MakeMe Workshop

Hooray, hooray! The workshop that was postponed has now happened, and it was fun times, and very productive. MakeMe is based in the Medecine Gardens near Cobham, and it’s a beautiful setting.

The Medecine Gardens, sat out at the Hothouse Café at lunchtime

The Medecine Gardens, sat out at the Hothouse Café in the glorious sunshine at lunchtime

The workshop was MakeMe a Shift Dress, and it all went ahead as planned. I was lucky enough that I was the only person there, so in practice it was a 6 hour one-to-one- selfish bliss!. In theory it was all about how to work with a commercial pattern, but the very lovely Emma who was teaching the workshop is more used to drafting her own, and although she was trying to stick to the pattern instructions, we were working on various alterations on the fly, so there have been adaptations. We were using New Look 6095 as the starting point:

New Look 6095

New Look 6095

I took two fabric options with me, the sentimental red & black Hong Kong silk/cotton blend, or the blue floral slightly stretchy cotton (which I used for the banner image above). We settled on the floral, because it’s a bit heftier and easier to work with. Emma did mention the possibility that the red & black would work if done with a gathered skirt rather than the straight skirt, making more of a day dress rather than a shift dress. Which is a great idea, and one I might well come back to at some point when I’m feeling clever enough to tinker that substantially with patterns.

Given that I’m bigger than the largest pattern size, there were some inevitable alterations, and since a substantial part of my larger size is bust, there are considerably more darts in this version of the dress than on the actual pattern. So one very big learning experience from this workshop was Darts, which was useful, especially as one of the darts was a slightly curved one, which was tricky, and I need to remember for the future about sewing from the point out to the edge of the fabric, with the longer curve underneath, to help with the easing (and therefore pinning on the basis that that’s what I’m going to be doing). Another learning experience was Overlocking- I had a go on one!!!!! I was a bit wary of it, I’ll be honest. But I gave it a shot and I can see how you could fall in love with those babies. Also Neatness, I was in awe of Emma’s methodical approach, and I’m going to try really hard to emulate that in my own sewing. And Patience- the actual sewing doesn’t take so long, it’s the preparation that takes all the time. I always tend to think of the prep as the boring stuff you need to do before you get down to the actual sewing, but really I need to start thinking of the prep as part of the whole process, and enjoy it in the same sort of way. Oh, and I love long pins, I am definitely going to have to find myself some good long dressmaking pins.

So here is the Blue Roses Dress so far. We got pretty far with it.

Blue Roses Dress: the Work In Progress

Blue Roses Dress: the Work In Progress

Spot three separate sets of darts

Spot three separate sets of darts

All I’ve got left to do all by myself is:

  • put in the front darts. They’re all drawn & ready to pin, so should be a piece of cake
  • insert the zip. This is my bugbear, but Emma gave me a really clear demonstration, and she gave me her sample zip as a reminder, and a spare zip to practise on, before I muck up with my actual dress zip.
  • hem it. The hem is overlocked in readiness. Emma has suggested using a fusible tape, to avoid any stitches showing through.

Hope I don’t mess it up at this last hurdle.


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