Freehand Fashion

It makes me sad to think that some of you might not have watched the Great British Sewing Bee, but, well, I have to face facts: not everyone in the world has seen it. For those of you not in the know, this is a British TV series that features amateur sewers facing increasingly more difficult challenges. They’re lulled in with a pair of cotton trousers, and before you know it they’re being asked to refashion wetsuits into party dresses.
There have been three series so far, but the second series featured a contestant with an approach to sewing I’d never heard of – freehand cutting. Chinelo made the most amazing clothes seemingly by magic, drawing measurements straight onto the fabric, no pattern required. I mean, look at this:
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Beautiful right? And the fit of her garments was absolutely amazing. Considering that I was almost literally hypnotised by Chinelo’s sewing, you can imagine how excited I was to learn that she was releasing a book and sharing her secrets. Freehand Fashion recaps all the basic sewing techniques you need and introduces freehand cutting techniques and projects.
I basically want to make everything in it. I decided to try one of the simpler projects first, partly to ease myself into working without a pattern, and partly because I have become a time-poor lady since starting my teacher training. I picked the chiffon wrap and quickly took to the Internet to find myself some suitable – and beautiful! – fabric.
peacock two
peacock one
Construction is easy – one bit of fabric, a few French seams, and a lot of narrow hemming.

The instructions combined with the diagrams were really easy to follow – there was only one section I had to think about. With mainstream commercial patterns I often have to read over sections three or four times, so that must be some kind of record. The hem tapering up at the front is not part of the pattern instructions – I was trimming the hem and then lopped a piece off. Whoops. So I tried to do the same thing on the other side and I think it turned out OK…

The fabric is lovely too – I got it from eBay, where it is still available in three different colourways. It is polyester, so it’s very affordable – but I don’t think I would recommend it for anything close-fitting. Too sweaty! Also, the print is quite large – bigger than I expected. That didn’t really matter for a long, simple wrap like this one, but don’t forget to factor it in if you want to make something a little more complicated.
So – big thumbs up from me! I really liked this first foray into freehand cutting – I was super impressed with how a garment appeared without a pattern. I will be working through Chinelo’s book, so I promise to blog something more complicated next time!
 peacock three