Saturday, 22 February 2014

When sewing attacks plans…OR....A Digital Disaster!

Unfortunately, sometimes sewing is not fun for me.  The idea in my mind does not turn out how I had envisaged it and I get frustrated and dejected.  In the interests of learning from my mistakes, here is my woeful tale.

I went back to NZ for Christmas in 2012.  It was lovely.  Whilst there, I bought some material from the Fabric Warehouse in Wellington, which is a modern day Aladdin’s Cave of beautiful, different and well-priced fabric*.  This store stocks a lot of silks, silk/cotton blends, cottons, wools and knits.  Oh, they also stock leather.  I’ve got a post to write of all the souvenirs I brought home with me, which will give you an idea.

So, where was I?  Ah yes, Christmas 2012.  So I bought a lovely digital print.  Actually, wait now.  Now I am actually wondering whether I bought this material at a Craft Fair in Glasgow that I went to with the delightful Debi (from My Happy Sewing Place…).  Oh my word, well this just goes to serve how old the material was – I can’t even remember its provenance. 
So the material is black chiffon, with a large, floral digital print.  150cm x 3m, meaning I had quite a lot to play with.  I washed it and hung it in my wardrobe of material and left it to age, mellow and percolate in my mind.  Eventually, I decided I would make a dress out of it, with a fitted blouse bodice (split opening at the back), with a full skirt and little sleeves.  Being that I live in Edinburgh and it is so rarely warm enough to wear chiffon with nothing other than a slip, I decided to line it with black cotton.  This percolated in my mind’s eye for quite some time.  Should I add a white peter pan collar, or would it be to twee?  Should I add some detailing down the front, or am I too busty?  Und so weiter.

Fast forward to January this year, and I was contemplating going back to NZ for a holiday (which, was amazing, have you heard?  Sorry/not sorry at all – it was lovely being home).  Whilst at home, I had a funeral to attend, and as I’m doing the RTW fast this year I decided that was just the impetus I needed to actually sew this material.  So I packed it, and my ideas, for the 50 hour trip.

Got home to NZ, sewed it up and disaster struck:
  • The black cotton I took was too heavy.  
  • The skirt I made was too full.  
  • I rushed it in an effort to have something to wear to the funeral (I had packed nothing else black except for an inappropriately jolly sequined skirt).  
I looked like an English teacher from the 1990s wearing a goth version of Laura Ashley on acid.  It was horrible.  It was unflattering.  So horribly unflattering that my dear mother and I couldn’t even laugh at it when I tried it on.  Yes, that bad.  (Un)Surprisingly enough, the camera didn’t get to look at it.

Enough suspense, here are the two sections – cast off on the dining table.  More than the sum of it’s parts????
After coming to the conclusion that my plan, that I had been thinking/over thinking for two years was not going to happen, I decided to turn the top into a blouse.  That would be some sort of result at least.  And I liked the front.  So I separated the two, like two delinquents in class, and set about making myself a silk purse.

Here is the front, with lace ruffle attached, waiting to be hemmed and have buttons put down the front.  (And the back, for interests of completeness, despite not being very interesting).

I tried on the favourite part to work out how much of a hem to make.  Took it off, turned it over and was confronted with this:

Would you believe it, the blasted fabric was splitting at the seam.  This blouse was not too small.  The cotton lining was not ripping.  I had just not used enough of a seam allowance, nor made my split long enough, and the stupid thing was now splitting.  I was livid.  I may have even sworn in front of my Mother.  I was so molten with fury at the time that I couldn’t actually recall if the Easter Rabbit had passed me my unpicker. 

At this point I got out the scissors, cut the sleeves and back from the front and threw them in the bin (no recycling, sorry), gave Mum the rest of the material remaining from the mahoosive skirt and decided to connect the bodice to a black knit top at “some point” in the future.  Case categorically closed with a resounding fail.

I did manage to create a dress out of the remaining piece – just a plain singlet type dress.  Given the preceding activity that predated this dress, I don’t know that I will ever love it.  We shall see.  By the way, the hem is not uneven – it must’ve just been caught up in my belt but I *could not* be bothered redoing the photo.  Sorry team.

So what did I learn?  At least four don’ts – I’m afraid it’s still to raw for a positive spin! 
1.       Don’t percolate fabric to the point that it is beloved more than it’s actually due – this stymies my creativity.
2.       Don’t decide to finally sew item in one day after thinking about it for 730 days.
3.       Don’t use lining that is “to hand” on overly beloved piece of material if it isn’t right.
4.       Don’t sew when angry.

I wonder if Mum will use the material or bin it?  I kind of hope bin it, as I’d hate for her to be sucked into it’s web.  Anyone know what fable this is reminding me of?  I’m not sure, but it’s on the tip of my tongue.
Better luck everyone!

* In the interests of full disclosure for anyone that happens to read this and then go to the Fabric Warehouse (you lucky soul), remember that there is a difference between well-priced and cheap. 


  1. How frustrating for u Rach. I'm still as always super impressed with ur sewing talent, I'm glad u were able to still make something with ur beautiful material. Love Fiddelsticks xx

  2. You are such a sweetheart! Your faith in me does spur me on to keep sewing, so thank you! I'm going to try and update this more regularly, so even when you move you'll be able to read about my trials, tribulations and (hopefully) a lot of successes! xx


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