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I've become polycraftual.
There, I said it. I have been wanting to tell you all for a long time but today's finished item means that I can't hide it any longer. I still love knitting but we have agreed to see other crafts and knitting seems ok with that. In seeing other crafts, I've come to the conclusion that it actually makes my relationship with knitting stronger. Learning to sew has taught me an enormous amount and I am so thrilled with the results.
It all started with last month's focus on a Handmade Wardrobe. I decided it was time to take the plunge and just commit to sewing something. I was daunted by the idea of an adult garment so I spent some time looking at simple patterns for childrenswear and reached out to Ray Stitch for some ideas. As always, they were amazingly encouraging and full of helpful suggestions to get me on the right path.
I had the pleasure of living near Ray Stitch in my North London days. I would regularly go in to soak in the inspiring fabrics, notions and samples, all presented in a way that was uncluttered and appealing. By the time I got a sewing machine though I was already heavily pregnant so it's only now that I have found myself with fabric, machine, pattern and the determination.
Pattern Minikrea Kjole 20002
Making this dress for my daughter was such a learning lesson. Curved hems, pinning accurately, cutting the fabric correctly (with huge thanks again to Rachel for rescuing me when I cut wrong and wept the first time), lining , armholes, placing button loops...
I've since realised that a mini person sized pieced dress is ambitious for a beginner like me. I think the fact that I had made the commitment thanks to the talented help of Lisa and Rachel from Ray Stitch meant that I stuck with it when I might have been otherwise tempted to put it aside and make something that felt less complicated for me to achieve. This isn't a hard pattern but there was a lot more steps than I had in my skill set at the start. I chose all the easy options with the exception of the button loops as I wanted cute buttons. There are options for puff sleeves, bubble hems and all sorts that would be fun one day but for now, simple lines is perfect for this newbie.
Still, I now have a dress that is hanging and waiting for the Playful Tot's return and I can't wait to show her. We've already tried it on at the midway point so she's been asking ever since for her new giraffe dress. I am slightly concerned it might fall apart the minute she starts twirling around in it but you know what? I wouldn't mind because this feels like a huge step forward for all of my making.
Plan ahead- When I knit, I tend to jump in and figure things out on the needles because I have the safety net that I can unpick if I make a mistake. That's simply not an option in sewing so I know that from now on I will be less resistant to researching a little so that I knit just once in the first place. It's ok to take your time!
A good start saves time- On a similar note, reading the pattern thoroughly each time you have a bit of time to sew as well as setting yourself up with all the equipment and information you need, leads to a much more successful crafting experience. I tend to have an extremely limited amount of time to make these days so using some of that time to get organised has been a revelation for me. I zipped through tasks on the days I did this rather than fumbling about and getting frustrated.
Room to Create- I live in a smallish London home. We don't have spare rooms to make and create in so everything has to be contained in a way that I can stop and start whenever I feind a spare few moments. I have a new found appreciation for knitting fitting between those times in our lives when I can just put in a few minutes of stitching while my daughter brushes her teeth or we wait for a bus. Dedicated craft time can then become a little more extravagant in comparison if I remember the first two lessons.
I could really get into this polycraftual thing.
With huge thanks again to Ray Stitch for setting me on my garment making path! Ray Stitch is a ‘fabric boutique’ selling a carefully selected and wide range of designer prints, plains, weaves and knits. The range is underpinned by a fully comprehensive range of high quality tools and accessories and a plethora of seductive buttons, ribbons and trims. Committed to a conscious approach to product sourcing, many of the products they sell are organically or sustainably produced.