A step by step guide to pattern cutting and sewing your own made to measure skirt
One of the things I'm most passionate about (other than making vintage inspired clothes) is teaching people how to sew and make their own clothes! It's always been a little dream of mine to write a dressmaking book or have a pattern line of my own but I kept putting it off and the little idea sat there like a small flame in the dark.
Global events overtook us all, and in the calm and quiet of a stopped world that flame grew brighter and I asked myself: What is my purpose?
I realised that for me, that's communicating the joy of creating and I feel a great sense of purpose in teaching skills that might otherwise fade away. It's lovely to see people blossom and grow in confidence as they get better at their chosen craft. I also see it as empowering for us to make things especially things we choose to wear and express ourselves through. And making our own clothes is a far more sustainable way of creating a wardrobe we love.
So, inspired by vintage sewing guides which were the norm before commercial patterns became readily available, I worked with an ex student of mine, Charlotte Rose Illustration to create my own sewing guide and I chose The Circle Skirt as my first garment.
This vintage Lingerie sewing guide is one of my most treasured finds and influenced how we developed the design of my sewing guide.
I hadn't seen a comprehensive how to guide that included how to pattern cut your skirt (with the dreaded radius measurements all worked out for you!), how to then sew it using simple couture techniques and also some inspirational ideas to support your own creativity. The recent Christian Dior exhibition was still burning bright in my mind and an ongoing obsession with Dita Von Teese also influenced my choice!
The great thing about a circle skirt is it's relatively simple to make for a confident beginner, suits most figures and can be interpreted differently depending on your own unique style. It doesn't have to be polka dots and petticoats, but it absolutely can be if that's what you love!
I love the skirt Audrey Hepburn wears in Roman Holiday and the way she styles it and I've included an inspiration board in the book with all sorts of lovely ideas to inspire your circle skirt makes.
I wanted my sewing guides to echo the style, colours and format of my favourite vintage guide, shown above, whilst being modern and appealing to a modern dressmaker. Vintage style is my thing but I didn't want my guides to be too vintage twee. I want anyone with a love of vintage style to be able to enjoy this simple to use instructional booklet.
My little sewing guide has ended up so much lovelier than I dreamt it would be and I really put that down to the beautiful work Charlotte has done with me. She was always a brilliant student and is now a brilliant collaborator! I can't wait to start working on our next idea as there are lots of exciting things planned and I hope to fulfil my dream and keep that flame burning!
I really hope you enjoy this little book and it becomes a lovely treasure in your sewing collection and please share your makes with me over at Tara's Sewing Circle on my Facebook page.