I have something a little different today — the Seamstress Tag! The Seamstress Tag was thought up by Hollie, over at Hollie Sews, and started out in the vlog-osphere, but I’ve decided to hop on the bandwagon, as it’s a rather marvellous idea. Thanks, Hollie! It’s a series of twelve questions, mostly about sewing — let’s get straight to it.
1. Who are you?
My name is Victoria, and I live in Durham, England, where it’s cold and wet most of the time so there’s no such thing as a seasonal wardrobe for me. I live with my other half, Anthony, and our very energetic dog, Riley. When I’m not sewing, I’m a librarian.
2. When and why did you start sewing?
I started sewing in late April/early May of 2014, so I’ve been at it for around two and a half years now (though I still feel like I’m only just starting out sometimes!). I signed up for a ‘Dressmaking for Beginners’ course with a couple of friends — we learned all the skills needed to make a skirt — and I’ve never looked back. We went on to do the continuations course and ‘advanced’ course, which was really more of a sewing bee. I could not have learned to sew without the help of our wonderful tutors, Dan and Rory, who now run the Centre Front Studio in Newcastle. I can’t thank them enough. If I’d tried to teach myself it would have been a disaster, I’m sure. As for why I started sewing — well, I’ve always liked vintage clothes and I’ve always been crafty, so I thought it was about time I combined the two and made my own clothes. And now I’m well on my way to having a handmade wardrobe!
3. What is your favourite or proudest make?
Can I please choose one for each? They’re both Tilly and the Buttons patterns. My favourite make, the one I wear a lot on an every day basis, is my second Bettine dress. Love the fabric, love the print, love the fit — I just love it. My proudest make is my Francoise dress, which was a runner up in Tilly’s #SewingFrancoise contest. I had only been sewing for a few months, and it was the first project that made me think I might actually be alright at this dressmaking lark.
4. What is your most disastrous make?
It has to be the New Look 6446 jumpsuit, which I talked about extensively in this blog post. There really wasn’t much that was right with it. I’m not too disheartened though — I really like the pattern, so I’m going to toile it next time and work through all the crotch issues.
5. Where is your favourite place to go fabric shopping?
Well, I live in the back end of nowhere, so I don’t really have a local shop I can go to. I do most of my fabric shopping online. My favourites are Sew Over It, Fabric Godmother, Plush Addict, the Textile Centre, and Girl Charlee UK. I will need some jersey soon (I’m planning about fifty Molly tops/dresses from Lisa Comfort’s My Capsule Wardrobe: City Break) and I guarantee that will be purchased from Girl Charlee.
6. What is your most used pattern?
Thanks to One Week One Pattern 2016, Tilly’s Bettine is my most used pattern (see my recent blog posts). However, as soon as I have perfected Lilou (from Love at First Stitch), I suspect that will take over.
7. Your most dreaded sewing task is…?
I hate unpicking (obviously), trimming seam allowances, clipping corners and curves, or anything else that can result in holes in your fabric if you make any false moves. It’s the most dreaded fear, that I might hike my fabric in the wrong place, so I hate all of those tasks, even though it very rarely goes wrong. Please don’t let me have just jinxed myself!
8. And your favourite sewing task?
It sounds really sad, but my favourite part is giving everything a final press at the end. That’s right — that final iron. Not only does it mean the project is finished (yay!), but it makes the garment look all shiny and new! Pressing makes such a huge difference, from start to finish — it’s tempting to skip all that ironing, but your garment would suffer for it.
9. What is your favourite sewing entertainment?
I like to have sound in the background when I sew, whether it’s a box set, an audiobook, or music. More recently I’ve been favouring box sets (or Netflix) over anything else though. Highlights include Once Upon A Time, Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Emma. An eclectic mix.
10. Printed or PDF?
As a general rule, if there’s a printed pattern available that’s what I’ll choose to buy. They’re just nice to have. I do by the occasional PDF, but usually only if there’s no printed option. I have so many fit issues that I need to trace off all of my patterns anyway, so when I have to stick fifty sheets of paper together on top of tracing it does me in. Printed all the way.
11. What sewing machine do you use?
I have the Brother RL417. It’s a very basic machine but it serves me quite well. I think it might need a service because it’s started making the occasional funny noise. I’ve just started to crave a new, more advanced/sturdy machine. If there’s one fault with the one I already have, it’s that it really doesn’t cope with thicker fabrics very well. For instance, I’ve just hemmed a denim skirt with flat felled seams and it was a nightmare. It made horrible noises and kept getting stuck and skipped stitches — stress! I’d like a machine that can cope with all fabrics. I also have an overlocker — a Singer 14SH754 — which seems to work okay. However, I can’t even pretend that I use it to its full potential. I spent the first six months (at least) ignoring it out of fear, and now I’ve just about taught myself how to thread it up two different ways. That’s all I need for now.
12. Do you have any other hobbies?
Yes! I knit, when I can, especially in winter. I crochet, but rather infrequently. I do the occasional cross stitch, and I dabble in lots of other crafts as well, usually when I’m making gifts. Basically, anything crafty and I’m your girl. I also volunteer with a Brownies unit each week and help out with Guides sometimes. As you can imagine, that involves a plethora of activities.
So that’s my Seamstress Tag! I hope you are enjoying this tag as much as I am, and I hope fellow bloggers will join in. It’s a great way of getting to know everyone ☺️