Friday, 3 February 2012

Learning to sew.....

As some of you may know that follow me on twitter (@dollycool) I have started a college class to learn to sew properly! I can already machine sew, but I am self taught and although I can make alterations on my own clothes, and make my Dolly Cool Hair Ties, simple skirts and put zips in - I've never actually made anything from a pattern before. It has been on my 'to do' list for a few years now, but I have never found any suitable or nearby courses that I wanted to try.
At the beginning of January, the local college posted a prospectus through the door, and I saw that the sewing classes were now being held at my local centre - just a 5 minute walk from my house = result! They were offering beginner, intermediate and advanced classes, so I enrolled on the intermediate class straight away, and started 3 weeks ago.....
Here I am on my way to class today! I'm wearing my Lady K Loves Jeans, and new spotty cardigan from the Forever 21 sale (£4.99) - Hooray that we have Forever 21 in the UK now!
And a close up of my college bag! Isn't it fab? It was a gift from my friend Jen. I love it, and it is perfect for the course. All the ladies in my class want one, ha ha! Unfortunately for them, it is from US fabric store Joann and you can't get them here!
And this is what the sewing room looks like at College - scary overlocker on left! We were shown how to thread it up on week one, but its rather complicated so need a few more goes on it first!

And so on to what I'm making....... I thought I would start with a simple modern pattern first, although my aim is eventually to be able to make things from vintage patterns for myself.
So, I'm making this dress which is from Prima Magazine, a few years ago that I had saved:

Its a 6 piece pattern so nothing too taxing for my first attempt!
Today, I cut out all my paper pattern pieces, and pinned and cut out my fabric.
And a close up of the fabric that I'm making it out of - cool Russian Doll print! 
(And look at my cute panda tape measure! ♥)
All pieces are now cut and I will be tacking it together and trying it on for size this week.

I've already got a pattern, and fabric lined up for project number two by the way!
This is a vintage skirt pattern from 1959 that I got from Etsy for just $5:
Its an 'easy to make' 1 yard pattern, so hopefully this wont be too taxing either for my first vintage pattern attempt. And I have some AWESOME fabric for this one....
Fiesta de San Marcos by Alexander Henry 
I'll keep you posted on my progress and will of course show you when I have successfully (hopefully!) completed them :)


  1. Oh very nice! I have thought about doing a class as I am self and mama taught! I'd love to feel more confident though, like my mum just goes for things where as I take forever! Have fun! x

  2. Get in! I can't wait to see how you get on. I rate Prima patterns, I use 'em quite a bit. Love the Alexander Henry fabric, it's going to be fab as a

  3. Good for you, would love to do a course like this too! The fabric is beautiful. I adore the 'Get Cutie' brighton dresses but not the price tags so would be awesome to make it at home :o) Scarlett x

  4. Id love to do something like this but have no idea where to get awesome fabrics :(

  5. That looks so fun!! I'm the same as you..self taught, I can do zippers and really basic stuff, but patterns kind of scare me. I've been wanting to take a college-level class for the longest time. I can't wait to see how your skirt and dress come out! That Alexander Henry fabric is awesome! They have a fabric of horror-movie monsters that I've been wanting to make something out of forever.
    @AmiiScarlet~ try Etsy! They have loads of fun fabrics.

  6. Well done! Can't wait to see your finished dress! Also... don't want to scare you, but I wouldn't use a thin cotton for a pencil skirt - maybe if you add a lining (which is dead easy), but on its own it might wrinkle or pull out of shape easily. The fabric is super cool though so I hope you find a way to make it work!

  7. Great cardy, should be more polka dots n the world.

    Don't worry, I can't thread a mahchine either. I am thrilled for you, annoyed at myself, that you have signed up for sewing classes this year, and I have not (yet).

    Geez Louise, is that a simple dress? I am in trouble. Lovingthe fabric. Cannot wait to see it on. I once made myself a dress to wear to a music festival and it came unstitched mid-festival and the top half started to separate from the bottom half. Not the best look.

  8. I want to learn to sew too, but I've never gotten around to it. Good luck!

  9. Yeah for you sweetie! What fun taking your skills to a whole new level. I love both fabrics but the last one with the skeletons is well just bad ass. I also love the sweet dress pattern, can't wait to see it finished!

  10. Oh, I should do something like that. But I have this feeling it will never happen... I love your bag and I love your fabric, it's gonna turn out great!

  11. Hello Dollie, Wow i'm so admirative for you patience to sew ha ha ha ! Show us quick the results ;)

  12. Good for you! I'd love to sign up for a course like that, I do sew but it's pretty hit and miss.
    Your patterns and fabric choices are wonderful. I think I have that skirt pattern hidden somewhere in the depths of my stash, I hadn't thought of using a rockin' print like that. x

  13. Im so jealous! Ive always wanted to enroll in a sewing course but my life has been so unstable geographically for the past couple of years. Hopefully Ill settle down soon and be able to take a class, but beginners cause I cant even thread a bobbin!

  14. How lucky! I can sew ok (being self-taught myself) but I would love to be able to learn in a proper setting! My husband gave me a dressform for the holidays but I have no idea how to make clothing! I can do the odd pillow form and table runner but actual real stuff is another story! I cannot wait to see what you learn and what you will create as a result!!

  15. Super cool! I'm learning to sew with my sisters this Sunday and I'm really excited! I've never gotten to sew anything really..only by hand. So I plan to start with a simple pencil skirt too..doesn't seem too daunting for a first time project. Much luck in class! and that fabric is RAD!! :D

  16. Great on ya amor!
    I would love learn how to sew my own dresses.
    that Mexi fabric will look gorgeous as a pencil skirt.
    your bag is gorgeous, I can see why you dazzled all the ladies.
    I didn't know there was a Forever21 store in UK.

  17. can't wait to see all your creations.the fabrics are cool and will look great.That sewing bag is super cute and you look beautiful without your glasses.Good luck sewing.xx

  18. yay well done! I often think about learning to do things 'properly' but as I've been sewing so long now, I think I'd struggle to get out of my bad habits! Can't wait to see the final garment

  19. The thing about going to the head teacher.. He's also a student. We've "taken over" the school for 2 weeks you see. They treat us all like shite!

  20. fabby bag and cute panda tape measure! haha so sweet! good luck with all your projects!