A Newbie Sewist and A Muslin Version of The Cambie Or: Bungling Along A Steep Learning Curve

One glance is probably enough for anyone looking at this to see my first problem:


I started sewing the bodice.  First step:  darts.  I finished one and couldn’t figure out what went wrong.  The bodice was barely big enough to cover anything! Newbie problem:  the directions don’t explain about cutting patterns out correctly.  I traced the dart shapings on all my pieces, not realizing that the triangles on the pattern pieces are guides that show the shape of the darts.  I then cut them out, resulting in darts MUCH bigger than what’s intended.  I am so glad I traced the pattern instead of cutting it!  Argh!!

On my second muslin version (and I’m so glad I read about the purpose of a muslin on someone’s blog before I even purchased this pattern), I griped at my marking pencil (it seems like a good idea, but it’s too big for my pencil sharpener and thus, I had trouble sharpening it to a nice point with my exacto knife) that didn’t mark the most precise line along the darts.  Next, I sewed a back bodice piece to the front bodice upside-down.  At this point, I gave up for the night (this was yesterday) with a sewing-induced headache.

Today, I had to Google how to do a gather properly because my sewing book doesn’t actually contain instructions on how to actually do a gather.  I successfully followed a video tutorial I found on Youtube.  My second Google assist was how to do an understitch and I then understitched the pockets’ seam allowances.  I’ve ended my sewing day without completing said pockets.  The next step in the Camie’s instructions are to finish the pocket seams.  I’ve never finished an edge before.  I referred to my sewing machine’s instruction manual on how to proceed:


Because I don’t have a serger, my options appear to be: a zig-zag stitch, a blind stitch, or a multi-stitch zig-zag. I’ve never done any of these, and figuring out which of these options best suits my beautiful used bed sheet muslin is beyond me today!

Q: Am I having fun yet?

A:  I haven’t cried over my sewing machine.  Yet.  Does that count as a legit answer?

I believe it might be time for a glass of wine now.

The Unexpected Pleasure of a 1970s Pattern

I haven’t started sewing yet.  I am, however quite pleased with a pattern I found today.  It cost a whopping thirty-one cents. Actually, the clerk rounded the price down to thirty cents because I paid cash (haha) and I live in Canada – the land of no more pennies.  Paying so little for a vintage pattern (one I’m really happy about!) makes it difficult for me to justify paying the prices I see on Etsy.  I know I will cave one of these days, but right now, I’m treasure hunting around town, waiting to score some delightful 1950s dress patterns. I also found a 1959 skirt pattern today, but it was not in my size.

Behold Simplicity pattern 6965 from 1975, whose already cut pattern is in my size:


I am totally going to make this dress, but probably without the bottom ruffle.

I even like the model’s hairstyle.

If you had asked me a few weeks ago what decades I liked most vintage fashion-wise, I would not have included the 1970s.  After finding this pattern though, I can no longer exclude the decade.  I am quite smitten with 6965.  I don’t know if you can see it in the photo, but the bodice has a cute triangle detail that’s really…um… cute.  While flipping through the pattern pile, I nearly passed this one over because it wasn’t from the 1950s or 1960s (or earlier) but then I paused and really looked at it.  Without the frilly bits, I realized I really liked the pattern, and now the frills are growing on me too.  Who knew?

Getting Started

I’ve toyed with the idea of starting a blog for ages.  But what to blog about?  My interests are wide and varied; my focus equally so.  Recently, a friend of mine made a dress as part of an “I made this myself” sort of challenge and her online posts about her progress impressed me.  From there, I started exploring several sewing blogs.  And then blogs about vintage-inspired sewing.  I have sewn in the past:  quilts mostly but about fifteen years ago I attempted and then abandoned a skirt project (I chose the thickest fleece fabric I could find knowing very well that the pattern called for something much thinner.  It’s what I wanted! Oops!).  More recently, my creative energy has been spent on home renovations and my sewing machine has served as a storage surface.  Now though, with renovations mostly finished, I want to take up the hobby again and try my hand at sewing something other than quilts.  The sewing blogs I’ve perused fascinate me.  And the vintage patterns?  Wow.  Modern patterns don’t tend to catch my eye but in ten minutes of window shopping on Etsy or Ebay I can find dozens of older patterns that thrill me.  It amazes me what modern sewists create from these vintage patterns and I wonder if this is something I too, can manage.

The idea of sewing clothing is oh so daunting.  Blogging about it even more so.  But, yesterday I received Sewaholic’s Cambie pattern in the mail and today I removed the pile of stuff from the surface of my sewing machine’s cabinet.  I haven’t chosen a fabric yet and I haven’t even opened the pattern packet.  With what feels like my introduction coming to a close, I’m wavering between the “save draft” and “publish” buttons at the page bottom.  Do I put this out on the Web?  Who is going to read about my novice sewing and bungles?  Am I the blogging type?  There is only one way to find out, isn’t there?  Here I go.