Sew Colette: A finished Peony

Peony looks like such an easy dress to sew, doesn’t it?

Pattern: Colette Patterns‘ Peony
Time taken: About a month, give or take
Fabric: Dyed cotton fabric plus some scraps for the facings
Details: Velvet ricrac

As other sewists taking part in this round of Sew Colette have found, Peony is not as easy as it seems. Despite making a muslin and sewing with extra-large seam allowances, I’ve ended up with a bodice which isn’t as comfortable as I’d like it yet has some unfortunate sagging around the neckline. So, while I can barely lift my arms (see below), the top part still looks as though it’s just a bit too big.

Hence I found myself nervously tugging at the bodice as I sweated profusely in the Scott Room at the Guardian’s offices – and it wasn’t just because I was up for an award. (I’d also been stuck on the Tube for half an hour AND had to run from work to catch my train… sweaty is probably an understatement)

But it’s funny how you can forget absolutely all of this when Charlie Stayt off of BBC Breakfast announces you as the Guardian’s Digital Student Journalist of the Year. It’s been a bit more than a week now, but I still can’t quite believe it happened!

I swear, the almighty roar my buddy Tom (pictured above) gave when the winner was announced is STILL ringing in my ear. Other souvniers include a lovely sign Tom acquired, which he managed to lug into the bar for the after party before he handed it to me to make its way back to Guildford. I got some funny looks on the last train home from those not snoozin’ from Thursday night debauchery.

All said, it’s hard to write off a dress with such obvious problems when it has that kind of memory AS WELL AS velvet ric rac attached to it. Sweatiness be damned!

On the sewing front, I really would like to get these terrible fitting issues sorted. Inspired by Sarah’s Peony, I was rather hoping to make a green lace version in time for Christmas. Does anyone have any suggestions what I could do to improve the fit?

Those of you who have entered the giveaway… the winners will be announced later this week! I still need to get one part of the package, so keep your eyes peeled for that…

Oh, and on a final note. THANK YOU for being lovely readers. I wouldn’t have won this award without you!

Would you ever sew a wedding dress for someone?

Sometimes, I forget how few people actually sew these days – at least, in comparison to those who regularly buy from the high street.

Unsurprisingly, it often leads to a request or two from friends and acquaintances to fix a pocket here, hem some trousers there or just sew on a button. I’m more than happy to help out with a loose notion or two, but there are some projects just too big for my sewing machine alone to handle.

Picture by Beamillion

Hands up who’s had the wedding dress conversation? You know the one, where a friend jokes they’d like you, you stitchery type, to whip up a beautiful gown for their special day. Don’t get me wrong, I’d happily undertake such a project for any of my close friends – so long as they don’t go Bridezilla on me when they realise sometimes I have a hard time sewing in a straight line.

But, every now and then, the “joke” comes from an acquaintance and you think… oh wait. They’re being serious, aren’t they?

I can see why it’s tempting. Wedding dresses are bloody expensive. With a talented pal and a sewing machine on your side, you can cut costs and spend that money on more wine at the reception. And I am always, ALWAYS, in favour of more wine.

But this is a task so phenomenally huge – what if you were to get it wrong? I’m not sure I could handle the weight of one bride’s expectations on my amateur sewing. I suck with slippery fabrics, I don’t *do* buttonholes and me and lace aren’t talking at the moment. I would be the WORST wedding-dress-maker candidate, really.

The only serious wedding-related request I’ve ever had came during a curious conversation with a friend from school who’ll be getting married soon enough. Up she popped on my Facebook chat, asking if I still made my own dresses, then how expensive it was… and then how expensive it would potentially be to make say two or three bridesmaid’s dresses.

Perhaps she was genuinely curious about if it would be cheaper to buy fabric and get them made, but she fell silent as soon as I asked her if she was trying to hint she wanted me to make them for her.

Long to the short, I won’t be taking any wedding commissions anytime soon. That is, unless some fella manages to keep me still for long enough to put a ring on it (not bloody likely) – then I’ll probably nab some lace curtains from a charity shop to make my wedding dress for the princely sum of £5. It does mean more money for cake and wine, after all.