Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Pattern Matching Mayhem!!!!

Soooooo, today I have a new work dress to share with you:

What do you think?  I'm still not sure of it.  In fact, up until this morning I was considering (a) binning it or (b) donating to a sister.

I like the idea of the dress, and it is very much a me work-style, and I am desperate for new work clothes, which is probably why I persevered with it for 3 weeks, but the finished product I am just not sure of.  I can't help thinking that this could be because I really didn't enjoy making this dress AT ALL!

Let's go through it shall we:

In a fit of, what was clearly madness, after Christmas, I purchased five metres (yes FIVE - what was I thinking) of purple tartan.  I love tartan and I love purple, I even do like the fabric, but what was I going to make with five metres I ask?  So, anyway, it languished in one of my many fabric boxes for a while until I finally decided that enough was enough and getting through the work week with only four outfits was driving me nuts.  The solutions:  go part-time or make some more work clothes instead of pretty party and casual dresses.  

Obviously, my preferred would be to go part-time, as this would not only solve the not enough outfits to see me through the week problem, but would also give me extra time to sew up some extra outfits - hubby said no!  I could go part-time if I wished, but, as he pointed out to me, that would leave me with zero spending pennies for fabric etc after I have paid my bills, so the extra time would just mean that I had a super sparkly house due to boredom.  Anyway, I'm working on that sitch and will keep you updated.

I went with View D.
It looked the simplest.
Soooo, in a stroppy mood in general (and stroppy moods equals cleaning and sorting in Holly-world) I decided to have a massive clearout of all my patterns, as I had too many that I have never used, and they could go to a better home via eBay.  Upon my clear out I found New Look K6144 which I got free with a magazine - probably Sew Mag, which I hadn't used, but on looking at in, inspiration struck - the pattern seems pretty simple (and very Holly work-wear) and I could practice some pattern matching with the tartan due to the simple (or so I thought) shape.

So, I trundled off with my pattern and fabric to work one day, and after taking my measurements (I do know them, but I like  to hope that I may have lost an inch or so here or there - I hadn't), I disappeared into a meeting room at lunch (nice big tables) and cut out the corresponding size - in my case an 18 - in view D, which looked the simplest.  I was surprised myself that I didn't seem to need to grade between patterns or make any adjustments, other than to my narrow hips, but that is something I could sort later.  I was super careful about trying to get my pattern to match up and it took me the full lunch time in the end - not bad for something that really only has 4 pieces that need cutting out!  I cut everything separately to get the pattern matching going on, in in actual fact, I ended up cutting out 7 separate pieces.

I then left the fabric languishing for a week or so, as despite reading the instructions a gazillion-billion-trillion (I am not exaggerating) times, I could not figure out how to do the neck detail. It eventually clicked and I pinned it, but didn't sew it - that took me another two days!!!

After finally doing that, I tried to tackle the darts.  I know that I have a thick waist, so I never need the darts to be as big as they are on the pattern, but it is usually trial and error to get them right on a new pattern - I do have some patterns that I have sewn a few tines now that I just know how big the darts need to be and adjust the rest of the dress accordingly - but this was a new pattern.  With this in mind, I had painstakingly stitched in tailors tacks so I could get them lined up correctly at least first time - oh, how wrong I was in this assumption.

Maybe it is my dodgy stitching, but my two front darts were in no way parallel or symmetrical.   AND, because the fabric is a relatively loose weave, my tailor tacks kept pulling through and disappearing.  In the end, I unpicked the darts and resorted to using Doris, which I haven't had to do for a while - I suppose it made a nice change for her as she has been stood in the corner of my sewing room recently, pretty much in the nuddy pants (she always used to have a project on her, but I just haven't been sewing much recently, or have been sewing dresses I know the fit for).

Anyway, I got the darts right eventually.  I think they are still slightly off, but I was past caring at this point.  It was also at this point that I started to write my final assignment-dissertation thingy for this year's uni course - 'discuss the use of myth as a moral paradigm in the ancient world' - and I have been so annoyed trying to get this dress together, that I have found myself actually doing some uni work as a distraction - it is usually the other way round, but hey hum pigs bum (and I might even reward myself with writing another 00 or so words after I have finished this post!).

So, anywho, it was time  to start sewing up the seams, which in itself was actually easy enough, but then I tried to the dress on for size (sans sleeves, which made it a bit difficult, and sans zip for that matter) - the bleeding thing was too tight, and of all places, it was too right round my bum!!!  This is unheard of, my hips are actually the smallest part of my body - I have the oddest shape ever and I nearly always have to take things in on the hips and out on the nunga-nungas.  So, unpick seams it was and sew them at 1/2 inch seam allowance instead of 5/8inch.  O! M! G!  This was a nightmare - the stitches had disappeared into the fabric and were practically impossible to see to unpick.  I got there in the end (two nights later) but I think I took half of the fabric with me too.  During this process, I also realised that the fabric frays like billy-o.  NOT Happy.  My sewing room carpet is now purple from the frayings.  So, I sewed the seams up again and then in blind hope  to stop the fraying, I pinked the seams.  It hasn't worked as well as I would have liked, but it has stopped some of it.

Another try on revealed that it was still a little tight around my derriere, but I knew that I wasn't going to know properly how it fit until I got the raglan sleeves and the zip in.

Check out that sleeve!
Ignore my thumb.
I'm trying to show off
my pattern matching
on the seam
I admit, I did leave it for a few days before braving my first raglan sleeves.  I actually thought all was going well on these, until I realised I had sewn the front pieces together and the back pieces together - doh!  and I had already pinked the seams, thinking it was going so well.

Oh well, more unpicking, guessing at the seam allowance left and resewing.  At this point, every seam on this dress has been sewn at least twice - can you see why I was getting annoyed with it.

Zippity Zip!!
Just slightly off on
the pattern matching
but I refused to unpick
and re-do.
So, I resewed the sleeves on Sunday night and pinned them in to the dress ready to sew, which I did this morning.  In fairness, the finishing bits this morning went quite well  The sleeves were easy to sew in and I just had to tackle the zip.  I'm not entirely sure if the zip is supposed to be a lapped one, but the instructions in the pattern envelope certainly seem to suggest that, so a Holly-version of a lapped zip went it, and first time!  I hate unpicking zips, so even if it hadn't, I probably would have left it.

Then I just added the facings and machine stitched the hem (there was no way I was spending any time on any handsewing on this thing) - the joys of tartan - just use the lines as a hem guide rather than trying to guess/measure the hem turn up.

I am wondering if this morning's sewing went a little better thanks  to the ridiculous amount of sleep I had yesterday -  day off, but I had the docs at 8.10 (something needs to be done about my migraines), so I got up for that, but went back to bed when I got home and then slept until lunch time.  My B12 is getting low, I know that, but I didn't expect to sleep that much, and then I slept until gone 9 this morning too - even for a day off, this is unusual for me, as I usually get up and get on with shizzle and then have an afternoon nap when my B12 is getting low.  Roll on my injection on 29 May.

Anyway, dress is done, and I have sent a pic to the big sister for her opinion, as I am really not sure about it, but I do think that could be the fact that I have hated sewing the bugger and I am tired, which makes me grumpy and less likely to put up with anything substandard - in sewing or in life in general.  She has yet to get back to me, but unlike me this week, she is at work (mwahahahahaha!)

A bit of neckline detailing for y'all.
This would probably work better with a
more structure fabric.
I wish I had tried a dress like this from an Indy pattern company first, as the instructions are so clear and detailed usually - the Big 4 usually assume you know what you are doing a little bit, and if it is a new technique, I would like my hand holding sometimes, but never mind.  I have tackled both raglan sleeves and pattern matching on this, along with a less than standard neckline, and something akin to a lapped zip.

What do I like about the dress?  Phil said it looked OK when I tried it on to show him, but he always says that - anything for an easy life that one, plus he needs to be nice to me today as he is going to have his hair cut off today, and I'm not sure I trust him not to have his head shaved.  Phil has the most gorgeous curly hair that I would die for, and he wears it quite long, so it must be annoying and warm for him now that the weather is improving, and it is always in his eyes, but I just can't imagine him with short hair anymore (I've not seen him with short hair for 7 years! or clean shaven for that matter) and I am worried!
Check out that seam!
No, wait, you can
barely see it -
Check. Me. Out!

Anyway, I digress.  I am happy with my zip insertion.  I really am more of an invisible zip girl, but thought I had better follow the pattern instructions on this one.  And I like the neckline detailing, but also think that this could have been better with a crisper fabric.  I am also super impressed with my pattern matching skills - the only place it went a little awry really what the back of the sleeve, and I'm not sure I could have done anything about that anyway.
Awry pattern matching
on the back sleeve seam
I don't think I could
have got this right AND
the sleeve seam - one had
to be sacrificed.

Soooo, what would I do next time?  I think there will not be a next time, I think I am eBaying this sucker.  I will give the fabric another chance though with a tried and tested dress, and I will bind the seams - lesson learned with this fabric.  I don't seem to have a lot of luck with this style, no waist seam dress.  In fact, I have only made one successfully (the Tunisian and I think that was a fluke), and have had to bin any attempts since.

So, that's it for now (my, what a long post that was!).  While Phil is out getting his locks chopped, I am going to write some more dissertation.  I will have it finished this week while I am off work.  And then I have a little project I need to make before Saturday, which I go see Disney on Ice (S Club 7 next week aussi) and then I need to start on a new party dress, which will involve my first ever attempt at pattern hacking, but if all goes well, it will be EPIC!

Happy Crafting!


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