A long story….

Some dresses take a few hours, some dresses take a few days and then there’s this dress.

I first wrote about the StyleArc Emma dress in January 2014 in which I admitted to having procrastinated for some time already because of the fit.  I see my second post was February, also 2014, at which time I managed to fix one of the fit issues.  By December I was bemoaning the fact that it, and many other, projects had ground to a halt.

In order not to play with your patience too much I’ll just list the problems I had with it.  I should stress that there is nothing wrong with the pattern itself, all the problems are of my own making

  • Stylearc patterns only have 1cm seam allowances, this doesn’t give you much room for fit adjustments so I traced all the pieces out and increased to 1.5cm. There were a lot of pieces and all the symmetrical pieces were drawn out flat.
  • I had to increase the bust which took a bit of working out, but I am quite pleased with the result. I should have done the same on the lining piece but I couldn’t work out how so I just used the shell pieces
  • I was so pleased with having fixed the bust issue I completely ignored the fit around my hips and stomach and it was only when I made up the actual dress I found it was tight around my hips but had a bizarrely huge pouch of spare fabric around my stomach. I had to spend quite a bit of time playing around with the side panels and their fiddly right had cornered seams to get this resolved.
  • My sewing skills were just not up to fitting in the pockets neatly and I decided to leave them out. A good decision as the fit issues would have meant I would have had to adjust them too.
  • I decided the cap sleeves were just too unflattering on me so I removed them.
  • Having put the dress together and getting the fit right, I then had to take it all apart so I could add the lining, aaaaagh!

The fabric I used is a wool from Misan fabrics in Berwick Street, it’s dark navy but with dark grey or black undertones. I bought the lining from Bernstein and Banleys who were recommended to me by a friend.

I find it odd that although lots of people have written about ordering this pattern, I couldn’t actually find any photos of any made up dresses.  I’m actually very pleased with the result, it’s just as flattering as I expected from the line drawings and has a fabulous collar.  Now I’ve got the fit right I can imagine making it again. Maybe in a less formal fabric with a bit of stretch. 

Do you have any long term projects on the go? Am I the only one who takes the best part of 18 months to knock out a dress?  Have you tried this pattern?  What was the result?


British Sewing Bee 3

Have you been watching the British Sewing Bee? I’m rather behind here as I’ve only just got around to watching the final.

Previous series have left me rather cold; I couldn’t see myself being inspired to make any of the garments or have a go at any of the techniques.  This series has been different though; from the welt pockets on the waistcoat, to the leather jacket and lace skirt the challenges were technically more exciting and had the potential to turn into something fabulous.  I can’t imagine that I am ever going to be in the position where I need to make a kilt but having seen one made I’d love to have a go.  Was I the only person googling the asymetric t-shirt in the last episode and ordering a copy of Drape Drape 2 before they’d even finished making it up?

I still think the time challenge is frustrating, the whole point of sewing is to take your time and get it right, even if it involves spending an unhealthy amount of time with your unpicker.  But this is television and giving people days or weeks to make a garment would be rather boring.

I was also frustrated that Neil didn’t win, he was consistently the best sewer in the competition, turning out one beautiful garment after another.  Both Matt and Lorna were great sewers but they didn’t have Neil’s consistency.  Had Neil not tried so hard in the last episode I am sure he would have won.

What did you think?  Did you enjoy the series or just not bother watching it?  Who would you have chosen to win?