Macaron dress

I’ve mentioned my Colette Macaron dress a few times in previous blog posts.  It’s been in the making since January – I had lots of fitting issues and accidental-holes-in-fabric traumas and the like.  I thought I’d finished it at the end of April, when disaster struck.  I was trying it on (luckily!) the night before I was meant to wear it to my friend’s wedding, only to realise I’d managed to insert a faulty zip.  Cue small panic attack and a last minute outfit change.

I should mention that the snags I had were nothing to do with the pattern, which was very easy to follow.  The problems were all my own doing.

Firstly, I decided to swap out the solid cotton yoke for a see through tulle, which meant adapting the pattern accordingly – no facing, figuring out a way to tidy up the seams and so on.  Secondly, I managed to cut my fabric pieces out too small.  I’m not sure how, and of course, I’d completely shunned the idea of making a toile – zzzzz.  Not having enough fabric left to re-cut a larger size, we (and by ‘we’, I mean Dan, my sewing instructor) sorted it out by creating side panels to match the contrasting waistband.  Thirdly, I twice (yes, twice) managed to put holes in my fabric and then had to figure out ways of covering up said holes – I had to move my waistband seam up and my neckline down by a few millimetres.  Then I had the zip fiasco.  It took me a long time to forgive the dress for the endless trauma it had already caused and pluck up the courage to swap the zip with a new one.  And once I’d finally fixed that I decided I didn’t like the sleeves.  I didn’t like where the shoulder seams were sitting, so I cut the sleeves off and used bias binding to finish the edge.

And ta-da!  Finally finished!  Ten months later.

What did I learn?

  1. I am far too heavy-handed with a seam ripper.
  2. This pattern hacking business is sometimes not as easy as you think it’ll be, especially when you throw in a delicate fabric.
  3. As much as I dislike the idea, I need to start making toiles of some of my garments (preferebly wearable), especially for anything with a fitted bodice.

So, there you have it – not the most pleasant of sewing experiences, but I learned a lot.  I’m finally able to wear my finished dress, ten months after I started it.  😀

It’s a love-hate relationship…

I’m having a bit of a love-hate relationship with sewing at the moment.

At home, I’ve been working on ‘easy’ projects that I’ve enjoyed putting together.  I have cut out all two (yes, only two!) pattern pieces to make the Simple t-shirt from The Great British Sewing Bee: Sew Your Own Wardrobe.  [Just a quick side note: chiffon is flipping horrible to cut out!]  I’m looking forward to attempting to use bias binding for the very first time.  I’ve also made almost an entire Delphine skirt from Tilly Walnes’ Love at First Stitch, using an indigo cotton canvas.  All that’s left for that one is to add some buttons on the front to give it a nautical look, and to add some patch pockets on the back.  I’ve never done patch pockets before either so wish me luck.

I heart sewing! 😀

However, at my sewing classes, I’ve moved on to my first ever ‘intermediate’ pattern, which took weeks of brain power before I was able to make my first stitch.

I hate sewing! 😛

I’ve been working on Colette’s Macaron, using the lovely Michael Miller Marionette’s cotton.  First things first, I had to do was decide what size I would be.  Not surprisingly, I had to grade my pattern down from the bust to be smaller at the waist – I had expected this.  The mistakes came in later on.

First mistake.  I decided to make the contrast yoke out of a sheer fabric – instant changes to the instructions for construction.  Cue lots of brain power trying to figure out what I’d have to do differently.

Second mistake.  It then occurred to me that I didn’t particularly want to make the waistband out of the same contrast fabric I’d chosen for the yoke, because then I’d have a visible midriff.  ‘What should I do?  I know!  I’ll just lengthen the bodice piece.  That will be easy enough, right?’  Wrong!  So wrong.  I just could not get my head around lengthening that bodice.  After lots of maths, three different approaches and an entire sewing class, I gave up.  I think I sort of did have it figure out towards the very end, but it occurred to me that if I came across any problems later on they would be twice as hard to solve because my pattern pieces would be completely different.  I landed on making my waistband out of plain white cotton  in the hope that it won’t look that odd.

Then, last week was all about starting to cut out the fabric and making sure all the markings were there.  I discovered tailor’s tacks, which are quite magical.

Finally, this week – week five of a ten week course – I was able to make my first stitches.  And look what happened!  😀

I have bodice pieces!  Bodice pieces that look like they’re going to fit me.  They went together very quickly once I started sewing, and I’m starting to feel really good about Macaron.  I’m back to loving sewing!  I have sewn on the yoke differently to the way Colette have instructed in the pattern, mostly because I thought their way would take longer.  Only time will tell if I’ve made another fatal error there…

What have I learnt?

  1. It’s one thing to make small changes to a pattern, but I’m absolutely not ready for full on pattern hacking.
  2. As much as I want to get a good fit etc., I much prefer the construction process. The paperwork requires so many brainwaves.
  3. Even when I hate sewing, I love to hate it!