Friday, 20 February 2015

I made a frock

First of all - proud face - I made a whole dress. For me. Yay.

This might not seem a big thing, but for me it's huge. It's an Elisalex from ByHandLondon, a pattern that I have eyed from afar for a good long while, so I took the plunge and went for it. I know there are a gazillion already out there, but I loved looking at them all so much and knew it was worth a go.

So, second of all, there are a lot of things that are probably not totally brilliant, mostly due to my lack of experience, but hey, we all have to start somewhere and I have learned so much, so I am super pleased that I've even got this far.

My first error was probably picking a tartan fabric to make the dress. I squeezed in a visit to the Montmartre fabric district before Christmas during a work visit (sneaky but sooooo worth it) and I was totally bowled over by the coupon shops. I got a 3m length of tartan purely on colours and fabric weight - I knew I didn't want anything too thin. But I hadn't really banked on the whole fraying thing. Or the pattern matching thing. Hmmm.

But let's focus on the stuff that I am pretty chuffed with:

1. Princess seams - my first ones. I won't lie, the whole pinning thing took an age, but I followed Elisalex's super tip of pinning for the sewing line, rather than the edges and that helped sooooooo much. And sewing them was far less daunting than I had been worrying about. I'm pretty happy with these

2. Sleeves - I am a BIG 3/4 sleeves fan, and this was one of the deciding factors on this dress. Again, with pinning advice, these fitted in a treat, with no awkward bits that normally happen whenever I try and sew.

3. My super neat blind stitching on the armhole lining - I've never made anything look so neat ever! Almost sad that it's on the inside!!

4. My first bit of pattern adapting - I know I've got a long body and a broad back and so I would need to attempt a bit of adjusting, which I was a bit scared about. Lengthwise I think it went OK, as I just added on an extra inch, which brought it just to my waist. 

And what I'm not so chuffed with:

5. My second bit of pattern adapting - I found the measurements pretty snug overall on the top: I'm normally a 14 but even cutting out the 16, the back edges literally *just* met. I decided to add some extra at the back too, as I was convinced it would be too tight. In fact I ended up with about 2 cm too much when it was all sewn up, so I probably shouldn't have faffed.

6. The (lack of) pattern matching - although I know the princess seams would never have matched, the slight miscalculation with the extra back fabric and then matching up at the waist are far from perfect. But hey, it's my first one, and I love it. 

7. The invisible zip - it's in, but it's not quite even, but it's not too much of a botched job.

So, there we go. What with other stuff taking over, it's taken a while to get it finally finished, but I am v. proud that I haven't gone off to cut out my next pattern before I finished. Nearly killed me at times, and I have to admit that I did a LOT of knitting in between, but now I can start work on the next item guilt free.