Dressmaking disasters


I’m not sure what it is about sewing items in 3D, but it rarely goes well for me. Well, maybe bags go well most of the time. About 8 – maybe even 10 – years ago, I took a dressmaking class at my local community college. I learned about tailor tacks, seam finishes I’ve not used since and how to grade a pattern so you can use different sizes, very helpful when I have a (Kwik Sew size) 10 bust, 14 waist and 12 hip….

Flash forward to now. I have two Lane Raglans that are still wearable (necklines are beginning to sag) and my most recently made skirt. Everything else I’ve outgrown (oops) or I abandoned because I didn’t really like it. I can’t get away with wearing tops like the Tova tunic because it hangs off my boobs and makes me look pregnant. I’m at the borderline of whether I should do a full bust adjustment, but I don’t, because, scary. That really limits me when it comes to choosing patterns, especially for tops because they’re often woven fabrics with few darts, etc, trading a simple sew without fastenings for a baggy look I can’t get on with. I love knits!

Recently I decided to make clothes again. I got the Tabor V-Neck pattern and decided to make a short sleeve pattern. It had a directional print and I ended up cutting the front piece upside down, so I have to move the back to the front and chop up and add a yoke to make a new back piece. I ordered a remnant online, and the fabrics don’t match (no pictures). Also I think the jersey I had was kinda fugly in this pattern, so the knit I’ve had stashed for years now isn’t anything useful. This will be a nice top in a lighter fabric and made two sizes smaller than I expected, then I think I’ll be happier with the pattern. I got to use my serger for the first time ever though! So we will meet again, Tabor.

Next, The Kwik Sew K4154 pattern. I don’t like cutting up patterns since my body size fluctuates and I’m too lazy to make paper copies, so I use carbon paper and tracing wheel. Except the lines were faint and I ended up chopping a large piece out of the back panels and I didn’t have enough fabric for the skirt, let alone cutting new pieces. I bought some navy polyester for the skirt and used a strip of it to piece in for a vertical stripe in the back.

So far so good, I sew it, it’s going well (see first photo), I put the invisible zipper in…

I could have back boobs that would fit in the dress. My problem was whilst I did the three circumference measurements, I failed to measure the back length, and my torso is considerably shorter than the average person this is designed for. So I unpicked the whole zipper which was painful, plus the waist seam which I also had serged for extra fun times. I took out about an inch, Reinstalled the zipper and… well it sort of fit and I wasn’t sure why it didn’t TOTALLY fit. It didn’t totally fit because (not only is the body still a bit long but) this daft bint somehow didn’t get the back pieces aligned at the waist properly when putting the zipper back in, the left side is about half an inch higher than the right.

Ignore the bulging of the zipper, I tried it on before wasting time pressing any of the seams… also the facing were not secured at the back to neaten the top of the zipper yet either

So now I have to rip out the centre seam, and the left side of the zipper (I also stupidly trimmed the vent in the skirt since I didn’t know why it didn’t match at first, so a smaller hem will also need to be adjusted for.

I’m struggling to find the fun in dressmaking, I’ve always been bad at it, usually because I make bad fabric or interfacing choices, and it’s super depressing when you’re damaging nice, expensive fabric by constantly seam ripping! I really want to be good at it though, I have lots of ideas and patterns I want to make, and slowly I’m building a little dressmaking stash, but I keep making dumb mistakes.

I’m also not a fan of making a muslin, because I’m a slow dressmaker anyway, so making a muslin would see me making one garment a year (and by then it wouldn’t fit). Is this normal, or is dressmaking just not in my destiny?

I hope to be able to show you a finished dress soon, one I can be happy with.

Future plans (other than finding my dressmaking joy):

  • Another Tabor V-Neck, maybe in a floral light knit
  • Tamarack Jacket with orphan blocks, or at least with an Aneela Hoey Stay Gold print I have stashed. Part of me also likes the idea of quilting and painting the jacket but that might just be too mad.
  • A Rory top with pictures of Hank’s face all over it (was originally going to be boxer shorts but I got peer pressured by Heather 😉 )
  • A maroon Axel skirt in Ponte di Roma
  • Jersey Pop-over in a thick white plain Jersey to mimic a top I had at school
  • Thea Paperbag Pants in some kind of black fabric, maybe suiting, I love the tailored paperbag look
  • A Blanc T-shirt in dog print (brushed polyester spandex knit

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