Beyond the UFO pile: Simplicity 1802 (also sewing bloggers are AWESOME!)

When a sewing pattern has you in tears and questioning your ability to sew at all…it’s time to let it go.

Sometimes there is no saving a failed project, it’s not always about making a muslin, fit adjustments, expert advice…sometimes it’s just a crap pattern and you are better off to just put it down forever and move on.

I’ve been working on Simplicity 1802 (aka The very Belated Birthday Dress) for about a month. On Saturday I intended the big push to solve all the bodice fitting problems and get it finished for the Wellington Sewing Bloggers Network meet on Sunday.

It did not go well.

On Saturday afternoon, after a lot of hard work, I had a small cry. I was just so frustrated and upset, it was all so stupid, it’s only fabric! Unfortunately I had fallen in love with this project. It was exactly what I was aiming for colour/fabric wise. I was SO EXCITED, I didn’t want to give it up, I didn’t want it to beat me.

But it had beaten me and it made me not want to even consider another project. I wandered half-dressed in a poorly fitting bodice down stairs to the Mannexe where I tearfully told my husband that I was terrible at this sewing business and I didn’t know why I bothered…

OK, I was emotional, that was clearly an overreaction, but I’m sure I am not the only one who’s been there. We don’t often share our fails on our blogs but they happen to everyone, and we should share them. It’s taken me the whole long weekend to realise it but there is no shame in a UFO (or a project that is beyond a UFO) if you learn from it. I think of myself as a fairly experienced and confidant sewist, I’ll give anything a go and I often succeed, so it might help some of you to know that it can happen to anyone.

I was going to go over in detail all the warning signs I ignored and the things I did to try and save this project.

How I should have listened to the little birdie who whispered to me that she had heard strange things about the draft of the Cynthia Rowley patterns for Simplicity.

How I should have been suspicious at the lack of FO images in a Google Image search (just two!).

How I unpicked and re-sewed the same two seams 20 times each (no exaggeration).

How by trying the bodice on after each correction combined with the lack of stay-stitching across the bottom of the bodice now meant it had stretched longer that the interfaced waistband.

How bemused I was at pattern instructions that would leave a lined dress with several exposed internal seams.

I even had photos and a sketch to illustrate my epiphany about the draft of the bodice pattern in general…

But I’ve moved on now.

I deleted most of the draft post I thumped into the computer on Saturday afternoon after my husband bought me a cup of tea and told me to give it up.

He said,

“Maybe it’s just a crap pattern, you should just make something else.”

He was right…but he also wouldn’t let me back into my sewing room. Apparently I’d had enough for one day. Sigh, he was right about that too!

Don’t tell him I told you ;)

So I didn’t rush to make something else for the bloggers meet, instead I had a fun Sunday afternoon with the most amazing group of girls who didn’t care that I was wearing a wrap dress I’d made in 2010. We all looked fabulous, as you would expect, and we enjoyed a deliciously varied pot-luck picnic and talked of sewing and life and cooed over a very serious looking baby Drake.  Earlier Johanna and I each received the home sewists pièce de résistance, The Unsolicited Compliment.

High five!

The online sewing community is the most encompassing, positive group of people I have ever been apart of and I have the immense luck (and joy!) to be able to meet many of those amazing women in real life.

Wellington’s weather didn’t disappoint either, I wasn’t worried, not even for a bit ;)

Now allow me to bombard you with photos:

A very small portion of the Wellington Botanic Gardens, glorious!

Nikki, Juliet, Kat, Maryanne, Emily & Johanna

Mmmmm!

Calzone

Les tarts avec gelèe

Delicious!

No other picnickers were harmed in the opening of the bubbles, we swear

We found a random stranger to take our group photo, and since we were in front of the stairs it seemed only right to do a serious Sewing School photo shoot:

Kat & Drake, Emily (new member yeah!) Maryanne, Juliet
Johanna, myself & Nikki (photo courtesy of Kat, random Photoshopping by me)

And then we tried out our Blue Steel impressions…they may need a little more work ;)

Photo courtesy of Nikki

Almost everyone else has already posted their version of events so why don’t you go see what Kat, Juliet, Nikki and Johanna had to say about it?

I snuck off to Global Fabrics afterwards with Juliet to help her spend a voucher, not that she needed any encouragement, but there’s nothing quite like a little group enabling. We scored an additional Unsolicited Compliment to the tally, this time for Juliet.

Another high five!

I saw the beautiful fabric from the failed project in the $8 bin (I think I originally paid $12.95/m at The Fabric Warehouse) – so I grabbed a couple more meters, determined that one failed project didn’t mean I couldn’t have a dress made from this pretty cotton print. I picked up a second bolt too, it’s a strange pink and blue/green diagonal strip and it smelt really weird, like bad fish, but I was assured it would wash out. I have no idea what it was from, maybe the dye? But both have had a pre-wash now and the smell is gone.

$8/m cottons

Monday was Wellington Anniversary Day so Hubby and I spent the day at the beach. We photographed my oldest un-photographed FO (I’ll share that with you tomorrow, yeah, go New Years Resolution!) and then in the afternoon I sat down and started to go through my fabric stash.

I love my stash.

I know that is horribly superficial and materialistic sounding but, like my home library, I consider it a beautifully curated collection of my favourite authors, except that these authors are colours and prints in the genre of jersey and cotton sateen, amongst many others ;)

(Librarian friends please forgive my gross overuse of similes)

My stash – January 2013

When I sit on the floor and pull out the pretty pieces it’s like fabric shopping in my studio, it makes me happy, but more importantly it makes me want to sew!

I chose this beautiful $5 remnant I picked up from The Fabric Warehouse in April 2012 and began to look through my patterns.

This is me getting back on my sewing horse:

I have a few dress patterns out at the moment for inspiration and I am seriously thinking of declaring 2013 to be The Year of the Dress…for me anyway ;)

Now here is a good segue to another post I was going to write separately but I’m smooshing on to the end of this one instead:

from Sew I Sewed This (click for source)

My 2013 Re-Sew-lutions:

  • No plan? No worries!
  • More Sewing Meetups…MOAR!
  • No more crying over stupid patterns
  • No imagined pressure, no imagined guilt
  • Lots of pretty dresses please
  • Re-learn to enjoy photographing my FOs, have fun doing it
  • Maybe a bit of stash busting but I kind of do that anyway ;)

Thanks for reading my bumbling rambling post, I’m off to do some fun sewing now xx

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Birthday dress bodice progress…

The bodice of Simplicity 1802 (aka The Super Late Birthday Dress for 2012) has been complete since last week, then I ran into a little snag.

Simplicity 1802 Bodice

Looks good on Scarlett no? I have tried it on myself too ;)

The size chart suggested I should cut a size 16 but after looking at the finished measurements on the tissue pieces I ended up cutting a size 14. So. Much. Ease!

In general the fit is good, that bit of pulling under the bust is nothing, just how it’s sitting after I pinned the side seams, ignore that.

I love the colour and the piping and I am still really excited for the finished dress.

I’ll show you what you can’t see in this photo:

Simplicity 1802 Bodice

All the bodice shaping is built into the seaming of the front panels but it begins waaay too high, there is much gape-age and this weird baggy convex effect above my actual bust. This bodice is designed for a bust so high up that if I had an extra set of boobs on top of my real boobs it would fit perfectly!

I think my husband would be pleased too ;)

We also have armhole gape-age:

Simplicity 1802 Bodice

…and some pretty extreme back gape-age:

Simplicity 1802 Bodice back

This photo makes my hand look gigantic and my dress form tiny!

Sigh…

It does fit though, apart from the gape-age (have I used that word enough yet?) and the unusually high boob issue. It can all be fixed, it just needs to be taken in at strategic places, this would be easy…except that we have piping to deal with…

So I have pinned out the excess, marking the new seam lines comes next then I can relocate the piping and stitch it back up. It won’t take long, it’s just super annoying!

Simplicity 1802 Bodice - pinned out excess

Simplicity 1802 Bodice back - pinned out excess

Due to almost all of my family members being in various other places on Christmas Day we are having our Christmas dinner early this year, as in this Saturday. With work at the moment I can’t see this dress being finished for that, plus I want to get the rugby jersey out of the way this week instead.

Still, I need to set myself a bit of a goal, so I would like to be able to share it with you all by the following weekend, the 15th/16th – nothing particularly special happening that weekend, but I am sure I can convince Nerdy Hubby to take me out to dinner anyway ;)

Keep your fingers crossed for no more crazy fitting weirdness please.

I can wear it for the Christmas dinner on actual Christmas Day we are planning for Nerdy Husbands family at our house (our first Christmas at our very own house, exciting!) then I can start dress number 2, maybe that can be my New Years dress, not that I need any excuse for a new dress!

Pattern Pyramid

Pattern pyramid reminder: Have you left a comment here to be in the draw to win my selection of the Wellington Pattern Pyramids yet?

How about on one of the other fabulous Wellington bloggers blogs?

Nikki and Jo have their pyramids up and Joy and Kat each have TWO pyramids to give away. That’s 7 chances for you to win some fabulous vintage kitschy pattern goodness so hop on over quick and comment away :)

If you can’t enter the above due to you not having your own blog, don’t worry, on the weekend I realised I had just cracked 200, 000 hits so I will be doing some sort of give-away in celebration of that soon too, keep your eyes open…

http://i1146.photobucket.com/albums/o540/thecuriouskiwi/Blog%20Images/200000.jpg

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Halp!

Phew guys! I had a HUGE sewing weekend, but that post is going to have to wait until tomorrow, work is crazy right now! We just won a big fat juicy job that I am super excited about but means a heap of work in very little time.

I’ve really missed whipping up a mid-week blog post during my lunch break or after work but it has all just been a bit too much for me over the last week or two and it isn’t looking any better for the next couple either.

I shouldn’t complain because if we weren’t crazy I’d be pretty nervous!

I am going to share with you all the fun of our Wellington Sewing Bloggers Meet Up tomorrow though, I just have to scrape together all my photos. Seriously, those girls! I needed a nap just to recover after I got home!

I am so ready for Christmas break…well not really, I haven’t done any shopping yet and I have a HUGE family Christmas dinner to plan (whose idea was it to host that?! Oh yeah, mine, haha!) but mentally (and I may just go a little mental) I am ready, bring on the joyous festiveness!

Ok, but for now, I need your guys help! I’m going to post this up on BurdaStyle and PR too but maybe one of you brilliant peeps can help me first.

I thought I had the RNHS Rugby Shirt button placket all worked out, I was going to use this tutorial from Two On, Two Off but when I looked at the pattern pieces on the weekend, mine are different. If no one can help me then I will calculate a new piece similar to the one in this tutorial but first choice is to make it up as cut…

Here are the placket pieces, there are two…

…and this is what the front looks like…

What do you guys think?

With the RNHS Rugby Jersey stalled I did make good progress on my Birthday Dress, much bias was cut for piping, so much bias was cut!

But the whole time I felt like I had a little Sewing Angel sitting on one shoulder, and a little Sewing Devil sitting on the other.

The guilt-ridden little Sewing Angel was tugging on my ear lobe and whispering that I should feel guilty for enjoying rotary cutting bias strips so much while Nerdy Husband went rugby-shirt-less.

But the selfish little Sewing Devil was jumping up and down and gleefully rubbing its tiny hands together, “Cut! Cut!” it chanted, a little look of sewing madness in its eyes, “Make that beautiful dress, make it!”

So bias strips I made. The good news is that I am loving the contrast colour I chose, difficult to photograph accurately, it’s a deep blue with just enough purple.

So if you have any ideas on how I can shrug off my guilt and get the rugby jersey finished asap or want to draw me a scribble so I can understand how to attach the button placket I would really appreciate it!

Happy Monday :) xx

Sewing Update

I have had a busy few days but I thought I’d share what I have been up to sewing-wise:

RNHS: Rugby Jersey

Not much progress to report. Everything is cut out, white drill has been acquired for the collar and button placket. I also found a tutorial for how to make the button placket since my photocopied Burda instructions tell  me to refer to another items instructions for how to make it…I did not photocopy that items instructions, not that it would have done me much good, we all know about Burda’s reputation for instructions… ;)

I need to finish it asap because even thought Nerdy Hubby hasn’t mentioned it for a while I will feel guilty if he pops into my room to see what I am up to and finds me cutting out a dress instead!

Look! I found it!

Simplicity 2364 – DO NOT ASK ME WHERE IT WAS – because the answer is that it was in the exact place where I looked for it 10 times. I took it with me to Sunday’s Fabric Hoarders meet and cut it out twice in NZ Merino, one grey, one almost-black.

Birthday dress progress

My birthday was in June, like almost 6 months ago…so I should probably stop stubbornly calling it that, but I won’t. I have been asked about the birthday dress twice now, once in person, so I though I better update. I have narrowed it down to two dresses but I will be making both anyway ;)

I think I will make Simplicity 1802 first which I found fabric for on Sunday from the Fabric Warehouse.

The only reason why I hadn’t started this dress was due to lack of fabric. It needs 3.0 meters and I usually only buy between 2 and 2.5 meters when I am stashing for future dresses so that meant I had to buy something. Fabric shopping for a particular garment is actually quite difficult. I looked in all my favourite stores and was originally going to buy that zig-zag cotton sateen I saw in Arthur Toye but I just couldn’t get my head around the pattern matching.

Next I fell in love with an expensive print in the online Tessuti store, I even loaded up the required 3 meters into my cart but then baulked at the total, even with free shipping, eeek!

As I was umming and ahhing the online shop suggested another fabric I might like, the same print but in a blue/green (I had chosen pink/lilac) but it was sold out (seriously, why bother showing me if I can’t have it?!)…still I really liked it, a bit more than the pink, so I emailed to see if they were going to get any more into stock.

It took them 3 days to email me back with a “no” and by then both fabrics were sold out.

So it’s a good thing I snuck by the fabric shop on my way back from the sewing meet.

I really like the 100% cotton I have chosen, it has a sort of woven stripe running through it, is nice and floaty and, at $12/meter, a much better price than some of the other fabrics I was only so-so for. Only the top of the dress is lined in the pattern but I will also need to line the skirt and I just need to choose which solid colour to use for the piping, maybe the dark purply blue? What do you think?

Vogue 1161 on the other-hand, I have had fabric in hand for about 2 weeks.

I did intend to make this dress from the stash but when I saw this silk/linen in Global Fabrics I had to have it – DO NOT ASK ME HOW MUCH IT COST – the answer is too much, but I LOVE it. It is grey with shots of white through it and pinky/white/yellowy-tulipy-leafy-blurry-floral thingees on it.

Good description huh? ;)

It was a bit stiff off the bolt but it did relax a little after the first wash so I think it will be ok.

I have had a quick little play in Photoshop (or you can do it with Gimp too) and now I am really excited about both these dresses! What do you think?

A finished project

I did finish one project, actually a little while a go and despite wearing it really often I haven’t managed to get a photo of it yet so here is Scarlett doing an excellent job of modelling my new top.

It is from Burda 02/2009, top #108 and I made one about 2 years ago, as a copy of a rtw top (never blogged), in a grey merino that I wore to death. So now I have a new and very fun version to replace it.

I also have enough of the grey and almost-black merino from the Simplicity top to cut two more. It’s such a versatile top, I may as well sew them all up at the same time.

My only change this time was to add sleeve bands and a band to the hem just to finish it a bit nicer. Next time I will add a facing to the neck, instead of just folding it over, for more stability. I also used two short strips of twill tape on each shoulder seam to control any stretching there.

This is an interlock from Spotlight, the colour is called “flame” and it probably came from the children’s section ;) but how cute are those little guys all over it?! Check out my three favourites:

A ‘Thank You’ Award

I was honoured to receive a blog award from Nikki, a fellow Wellington sewing blogger :)

This new blog award is a way to say a big thank you to the people who encourage you by commenting on your blog, it’s a great idea!

It’s pretty neat actually because just recently I have been trying to concentrate more on collecting interesting sewing blogs and doing my best to step up my commenting. I used to be a bit shy and lurk around my massive blog list. I relied almost solely on BurdaStyle for my on-line sewing interactions but I do that less and less now. Instead I have discovered I have much more fun interacting with all the blogs I follow, making comments if I like something or offering my humble opinion.

So thank you Nikki :)

For this blog award there is no requirement to do anything like list stuff about yourself, you just pass it on to the last nine bloggers to comment on your blog…well I’m going to cheat a little bit and choose the nine from my Birthday Dress Musings post (excluding those who have already been awarded) plus a couple of others because all of your comments were awesome and I really appreciated your opinions.

Thank you to:

Rachel of My Messings

Allison C

Sewing Elle

Jane’s Sew & Tell

SewSkateRead

Wendy of Sew Biased

Sewing Sveta

Zoe of ZoSews

Trish of Quiet Vintage Sewing

And a huge thank you to everyone else who has commented on any of my posts, let’s spread some more encouragement and sewing love around the blogosphere <3

PS: I traced and cut a pattern on the weekend for the Birthday Dress but I am going to keep my choice a secret for just a bit longer, you are welcome to have a guess ;) I am hoping to find the perfect fabric this week so I can start on the long weekend (Labour Day for us is this coming Monday, yay!)

Birthday dress 2012 musings

So, now that I am properly settled in, it’s about time I started to think about this year birthday dress.

“The idea is that it can be a nice every-day kind of dress, or a completely unjustifiable and unnecessary dress and that’s ok, because it is the birthday dress and no excuses will be required.”

-kaitui_kiwi, 2011

It is so very late, but, start as you mean to go on, no??

Anyway, here are my thoughts for this year’s dress – Feel free to comment on your favourite, but as I am a bit flighty with my sewing queue (who isn’t?!) there are no promises it’ll even be a dress on this list ;)

Simplicity 1802 is from my most recent pattern splurge sale purchase. I LOVE it and wanted to make it straight away! I like the short sleeve version (also piping!) and I could definitely wear this to work in spring/summer and I can see a winter version too.

Vogue 1190 has been in my collection for a little bit and is very pretty. It is probably more of a “going out” dress for me, but you can never have too many of those. I like it in a print (check out Katherine’s version) but I think it would also make a gorgeous LBD.

I think I bought Vogue 1161 at the same time as the pattern above. I gushed about this as an option for last years dress (check out Tasia’s and The Slapdash Sewist’s versions!), there are plenty of other gorgeous versions online. I like the little cap sleeve and the flounce in the skirt back , this could also easily be a work or going-out dress.

Vogue 1265 is newish in the stash and very work appropriate. I love the collar, cap sleeves and full flouncy skirt at the back. It would look great in a suity looking pinstripe and is high up the sewing list either way.

Another new pattern, Butterick 5749, perhaps a quick and easy option (not to jinx it or anything!) to use up some jersey from my stash – I love Allison’s version.

One day when I am feeling brave I will give Vogue 1258 a go. Sometimes when I first see a pattern I think to myself, “That’ll never end up looking as good in real life” but I have seen some great versions (see Jessica’s and Allison’s versions, gorgeous!) and I think maybe I could pull it off, so I bought it!

A few other patterns I’ve had on my list for a bit: I’ve never made anything from Your Style Rocks but when I do this will porbably be the first pattern I try.

So what do you think? Is there one you want to add? Remember the Birthday Dress motto, “completely unjustifiable and unnecessary” is perfectly ok.

Did you like this post? You may enjoy one of these:

(Belated) Birthday Dress

Constructing, failing and saving the NSFW Dress (#12 Patrones 289)

Sewing a Foreign Language: Patrones Blouse #9

(Belated) Birthday Dress

Well I finally got myself away from the rugby and outside in my pretty new dress to take some photos. Curious husband actually suggested the location, the Wellington Botanic Gardens, and last weekend we had a beautiful sunny Sunday perfect for an afternoon outing.

Curious husband often grumbles at being removed from his natural environment, the slightly-less-nerdy-than-mine nerdy-husband-room complete with glowing water-cooled monster computer and various other husband-only items, but I secretly suspect he quite enjoys playing photographer. Allow me to submit evidence A: the camera memory card with over 250 photos on it.

Ready?

Ta-dah!

Please excuse the crumpled skirt, I did iron before we left but sitting in the car on a warm day undid my efforts.

As I mentioned previously, with the advent of my 30th birthday,  I wanted to start a new personal tradition of making a dress each year for my birthday.  The idea is that it can be a nice every-day kind of dress, or a completely unjustifiable unnecessary dress and that’s ok, because it is the birthday dress and no excuses will be required.

Cutting out…

This year, the inaugural birthday dress year, I was interrupted by life but the dream lived on and while it is a little late, here it finally is. There were plenty of options but in the interest of instant success (we cannot accept failure for the inaugural dress) I chose to go with the tried-and-tested Colette Rooibos.

I bought this pattern quite some time ago and it recently featured in a sew-along on the Coletterie blog which I followed in spirit. I considered participating but I am terrible at sticking to a sewing schedule and only got as far as pulling this amazing rose printed linen from my stash that I bought while on a work trip to Melbourne. There is always time for fabric shopping in a new city while on a work trip, believe me. Eventually I also purchased a beautiful contrast cotton and cord to make the piping then I sat down and decided where I would pipe ala my Photoshop/Gimp tutorial.

Rooibos Piping Options – click for better detail

Initially I was just going to follow the patterns suggestion to pipe the neckline, arm holes and pockets but when I thought about it I also liked the idea of enhancing the empire line panel so I made up the first two options and decided that I did like the empire piping but it was too much with the neck and arm holes done as well so in the end I chose to pipe just the empire line and pockets and keep the contrast at the collar like option 3.

Then I set to making the piping following this tutorial from the Coletterie.

This was my first time making piping  and it worked perfectly, I was so proud of myself.

The rest of the dress went together smoothly. This is my first Colette pattern I have made up (I own 4 in total) and I was impressed with the detailed instructions and beautifully clear construction diagrams. Independent pattern companies are always a breath of fresh air, you should go buy yourself a Colette pattern right now. They have just done up their shop page and it is looking fabulous.

So here it is, inside & out, on Scarlett – the dress is a little  skewiff in these photos due to the hemming attachment underneath but I promise, despite how it looks, that the hem is even ;)

And here is a bit more handy work from Curious Husband and the beautiful Wellington Botanic Gardens:

and some ducks!

So keep your eyes open next year sometime around June for Birthday Dress #2 ;)