Thursday, 13 November 2014

Sewing | No Longer Green with Envy

It was the summer of September 2013.  I caught sight of an inimitable shade of silk, called “Deep Lake” and was ruined.  I couldn’t take my mind off it.  Inspiration was all around me.  But the material was reedy thin, and dear to boot (£20 a metre).  The rational side of my brain suggested alternative options (poly chiffon and satin), but none would do.  I was smitten.

Initially, thoughts ran to the long and floaty; Vogue 1354 to be exact.  That beauty requires 4.6 m though, so that was not going to happen.  I tried other things, but they were no good.  So in April of this year, I bit the bullet and bought three metres to sew a dress for a number of weddings that we had the pleasure of being invited to this year.  Conscious of cost, I decided to make a simple dress – like other’s I had sewn successfully this year – so simple that the focus would be on the beautiful colour of this material.

Cue disaster.  The first attempt was just all over the place – bodice too tight and skirt too loose, and generally just TOO green (I know that sounds ridiculous given it is the colour I fell in love lust with).  Just goes to show that complacency is evil, even with 25+ years of sewing experience under the belt.  Back to the shops I went to purchase another metre in order to make another bodice.  At 110 cm wide, this was only just enough; but I didn’t want to spend anymore, especially as I wasn’t confident it would work!

So the finished article is a blouse and skirt, worn together to look like a dress and to increase potential wearability (I can wear the blouse to work).  It looks fine.  Nice even.  Just now, having bought 4 metres, a significant portion of my brain is wishing I had just bought the blasted 4.6 and made the first option. 

This raises two questions in my mind:
  1. Was it really worth it? i.e. would I have paid £80 for this in a shop?  The answer is “Most definitely not!” and that irks me.
  2. Should I have cut my losses and just turned it into a nightie and moved on, rather than buying the 4th metre.  I’m not sure about this one.  

Isn’t it so hard to have the presence of mind to know when something just isn’t going to work.  There’s almost a feeling of shame at not having cracked it successfully.  But then calm seas do not make a good sailor.  I’m just not sure what type of sailor I’m turning out to be!

So what have I learnt? 

I shall try to stick to my gut feeling about style.  If I can’t justify the cost, then do something else or save up.  Not to self: DO NOT settle for a “close” approximation of what my heart desires, as that may actually end up being way off the mark.

So for me, this is a fail, and will be refashioned.  I’ve mentioned already that I will wear the blouse to work.  Well, it is too short to remain tucked in (which is my preference), so I will add a band to lengthen it, or sew a bottom part to turn it into a bodysuit shirt thing.  As for the skirt, it is lovely and floaty and I have a great desire to wear it in summer with an equally floaty spaghetti strapped or racer backed blouse.  In fact, I have some left over ivory fine silk and sequined silk from this successful make from earlier in the year.  I will rise above this blimp.

In other news, my hair was done following possibly the best tutorial on youtube, which I'll direct you to as it has become my go-to hairdo for events.  It's fairly simple and yet elegant.

Does the trick every time for me, so I share it here on the off-chance it might help someone else, especially this Christmas!

Rachel J


  1. First, you look great. The whole outfit and hairstyle and makeup is very elegant.
    I totally get how you feel. I am sure we wear our own makes despite their flaws because we are so invested in them. A bit like how we like IKEA stuff more than is really justified, because we are part of its construction.
    I know I have things in my wardrobe that I never would have bought in a shop. And I make rookie mistakes more frequently than you would expect given the number of my birthdays and years spent sewing stuff. Now, if we made the same garment over and over in similar fabric, it would be perfect. But very very boring.

    1. My goodness, you have just managed to say exactly what I needed to hear. Thank you! You are, of course, right: the same thing over and over again would be boring (which is exactly why I decided against it this time - funny how I conveniently forgot that huh!). I am so glad to have a kindred spirit!


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