Friday, 13 September 2013

Dressmaking for Daisy

I don't "do" dressmaking in any shape or form.  Aged about 11 or 12 I was badly scarred by the experience of spending a term making a corduroy trouser suit (well, it was the 1970's!)  in the school Needlework class* and it took the best part of 25 years before I was prepared to touch fabric again.  Making patchwork quilts provides the wonderful tactile and textural experience of working with fabric and I find making them lay as flat as the proverbial pancake is remarkably easy.  No shaping, no sleeves, no easing to "fit".

However, Daisy does not like being cold and wet and many commercial dog coats are either ludicrously expensive or just not what we want.  I've had some success making little fleece jackets for her so have been readying myself for the challenge of creating something waterproof but not thick and bulky.

First have your model stand very still and create a dressmaking toile  (it fits a whole lot better when she stands up!)



Next, cut up an old children's tent from Argos which was purchased years ago specifically to be destroyed and the fabric reused.







Then, curse like b*ggery that the only Velcro to hand is nasty, stick-backed stuff which gums up the sewing machine needle.

By this time, Madam was fed up with her role in the proceedings.  She associates having a coat on with GOING OUT and there I was putting a coat on, and taking it off without a walk in between, and then doing it again, and again.  So she took herself into the snuggly bed under my sewing table and sulked and I went online and ordered some decent Velcro.



Whilst this prototype is pretty rough, it shows the basic premise is sound and I've learnt how to use seam-waterproofing-tape :}  It's also light enough to scrunch into a small pocket so I've always got something with me if we get caught in an unexpected downpour.  It will need a 'bum strap' to stop the back blowing up but I'll add that to the next version.

And I still don't enjoy anything resembling dressmaking, even the cushion earlier this week was a huge stretch.




* actually, it wasn't the school class which was the problem although, in hindsight, the teacher can't have been concentrating on what I was doing.  The scarring was caused by taking home an unfinished project at the end of term, having it looked at by a frighteningly proficient (think 'capable of suit tailoring') relative who threw the fabric back in its bag and told me in no uncertain terms "you've absolutely ruined this to the point I can't do anything with it".  Not a particularly good way to encourage a kid who already had a few self-confidence issues.


12 comments:

  1. I think the corduroy trouser suit must have been on what then passed for a National Curriculum. I did one too!! And, if memory serves, never ever wore the thing again. Thanks for the memory...?

    Daisy's coat, on the other hand, is going to be a proper job.

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    1. If you Google something like "dressmaking patterns 1970s trouser suit" and hit "images" you'll be transported back to a world of Style, Simplicity and Butterick! Have fun :}

      The Puppy Pac-a-Mac went out this afternoon but wasn't used.

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  2. A corduroy trouser suit sounds a little too ambitious to say the least! We made firstly an apron for our Domestic Science classes (which actually were great and taught us how to cook properly, unlike the classes today!) and then a hideous long sleeved blouse which I managed to finish but never would have worn in a million years!! Needless to say I dropped 'needlework' the first chance I got.

    PS I need a new mac :-)!!!!

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    1. Jill, We'd probably done the apron in an earlier term, I have successfully blanked most of it from my memory.

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  3. How many of us were scarred for life by those classes I wonder? Mine was an apron (never finished) and a short sle, let alone finished).eved blouse (hardly even started

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    1. I seem to have struck a chord with this memory. I wonder what they would teach if Needlework was re-introduced to the National Curriculum? iPod covers?

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  4. I loved this post and it made me laugh for the first time in days. I kept seeing Daisy with a pathetic look on her face at not going out.
    Being in Oz, my first sewing experience was an apron and desk mat to keep the work clean. Next was a skirt, which most made with elastic waist, but I already used a sewing machine and was allowed to attempt a zip and proper waistband and I did wear it, but that was in the late 50's, a bit before your time. Thanks for jogging all our memories.

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  5. A trouser suit is a bit of a tough assignment - was it your first task? We had to make a cookery apron followed by a blouse. I used yo make all my own clothes when I was a student - some were very ABBAesque without the platforms. I even made my own wedding dress and veil and my sister's bridesmaids dress but haven't made anything for ages, Maybe Tiv's should have a raincoat - She really needs one that keeps her tummy clean.

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    1. Did you watch that lovely British Sewing Bee programme? Actually made me think about making clothes - and THAT takes some doing :} I am sure you were much more stylish than ABBA :}

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    2. I SO wasn't - I was a student. Fortunately things calmed down before wedding dress stage

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