Existing top - it used to be black!
My first step was to find the appropriate fabric to use. I brought my friend to the fabric shop with me as I felt it was important that she could see what the choice of fabric was as I wasn't sure how closely we would be able to match it. She enjoyed the experience of seeing and feeling the fabrics, and in the end we selected some black poplin which was about the right weight for the project.
The next stage was to sit down and think about what pieces I would need to cut out, and how I would put them together. I looked at the instructions of a pattern I'd previously made for some inspiration.
Although I could have traced directly from the top onto the fabric, I decided to make a pattern using tracing paper. Of course I made sure I had some supervision on the project...
Once the pieces were cut out, I sewed together the front and back then sewed on the neck and sleeves. At this point I got my friend to try it on and check she was happy with the fit. I had decided to leave out the drawstring part at the bottom but the side slits were kept in, to make sure it was still easy to get on and off.
The finished article!
From the inside - I used French seams for the shoulder and side seams. plus pinking at the armholes and at the inside edge.
Now all I need to do is sew in a 'Handmade by Kerry' label and it's finished! A few key things I learned during this make are:
- Really examine the item and think about how you are going to put it together - list pieces to cut out, look at instructions from other patterns, write a step-by-step instructions list or draw a diagram, whatever helps.
- When selecting fabric bring the item with you to the fabric shop as it will be helpful to compare fabric weight, stretch or check how sheer it is
- When cutting, make sure you leave extra for seam allowances
- Try on the item during the process if you can
I have to admit that I did find the project a little stressful in case my friend was expecting a perfect article that looked exactly the same as the original smock. I think she was happy in the end though, and I was pleased with my efforts. The only problem is that I don't want to get too many requests to make things - how on earth will I get time to make things for myself?! Seriously though, I think people don't realise how tricky and time-consuming some projects can be. That being said, this was a good opportunity to try making something using an existing garment, since I hadn't done it before. Today another friend asked me to make cover for a footstool, which should be a quick and easy project. And I've been promised a bottle of wine, which is a nice incentive!
How do you feel about making items for other people at their request?