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  • Meridy Dunn

Summer Sewing

Hello and welcome to 2022. I have had a lovely long break from my school, in fact I am still on holidays!

I have been using my time wisely working nearly everyday on improving my pattern making skills. I have lots of good ideas but transforming those ideas into a pattern is, shall we say somewhat challenging.

There are quite a few fashion brands that really inspire me, I look closely at their little details, what makes their finished product better than my home sewing?

The best way to do this is to try their clothes on and really investigate the insides, which is what I do.

The finishing of the sleeves ( seams binded ), the linings, the gathered or pleated straps, the style lines, the darts and of course the choice of fabrics.

These are my favourite brands.

I actually don't own any clothes from these stores, but their designers really inspire me.

I would like to share the 3 patterns I have designed, drafted and sewn recently. I am really happy with my perseverance, I went through lots of highs and lows and created some new swear words along the way! Not to mention the chocolate consumption, which was my go to food. My self esteem fluctuated, the little voice in my head was constantly questioning me if I have what it takes?

I really dont know if I do have what its takes to be a designer, but I've decided that I believe in my ability to try.

This year is my final year of study, the year will culminate with each student creating and presenting a fashion collection. I will be sharing my progress with you.

My first pattern is The November Blouse. I drafted this shirt essentially using the same pattern that I used for The Dominican Blouse version 1 and 2. This is a yoke styled pattern, I just rearranged the pieces. Its really very easy once you have developed the pattern. The difference ( and wow what a difference ) with The November blouse was the sleeves. During an @adelaidesewists pattern and fabric swap last year, I came away with a Style pattern circa 1986. I adapted the sleeve pattern to my blouse. This was epic, the result was fantastic. I love this blouse.

My second pattern is named the Summer Blouse, ( yes I know I need to get a bit more creative with my names ). I created a raglan front and back, with lots of ease, the blouse sits just below my waist, it can be worn tucked or loose.

I then drafted the sleeve, this was a bit tricky and took three goes. The shape was not difficult, however the length needs to be correct, so that once gathered the sleeve will drape nicely..

This rouching or gathering was really not difficult. There are different ways to do it, I did it my way. I joined the front and back sleeve from the shoulder to elbow with a 1.5 cm seam. I then pressed the seam open and sewed down either side of the join. This created 2 channels for me to feed elastic down ( with the safety pin). i used 1cm elastic. starting at the shoulder I poked the elastic through until it was hanging out at the open end by approx 15cm. I did the same with the other channel. Once both channels had 15cm of excess elastic hanging out at the elbow, I went back to the elastic insertion points at the shoulder and sewed them down. This gave me the ability to start pulling the elastic at the elbow and gathering the fabric up, resulting in this lovely gathered sleeve. I think this blouse suits everybody. The fabric is a beautiful bouncy check cotton, which came from Tessuti Fabrics a couple of years ago.

The third pattern is named the January Dress. The January Dress was for my birthday which was on the 13th, I finished this dress yesterday 4th February! so its not really a birthday dress. This dress was a heartbreaker. My intention was to design a sleeveless bodice with an A line skirt. As per usual I got sidetracked and was inspired by a Aje ruched top. I then decided that the ruching was too bulky and instead I just draped random pleats on my new bodice the muslin looked great, I thought yay! I'm on a winner here.

I soon realized that my random pleats looked good but would spread open as my body moved. So I accelerated on my creativity


and topstitched random style waves through the bodice. This looked good and was functional.

The straps are wide 4.5 cm, they are angled at the shoulder and will never slip off. I have many photos of me in my shoestring 80s dresses, the straps just hanging off my shoulders, looking vey untidy. (To be honest I was probably drunk and disorderly at the time, is was the 80s !!), anyway these straps will never fall off! I have also pleated the straps, which I love. This is such an easy detail to create.

So bodice complete, skirt next. This is where my trouble started, my A line skrt looked really awful, that beautiful bodice with the yuck skirt. So I spat the dummy, rolled the dress up and stuffed it in the cupboard.

I walked away for a few weeks, the thought of that beautiful linen wasted. (this linen was part of a prize I won in the Tessuti sewing contest a couple of years ago.) I rescued the dress, cut 10 cm off the hem then added a large gathered frill. The dress was now a maxi, the weight of the frill assisting in some beautiul natural draping of the fabric. I absolutely love this dress.

The moral of this story is to put your project aside, wait out the frustration then tackle it again with a clear head. Or seek an opinion that you trust.

I hope you have enjoyed my blog. I have many challenges this year, not just pattern making and sewing but also surface design. My goal is to create all my own fabric designs for my collection. Stay tuned. YIKES

I will finish with a few photos of my family over Christmas and new year.

Until next time

Happy sewing x


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