I just came across this draft from Spring last year – I never published it because I couldn’t bring myself to take any pictures. However, I still think it needs to be heard – especially since I have now made two dresses from this book (one blogged here and one here)and they have both been huge successes (although to be fair they don’t have any sleeves!!)
Nearly 4 months after receiving Chinelo Bally‘s book for Christmas I plucked up the courage to give something a try. Freehand fashion is a bit of a scary concept. You take what seems like hundreds of measurements. mark some crosses on your fabric calculated from those measurements and then cut away at it. What comes out the other end surprisingly resembles a pattern piece!
I decided to stick to what looked like one of the simpler garments and opted to make the boxy top. I dutifully took all my measurements as described in the front of the book, performed all the calculations needed and then sat down to work. I decided if I was going to do this properly I should work straight onto my fabric (the book does suggest for the wary sewer you can work on paper first and create a kind of pattern piece). I cut out the front and back pieces and got sewing.
The fit was amazing! I guess that’s what you get from working off your measurements rather than a pattern. I so pleased with my triumph at creating a top without a pattern.
Next came the sleeves. This is where everything went wrong. The first set of sleeves I made was so tight I couldn’t even lift my arms up past about 45 degrees. The second set were massive. The set of sleeves I finally stuck with are still pretty huge. I think I am going to claim that as a design choice. Maybe next time I give this a go something will click and the sleeves will be fine but I might just cave and use a pattern piece from somewhere else for the sleeves.
Pattern: No pattern! Instructions based on the boxy top in Freehand Fashion: Learn to Sew the Perfect Wardrobe – No Patterns Required!
Fabric: Abstract print sateen from somewhere on eBay
Notions: Black Gutermann Sew All Sewing Thread
Alterations: None! It was made to my exact size!
I am really pleased to have given something a go from this book and think it could be really great once I get the hang of it. I think I might start using it to make really great fitting tops and bodices but then add some of the features of my favourite patterns. It seems like it might be more straightforward than trying to tweak the fit of a pattern bodice.
If you enjoyed this sneak peak into one of my less successful projects why not keep up to date with my current makes over on Instagram where I post everything from the wins to the fails and all the progress shots in between.
Have you ever tried something and it not gone to plan? I’d love to hear about it in the comments so that I don’t feel quite so alone in my defeat!