Monday, 23 July 2012

"The easiest dress in the world" AKA a lesson in humility

"Know your colours and know your fabrics...that's what I tell all my little girls."
- Mermaids

Pattern: Butterick 5456


Fabric: Jersey from Ebay

Size: 12 (slowly edging my way down sizes. I could even have made a 10 for this one, I think).

When I mentioned I was going to tackle a jersey dress next there were many intakes of breath and a chorus of "you're brave" even from my experienced sewing friends. You've probably sussed by now that I'm being a bit gung-ho in my attitude to trying new things in sewing, so I wasn't put off.
I bought some beautiful brown, teal, and turquoise fabric off Ebay and intended to pair it with a teal or turquoise for the contrast. You would not believe how hard, nay impossible, it was to find something in a sympathetic colour! I trawled the internet and searched my local fabric shop and in the end had to plump for brown!

A lesson to be learned here about fabric sourcing. I ended up with a lightweight jersey for the patterned fabric in a 4-way stretch, and a thicker jersey in the brown with a 2-way stretch. Not only was this a bit unfortunate, it made life REALLY difficult when constructing the dress, as I was also using the brown for lining the top. In future I think I will only buy jerseys from a shop so i can feel the weight and stretch, or if I must buy online I will ask plenty of questions before purchasing!

So, I set about making the dress and declared "HA! This is going to be the easiest dress ever and I'm going to make about 10 of them!" as I sped along sewing pieces together. Of course as soon as those ridiculous words escaped my mouth, I regretted it. We all knew from that point on it would be anything but simple. All sorts of things went wrong: I tried being clever and lining the skirt for fear it might be a bit see-through, only to realise it added way too much bulk at the waistband, so had to unpick LOADS. I then also realised that I had cut the front lining with the stretch in the wrong direction and as a result it was pulling, leaving massive armholes which looked, quite frankly, ridiculous. More unpicking and I was practically back to square one.

At this point I had to leave it for a few days as i knew the frustration would result in silly mistakes. I am quite pleased with that reaction, seeing as I'm the world's least patient person (verified by Big Minx on at least a weekly basis). Today I got back on the horse, however, and cut a new piece of front lining and sew sew sewed. I now have a dress. I modelled it for Big Minx before putting on the bottom band and his comment was "it's lovely, but wa-hay-hay too short!" Tee hee.

I think I'm going to be lazy and leave the bottom unhemmed. After all, that's the plus side of jersey, it doesn't fray. This does rely on me being able to cut it neatly though as at the moment it's a bit uneven.

I'm reasonably pleased with how this turned out but would definitely like to make another one with better-matched fabrics that will turn out (hopefully) a lot neater. I think I shall try wearing it to work and hope that the skirt is not that see-through.


  1. that fabric-pattern combo. Good skills lady. x

    1. Thank you - high praise indeed from the expert. ;-) I've found another fabric that I think would work really well too...x