Friday, 29 March 2013

Confessions of a selfish Seamstress - Simplicity 1690

I have a confession:

As much as I love making things for myself, I hate making things for other people.

You see I'm confident making for me, I know my shape and how to fit patterns to it.  If I make mistakes it doesn't matter, it's only me who knows and sees it.  But when it comes to others, I'm not convinced I'd make a good job of it.

For ages and ages, I'd promised my mum I would make her some bits and pieces.  Last summer I made her two dresses, both of which were very successful.  I put more effort into those two dresses than anything else I'd made that far.  I was terrifed they wouldn't fit, or she wouldn't like the end result, so it was crucial for me to know that I had done everything properly and that they were well made garments.  And she loved them and I was proud of myself for having made them for her.

Then we went to London last year and she picked up some fabric at Walthamstow for trousers and a dress.  We know the dress would be a while in the making as we didn't know what style she wanted it to be (we recently thought about a peplum top in it) but the trousers were always going to be the Colette Clover pants.  I'm ashamed to admit that the fabric is still uncut in my room.  Why?  Cause I made trousers for myself that didn't work out well and I chickened out of making mum's.  I've decided to wait until summer to make them for her when I can focus on making them correctly, like I done with her dresses.

What I have been doing though, is making tops for her though.  She picked up fabric in New York when we went in 2011 (see I told you that I was reluctant to cut into fabrics for her) and spent the morning in Mood.  I always thought I was lucky to work in Mandors until I set foot in Mood.  I was in heaven and managed to spent about $500 over two days.  Some of it I'm still scared to cut into as it was 'designer' and I thought I'm likely to mess it up!  However in February I finally got round to cutting up mum's piece that was intended for a skirt and making V8815 (yup my favourite pattern) after she liked all the versions I made for myself.  We ordered another version of the pattern (I cut all my patterns out, whatever, I prefer it that way!) and I got to work.  Now I'll be honest, it was a heavy poly mix more suited for the skirt but we went for it.  

Upon trying it on she didn't like it and was disheartened with peplum tops thinking they weren't for her.

That was until I made her this...

For mother's day I made her V8815 out of Kaldor jersey I bought in work when we first got them in.  This was before I made the other one so I was again terrified of her reaction.  And know what, she loved it!  And has requested another one!  So the moral of this story is fabric choice matters!  I was completely wrong to go ahead with the heavy stuff, but as soon as I constructed the jersey I knew we were onto a winner!

Since then I've made her some more tops using Simplicity 1690.  The top is the easiest to make, two side seams that run into the underarm and hems.  That's it.  No shaping or fitting.  Perfect for my selfish, scared seamstress inner voice!  For these I also used a Kaldor Jersey and a chiffon, both from work.  She's happy with these two and I have 4 more sitting on my sewing table ready to be hemmed and then worn!

Having successfully made these for mum, I'm growing in confidence and beginning to let go of my selfish side and consider making things for others.  Mum's also got some fabric sitting waiting to be made into Colette's new Laurel dress and I'm counting down the days until uni's over and I can make a start on her trousers.

I'd love to hear your experiences of sewing for others, whether you have successfully, unsuccessfully or you are terrified like I was?


  1. Ooh, these all look so lovely on your ma! I've sewed for my mom and sisters, and it's been pretty successful, although I agree that it's totally nerve-wracking. I always feel stressed out that I'm going to screw up, or it won't fit, or they just won't like the results but will feel too badly to tell me. I should do more sewing for others, though... can you believe the only thing I've ever made for my husband is a pair of PJ pants??

    1. Don't even speak to me about sewing for men! I've had the best will in the world to make my dad something for the past two years but have no idea where to start! So I do not blame you for having only made your husband pj bottoms.

  2. Your Mum is so lucky!! You are such a prolific sewer! And I'm jealous you not only work at Mandors but have been shopping in Mood!!!

    1. No need to be jealous, working in Mandors is both a blessing and a curse, so much fabric and so little money to spend on it all! And looking at it all day doesn't help! And I cannot wait for Mood to have an international website, just so I can do more damage to my bank account! :)


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