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I am a mother, a new grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My first book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge will be published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon


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Thursday, July 17, 2014

One step forward two steps back

I am involved in one of those quick and easy sewing projects that keeps throwing up road blocks.

I am attempting to do an instant dress by taping together the various pieces of this Stylearc pattern, the Charlotte dress:

I have owned colour-blocked garments before and they fall into the category of things that look up to the minute one day and totally dated the next. Since the trend has been around for a while now I figure if I make a colour-blocked dress the trend will take an instant nose dive.

In piecing it all together with great optimism and enthusiasm and unwarranted self-confidence I assumed the vertical piece in the middle was in fact in the exact middle so I sliced it in half and stuck it onto the front piece.


Since even I have noticed the front is much wider than the back now and much wider than the front facing my suspicion is that this piece was designed to be off centre.

I have considered seaming down the middle of the front to take out the excess, but will probably just pleat the neckline in a bit as that sort of still in style, maybe, and proceed. If that looks dumb I will revert to the centre seam idea.

Whoever said measure twice cut once was for sure a sewer and not a carpenter.

In addition the fabric has spit up a few surprises. It is a good quality rayon challis from Elliot Berman but once I got to work on this I noticed that the pre-washing, cold water, line-dried treatment I always do had put little black spots on the light parts, from some running dye apparently.

At that stage the whole thing had been cut out (wrong as it turned out but still cut out) so after spending an hour trying to talk myself into believing that no one would notice I tore out to the store and bought this stuff, appropriately called SOS:

I put this in a bucket of really hot water overnight. The next morning the water was totally black, which was a worry when the fabric is mostly light yellow, but amazingly the run was gone.

I rinsed the whole lot in the washing machine on cold rinse with a cup of vinegar thrown in. 

I added the vinegar because 80% of all household hints involve vinegar, you don't even have to look it up. The other 20% involving baking soda of course.

So here I am back to square one with a dress that is too loose at the front.

Since I am too, this may work out yet.

Always the optimist.


Carolyn (Diary of a Sewing Fanatic) said...

Color blocking is in for another season or two at least so you won't kill the trend. Add a pleat to the front of the dress - all the way down - solves your excess fabric problem!

Nakisha said...

That dress is so cute! I love "80% of household tips involve vinegar" hahaha!

Sandra said...

Oh me oh my. You are describing my every effort at garment sewing for the past year or more. Persistence, I keep reming myself. And wait a second. I enlarged the pattern drawing and it still looks like the center front panel is centered. Anyway, I think pleating it from neckline to hem will solve it. Oh and I have Shout Color Catcher. They're well, I don't know what they're made of, but they trap "loose dyes and dirt released during the wash cycle." Maybe they sell them in your area? Of course the trick is to remember to use them. ;)

BeaJay said...

I am sure your dress will turn out beautifully with all of your effort.

debbie said...

Must be the day for those types of things.

I'm working on a tank dress that has separate curved pieces attached to the bottom. Got the first piece on and don't like the fabric combo. I'm going to rip it off and use something else. Naturally it's trimmed and serged but I have enough length I'm just going to cut it off and start again!

Anonymous said...

I would appreciate hearing how joining in the sleeves works for you. I tried a Style Arc top that looked a lot like this pattern (I too had a "time" with the front stripe.) But, the real hair pulling came when I was trying to finish the unfinished sleeve top after attaching to a faced front/back per instructions. Good luck! I have always liked colour blocked dresses. I hope they will stay around so I can try one.

Anonymous said...

Oh! I had a second look and you are so smart! A cut on sleeve. No problem now that the front is finished. I keep having learning experiences in sewing.

Donna W said...

I have that pattern also but haven't sewn it yet. I need to add a fba and the search the stash for some different fabrics. Looking forward to seeing your version.

Judi Pinkham said...

Mr. Billy is adorable!