Sewing

My Dottie Angel frock

Half term. Family time but also a little bit of time for sewing! Yes, I need to make stock for the Etsy shop and upload it – and for the bricks & mortar shop (Norwich Gift Emporium). But I also wanted to indulge in a bit of me-sewing. I have a few garment patterns now (for “few”, read “far too many but still probably not enough”!) and I have been thinking about what to make next for a while. So I decided on some selfish sewing to boost my me-made wardrobe.

So I got out my collection and had a rummage through. Should I go indie or big-name pattern house? I initially decided to make a quick and simple “Sewing time: 1 hour” A-line skirt (it’s NEVER 1 hour, believe me!) but to my dismay, the lovely piece of fabric I’d had in mind was too small, as the print only runs one way (will have to save it for something else!) So I put that away and instead got out the Dottie Angel frock pattern (Simplicity 1080) that I bought on impulse a few weeks ago. I have many Pinterest pins of this dress and thought it looked really cute and simple to make. I kinda like the quirky Dottie Angel look and thought I’d have a go. A quick, fun sewing project, thought I!

IMG_0007

How mistaken I was! This was probably one of my most-hated of sewing projects to date. I can’t say what went wrong, as it does seem to be quite a simple pattern. I thought I had measured faithfully and I chose the slightly larger size according to one of my measurements (having been stung by another dress earlier in the week being a tad too small – more of that another time!) and yanked a couple of batik prints out of my stash. One of them was surely intended to be a tablecloth! A bit of a mish-mash, but I thought “quirky in the style of Dottie Angel!”

I followed the pattern instructions to the letter but found it not really very pleasurable to make. At all. And because it only comes together at the last two seams, it was impossible to fit as I went along, unlike other dresses I’ve made. So at the end, I was faced with lots of adjustings because it was absolutely enormous and made me look like a sack of potatoes. Meh. It also calls for lots of bias binding to bind the pockets, neckline, armholes, etc. I’m not keen on bound armholes!IMG_0005

I redid the side seams five times – yes FIVE! – in order to get it down to something passable. I have hacked away about 3cm off each side to try to fit it, which is quite a lot! And I hated the long-ness of it. Yes, length is in right now, the midi is a bit of a fashion thing, but I personally don’t like wearing things that long. So I whipped off about 15cm from the length too, because I prefer things ‘bove the knee. So now it’s a roomy, slouchy kinda house-dress/tunic-thing, with ties that pull it back (which to my tastes are waaaay too long), and it’ll probably look better layered, I guess. I think it’s something you might wear down the allotment. With your wellies and some chunky hand-knitted boot socks. And maybe a more earth-mothery kind of girl might suit it better. But is it really my sort of thing? I am not even really sure I will wear it (I’ll let you know if I do!) I think I’m maybe more of a fitted dress or shift kinda gal! I have put a couple of pictures to show you (front and back views) – which look ok I suppose. But I’m just not totally sold on it at the moment. And it doesn’t fit me as well as the ones fit those lovely models on the pattern pack! #storyofmylife

Do you chaps ever have things that you make and once they’re made, you’re like “Oh. Underwhelming.”? Or have you had any disasters? I am still learning how to “do” clothes, rather than bags, and I suppose this was a good learning tool. I do learn something new every time I make a new garment. Not sure whether to have another go in the smaller size, with fabrics that I love more, to try to get a better fit, or just to forget it! Or to make the shorter tunic version (which is almost what this turned out to be, as I chopped so much off the bottom!) Would love to know if anyone else has made this pattern, and how you got on with it.

***PRE-PUBLICATION UPDATE***  Wore it today. Mostly because it was Sunday and I knew I wasn’t going anywhere where anyone could see me, so thought “What the hell!” I wore it with opaque green tights and a slouchy navy cardi, and a chunky ethnic-type ceramic pendant. It’s really comfy, and I think I might actually like it a bit! It is growing on me!  Just not really an enjoyable make. Maybe the second time might be easier, now I know what I’m doing…

 

Advertisements
Sewing

DIY applique – or How to cover up a boo-boo!

I made this denim skirt several weeks ago during the summer (Tilly and the Buttons Delphine pattern).

Delphine number 1 - in denim
Delphine in denim

I was pleased with how it turned out (lovely shape!) but after trying it on a few times, realised that the ‘give’ in it was annoying me and I had made it a little too big. I needed to adjust it slightly from the waist through to the hem and so I did. But in the process, because I was hurrying to finish it, I stuck my seam ripper through the fabric by mistake and left a little hole…eek!  I tried darning it but it’s a heavy weave denim and so it just started fraying. Oh no! What to do? Never mind, thought I, nobody will notice. So I hung it in my wardrobe.

Well, it’s been hanging in my wardrobe ever since, and every time I go to wear it, I realise that the little nick is really noticeable and frankly looks rubbish. So finally today, I decided to sort it out. I’m not wearing it, so even if it went a bit wrong, what did I have to  lose?!

Oh dear - pretty noticeable 'nick'!
Oh dear – pretty noticeable ‘nick’!

I do love a bit of applique, so had a quick think and a browse through my many craft books for some inspiration. I thought about foxes and giraffes, trailing vines and spots. But finally I settled on flowers, sixties-stylee. I rummaged through my scrap box (always keep little scraps – they do come in soooo useful for many bits and pieces!) I chose a few pieces and drew a freehand flower shape and went to work.

I cut 5 shapes for the front (in different fabrics) and arranged them. I then decided it needed to have flowers on the back too, so I cut a further 5 flower shapes for the back. I ironed on Bondaweb to the fabric and cut the shapes out.

Iron the bondaweb on the reverse of the fabric, then draw the shape and cut it out.
Iron the bondaweb on the reverse of the fabric, then draw the shape and cut it out.
I cut out 10 flower shapes altogether.
I cut out 10 flower shapes altogether.

I then stitched the flower shapes on. I do like doing ‘proper’ applique with beautiful satin stitches around the edges. But I also like the folksy-style of straight-stitched edges that are then allowed to fray. So I did it that way, because I think denim is quite a casual fabric and lends itself to a bit of folksy-style decoration! I wanted a random placement of flowers as the nick was next to the seam!

Stitching the flowers on.
Stitching the flowers on.

Well, it took me about an hour and a half (including going downstairs to make a cup of tea!) and I am quite pleased with the finished result, front and back. Hopefully I’ll get lots of wear out of it.

Let me know what you think! I’d also love to see any of your rescue remedies for when things don’t go quite right with your sewing!

The front
The front
The back
The back