The 2014 Misses!

 Top 5 2014 #sewingtop5

Where there are Hits, there have to be Misses! Thankfully I’ve not had too many catastrophes this year so I’ve ended up with just three contenders.

First up: Exhibit A – my Colette Dahlia.

Plaid matching

It’s probably obvious that I’m a bit of a perfectionist, so the Dahlia debacle was a definite low. Lesson learned – I managed to turn it around and ended up with a dress I could live with. The encouragement I received from you all as a result of my moaning was truly inspiring. Thank you. I put the problems down to not scrutinising my toile closely enough, and for choosing a fabric that wasn’t really suitable. It turned out I wasn’t the only one having serious fit issues. The cherry on the cake was having my salvaged rag appear in the Colette Patterns Dahlia Sewalong Round-Up (thanks to Clarinda Kaleidoscope for spotting it!). They clearly hadn’t read the accompanying post!

The V1342 Party Dress

V1342

The next ‘miss’ I am confessing to is my most recent birthday frock, the V1342. Don’t get me wrong, I rose to the challenge and loved the look of it, but the soft viscose hasn’t held it’s shape well. The result is a skin-tight fit around the behind and baggy ruching across the bust – not a good combination. Having worn it just once, it’s already losing its shape. No-one, and I mean NO-ONE wants a droopy bosom! I was never entirely happy with the finish partly due to complexity of pattern, softness of fabric, and general lack of skill on my part. It was made as a birthday one-off, and was a fabulous challenge. But I’m unlikely to wear it again without some serious sewing first aid so I think I will reuse the gorgeous teal fabric for a garment I will get lots of wear out of.

The Colette Beignet

Denim Beignet

My final exhibit is my Colette Beignet denim skirt. There’s nothing technically wrong with this number, I just haven’t worn it. Well, maybe twice! I approached this pattern methodically and carefully, and wanted to use it to develop my skills. I took time to top-stitch seams and chose perfect buttons; I was rather proud of the finished garment. The problem here is that it just does not flatter my shape. Probably my biggest lesson of the year has been to really consider what suits rather than making something I’ve seen someone else look fabulous in online.

Sewing Resolutions for 2015

Father Christmas left me an overlocker under the tree, so next year’s first goal will be to learn how to use it. My other ‘resolution’ will be to slow the pace down a little. I have loved churning through make after make; it’s addictive and there’s always something exciting that I want to make next. But it’s not sustainable in the long term, and does not match my objective for well thought-out sewing choices as an alternative to impulse-buying on the High Street.

My 2015 sewing pledge is therefore to devote time and space to improving my skills! See you next year, sewing chums. x

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Donna Karan makes it to the party

Seven weeks of procrastinating; seven hours of sewing!  I was thrilled to be picked by Beth of SunnyGal Studio Sewing and be the recipient of her pattern whispering. I wanted to do her, and myself, proud with a special make for my special night. So here she is…..

V1342

The pattern is marked as ‘difficult’. To be honest, I didn’t think it was too bad, or at least not as bad as I was expecting. What’s tricky is that the outer dress is made from one gigantic pattern piece, with a smaller piece attached. Cutting and marking took time as the all of the gathers, pleats and drapes needed to be marked. It was hard to fathom the construction at first, but once I got going it wasn’t too bad. I did struggle with my hungry sewing machine munching the fabric now and then. As it’s a one-off occasion dress I tried not to worry too much about construction. So you could say she’s a bit of an artist’s impression!

V1342

That said, I made an early mistake when attached the front right sleeve piece. But, as it’s only two pieces sewn together, that was quite a significant error. I tried to rectify it, with mixed results: the ruching no longer draped elegantly across the bust. As you can see, it’s leaving me a little lop-sided! Nevertheless, I persevered. I matched all the other marks and ended up with a working dress. The fabric (which I love) drapes beautifully, and has been quite kind to the numerous minor mistakes. Once I attached the power-mesh lining, the whole thing draped into place. It is, however, rather less elegant on the inside -no close-up shots today!

v1342

This dress is the last sewing project of the year, marking a real milestone in sewing achievements. It’s time to let the Janome cool off over the festive season. And the party was a blast, thanks for asking. Life begins…. x

Donna Karan Says It’s PARTY TIME!

Vogue 1342 dress

Regular readers may recall that I won the Pattern Whisperer lottery a few weeks ago! Beth of SunnyGal Studio Sewing kindly posted some suggestions for a perfect dress for my forthcoming birthday party.

I am excited to report that I have now purchased the Pattern Whisperer’s number one suggestion: the Donna Karan for Vogue (V1342). I’m busy selecting fabrics at the moment before I get my head down and start sewing.

Vogue 1342 drawing

I have to say I’m a little intimidated by this dress. It’s classified as an ‘Advanced’ pattern. I thought I was up to the challenge, but going by my recent balls-up on a beginners’ pattern (the gorgeous Colette Patterns’ Dahlia), I’m beginning to wonder if I might be over-stretching myself. I’ve had a browse of the blogosphere and the only reviews I’ve found suggest it’s not the most straightforward pattern to follow. Have a look at this gorgeous peach version by Bloom’s Endless Summer. Clio & Phineas also posted a review here. Hmmm. I’m trying not to be intimidated. But hey, Beth believes in me, and that’s half the battle. I guess the worst case scenario would see me being stapled into this dress pre-party. I just hope I look more ‘Hot Mama’ than ‘Hot Dog’!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some serious sewing to be getting on with. I won’t be posting the finished article until after it’s been covered in champagne bubbles!