Patternless dressmaking

Remember Chinelo?

Anyone who watched the 2014 series of the Great British Sewing Bee will remember one of the finalists, Chinelo Bally.  She produced stunning garments by measuring her model in an unconventional way and then transferring those measurements directly onto the fabric.  She was following a Nigerian method she had learnt from a relative not very long before entering the GBSB.  Chinelo’s relative lack of dressmaking experience let her down in the end and she didn’t win – the poor woman was completely flummoxed when faced with her first paper pattern during the show, and famously couldn’t figure out how to assemble a man’s tie.  Nevertheless, she is clearly very talented and I was fascinated by her no-pattern method.  I tried to find out more about it afterwards, but couldn’t find a comprehensive description anywhere.

Freehand Fashion coverI dare say that I wasn’t the only person who wanted to know more, and Chinelo eventually filled the information gap by writing a book called “Freehand Fashion”.

This was my New Year reading material, although I think the only way to understand the technique properly is to use it.  It might be time for a trip to The Shuttle, my favourite fabric shop.

The book even includes a version of the show-stopping velour evening gown that Chinelo made on the Sewing Bee.

Velvet wrap dressNow, do I need a new evening dress?  Wrong question.  Do I want a new evening dress?  If I thought I’d look like the girl who wore Chinelo’s dress, or the model in the pic above, then the answer would definitely be yes, but I fear that I don’t have the necessary show-stopping figure.

Lumpy ice

Lumpy iceI had to show you this. Never seen anything like it before. We’ve had a run of frosty weather and when I stepped outside the other morning I noticed that a water-filled tub looked decidedly odd.  The surface was frozen, but it wasn’t flat.  Instead, there were strangely faceted lumps all over it.  Must be something to do with the way the ice crystals formed.  Weird, but rather wonderful.

About yorkshirecrafter

I live and work in West Yorkshire.  I've always enjoyed crafts of all types, from woodwork to lace-making.  I also enjoy anything mathematical, which makes knitting a favourite pastime, especially complicated designs.  I've been advising businesses and industry on environmental matters for 30 years and also have an interest in green living, especially where it saves me money. I live with my husband and our Maine Coon in a 100-year-old cottage that constantly needs something doing to it.  Fortunately, I enjoy DIY too.
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