crafts · Sewing

Weekend sewing drama (with a happy ending)

My husband was out of town this weekend at a Scrabble tournament, so I used the opportunity to start my Tara dress.  The fabric arrived earlier this week, and I really love the rayon batik – it’s so drapey and lovely!  I want to wear this dress for the July 4th holiday, as I figure a tropical dress made of cool rayon will work well for a holiday that mostly involves sitting outside in the heat, sipping fruity drinks,  and watching the neighbors try to blow their fingers off.

I think I was cursed from the very beginning.  First of all, I somehow managed to print, tape together, and cut out the wrong pattern before figuring out my mistake.  Luckily, right after I took this photo I figured it out – before I could cut any of my fabric (in my defense, the Bambi nightgown, which is what I had, is a very similar style, and I just figured that I didn’t understand Burda’s directions, as per usual.)

fabric in time out for being difficult.

So I printed the correct pattern, and then proceeded to cut one of my skirt pieces with the wrong side on the fold.  Oops.  Lucky I bought too much fabric!  I looked at the directions, found them crazy, and thought I might just try to muddle through (this was last week’s sewalong at Grosgrain, so I did have that to help me.)  Then I could not figure out how I was supposed to get the 2 bodice pieces to meet in the center without an overlap.  I resorted to asked non-sewing (but spatially inclined) friends to help me puzzle things out.  I must have sewn the waist seam 5 times before finally deciding it was as good as it was going to get – it’s close, but the 2 sides aren’t identical.

Then I had to figure out the directions for sewing the casing, which were rather vague.  The video at Grosgrain finally helped me figure it out.  I’ve never used elastic before, but hopefully next time it will be easier!  My bodkin didn’t fit in the 3/8″ casing, so I used a safety pin to thread it through.  After that the directions decided to tell me that I should make bias tape and finish the armholes with that.  Well… not really.  I was sort of all about of fabric except for tiny, tiny scraps after the skirt cutting incident.  I made a baby hem instead.  Then I had to puzzle out the sleeves, and sewed them on backwards about 4 times before finally getting everything worked out.

And this is why I always make a muslin – to get the parts I don’t know how to do out of the way on cheap fabric!  After all the drama, I went to try on the dress, convinced that it was going to be horrifying.  Actually though… I rather like it.

I haven’t hemmed it yet, obviously.  Then hem is uneven, and I’m going to require assistance to mark it.  The empire waist is very flattering.  I am considering sewing up the v-neck by an inch or so, so that I can wear a bra with it, but I’m not sure yet… I’ll see how I feel about it later, when I actually finish the dress.

Ok, so… weekend sewing drama over, and I’m going back to making muslins – it just terrifies me to cut nice fabric without knowing if it will turn out!

7 thoughts on “Weekend sewing drama (with a happy ending)

  1. I think Burda are determined to make better, and more patient sewers out of us with their abominable instructions. It actually surprises me that they have the cheek to charge the price they do for patterns sometimes given how sub standard the instructions are. They are redeemed only by having patterns that look quite lovely once you finally get them made up, as your dress does!

  2. The dress came out beautiful, initial drama notwithstanding. Personally, I’d find the v-neck a bit too low, but I think I’d experiment with camisoles before sewing it up. Although… it does look like it’s floppy. Is there a way to add more stability to the edges? That might help keep the boobage out of plain sight too — or at least keep it from displaying in a way you did not intend. : )

  3. What a lovely dress! The neckline is very flattering, and the sleeves are adorable. For such a disastrous dress, it certainly turned out nice.

  4. Ahh.. I just tried to make the Burdastyle Summer Beach Hat, the instructions were mystifying! It’s a big FAIL, posted on my blog today if you want to check it out for a giggle.
    Glad your dress turned out, it’s quite pretty!

  5. The dress came out great. I had some sewing dilemma of my own. I was reusing a long skirt that I had for about 10 years, well washed but I loved the pattern and fabric. Making sure I cut on the right fold the back seams in the right place. I then wanted a ruffle instead of just a flutter sleeve. Hopefully I will finish it tomorrow. Glad you kept going because it looks very good on you.

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