Sunday, 16 May 2010

Failure and Success

Well in my last post I was debating whether to make a particular dress and whether it would suit my body type.  Well, I decided to go ahead with it, the suggested fabrics on the back stated, 'fluid fabrics, satin, silk' amongst others.  There was no way I was going to make it in silk but went to the fabric shop and looked at the kind of fabrics I don't normally look at, slippery, tactile, flimsy, glamorous(?) fabrics.  I ended up plumping for a pinky floral satin.  OMG, what a nightmare I've been having with it!  Its slippery, it frays easily, it snags easily, it puckers easily and it generally a bl**dy pain in the a**e!  The last 2 weeks have been tortuous, yes 2 weeks! (I've done a bit then got frustrated, thrown it across the room and then stomped off for a few days!)  Anyway, I've now finished the dress and it looks ok on although it clings with static (I believe fabric conditioner resolves this) but and this is a big BUT I have a problem.  Where the v-neck comes down and has a facing on the inside, I trimmed back the seam to fold over neatly but as I already said this fabric frays very easily....... this means that the bodice has started the fray leaving a hole at the seam line between bodice and the facing.  Here it is in full close up horror!

This is right in the middle of the v-neck!

So as you can see the hole is in a really obvious place, I've tried making a rosette/flower to pin over the hole but because the fabric is so blooming slippery etc its just not happening.  I've tried a flower, I've tried a ribbon, I make some bows from bias binding, ribbons everything and nothing looks good.  Even if I managed to get the hole covered the fabric is still really clingy and snags easily so I've sadly decided to cut my losses and abandon the dress.  Realistically I'm not gonna wear it (I was making it for a 90th birthday party but I have an alternative) so why am I bothering?  So what have I learnt?  Well, satin is a pig to sew, also the way it drapes is not particularly flattering to me, so I've learnt that cotton based fabrics are my friends and I should stay there! 

Well that was the failure, now for the success........

I've been wanting to try out sewing with knit fabric but hadn't been able to find it in local shops and even on-line its not a popular as woven fabric (unless I'm looking in the wrong places?  If you know anywhere let me know!) but the other day I found Vend and got some of what I though was reasonable priced knit.  I've been wanting to make a skort (skirt and shorts combined) for Miss M for ages and the other day I came across Carolines posting showing the skorts she has been making and I knew it had to be done.  I didn't have a pattern for the shorts so I made one based on a pair of leggings as I was having trouble with the shorts she has.   Following Carolines post I made................

How cool is this?

Miss M loves them and I loved making them, sewing with knit was easy-peasy and after the debacle described above a refreshing change.  The shorts I knocked up in about an hour but it would be quicker next time as I sewed the wrong leg up and had to get the seam ripper out!!!!  The skirt took a little longer but I'm so proud of it, its beautiful inside and out, the side seams are a french seam (as usual!) the raw edges where the tiers are sewn together have been finished by overcasting, there's top-stitching on the top tier and I even put a label in!

Miss M wore it today and she loved it and I think it looks really funky and I'm soooooo happy with it

I think she will be getting some more of these!  Maybe with shorts rather than longer leg lengths and a different woven. I want to wash these before I make another pair as I think the shorts should be a little tighter on the leg but the knit hasn't been pre-washed (didn't want to deal with rolling edges for my first time!) so I'm gonna wait to see what the shrinkage is and maybe adapt the shorts pattern from there.  The only thing I didn't do quite right was attaching the woven to the waistband & shorts as the woven has 10" of ease.  I realise now that the knit should have been stretched to meet the woven whereas I gathered the woven to meet the knit IYKWIM, that means I've lost the benefit of the ease going over the hips but on Miss M its not a problem.  Next time I'll know what to do. 

This might become a new obsession!  What do you think? 



  1. Excellent idea for little girlies that like going around flinging legs in the air and sitting in a most unlady-like fashion. If your daughter is anything like mine she will need shorts under her skirt!!! May have to make some. Sorry to hear about your dress though. Frustrating, but a valuable lesson!?!

  2. The skort looks awesome Louise!! She looks so comfy and fabulous. Sorry about the dress debaucle. Cheers from across the pond

  3. Louise - if you don't mind, please add your photos to the flickr pool - we would love to see them over there ;)

  4. @Caroline - I've added the pictures to your flikr group, if I make any more I'll add them too. Forgot to say thanks for a super tute!!!!