Since I’ve been able to spend so much of my time sewing among my favourite things to do is get together with fellow sewers and chat endlessly about sewing/fabrics/techniques/tools…you name it really.
A few weeks ago I spotted that Emily of Self Assembly Required had posted in the forum on The Fold Line about organising a London fabric swap in the near future. Eventually Sunday 19th February at The Parcel Yard, Kings Cross station was chosen which is perfect for me because I can literally get off the train, walk along the platform and up the stairs (carefully avoiding the MASSIVE queues for the Harry Potter shop!)
I had a sort through my carefully curated fabric collection (!!) to find the fabrics that I’d never found a use for-I’d been gifted them in the first place but I thought someone else might be able to use them more than me. I also had a number of patterns which were mainly duplicates or free patterns that I’d never use (I know I rarely get rid of anything but if I genuinely have no need or liking for something it’s only taking up room isn’t it?)
So anyway, when I arrived there were already about 7 or 8 lovely ladies there already and it didn’t take long for us to dive in to the big pile of fabrics and patterns. There was some amazing booty to be had but loads of it seemed to find good homes. I picked up some gorgeous lengths of fabric as well as some fab patterns including a Maker’s Atelier ‘Holiday’ shirt and a Merchant & Mills Camber Set. I think there were as many as 15 of us a one point (plus one lady who I don’t think was part of ‘us’ at all but she had a nosey before she went to catch her train!!)
I knew I’d have to try the Maker’s Atelier pattern pretty quickly because I had some lovely Swiss Dot cotton already washed and waiting for the right project at home since I bought it last year at Walthamstow!
The pattern had been partly cut out (luckily still a big enough size for me) although there were no pin marks so it didn’t seem like it had actually been used. In theory I didn’t have enough fabric according to the requirements but by folding the selvedges both to the centreline I got everything out just fine. It’s always worth checking using this method particularly if the fabric is wide or has no distinct pattern, it’s surprising how many pieces which need a fold will come out of ‘not enough fabric’. Some pieces might have to be cut singly but if you really want to make something in a certain fabric it’s probably the only option other than buying more.
The pattern is of very nice quality tissue (more like greaseproof paper in it’s thickness!) and the envelope and artwork are very classy, as is the design itself-very ‘Whistles’ I’d say. That said, I’m not really sure what makes it worth the considerable cost, at an RRP of £22.50 it costs a lot more than almost all other independent pattern brands. Don’t get me wrong, I know patterns cost a lot to create, develop and produce but I wouldn’t say this pattern was significantly better than others I’ve used. Another beef I have with it is that the seam allowances are only 1cm. Why is this an issue? well because most UK or European pattern brands have 1.5cms as standard seam allowances and this British brand chooses not to for some reason. This is fine but I think it’s a fact that should be highlighted pretty near the beginning of the instructions and I nearly missed it. Again, it wouldn’t have mattered on this particular very loose-fitting style but I think it’s worth pointing out. Sorry.
I liked the hints and tips card enclosed, it points out a few things that might not be obvious if you’re fairly new to sewing (the 1cm seam allowance note is in here but quite a way in if you don’t read all of it!) There’s a ‘how to measure’ guide on the reverse too.
Making the shirt up was fairly straightforward although I misunderstood the method for putting the collar so, instead of turning the collar edge under and slip stitching in place, I used some pretty bias binding to cover the raw edges-it looks really pretty even though it won’t show.
Finishing off the cuffs and hem was also pretty straightforward, I like the split hem detail in particular.
So there it is, the Holiday shirt from Maker’s Atelier. I made a 14 and it’s probably overly generous so I’ll make a 12 next time, or even a 10. I’ve got some pretty georgette that I bought at the Birmingham Rag Market last year which I think will look rather lovely in this loose style too. I’ll team this one with jeans or a straight skirt with a vest top underneath as it’s very sheer, it’ll be lovely if it’s hot though.
Thank you so much to whoever donated this pattern to the swap meet, I wouldn’t have paid £22.50 for it myself in all likelihood although it does look very classy. This is a speedy make because there are no buttons or zips to contend with so you could whip it up in an evening no problem. I’ve got some other fabric in my stash that I’ll probably make the pond -sleeve hooded version in before the summer, I’m on my holibobs quite early this year so I need to be thinking ahead a bit really-it’s easy to be making stuff for the here and now and then not have time for things that are a bit ‘out of season’.