I meant to finish this post off two months ago! But then this happened and then this happened and then this happened and also this happened, plus New Years and school holidays and well, lets just say it all got a little busy! According to my Instagram post, I first began cutting for this project thirteen weeks ago! So that must have been sometime towards the end of last October. It was a project that took me one whole month to complete. Crazy yes? Yep, crazy but true and I think I may well have given new meaning to the concept of slow fashion but really, in retrospect of how much I learned throughout the process and how much was going on in my world at the time, it was important for me to progress with it that slowly. Next to my machine it sat, with little bits done here and there whenever a moment was to be found. And from the day I finished it, I have felt so darn proud of myself! Like really truly super duper proud!
So now I would like to introduce you to my Alice Top. You see, the reason I took my sweet precious time with making Alice and the reason I learned SO much during that making is because this top was my first EVER sewing project made from an actual pattern and made as a garment for me to wear. And guess what the very best bit of all is? It actually fits me! Really well! Absolutely perfectly (almost*) and I totally LOVE it because of it's style, it's fabric, it's print, it's comfort value, and well, because I made it just for me!
All the way through I kept thinking how astonished I was going to be if it actually fit by the time I was finished. To date, my sewing projects have always been very basic garments for the kids which are made up as I go, or cut and altered from something existing. Homemade clothing projects for myself have usually been created by means of alterations or up-cycling efforts from some thrifted find and neither of these things, whether for myself or for the kids, have happened in quite some time. Therefore, over the last twelve months at least, my sewing projects have been reduced to drawstring bags and sets of bunting!
I’d heard around the traps to maybe downsize from the pattern a little and when I took note of my own measurements I was a mix of several sizes. With my confidence still wavering and my skill level for pattern reading very much in the land of a newbie, I just took a guess and went with a happy balance between it all. I think I ended up cutting on “Small” but even then I cut knowing parts of me were extra small, some were small and others were more a bit medium. I can’t wait to have several more garment sewing projects under my belt and have full confidence in making the necessary adjustments for my body shape. But for now I’ll continue to gloat in the fluke of my first success ;-)
There were many occasions during the early stages of concentrating on the yolk where I relied heavily on You Tube. Seriously, where would we be without those video tutorials!?! Some parts of the pattern contained new lingo for me and so there was plenty of googling as well, just so I didn’t misinterpret what was being instructed. I followed that pattern word-for-word and step-by-step. At one stage, when I’d gone too far to turn back but was almost convinced I was making something that was just not going to fit - I thought it was going to end up enormous - I spent a good ten minutes completely paused in motion just staring at where I was at and knowing that I simply didn’t have the knowledge yet to make any adjustments. Then I flicked my switch from disappointment and despair (and maybe even a little self-berating mental dialogue - urgh!) to one of happy, joyful making and outright “oh well, F-it, play on”. And do you know what happened in that deciding moment?
I shifted into a genuine space of... It didn’t matter!
I remembered those insightful words I am starting to hear so often from various wise women**….it’s not the end result that counts, but the process is what it's all about. It was time to shove to my perfectionist self right back to the end of the line! It was my turn to craft fearlessly!
Something else occurred to me in that moment too which really made a big difference and that was that if I ballsed it up and it didn't fit, then I could always offer my Alice Top as a giveaway on this here blog. You see, it was not only that failure thing that bothered me, but it was ending up with something going to waste - the not knowing of what to do with it if I wasn't going to wear it. So I decided that if I stuffed it up and it didn’t fit then I would offer Alice as my first ever giveaway. Not as a dud reject prize but as an offering with full disclosure as to the mistakes made within the top and maybe they would work for someone or someone might be able to alter it to better fit them. So you see, in that moment, it became a win-win. Either I finished up with an awesome top that actually fit me or I would be able to host a fun giveaway. As it turned out, I get the glory :-) Sorry about that. But don't fret too much because you're not going to miss out. All that switch flicking and fearless making - or more a case of feeling the fear but doing it anyway - got me thinking that after writing this blog for well over a year now, it is high time I did host a little giveaway. So stay tuned for that because I’ve got my thinking cap on and I’m planning on putting together a box full of goodies which will offer a whole lot of love and a good dose of fun too!
Next up I'd like to have a go at making the dress version of Alice with the pockets (those are optional additions) and then maybe a Wiksten Tank... Oh, and by the way, the fabric is part of the Rajasthan Express collection by Merchant & Mills and I bought it direct from Helene of Stitch 56 while at The Craft Sessions last September. I'm totally in-love with it!
* The arm holes and underarms are perfect and I'm very happy with the yoke, but I could easily shorten the length by a few centimetres. The longer length doesn't bother me enough to get it back under the sewing machine though, although it's something that could easily be adjusted down the track.