabric is amazing!

  6. go for it!!
    you have everything you need
    time can always be found if you look for it
    If i visit london you will have to take me to that fabric shop, it looks really original and awesome

  7. The fabric is wonderful! Wish I could sew like that! I only do blankets and cushions. a tote would also be perfect from the leftovers - maybe with a corsage (detachable) or some crocheted flowers... But I get carried away here. Enjoy the process!