Freehand Fashion Blog Tour and Review

Hello hello!

almond rock chinelo bally freehand fashion

I hope you’ve been following the blog tour for Chinelo Bally’s new book Freehand Fashion. I’m the penultimate stop on the tour and hopefully I can say something about the book that helps add a little more insight into the composition and styling of the projects and approach. Plus you can have a nosey at my finished garment.

chinelo bally freehand fashion

Based on a traditional Nigerian technique, Chinelo’s book takes you through her innovative freehand cutting technique. Like many other pattern books it’s based around a series of standard blocks (bodice, dress, skirt, sleeve, and flare) that you draft using your measurements. But the difference is unique variations on the blocks and the way you plot the integral marks on your fabric. You cleverly take into account seam allowances (something normally omitted in pattern drafting). The bodice block actually covers the whole torso and hips (different again from many techniques). This lets you create 15 central patterns with a few variations to boot!

chinelo bally freehand fashion

I decided to try out the flared skirt block aka the double circle skirt project. This is a very approachable project (which fitted with my limited free time) but I also wanted to see how Chinelo would spell out this standard block.

Firstly it’s true of all the projects in this book but I really like the way the pages are laid out. Everything is clear and consistent and gorgeously crisp looking. The flared skirt is nicely broken up into how to achieve various amounts of flare but I fancied a full on circle. Chinelo advises using a regular less full skirt as the lining which was interesting. I chose a pink twill with a pink polka dot lining to compliment my uber polka dot set up! And I hemmed the skirt using bias tape since it takes so long to hem a full circle. Phew.

chinelo bally freehand fashion

It’s a pretty fun skirt and that’s probably because it’s a pretty fun book. I confess I’ve had a copy for a little while – the perks of doing book reviews in Love Sewing. And I love some of the dresses like the hot lace number. Woah momma. And the peplum flippy hem dress is all kinds of cute. There’s plenty here to find a few garments you like and plenty to learn from re-imagining the way you approach sewing patterns. I’ll throw it out there and then won’t mention it again. If you subscribe to Love Sewing during November, you’ll get a free gift copy of the book. Something to think about – maybe even suggest to your relatives as a good Christmas present? heehe.

chinelo bally freehand fashion

chinelo bally freehand fashion

So I hope I lived up to the challenge and gave you a good spin on the book with my review? I’d like to encourage you to try and pick up a copy of the book and take a look for yourself. I think the key thing to remember is that if you’re the kind of person who gets a bit nervous cutting straight into fabric without a toile, this book isn’t suggesting you do that. It just means you can cut out some of the time consuming steps of tracing and cutting tissue sheets. But if you’re still feeling a little concerned, you can try this circle skirt for an excellent easy win.

Right – toodlepip! I’m off to party in my new foxy skirt! You should check out Rachel’s blog tomorrow for the last point on the tour.

chinelo bally freehand fashion

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The Great British Sewing Bee Lace Challenge

Hello Sewing Bee fans!

almond rock great british sewing bee lace challenge

In advance of tonight’s episode White Tree Fabrics gave me 2 metres of the lovely teal/aqua coloured leaf lace seen in the show and in the accompanying book, used on this gorgeous pencil skirt.

almond rock great british sewing bee lace challenge

almond rock great british sewing bee lace challenge

The lace has such a pretty scalloped selvedge I wanted to showcase that. So I thought if I made a strapless dress I could include a scalloped neckline and hem.

I used my tried and true Butterick 5351 as a starting point. This is a non-stretch lace and I found a teal rayon to use as a lining. I underlined the lace using tiny hand stitches and then changed the order of the construction to line the bodice and sew-in fabric covered boning. I decided not to line the skirt and just underline it; the skirt pieces are just two gathered rectangles.

almond rock great british sewing bee lace challenge

I don’t personally think this is the type of lace to worry about pattern matching. The leaf design is quite free flowing so seam lines don’t interrupt the print too badly. I bet I’d get marked down on the sewing bee though.

almond rock great british sewing bee lace challenge

Before I started I washed the lace on the cool handwash setting of my washing machine, and because it’s a cotton lace there was a little shrinking but no colour fading. There’s not a massively clear difference between the right and wrong sides either. It was a really nice lace to work with.

almond rock great british sewing bee lace challengeSo there you have it! A sweet new blue dress paired with a black patent belt and shoes.

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