Thursday 22 May 2014

Blog feature: Beth & Winifred

I love seeing all your makes pop up in the wild all over the place, and i have been meaning to catch up on featuring some spectacular makes from you peeps here on the blog but a spare moment lately had been hard to catch. Did i mention two new pattern releases are being released on Monday 26th?!!! Way excited for these two to be released. Literally about to self combust each day, ha!  But in the last day or two things have calmed down i can get back into the swing of things, especially here on the blog. So in the next couple i will be featuring the Winifred sew-along winners, picking their brains and finding out their inspiration for their Winifred's and above all looking at their pretty pics.

First up is  Beth, first place winner who has made not one, not two but three Winifred dresses! But also sewed the majority of her Winifred dresses in hotel rooms while travelling for work, amazing lady!

So without further ado, introducing Beth and her harem of Winfred dresses:

What type of fabric did you use? What inspired your choice of fabric?

I made 2 versions of the Winifred dress, for my first one I wanted a wearable toile and found a great vintage cars dressmaking cotton blend in my local fabric shop – Abakhan ( at a reasonable price, so decided that this would fit in with the vintage styling of the dress. I then chose an African waxed cotton, again from Abakhan as I wanted a dress to wear to a Nigerian friend’s wedding with a colour scheme of red and gold. This was a more structured stiffer cotton, which gave the 2nd Winifred dress skirt section a very different shape to the original version.

Did your Winifred dress live up to the image you had in your mind?

I love both versions, if the sun ever makes an appearance in the UK then they’ll make great summer dresses. They’re comfortable to wear and as I hoped both flatter my plus-sized pear shaped figure, by drawing the eye to my slimmer sections and skimming over my larger areas, just what I want in a summer dress and what I was hoping the Winifred would be like.

How did you decide to reflect your personal style in the pattern?

I’m not really one for cutesy or dainty prints, so chose bold colourful fabrics. Having a directional prints for both the retro cars version and the African waxed cotton Winifred’s I made sure that I took my time choosing the fabric layouts, after all I wouldn’t want half of the cars to be upside down! The African waxed cotton has an ombre colouring, so I chose to layout the colours differently on the front from the back, with the front focusing on the darker aspects and the back focusing on the lighter shades of the fabric, creating a bit more individuality. Also choosing the buckles to go with these dresses is an art form in itself, they’ve got to look just right! I spent hours scouring local fabric and  haberdashery shops as well as searching online incl eBay and etsy to find just the right one!

Tell us a bit about your making process, any tweaks you made?

As I’m more self-conscious about my waist and hips, I chose to add a little more width to the side seams of the dress, to enable it to skim over these areas more. Plus I have now created a third version and find that slight bell-shaped sleeves suit my ‘bingo wings’ more, so have redrafted the sleeve to show this and to finish at a flattering elbow length. I also left the belt off this final version as I cut the lace slightly longer and only included the underlining in the gathering, so a belt would have been overkill.

 What thoughts do you have about the project?

I love how the Winifred dress can be easily adapted to suit most figures. Following the pattern as it comes makes the dress easy for beginners to dressmaking to tackle, whilst those more advanced can easily alter it and adapt it to their own needs. I also love how versatile the pattern is, all 3 of the versions I have made look very different based on the different fabric choices and alterations I made.

Are you planning any future  Winifred dress ?

I’ve already completed my third Winifred! My friend’s mum brought me the most beautiful gold lace and deep raspberry velvet from Nigeria, so I could match the outfits that were being brought over from Nigeria. I took a week off work and made another very unique Winifred, incorporating both fabrics and of course an underlining for the lace or it would be too revealing! Taking inspiration from another version I had seen I decided to split the pattern and use different fabrics for the bodice and skirt sections.

I already have a few more versions in mind with fabric from my stash, so there will definitely be more Winifred’s in my future!

Check our Beth on Instagram for sneak peeks into her many sewing projects, this gal is a machine!


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