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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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Saturday, January 31, 2015

Snakes and ladders

OK maybe more snakes.

I should be showing you a picture of me in a Stylearc Slip on Suzie, a pseudo wrap dress I worked on today. 

You are going to have to do with the pattern picture only.

I can't show you any more than that owing to the fact my dress in in the garbage can in my sewing room, and a keen mind would be able to detect that one side of it appears to have been gnawed by scissors.

It is a great pattern. 

I have had this one for ages but was reluctant to try it since some of the versions I have seen looked pretty tight and low and seemed more suitable for walking around with a round tray with swizzle sticks on it than what I actually do in my life.

My compromise was to make it in a smaller pattern size than I usually buy to make the neck and shoulders smaller and to add to the sides, about 1/2" each seam or  2" total.

I had some really beautiful periwinkle blue knit I got locally and I followed the instructions for part of the way.

I say part because I am too smart to read directions on how to arrange the front pieces and twice ended up with the crosses all mixed up and in one try with the seams on outside on one side.

This was the point at which I referred to the instructions which I really suggest you do if you make this dress.

I did do as instructed, which I should not have done, for the neckline which I stablized, turned and cover-hemmed however.  Doing this only revealed to me, once again, that the fabric at the bottom of the street tends to be crap whatever the price, this wasn't inexpensive at all.

It was a rayon/lycra but working with it I soon figured out it was one of the flacid cheapo rayon knits with no recovery that pick up every crease going and need to be ironed which flattens them out even more and kills whatever life it might have had in it.

You know the kind.

This was too bad since it turns out the dress as altered fit and looked great, but I knew as I sewed with it that the fabric was just not worth the work. So I cut open offending seam, read the words. I then figured out how it was supposed to go together which will be useful knowledge in the future and decided that next time I will just bind the neckline edge.

This pattern deserves better fabric and so do I.

So I am going to pack this pattern away until I do a fabric shopping afternoon in a stop over in NYC  the end of February.

Bad news - I wasted money and time today

Good news - I made a non wearable muslin and have a great pattern for a faux wrap dress in the repertoire. I really can't wear a real wrap. Think about it. I am born to unwrap, just that kind of person.

All that said though to be honest a success would have been nice.

It is still grey and slushy outside and I have had enough of that thank you.

Also, and this is where the real snake comes in,  it appears when I finally decided to declutter my closets (you know there are a thousand articles/blog posts/ pins about this) and as instructed to make three piles - toss, donate and save - well it appears I saved the toss and gave away the save.

All of my favourite summer dresses are gone. As in gone, gone, and gone.

The ones I love and look forward to every year because I love, love the fabric. 



I have spent some time going over and over the house but to make a long story short, the off season clothes I put in plastic bags while I was emptying drawers for visitors got taken to Value Village about two months ago instead.

I may pass those dresses on the street some day but I can't have them back.

Today's dress was meant to be me climbing back on the horse - but this is where we came in.

On the up side I now have a lot of real fabric shopping to do and that pretty much cheers me up.

I'm thinking I may make a T shirt tomorrow and plan.


Andrea said...

Oh. My. All of those dresses were ones that you made? I'm so sorry! I do hope your fabric shopping trip to NYC lifts your spirits and tomorrow brings more successful sewing. I do have a similar story, actually. My husband put his dry cleaning in a plastic kitchen garbage bag and set it by the front door, where I found it at 6am - on garbage day. Thinking it was garbage that he forgot to take out the night before, I put it in the garbage can, just before the garbage truck came. Husband came down, ready for work, looking for his 'bag of dry cleaning'..... Broke my thrifty, penny-pinching heart, and hubby learned to use the nylon dry cleaner bag pdq.

Anonymous said...

OMG. Only you can find small consolation and some value in what sounds like an awful situation. Thanks for reminding us to find some joy in each day -- even those days that end up with a wadder and favorite clothes gone missing.

truedogs said...

Oh no! Oh no! Go to Value Village and see if any of your dresses are still on the racks. Oh, I just feel sick about it. I hope your fabric shopping raises your spirits.

Angela said...

Oh, no! I'm so sorry:( I guess you will be getting a new wardrobe, and that has its upside....

Donna W said...

Sorry about your love ss of dresses. As for the wadded, into everyone's ife a few waddders must comeit happens to us all. Good reason to buy fabric for all those dresses you lost.

KathyS said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your lost dresses, but pleased to know it was the fabric not the pattern that was at fault with Slip on Suzi. I made this dress last year and like you made a mess of the cross-over until I read the instructions properly. Having got it together the right way it is now a favourite of mine and so comfortable. I did have to add a press-stud in the centre of the cross-over to keep things decent, but otherwise it is perfect.
Enjoy your fabric shopping.

Anonymous said...

My husband donated all of my favorite shoes that were supposed to go to the cobbler. I feel your pain.

SewRuthie said...

Oh NO! For this reason I only use plastic bags for stuff which can get donated. Out of season clothes are in the loft on a rail or in storage bags.Well sounds like summer is a little time off so you can sew some new ones.

Catherine p said...

Any chance alt least some of your dresses are still at Value Village? It's worth a visit.

Judi Pinkham said...

Giving away the "save" is a total bummer!!! You always see the positive side, and oh yes...shopping for new fabric is very positive. You'll have fun when you get to NYC!!!

Laceflower said...

I'm so sorry about your unintentional donation, I know how you feel and it still hurts a little to this day. When newly married, without a home of our own, we went on an extended European tour. My father decided to sell the house while I was away, without telling me and where all my worldly belongings still resided. You guessed it, EVERYTHING GONE. I had with me a pair of jeans, 2 blouses and a nightie. Sob!

Audrey said...

Re the non wearable muslin, When you do find the perfect fabric, you will know how to construct the dress properly and it will be fabulous! Oh my goodness how you must have felt when you realized your favorite dresses were donated. I guess you could put a positive spin on it and imagine them being loved and appreciated by the ladies who wear them in the future.