Friday, 20 November 2009

Ignoring Lessons

Do you remember when you were young and you were anxiously trying to get your important (probably only to you) point across, and the (usually older) person you were speaking to interjected with something really profound and apparently wise, to which you nodded politely but glossed over because you were so desperate to say what was on your mind? And then later, possibly even years later, you go through heaps of hassle and annoyance by creating a load of mistakes that really could have been avoided if you’d actually heeded what it was that that person was trying to tell you after all?

OR, maybe you have acquired yourself an honestly earned set of experiences that become relevant when faced with a new situation, that you gut is urging you consider but you doubt them and forge ahead with the course that you are being instructed to take anyway?

OR, you know that you really should investigate and begin to apply methods that have been deployed by many generations before you, but in the heat of passion that fuels the initiation of a new project, you can’t bring yourself to hit the pause button and get yourself learned, to the detriment of your project? A bit like sticking your fingers in your ears and saying ‘La la laaaaa’ loudly, hoping all will be well anyway?

Well, who knew that taking on this vintage shift dress pattern would touch upon all (and more) of the above of life’s anomalies?! Not I! And yet....

Something that I’m pretty sure I have heard roughly 347 times before via my mum and other wise dressmaker owls, but that I had to discover for myself, the more simple a garment appears, the more difficult it is to create a good fit. When a style has pleats and tucks and frufru all over the shop to distract the eye, the less important it is to create a well balanced garment. I thought this pattern, of unknown date (though I’m guessing maybe 1973?), which I scored for very little from ebay would be a doddle to run up. Despite this, I managed to stave off boldly attacking my fabric and rustled up enough patience to lay the pattern out before hand and compare it to both my beloved Simplicty 3835 AND my own personal bust measurement. I gleaned the comparative information and then promptly threw it out of the window, perhaps in the odd belief that the pattern makers working approximately four decades ago knew more about my body shape and desired fit than me. I guess I find it hard to trust my own, limited but relevant, experience.


To cut a long story short, a fair amount of unpicking, recutting and restitching occurred, resulting in this flawed but wearable outcome. I love the fabric which I pounced on when I saw it. It’s some type of synthetic blend that my mumma got me when she came to visit. It was nice to work with, and has a certain amount of stretch which I think was a mixed blessing. Aside from the general shape, I think the main flaw is the sleeve, as they don’t sit in the armholes very cleanly. Now I reckon this could either be due to A) the fabric having more ‘give’ in it than most wovens, B) something strange I did either setting in the sleeve or when recutting the armholes closer in to improve the garment fit, C) the sleeve pattern includes too much ease, or D) the instructions which tell you to ease in the excess between the front sleeve head notch to back sleeve head notch, rather than from two points much closer like I’ve come to expect. Or a combination of the above. Answers on a postcard. On both the front and back of the sleeves, strange pulls or bulges are visible, but seeing as I’m not sure what the fault lies, I can’t approach correcting them, so tend to squint when looking at those bits. I find squinting makes things less visible. Sometimes they pretty much disappear altogether. Try it sometime.

On the plus side, the shape of the sleeves is a departure for me and is pretty cute. The awesome (vintage?) buttons were a recent birthday gift from my amazing homegirl Silvia, which I applied to create a mock bib effect, and I think they add a really cute and unexpected element to the dress. The dress itself is very comfy (I wore it all day last Sunday. I cannot ABIDE wearing anything on a Sunday that doesn’t have a high level of comfort). Plus, it is plain enough to be rocked with any of my gradually expanding range of colourful opaque tights.

8 comments:

Karin said...

Sounds very familiar :-) I often have been too impatient to do things the 'old fashioned' way and thought I could take shortcuts. How silly. Almost always have I had to do things all over, while had I done it the 'right' way it probably would have been a lot quicker in the end. :-)

The dress looks great!

Shorty said...

What a great dress! I'm glad you persevered through the making of it, and the buttons are a very nice touch. I'm sure you learned a TON of info for your next project, regardless of if anyone could tell you "I told you so..." Kudos to you!

Trudy Callan said...

I'm glad you hung in there. It looks lovely on you.

Twill Jill said...

Saw you on Sew Retro. The dress sure doesn't illustrate your tale of woe. It looks beautiful and unique - and very flattering on your figure. Lovely!

mjb said...

It's super cute with the red tights!

Pattern Junkie said...

Oh boy, do I understand chucking advice and rushing through something, only to sit ripping out seams later! Your dress turned out lovely, and I adore the buttons!

EmilyKate said...

You look great! Certainly worth all the work and frustration if you end up with such a cute dress!

Vonnie said...

You know, I absolutely love what you've done with this dress. I'm coming to terms with my new post-baby body and I'm desperate to sew some comfortable but fashionable clothes to flatter me. I just hope I can achieve that with a modicum of your skill.

Lovely work!

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