Monday, 28 May 2012

Beginners' dressmaking at Millie Moon

Well hello there my lovelies. How are you all? It's been a while since my last post. This is because I've had very little time to do any baking or any making recently. I've been busy with the new house and busy with my new job. It's all good news, but has left me lacking in time to spend on the task of becoming a domestic goddess.

But, it all changed this weekend! On Sunday, I had that most wonderful day at the oh-so-fabulous Millie Moon Haberdashery in Wells. As you probably know, I am a big fan of Millie Moon and have blogged about the shop in Frome in the past. This time I wasn't there just for a browse, but for a day's course in dressmaking.

I had been looking forward to the course for a long time, as I booked it weeks ago, and it didn't disappoint. I was a little nervous beforehand, as I was worried that my limited sewing skills wouldn't be up to the task in hand. But I was met by a very smiley tutor called Lucy, who made me feel welcome and I knew immediately that this was going to be a brilliant day. The planned outcome for the day was that each member of the small group would have a complete A-line skirt to take away.

We started the morning with measurements - waist, hips, waist to hips and length, to be precise. This was because we weren't just using a pattern from a book, but we were making our own! That's right - a skirt made to fit our individual shapes and sizes. How cool?!

So, once we had measured up, it was time to draw the pattern:

We used pattern-making paper, which meant that my geometry failings didn't matter - straight lines could be drawn simply by joining the dots! I've found the paper for sale here, and fully intend to make a purchase.

Once our patterns were ready, it was time to mock up a toile (a dummy run in calico). This stage saw me facing a big fear and sewing a zip for the very first time! With some excellent instructions and encouragement from Lucy, I blooming well did it and it looked like this:

That's right - I sewed a zip in!

When our toiles were complete, we had to try them on and Lucy pinned in where we needed to add darts, to make sure the final skirts fitted us perfectly. She then showed us how to draw the darts onto the pattern and how to transfer them onto the fabric. This was done using a clever little technique, sewing loops into the three points of the darts and pulling the pattern off. But before we could take this step, we had to do the most difficult part of the day - choosing the fabric for the final skirts!

Next it was a case of sewing in the darts (something else I had never done before), adding the zip, and sewing the pieces together. We even finished the edges of the seam allowances neatly with a zigzag stitch, to stop them from fraying. Then we added bias binding around the top, hemmed the bottom and added a hook and eye. And then......


I made that! From scratch! I still can't quite believe it, because I never thought I would be able to make something that I could actually wear. Not only can I wear it, but it fits beautifully and I am so proud of the fact that I created it myself.

I would absolutely recommend this workshop to anyone who needs a little more confidence in their sewing skills. It is a friendly, pressure-free course, run by smiley people in a really lovely environment. I picked up so many little tips, that it was easily worth the fee. And I cannot believe that I can now sew zips and darts!

And, in case you want to see's my very pleasing zip:


  1. How utterly amazing!! It looks fabulous and well done to you for conquering your fear of zips. Now you need to show your very good friend how to do it!! I'm totally impressed :)

    Well done you clever clogs xxx

  2. I am well impressed..... that is one gorgeous skirt & you should feel rightly proud that you made it from 'scratch'.
    Do you mind if I ask how much your course cost?
    Jo. x

  3. Thank you for the comments ladies! The course was £80 for a full day's tuition and all the materials. It sounds like a lot of money, but I learnt so much that I really think it was worth every penny x