Friday, 8 May 2009

I made another dress! Actually I got a bit carried away trying to finish it over the bank holiday weekend, going to have to be more sensible in the future. Sewing's not exactly the most sociable hobby...

This time I went for Vogue V8446, though I see if I had actually checked Pattern Review beforehand I might have had an idea of what to watch out for, oh well. To start with I got fed up with the pattern because all the pleats were so tedious to mark out, fold and baste. But they did work nicely once the pieces started getting sewn together.

Though it was marked as "very easy", apparently Vogue has a different opinion from mine as to what this entails! I had to learn three new things: understitching, slip-stitching and easestitching. Understitching is very confusingly named, since it's sewn as a topstitch... Pretty straight-forward once I'd done a bit of googling. Slip-stitch was a bit more complicated. I know it's naive, but it hadn't occurred to me that once I had a sewing machine that I'd need to do any hand sewing! Even the fact that basting is by hand seemed pretty novel. Anyway, I spent some time trying to work out how slip-stitch works, until I came across this great video. I can't see how this matches up with other descriptions I found, but it definitely worked - it's a pretty fun stitch! And it did make the inside of the lining look very smart. I also had a bit of trouble with easestitch until I worked out that you're only supposed to pull on the bobbin-originating thread, then it was great.

I made the size 6, but I was quite alarmed to find halfway through that the waist was surprisingly tight. It ended up being just right, but despite trying to hold it up on myself to assess fit at various points, once I'd "finished" sewing the whole thing, including the zip, it turned out that the back was a couple of inches too big - the same problem the woman on Pattern Review had. So I ripped out most of the zip stitching and tapered the seam in from the top, but I was a bit lazy and didn't unpick as much as I should have, nor was I particularly careful in lining the fabric up again afterwards, so the zip bulges out a bit halfway down (not shown). Shame, since it would have been quite neat otherwise!

After sorting that out, I tried it on again only to decide that the straps/shoulder sections were too long, making the front baggy (I definitely have a new appreciation for the concept of making toiles). Maybe I have a short torso? So I cut open my lovely understitched armhole edges, removed some of the fabric, shaped and pinned the edges again, and repositioned the straps. I didn't want to spoil Vogue's hard work in making sure all the seams were hidden, so I used my new slip-stitching skills to make the new seams!

I know hand sewing is time-consuming and pretty tedious sometimes, but it's so much less stressful than machine sewing for me! Hehe, and my understitching looks all over the place in that picture.

Pretty, but not exactly the most flattering of dresses... There's a lot of fabric around the waist, and it's not very fitted around the bust or hips. Maybe better with the sash as well?

Yep, better! Of course the weather has turned rubbish now, back to more usual spring temperatures, so who knows when I'll get to wear it. But it's very summery, nice and full, and just right for running around in the park. Wheeeee