Fulwood and Brightside are suburbs in Sheffield, my hometown. They are also the names of 2 patterns I have recently made.
I love the idea of naming a pattern after somewhere so familiar to me. It certainly drew me in. I have many happy memories of Fulwood. My besties still live there. Every Friday night we would get ‘ready’ (a 2 hour process) at Sara’s place, we would get the bus down Crimicar Lane, stop off at The West End pub, collecting Katie, Lou and Faye along the way and ending up at the Leadmill. I am never sure why we would spend so long getting ready, we looked complete wrecks as we poured out of the Leadmill at 2am and headed back to Fulwood. Ah, the joys of youth. I loved being 18 in Sheffield, it was so much fun.
Fulwood and Brightside are also patterns designed by Wendy Ward, designer, sewing teacher and author. Wendy is from Sheffield, I should have known really. I love her aesthetic, it’s monochrome, it’s stripes and it’s cracking tattoos. It’s my idea of minimal cool.
THE FULWOOD DRESS
She has loads of great patterns but I was really keen to try the Fulwood dress and the Brightside shrug. The Fulwood dress is basically a loose fitting shift dress, it has a variety of options including roll collar or boat neck, inseam pockets and pleats, it’s also easy to hack into a top. It’s aimed at beginners and I do like a simple sew. Loose and boxy and easy, that’s my kind of dress.
I used a blue cotton/linen mix I bought from Fabric Cave, so it’s preloved. I love the colour and the texture of the fabric is so soft and fluid. I was quite short on fabric but I worked out I could make a dress if I was crafty so I just about managed it. I had to leave off the roll collar which is a shame as I really fancied that option. I also decided to remove the pleat option and make the dress one piece. This is the good thing about this frock, it’s easy to hack, add and subtract as you go.
In the instructions there is a section with hacking suggestions. So I folded the pleat out and then taped the skirt piece to the top piece. In hindsight I should have added a couple of extra centimetres around my hips (as Wendy suggests). It fits perfectly well, but I prefer a slightly looser fit. I will grade the skirt section out next time.
I didn’t have quite enough fabric for the sleeve cuffs so I decided to put some bias binding around the edges (I also did this on the neckline). Homemade binding of course, in grey and white stripes, the fabric was from Margie’s stash. You do get the odd flash of this now and again.
I am super pleased with it. It’s easy to wear and simple, things that are often lacking in my wardrobe. I know I will get tons of use out of it. I was shivering as I was shooting this dress for my blog, it’s cold here. I will be wearing this with lots of layers until the warm weather comes back again!
THE BRIGHTSIDE SHRUG
The Brightside shrug is intriguing. It’s such a funny shaped pattern piece, like wearable origami.
I loved the grey marl version on Wendy’s website and as they say ‘imitations is the sincerest form of flattery’, I basically ripped it off!
I already had such lovely grey jersey that I had bought at The Cloth House in Melbourne, it was a match made in heaven. I think it took me just over an hour to make. I was even studious enough to do the hand tacking that Wendy suggests. I am glad I did, I enjoyed the process and it really did make for a better finish.
One of my 11 year old students was quite keen to try this pattern. I am not generally keen on teaching stretch unless they have a bit of experience, not sure why really as it’s not that difficult. I asked her to buy ponte. I think that’s always a safer option, it’s just a more forgiving fabric and easy to handle. So when she turned up with this fabric I did a little involuntary squeal of delight. Can you believe how good this is? She is 11!! Yes, 11.
We sewed the seams on the sewing machine and added the cuffs and neckband using the overlocker. She loved the overlocker, thought it was great fun and enjoyed putting her foot down. I also insisted on hand tacking it all in place. She was a good sport about that, even though kids often find it tedious and don’t have the patience for it. We used fluoro orange tacking thread, for a bit of fun. I am happy to say she removed it all too.
Such great patterns, they are both really easy to make, with clear and simple instructions. I would recommend these to beginners for sure. It was also a lovely little walk down memory lane, making patterns named after places so close to my heart. I am excited to say that I will be back in Sheffield in a few weeks time, for a wedding. I look forward to a night out on the tiles with the girls, although I think my Leadmill days are well and truly behind me.