I signed up for the on line Sewing Weekender 2020 as soon as it advertised. Although I missed out on getting a ticket last year, I was lucky enough to have attended the weekends in a Cambridge in 2017 and 2018. It was great that Charlotte, Kate and Rachel Managed to organise an alternative to cheer us all up , and even more amazing that they managed to raise so much money for charity .
As I didn’t need to travel, had all my sewing room facilities to hand and knew I wouldn’t be heavily distracted by talking to loads of sewists, I did not pre prepare my project as I had in the past. So my first job on Saturday was to prep the pattern and cut out,
I put the You Tube videos up on the TV to listen to and started.
I had decided to make Kwik Sew 4154. I have been wanting to make a dress with waist ties like these for a while, and this pattern seemed versatile as it can be made in knit or woven fabric.
My chosen fabric was a knit purchased fromThe Fabric Manon Etsy ( I bought a number of pieces of fabric and all were good)
The pattern specified a back seam zip which I thought may be unnecessary with a knit. So I posted on Instagram to see if anyone else had made the pattern and could confirm this.
I contuued preparing pattern and started cutting out….and that’s when I got responses on Instagram. As well as general agreement with not needing a zip, I got a response from the always helpful ( and extremely knowledgable) Susan Young. She had made this pattern and was kind enough to share her experience ( and picture to demonstrate. The back of the dress did not fall in a flattering way, but created a humped bunch. She had tried to rectify this by moving the zip to the side, but this had not worked. However she said the skirt was lovely.
And that was when I fell lucky- I had started cutting out, but had only actually cut the skirt!
I was wearing one of my Moneta dresses ( I have made 3). By the 3rd I had achieved a good fit knit bodice- so I decided to adapt the Moneta bodice to reflect the features I wanted from the Kwik Sew pattern.
I copied the Moneta bodice pattern onto newspaper ( I didn’t have any drafting paper). I then changed the back bodice neckline to create the higher neck line.
Next I copied the Kwik Sew front neckline to the front bodice piece.
And then widened the waistline of the front bodice ( copying the Kwik Sew pattern) to allow for gathers.
Finally I drafted the back and front neck line facings As used in he Kwik Sew pattern.
I used the Moneta sleeve pattern and also decided to add pockets – because we all love pockets- to the skirt ( again I used the Moneta pockets)
This all took up a considerable amount of time – the whole morning – but it went by very quickly listening to the Videos .
As I went out walking in the afternoon I missed the end of day Zoom
…and I actually got some sewing done.
The most challenging bit here was how to construct the waistline. I wanted to stabilise it at the back, but the Moneta method of using elastic to gather the skirt ( and thus stabilise to some extent) was not required for a circle skirt.
In the end I created a channel in the back of the bodice and sewed in 1cm wide elastic
Construction was also different from the Moneta, which joins a completed skirt to a completed bodice. Due to the need to insert the ties into the sides of the dress overlapping the bodice and skirt, the front top and skirt and the back top and skirt had to be joined first before sewing the side seams.
Once I had sorted all this out in my mind, the dress came together Reasonably quickly.
Again I was entertained during the morning by listening to the videos. This time I listened in to the Zoom session, but did not have anywhere enough of a finished garment to share.
The dress – and the videos- were completed in odd moments over the week after the Sewing Weekender . I am very pleased with the results, and very grateful to Susan for her advice.
and YES the skirt is lovely.
So finally, what did I think of my Sewing Weekender digital experience?
Well of course it was very different from a weekend away. There were elements that were “easier” – having all my things to hand, no 2 hour car drive are the major pluses, anyone and everyone could attendBut I did miss the social element. I love chatting to people about what they are wearing, admiring the fabric, guessing the pattern etc etc. The videos were really great in creating an atmosphere / chatty background to help get some way towards this – so well done to everyone who contributed to those. And we did still all get a Goodie Bag ( which I hope will help any shops who have been struggling)
Personally I would love to see any future digital format include opportunities for small scale meetings ( Zoom rooms) which could be used to meet new people / chat during the day for those of us who don’t have an established network of sewing pals. Maybe themed? Eg at specific times #Sewover50 chat room, a room for anyone making jeans / TAB / whatever the latest popular indie pattern is. what do others think?
So, very well done to all for organising this digital get together. You really did a great job of re defining the Sewing Weekender to make the best of current constraints. I hope in the future we will see BOTH experiences again- a summer weekend away maybe and a winter digital weekend? The best of both worlds – a chance to physically meet and immerse if you can but also if you can’t travel or get a ticket the opportunity to be included ( with the addition of winter weather so I don’t mind staying indoors all weekend)