This isn’t a fabric that I would choose for myself. It was a birthday present. The design is Yuendamu Bush Tomato by Aboriginal artist Audrey Napanangka.
I thought the print would look best as a shapeless dress, again not something I would normally choose but no other pattern felt right to me so I figured that I might as well try it and see what would happen. There wasn’t enough fabric for the dress so I had to add a band of different fabric across the bottom. It was very difficult to find something that suited. I also picked out a dark peach zip, which I think went very nicely with the fabric. I went to the effort of attaching it before deciding that actually, this dress doesn’t need a zip. So I unpicked it.
Despite being marked as easy, I found the pattern instructions a little confusing and had to carefully re-read multiple times before I grasped it. I haven’t really lined dresses before so the process was foreign to me. But it seems to have worked out.
For the lining I chose some flimsy pink fabric that I had used for a Fail Skirt way back in my first year of sewing. It is awful material to work with and I had decided to never use it again. But I didn’t really want to buy some more lining and the colour went well with the fabric so I decided to try it and if it failed then I would get something better. Using gelatine to stabilise the fabric helped a lot but it was still horrible to work with.
Despite not being something I would choose for myself, I actually like this dress.
I had three family christmas parties in as many days so making this dress between events kept me from going crazy. I’ve been waiting for some grey tights to arrive before taking photos. My standard black tights just don’t cut it for this dress.
I’m not entirely happy with the bust. I’m just not busty enough for the pattern. I attempted my very first small bust adjustment with my very toile and my calculations came to only 0.5cm adjustment on each side. I was very skeptical about so small an adjustment but the toile looked good. Unfortunately the real thing did not work so well. I didn’t try for any further corrections to the garment as I had no fabric left in case I stuffed it up beyond repair. Regardless, this brief venture in toiles has convinced me to stop being lazy and make 2018 the Year of the Toile. Or perhaps the Year of Getting My Shit Together And Stop Taking Shortcuts.
The invisible zip also gave me grief. I have sewn one successful invisible zip (during sewing class when I used the teacher’s invisible zipper foot) and have had a string of disasters since then. Generally I’ve avoided them but I really couldn’t with this dress. I’ve long suspected that the main issue was that I have a crap invisible zipper foot and this time I paid close attention and discovered that one side of the foot is fine. The other side doesn’t sew close to the zip, resulting in a very visible zip. Urg! I’ve drawn a little X on that side so I know to never use it again. Using the good side of the zipper foot I was able to sew an acceptable zip. It isn’t completely invisible and there is a slight bulge in the fabric that I can’t figure out but given my years of bad zips, I’m calling this a win. Now that I’ve figured out the problem with the foot I can focus on improving my invisible zip skills.
My goal this summer is to make plenty of dresses. Long ago I didn’t wear skirts and dresses, partially due to low self-esteem but mainly because I have difficulty finding nice shoes that don’t make my feet bleed after only a few minutes of walking. Nowadays I have a few nice pairs of shoes but still a small dress collection and I’m getting sick of wearing the same ones over and over. Except my first dress is too heavy for a blazing Australian summer so I’m not being very logical with my sewing plans…
My boyfriend picked out the fabric from the reduced section. The fabric is meant to be for active wear but I’m as active as a potato on a couch. Anyway, he found the fabric and then patiently waited while I flipped through the pattern catalogs, finding the right right dress pattern for the fabric. I chose McCall’s M7160 and am very happy with it. It was very easy to sew and I love how the skirt drapes. There is meant to be elastic in the waistband but I omitted it as it doesn’t seem necessary. And of course I ran out of thread whilst sewing the final hem. Why is it always the final hem?
The fabric does have tiny holes in it so I underlined it with a light grey knit. I also made the pockets grey because I first thought it would be weird using holey fabric. Now I think the teal would have been fine but I kind of like that the pockets are little hidden contrasts. And they are really well concealed.
Next I will definitely make a summer dress and it will be finished before summer ends!
I didn’t actually plan on making a complete outfit, I just happened to pick out fabrics that kind of go together. (I should probably iron my clothes before taking photos of them. Except my iron is a piece a shit…)
There really isn’t much to say about the top and skirt. My past efforts using flimsy gauze have not worked well but I stumbled across the method of using gelatine to stabilise fabric from Lladybird. It worked really well! My cutting and sewing was much improved and I would really recommend the technique.
The jacket pattern doesn’t include lining, which just seems silly to me. A jacket should be lined. I decided to take what I had learned in a Craftsy class and try to add my own. I had some leftover teal lining from one of my earlier dresses (which is horribly sewn and does not get worn) but that meant that I didn’t have spare in case I stuffed up. In the end it was a great choice as I love the teal against the grey.
The size I chose was a little too small so I decided to omit the button (also, I can’t be bothered). The sleeves were way too small and required a smaller seam allowance. I think even if I use this pattern again a size larger then I would still have to decrease the seam allowance of the sleeves.
I got very very confused with the collar. It took a lot of rereading and staring at the illustration to figure it out the under collar and I was really amazed with how well it turned out. But I could not figure out the upper collar and my attempts at attaching the upper and under was terrible. In the end I got around the problem by not sewing the corners and instead top stitching the collar. Meh, it worked…
So while I do love this jacket, I would say that this is not a suitable pattern for a beginner.
I went a little mad with the new year sales and added lots of fabric to my stash. My to-sew list just keeps growing! A lot of fabrics I purchased with no clue what to do with but for two I had a clear idea of patterns in my collection that I wanted to use. (Another one I had a clear idea but alas, the fabric was not large enough).
First up is New Look 6286. I constantly wear the bird print top I made with this pattern I made two years ago.
I absolutely adore this fabric. It is from Cloud9, which tends to have prints that really appeal to me (I even used Cloud9 for my first attempt at this pattern).
I made a few changes to the pattern. I omitted the ties, which I had done previously. I also lowered the front seam between the bodice and skirt (which also meant raising the hem to compensate). And I put a zip in at the back. I wasn’t happy with the back when I first used the pattern and there is also a large amount of gaping at the back that required dealing with. The zip also has the advantage of making it less noticeable that I didn’t match the patterns between the left and right sides very well (I’ve only attempted to match stripes before this top). I would have liked to use a red zip but couldn’t find a shade that matched the flowers.
For many years I have had two pairs of fox print pjs. I love them to bits and have worn them to bits. I think part of that was due to my 2015 depressive episode, when I would constantly wear pj bottoms at home and would avoid leaving the home because that would require changing and having standards in appearance. Anyway…I have sewn up the worn patches as much as I can and am devastated to let my foxes go. I haven’t found any foxy pjs to replace them but I have found this cute fox fabric.
This is the forth time I have used New Look 6705, though I only wear one of the the tops. The yoke did not work out so well this time. I probably shouldn’t have sewn it whilst grieving for my dog. I spent forever ironing the shit out of it (I wish I had a ham) but despite my efforts, the front of the shoulders don’t sit nicely. At least I can cover them with a cardigan. A few of my colleagues have been admiring the foxes so I’ll keep wearing it despite its flaws.
The fabric I had in mind for New Look 6899 wasn’t wide enough. Thankfully I had something in stash that I thought would also work. I’m happy with the fabric choice – I love the stripes with this cut and having them run in a different direction for the waistband. However, I’m not a fan of the pockets. They might be practical bit they don’t sit very well. I think it might be my fault, not the pattern.
I had hoped to finish this before I started dog sitting but alas, I ran out of time. Daisy was not impressed by my sewing instead of patting her. I want to start more projects but she’s here for another week and I don’t think I can stand her disappointment in me.
After struggling with my first jacket, I thought this dress would be a breeze. And it was…except that I made a horrible error…
Until recently my career has focused on following instructions. Deviations from procedure were a big no no. I haven’t yet developed a good core understanding of sewing so I tend to stick pretty closely to the instructions. I attached front to back, then bodice to skirt. I took what I learned from the jacket and sewed mainly without pins and was very pleased with my work. Then came adding the zip and I realised that the waist was in fact too small. 😦
I did a lot of unpicking and then ignored the pattern instructions. I attached bodice to skirt, added the zip, and then attached front to back with some alterations. It was a little tricky as I had already attached the bias binding to the arm holes and didn’t unpick that. So the side seams (particularly under the armholes) don’t look quite as nice as I originally did but the main thing is that it now fits.
The frustrating thing is that I already had the relevant knowledge, I just didn’t know. When I made a dress in a sewing class in 2013, my teacher told me to add top to bottom first instead of front to back. But she didn’t explain why (ie. makes it easier to alter the size if it isn’t quite right) and I never thought about the reason why. So here I am, mindlessly following the instructions like I always do, instead of actually understanding what I’m doing. This is what makes me still a beginner despite sewing for four years.
At least I now know a to attach my dresses top to bottom instead of front to back. May I never make this mistake again.
After all the time I spent preparing the pattern pieces for this project, I was very keen to start sewing. It didn’t start well – I had my needle in the wrong position for two seams before I picked up my mistake. It was only 1/8″ so it was very annoying to unpick and redo it over such a little mistake. Then, as things were starting to go well and I was feeling confident, I could not for the life of me match the front facing to the front lining. Normally the issue would be the lining, I’m terrible at cutting out lining. But it turned out I had cut some sides of the front facing a size too large. Urg!
Throughout the sewing I cycled between thinking “I’ve got this” to “This project is beyond me”. I do have a tendency to be overly ambitious in my creative projects but in many ways it is a good thing. I might not get the outcome that I want but striving for something that is beyond my current skill set pushes me further than I could go cruising through an easy project. I might have felt that this jacket is a train wreck but I still had the sense of satisfaction that I’ve come so far in learning how to sew and that I am learning a lot more from this particular class.
Attaching the sleeves to the rest of the jacket just wouldn’t work! The lining crimped easily but it still didn’t match the jacket so I ended up easing it. And I managed to rip one of the sleeves. I picked it up and the notch ripped! Fuck that, I’m not cutting it out again…so I stitched up the rip and went ahead with attaching it.
And then, after months of agony, I was so close to the end. And the hems were wrong! I don’t know what I did! It looks like I didn’t properly correct the front facing when I cut it wrong way at the beginning. But I really have no idea what I did or how to fix it. So fuck it, I stitched it up as best I could…
So there you go, I finished it. It does not look even remotely professional but fuck yeah, I did it!