One of the things I love about being part of online sewing communities is getting to experience other countries, communities and cultures through the images and details fellow seamstresses share of their creations; ‘A picture is worth a thousand words’ or so the saying goes.
This notion inspired my latest sewing project; through my sews and images I hoped to convey what life is like for me and my family in the UK in the summer. I decided to tell my story though Twig and Tale patterns. Those that have followed me know I have a particular fondness for Twig and Tale patterns and so it was only right I should use those to best convey MY Summer.
For me Summer is all about strawberries! Strawberries and Cream, described by the Independent as ‘a minor British institution’ are very much a national dish in the UK during the summer months, one of the key statistics quoted after the Wimbledon Tennis Championship final is the amount of Strawberries consumed (166, 055 portions in 2017 in case you were wondering)! Strawberries, Summer and the UK literally go hand in hand! My family and I spend many summer days at one of several local Pick Your Own farms harvesting strawberries, and I have done since I was very young, so this is where I decided to take my photos.
So our outfits. My daughter’s dress was also all about the strawberries! I opted to make my daughter a Driftwood dress. The Driftwood dress and blouse pattern is the latest Twig and Tale release and despite only being out for a very short time is definitely one garment that features very heavily in my daughter’s wardrobe. Made in cotton lawn, as used here, it’s cool and airy and perfect for balmy weather. There are sleeve options though I went ‘off pattern’ and simply hemmed the long sleeve – the sleeve has a bell shape to create a voluminous look when gathered into a cuff or with elastic, hemming it retained the 60’s bell shape seen here.
The Driftwood dress is a very simple dress but has some beautiful professional finishing techniques which give it an elegant finish. The bias binding neckline is probably the most fiddliest part of the construction but it is very well explained and there is a full video tutorial for additional support. For my daughter’s neckline I opted to make my own bias binding. Although you could make construction quicker by using ready-made, shop bought bias binding, as I did with my blouse, I find ready-made shop bought binding so much stiffer and, as a result, far more fiddly and harder to work with.
For my eldest son, I also used the Driftwood pattern. The blouse and dress are both options in the pattern and thus help to make it unisex. My son actually prefers to wear his Driftwood shirts instead of his jersey t-shirts as he finds them cooler in the sun. This Driftwood was made in double gauze which is a perfect warmer weather fabric choice because of it’s breath-ability. I used a similar fabric for my son’s Tree Climber Pantaloons creating a loose and relaxed outfit. I opted to leave the neckline open with my son’s driftwood to complement the loose and relaxed look.
I used the same fabric for my youngest son’s Barefoot Romper as I did for my eldest’s shirt. The Barefoot Romper has so many options and different combinations to achieve different looks, as a pattern, it represents incredible value for money. I choose the flat front, knee length, with broad cross over straps and kangaroo and back pocket. In retrospect, I probably should of chosen a different fabric for my youngest son or made some alterations to my method and seam finishes in particular; he is far more rough and tumble than his older siblings and his clothes are put through so much more strain, there were signs of stitching being pulled though the loose weave of the double gauze on the seams under the most strain. I’ve read that French seams are a good choice for double guaze to help create a stronger seam so that may of helped here. Something to try next time.
Of course the joy of harvesting your own fruit is getting to sample the produce and, again, I’m not sure there is anything more British than an Afternoon Tea picnic with scones, jam, cream and strawberries!
I do look forward to seeing your countries, communities and cultures reflected in the garments and images you produce, do share them with me and the rest of the world here, on Instagram or through online sewing communities.
Many thanks to Manor Farm Fruits in Tamworth for allowing me to take photos for this post.