Yesterday evening at about 4pm I decided to begin working on my first vintage pattern from my inherited stash. I chose it because it looked simple, it didn’t have many pattern pieces, and I liked the sound of some of the different techniques needed, like gathering the sleeves and adding pockets.
The pattern had been cut out by it’s original owner, so it was a case of drawing around it on to the wrong side of the fabric. With my brand new fading fabric marker, this should have been quick and easy, but due to the fabric I’d chosen it really wasn’t. There was barely a difference between the wrong and right side, but I decided one side felt shinier and the other more matte. The pen’s ink was purple so barely showed up, and where it did it bled and faded almost quicker than I could cut through my markings. I liked the colours and print of this fabric, and at £6 per metre it was inexpensive, but I have definitely learnt to pay more attention to they feel of the fabric. I think it’s polyester, as it feels slippery and not like cotton. This meant that it was virtually impossible to press all the way through the process.
Once the pieces were cut out I attached the shoulders together and then began to follow the instructions for gathering the shoulders.
When the instructions said to unpick the initial long gathering instructions. I began to lose patience. It was so hard to distinguish between final stitches, basting stitches and gathering stitches. And I sewed one of my stays on upside down, although as this is hidden I refused to unpick it. This stage of the make just have taken me well over an hour, half taken up by sulking and half unpicking some of the stitches that I thought were surplus to requirement. I did not enjoy this and would consider putting in pleats as an alternative next time.
After that I made the facings, and enjoyed pinking the lower edge as a different finishing technique. Luckily the top stitching was more successful than the pressing to make the facings lay flat.
I made and stitched on the pockets, and then hemmed along both sides and around the edges of the pockets, which I liked. To make the waist band the instructions said to use bias binging as a casing, which I didn’t have, so instead a used a pinked strip of fabric and sewed both sides to create a tube, leaving a gap to insert the elastic. I somehow remembered to use a safety pin as a method of pushing through the elastic, but probably as I was getting tired, this took three attempts before I could bind the ends together and close the gap. Lastly I tried the dress on and checked the length: mid calf, much too long. I measures up and cut a whopping 25cm, whilst trying to maintain the slight curve of the hem. To finish I turned up about a cm, sewed, turned it up again and re-sewed. I am not sure if it’s due to the trimming, fabric, finishing or something else, but the completed dress doesn’t drape very nicely and hangs quite straight. My first attempt at the 2014 Vintage Pattern Sewing Pledge. Four more to go before the end of December!