A practice circle skirt under construction!
My first step in returning to sewing was to assess my resources. I have a decent modern sewing machine (a Janome), and a huge collection of threads, buttons and ribbons that I've collected like a magpie over the years. What I realised I was lacking was fabric. To a novice, choosing fabric is pretty bewildering to be honest. I'm really fussy about patterns and colours, and I have a tight budget yet expensive tastes (like in most areas of my life!). I visited a few fabric shops, and just felt more confused than ever seeing things in person rather than online. I decided then to just pop to the charity shops and see if I could find some old sheets or something to practice on, and then I'll have more money to invest in some nice fabric at a later stage when my sewing skills are improved. I was in luck, not only did I find two lovely vintage patterned sheets, but a keen sewer had dropped off all their fabric remnants, and I came away with a big bundle for under a tenner.
In the bundle I had a pink lightweight cotton, a pale eau de nil mystery fabric, a stripe stiff cotton, and a drapey dark teal viscosey type fabric. I love the daffodil and tulip print sheet and the white and green flower print sheet too, but now I think they're too nice to practice on and I should save them for something good! I also ended up buying a pair of curtains from the jumble sale for £2 and that's been my 'test' fabric, along with a really nasty green synthetic fabric that was in my craft stash. Great to have something to practice on without worrying about ruining a lovely (and pricey) fabric.
As for patterns, I've downloaded some free ones from Colette and Vera Venus among others freely available on the internet. I also mentioned I'd like to learn to sew properly to my husband, and he came back from the charity shops with half a dozen vintage patterns for me to try out. Some are too big and some too small, but I've looked into resizing patterns and it doesn't look too hard. I'll give it a go! I have also bought the 'Coco' pattern from Tilly and the Buttons, as that's supposed to be pretty foolproof with its level of detailed instructions.
Anyway, I'm not aiming to save money by sewing (all the kit is pricey, I've already had to buy new tailor's scissors, pattern paper, zips, bias, buttons, fabric, patterns etc.) but I will be able to make one thing that will have a clear benefit to tall me: skirts that are actually long enough!! The picture above is of a circle skirt I'm making that hits mid calf on me. Hurrah! It's also really quite fun learning to sew, and at the very least I hope I can make some curtains or something else useful for around the house.
Wish me luck...
(If you want to see the first skirt I ever made, a lifetime ago with really bad tiny pictures, then look here.)