My red crepe fabric arrived in the post this week and I was itching to get it cut out and pinned for the New Year’s Eve Scarlett wiggle dress. This is a poly crepe at only £5 p/m with a bit of Lycra. I wish it was a fine wool crepe with Lycra but I think a £30 p/m price tag is just a bit too extravagant for a ‘wear-it-once-or-twice’ frock. The red is definitely red!
I may have mentioned once or twice that my sewing space is rather small – perfectly adequate when stitching up a skirt, but woefully inadequate when trying to cut a Donna Karan piece or a long dress. The fabric hangs off the table and there’s only one free side as the table is pushed up into the room’s corner, so everything has to be turned and twisted for cutting out access.
Armed with pattern, tape measure, pins, chalk, shears and fabric I took the whole lot into work. On Friday afternoon, after the students had gone home and the marking and admin was completed for the week, I snuck into the Marquis Room, otherwise known as the sewing room, and gleefully made use of the facilities.
As you can see there is a large cutting out table right in the middle of the room: exactly 3 metres long and 1.5m wide to fit my fabric perfectly! The table height is just right too – no bending over required and lots of space to walk around 360 without bumping into other desks or chairs. There are tonnes of windows for maximum light – even on a grey and rainy day like yesterday – and the views over Belfast are stunning. If I was better organised and knew what I going to make before I started making it I would use this room more often.
When I could tear myself away from gazing at the vista, I pinned everything and cut out.
The pattern only comes as size 12, so I added at least 1.75cm all round as a grading up to a 14, lengthened the bodice pieces by 4cm and cut a little extra on the hem length too (this can always be cut off later if necessary). FYI the seam allowances are only 1cm on this pattern. I have 3m of fabric but used 2m. There aren’t too many pieces to cut out and prepare and the construction seems straightforward.
I rolled the whole lot up, gathered my bits and pieces and came straight home to start marking up and sewing. I had made a quick muslin of the bodice earlier in the week with a bit of jersey that was lying around and while tight-ish, it sorta fitted. Sometimes I really wish my confidence wasn’t just as confident. I stitched the skirt’s front and back and pinned the side gathers. The wiggle description of the dress is exactly that! So narrow at the hem that I couldn’t get it over Doris’s shoulders, so I just pinned it on her.
Looking kinda good right? But wait……..let’s look at it from the other side. See the side seam on Doris? See the side seam on the skirt? They don’t match! And they don’t match by miles!
Not to be put off by Doris’s perfect body and knowing that there is a bit of stretch in the crepe I wriggled myself into the wiggle skirt…Whoops! Big whoops!
I was planning on inserting a side zip – hence the gap – but even so folks, I know a small skirt when I see one. It takes me 10 minutes to wiggle it up to waist level and I can’t even take a teeny step forward it’s that tight around my ankles. And that’s nothing compared to the hips – the least said about that region the better, me thinks. I’ve worn wetsuits that are looser than this!
Now that’ll teach me to measure first; to not think I know it all; to take my time; to plan first; to make a proper muslin!!!!!! And isn’t it lovely when other people make big mistakes?
On the back of this fiasco I’m also now considering a side split (so I can walk) or shortening the dress to knee length. I’m going to line the dress to give it a bit more substance too. I also need to devise a backless bra contraption.
So more crepe has been ordered to cut out two new skirt pieces (1m leftover is not enough). I’ll have to wait until mid next week for it to be delivered and in the meantime I’ll measure, learn from my mistakes, slow down, plan a little, prepare the pattern to match my measurements and make a proper muslin!
While I was in Croftmill ordering more crepe my finger slipped on the mouse and somehow I managed to put a teal moleskin (for jeans) and an mauve patterned jersey (for SWAP ’14) into the shopping basket! Oh well, every cloud has a silver lining……