The hours of my life spent on this dress just doesn’t bear thinking about. Four three hours classes, homework every week of two to three hours, two hours at sewing club and then all the handsewing – phew. Only to discover that instead of looking exactly like Lisa Comfort in her dress, I look rather matronly in a dress that doesn’t fit very well.
I feel ambivalent about this dress. It is very exciting to have finally finished a longer project, particularly one that introduced me to so many new techniques but there is also so much wrong with it I don’t know where to start.
Here are the errors that true sewistas would just sort out: the waggly hem, the dodgy loop fastening, it’s too big pretty much all over.
I started the class at Sew Over It – Clapham in November. There were five in the class and our tutor was the wonderful Julie. I love it that the studio has toiles already made up in all the different sizes for you to try on and then you take your own fitting from there. I went for a 12 and had to take out a central V on the chest to take account of my small boobs.
The dress needed further taking in on the seams and again after I tried the zip – I ended up trimming so much off I think I definitely should have gone with a 10. The interesting thing about the class was how I emerged as a student. Being a teacher I thought I would be a good student – retrospectively I think I was probably a pain. To encourage me every time I wailed, Julie would say “It’s couture!”.
My first problem was my lace. I decided to buy my lace from Sew Over It so that I could look exactly like Lisa Comfort. I soon realised that everyone else had bought their lace elsewhere and it was far prettier than mine: moan, moan.
Then I realised I was slower than everyone else; my dress fitted less well than everyone else, and so it went on.
As I approached the class for the last night of the four week workshop I only had my zip and hem to do – I was very excited. I came away from that class three hours later with still only the zip and the hem to do! The last minute fitting took for ages. It became apparent that what I thought was an invisible zip was not in fact so I decided to hand sew in a normal one which took me ages because I realised, rather perversely, that in my brief sewing career I have only put in invisible zips so didn’t know what to do.
Working with lace was a pleasing challenge. It had to be “mounted” on a base fabric = I used the crepe de chine I was using for my lining – it has made the dress incredibly heavy. Julie suggested a way of using my lace to make a more interesting necklines (others had scalloped edges as part of their lace). I had to cut two rows of daisies out, run a line of stitches thorough the middle to gather and then sew onto the neckline – I am pleased with this.
I have realised that I need to get a camera that sits on a tripod – these photos on my IPAD are rubbish and my photographer has to be cajoled and bullied so does not undertake his task with good grace!
I plan to wear the dress of doom to my work’s Christmas supper on Monday week. It’s a very low key affair so I think I might just about get away with my waggly hem and matronly fit. So, onwards and upwards on the sewing front. I am tentatively thinking about booking the coat making workshop!