Share with:


We are very excited to be involved in the blog tour for Chinelo Bally’s new book, Freehand Fashion. On the Great British Sewing Bee Chinelo Bally wowed us all with her amazing freehand pattern cutting skills, so we couldn’t wait to see what she had in store for us in her first book. We also have a competition for one of you lucky people to win a copy of Chinelo’s book, thanks to Pavillion Books, so head over to our TwitterFacebook or Instagram profiles to find out more!

So what is freehand pattern cutting? Well it involves using NO PATTERNS! You take your body measurements and translate these onto the fabric directly before cutting out your garment pieces. It is still a traditional method of making clothes in many countries but not very well known in the UK.

Chinelo Bally freehand fashion book review9   Chinelo Bally freehand fashion book review10

A couple of years ago I was lucky enough to go to two classes Chinelo taught on freehand pattern cutting in East London. I learnt to make a peplum top and maxi dress by marking my measurements directly onto fabric. I couldn’t wait to see what dressmaking patterns were in the book and test one out for myself.

Chinelo Bally freehand fashion book review11   Chinelo Bally freehand fashion book review18

The book is split into 3 main sections: sewing essentials, techniques and taking measurements, how to cut basic blocks and 15 dressmaking projects. The techniques section gives you a refresher for any skills you might need to use in the book.

Chinelo Bally freehand fashion book review17

This is followed by a helpful guide on how to take all your body measurements and space to record your own.

Chinelo Bally freehand fashion book review16   Chinelo Bally freehand fashion book review15

Plus Chinelo guides you through freehand cutting basic blocks for a bodice, dress, skirt, flare and sleeve. The sewing projects include different styled skirts, tops and dresses plus a blazer and jacket.

Chinelo Bally freehand fashion book review12   Chinelo Bally freehand fashion book review14   Chinelo Bally freehand fashion book review13

When it came to choosing a dressmaking project from the book I decided to make the Velvet Wrap Dress. Instead of velvet I used a colourful knit fabric and despite the it being a grey November week this will be perfect when spring comes round again or for a wedding! I love the wrap shape and the fact you don’t need any fixings or zip! I did make a couple of changes as I marked out the pattern, including adding a waistband piece to the back as well as the front and instead of adding sleeves I extended the shoulders out for a grown on sleeve. I think if I make it again I would make a more exaggerated curve for the wrap of the skirt at the front so there was a bit more fabric!

Chinelo Bally freehand fashion book review1a   Chinelo Bally freehand fashion book review4a

Chinelo Bally freehand fashion book review2a   Chinelo Bally freehand fashion book review6a

Chinelo Bally freehand fashion book review7a   Chinelo Bally freehand fashion book review5a

Freehand pattern cutting is quite a different way of sewing than with a pattern, so we’d definitely recommend practicing the blocks before starting one of the projects. Although you don’t actually need to practice the blocks, if you don’t have any pattern cutting experience it will give you a chance to test out the techniques first. If you’d rather not draft straight onto fabric you can mark out the pieces on paper instead. We’d recommend making either the Double-circle skirt, High-low top, pencil skirt or maxi skirt project to start off and definitely make it in a muslin first. As with all new skills you need to practice them to get it right and this certainly applies to freehand pattern cutting. If you are used to adapting your paper patterns to fit you this will definitely help. The methods can be tricky so make sure you give yourself plenty of time.

Another thing to mention is to double check the amount of fabric you need for your project. You calculate it based on your body measurements for each part of the garment, for example skirt, bodice and sleeve are worked out separately. Best to add this up before going fabric shopping!

Today was our turn in the Freehand Fashion book tour but take a look at all these other lovely makes too. Tomorrow we will get to see what Lauren from Lady Sew A Lot creates.

Thursday 12th – Charlotte, English Girl at Home makes the Pencil Skirt

Friday 13th – Frida and Amy, Pavillion Craft, make the Maxi-skirt and Box-top http://www.lovecrafts.co.uk/

Saturday 14th – Marie, A stitching Odyssey makes the Hi-Low top

Sunday 15th – that’s us!

Monday 16th – Lauren, Lady Sew A Lot

Tuesday 17th – Amy, Almond Rock

Wednesday 18th – Rachel, House of Pinheiro.

Look out for everyone’s makes on social media with #FreehandFashion

Comments

  1. Profile photo of nekoralie
    nekoralie

    You look lovely in your wrap dress! Congrats on mastering this cool technique.
    I look forward to try it myself once I find a copy of the book. Off to enter the giveaway then… 🙂