Saturday, August 17, 2013

Adventures in Sewing #3 - another (unfinished) dress

I've returned to Sew Make Create in Chippendale to embark on attempt number two of making the poxy stretch dress t-shirt dress that I so unsuccessfully didn't finish at the Tessuti BYO project class a few weeks ago.  Will it be second time lucky?

After a 3 hour long visit to Spotlight where I dropped a cool $120 on fabrics without even owning a sewing machine yet I came home with (amongst other things) a nice stripy knit jersey that I thought would work really well in the simple t-shirt dress we were going to be making in class. I didn't want anthing "too thin" or clingy and this fabric had a nice weight to. Plus it is made in Japan and pretty much everything out of Japan is cool.

The very FIRST thing I noticed about the fabric after I washed it home before the class was that it had a great big hole in it...right in the middle of the fabric piece. D'oh! Luckily I'd bought heaps more fabric than I needed (because I'm OCD like that) so it didn't end up causing too many problems (other than me cutting out two left sleeves as I couldn't double my fabric over to cut the sleeves out ?!?!). That aside, the fact that the material had a great big arrow on it pointing to the hole boggles my mind. It means someone KNEW the hole was there, marked it out and then rolled it on the fabric roll anyway. And the Spotlight lady would've most likely seen this too and still sold me the fabric!

As always Pepper the Puginese was on hand to supervise our class...and when she got bored with us she feel asleep on the floor. Sewing sure is tiring work isn't it Pepper?

Our first two hour lesson was pretty much taken up with doing pattern adjustments for each of four students in the class; plus cutting out our fabric. Embarrassingly I was the only person who needed the pattern made BIGGER! But like our teacher Angie said, our measurements in sewing as just numbers to help us make a perfect matter what your size sewing is ultimately about making something to fit our own unique bodies.

Class two sees us pinning our garments together and sewing! I had my "new" second machine with me for the class and I'm happy to say that together did a pretty good job!

The order that we sewed the garment together in class was totally different to the Tessuti class I did so I'm glad I learned a few ways to construct this dress.  I'm also REALLY happy that I got to do all of the sewing myself (bar one little piece where Angie stepped in as I was about to have an epic throw-down tantrum).  I'm also pleased to say that I learned the proper way (not the cheats way) of inserting a sleeve (or two left sleeves to be precise) in a garment.

Alas, I ran out of time to hem my sleeves and the bottom of the dress so it's still not finished. I did have a go at hemming but this fabric is so roly-poly along the hems that I lost my cool and had to walk!

And you know what -- after all that time spent adjusting the pattern the damn thing is TOO big for me! Either the pattern measurements are wrong (I think they are) or my butt measurements are whack-a-do! I'm also thinking the fabric is too thick and heavy for this style of t-shirt dress anyway!

So...what now? I'm thinking of turning both this dress and the red one from my 1st attempt into an elastic waistband skirt.


  1. I am impressed at your sewing - I have lately done a few doll's dresses and wish I had the sewing skills and machine to make other clothes but finding time to make a dolls dress is hard enough - this looks great on you and unhemmed is fashionable anyway, surely!

  2. Hi! I've come looking because you followed me on Twitter.

    FYI - you don't have to hem a knit dress. I've not hemmed quite a few of my knit dresses. Knit doesn't fray. Alternatively, you can use fusible stay tape to stop that rolling business before you hem. You can buy knit and woven tapes. For knits, you need knit tape; for wovens, you need ... woven tape. :) You can buy this from any sewing shop; Spotlight probably have it; Tessuti definitely should. Or you can buy Steam-A-Seam.

    Here's a great webpage about how to use:

    Fabric sourcing wise, I don't tend to buy expensive fabrics either because I'm not confident yet. Look in the remnant bins at the shops or in op shops for fabric. It is much easier to dive into a project if you know you only paid a small amount of money for the fabric.

    Hope that's helpful and that I'm not telling you stuff you've probably already learned becuase this blog post is a bit old. You're probably a bit beyond this now, anyway; as I see via Instagram that you are making (have made?) a Laurel, and have a few other patterns on the go...

    I also think you're on the right track choosing independent patterns. A lot of them, especially, Colette, are very teaching oriented.

    Good luck. It's a heap of fun and completely obsession generating. And there are almost as many sewing bloggers, as there are food bloggers. Almost. But not quite!

  3. Hi Oanh - thanks for visiting my blog! For my mental healthy I'm taking a "break" from knits, but when I head back that way your tips are going to be invaluable. The fusible stay tape sounds like just the thing I need to stop the fabric from rolling. I'm "almost" done with my Laurel -- have a class in two weeks where we'll insert the zipper; and then I'm moving onto my peplum dress. Wish me luck!


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