Let’s get the dressmaking balls rolling!

It seems like quotes from films are constantly floating around in my brain these days. I’d been thinking for a while about getting the quote ‘A life lived in fear is a life half lived’ tattooed on my arm, which I eventually did last weekend. The only thing is I’m not keen on getting words permanently inked on my skin, all the ones that I’ve already got are mainly significant to me by way of visual imagery. What took me even longer to make a decision about whether or not I wanted to get it inked was the fact that, in searching for the origins of this piece of philosophical gem, was the fact that it’s not even a quote from a philosopher or philanthropist, but from the script of the film, Strictly Ballroom from 1992. I’d never even seen the film in my life, but the quote really spoke to me, so I decided to throw caution to the wind and got it done.

Another quote that really spoke to me, ironically it’s also from a film, is when Harry Potter goes to get his first magic wand in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Not that I remember much of the details from the films, not being a massive Harry Potter fan and all, but I do remember the man in the shop telling Harry, “The wand chooses the wizard, Mr. Potter”. The same can be said of choosing fabric for any dressmaking projects.

One of the best things when you’re starting any project is finding the pattern that appeals to you, but you won’t know how it’s going to turn out until you’ve found the right fabric. Shopping for fabric online can sometimes be a bit troublesome, you’ll need to order samples of each fabric you decide on and maybe realise it’s not the same as what you were expecting from the image you see on your screen that they put on the listing. You know what you want to make, but unless you were given the fabric, the discovery of that perfect roll of fabric that just speaks to you for what you have in mind is simply…magical. Walking through fabric stores in Edinburgh like Mandor’s on East Claremont Street, Edinburgh Fabrics on Nicolson Street or Remnant Kings on Bonnington Road is the equivalent of a child walking into a sweet shop for dressmaking enthusiasts. The range of colours and textures of fabrics, dress and accessories patterns in books as thick as encyclopaedias and shelves lined with all sorts of haberdashery and trims, tubes of buttons and sewing tools is mindboggling. The best part though is knowing what your next project is going to be, going into the fabric store and finding that fabric that makes you think ‘that’s the one I want’. Well, on my shopping trip today, I’ve found my ‘Ureka!’ moment with not just one, but two choices of fabric that I need for my next projects.

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Today’s dressmaking finds from Pins and Needles: Pale pink and grey fabric, zippers and thread

I’m normally not one for signing up to discount voucher deals, until recently when a friend of mine told me about a Groupon deal for a possible venue for our future wedding. While the timing for the deal itself was ill-timed, I thought ‘why not?’ and signed up to receive interesting similar offers. I was more than excited after all the e-mails that came into my inbox every day with nothing intersting when one came up for fabric and haberdashery at a local fabric store, Pins and Needles – buy a £10 Groupon voucher to spend on £20 worth of fabric or haberdashery, or a £20 voucher to spend £40 worth. Why not?

Pins and Needles is a small independent fabric store at Lochrin Buildings on Gilmore Place, the street adjacent to the King’s Theatre. The shop has various dressmaking and craft supplies and if it’s not available, the shop owner is more than happy to enquire about ordering it for you from her suppliers if this is still available. I was more than pleased when within 2 minutes of walking into the shop, I had found the pale pink fabric and on asking for grey lining got the perfect one too.

The pale pink polyester fabric spoke to me when I started looking at the various rolls on display, it’s a nice light coral colour and I was immediately drawn to the textured surface.

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Fabric, thread and invisible zipper from Pins and Needles

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Textured suface of the pale pink polyester fabric

I was looking for a solid coloured fabric for the pleated circle skirt pattern I got free from BurdaStyle. I intend to pleat the fabric myself and while this fabric is not as sheer as chiffon, it will still need lining which I will look for once I’ve pleated the fabric.

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Pleated circle skirt, free from BurdaStyle

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Pleated circle skirt from BurdaStyle

The grey lining I got along with the zipper is to go with the iridiscent grey snake print voile that my OH gave me.

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I’d previously posted that I intend to make a maxi dress with the fabric and was very excited to have found the perfect complimentary darker grey lining to go with the sheer snake print voile. Lucky for me, the length of lining I got from the shop was just enough for what I needed because that was the end of the role and had been set aside for another customer who hadn’t returned by the time I purchased the last bit! So the plan is to use the Simplicity pattern #2579 to make the full length maxi dress, but add flutter sleeves as shown in the tea dress.

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Simplicity pattern #2579, £4.03 from sewingoodsaccesories

The only thing I would change about the dress itself is that the pattern asks for an invisible zipper. The trouble I had with concealing the invisible zipper with my previous project made me re-think it. Having seen dresses being worn with exposed metal zippers, I liked the idea of having a contrasting silver metal teeth exposed zip for this maxi dress, but I’ve realised from personal experience that a good metal teeth zipper for a dress is hard to find, unless you’re a clothing designer who orders this in bulk, for an independent dressmaking enthusiast like myself, purchasing a metal zipper means your only option is to buy the open ended ones for jackets. So I decided to go for a mid-grey nylon zipper instead, which I still think would contrast nicely with the iridiscent shimmer of the voile.

I can’t wait to get started! Will post more once I get started on these two projects!

What do you think about the fabric choices? Would you have chosen anything differently?

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