Thursday, March 26, 2015

When you don't love it

In my last post I mentioned cutting out some fabric for a dress I planned to make. I also mentioned that I've been avoiding this particular project because I wasn't sure I was going to like the pattern. Obviously, I like the look of the end product because I had decided to make it, and purchased all the trim and lace for it....but I have made another dress out of this book and I did NOT enjoy the process. The directions were ok, but I had to do a lot of adjustment on the fit. I brought the shoulders of that particular dress in, did sort of an improvised dart so they didn't gape in the back, and left an entire tier of ruffles off the dress, as it was plenty long enough for its above average height recipient.

The only reason I didn't entirely scrap my plans to make another dress by this designer is because dress number two is much less fitted, and I decided that oversized would be fine for now and it could be worn as a tunic over leggings in the future. Something grabbed me this weekend, and I decided to make the second dress.

I like the dress. But I was right. I did NOT love the pattern.

Many parts of it felt incredibly fiddly, and sometimes I would go ahead with the directions as written, hoping that it would work out but knowing that I was going to be ripping a seam and doing it again. You can see from the back image that there are ties at the waistband. I know for sure that there were directions on how to make those ties, but I am less certain that there was ever a direction to actually attach them to the dress! Luckily this is not my first dress with ties like this, so I was sure to attach them before I sewed the final side seams. I imagine I would have been quite frustrated if I hadn't noticed that, finished the dress....and ended up with spare parts!

The directions for the button band on the back were rather mystifying as well. This is one feature I haven't done much in the past, so I was really relying on the pattern instructions. The band is cut out as a single strip. All of the times I read through the directions, I really felt like it should have been two separate pieces, but I didn't want to slice it in half only to find out I was wrong. I checked and double checked the pattern piece to make SURE there wasn't another cut line, and there wasn't. I went ahead and installed it as best I down to the bottom of the band, had no idea how I was to navigate the transition between left and right side, and out of the lateness of the hour and just wanting to be done, I folded and mashed it as best I could to look decent and called it a day.

It looks fine for a toddler/kid dress I suppose, but I know it's not the proper way to do it and it bugs me. Not enough to rip out, but enough to want to research it for next time. On the other hand, how pretty are my buttonholes! Score one point for practicing it five times before doing it on the garment!

So here is my dilemma. I've now made two patterns from this book, and I disliked them both. I was surprised at many of my issues because, well, they came from a BOOK. In my mind, you should be able to trust what you get out of a book from a real live publishing house. There should have been multiple sets of eyes on it, patterns should be tested, fits should be reasonably accurate. This wasn't a freebie pattern (though, disclosure, I got this from my library so I didn't technically pay for it), so I just expected more. The dilemma name names, or just make a mental note to myself and move on?

I have no problem posting names and links and such when I have a good experience, but I somehow feel bad pointing a finger when I had a less than good experience. I know I don't have a large following, but I guess I feel like I should prevent others from having the same problems. On the other hand, I'm not the world's most experienced sewist, and I don't always read directions carefully, and I'd hate to paint someone else in a bad light if it was really just errors on my part.

What are your thoughts?

Monday, March 9, 2015

Hand Sewing and Making Scraps

I have so been so enjoying hand sewing this quilt top lately! All those tiny stitches are so soothing to me right now. I'd say I'm....about 1/3 of the way through. I measured out my kitchen rug, and it's roughly the size of a twin bed, so I'm using that as my reference point.

I ran out of hexagons that I'd pre-cut at the beginning of this project, so I needed to get more. (Oh, I've been informed that it wasn't actually my dad who spilled the wine, but I'm fairly certain that it was his glass, which must be why I remembered it that way.) I don't actually have any kind of color plan for this quilt! I'm mostly using stuff I have around, or leftovers from other projects so far. My only method is that each flower has a white center and some kind of print on the petals. I'm trying to spread around the colors, and find a mix of fabrics that I like and those that a toddler might like, because that's the intended recipient. The room that it will live in is orange, gray and green, so those are present, and pink is a favorite color so that's there as well.

But as I said, I ran out of cut hex's. So...what to do? Well, I made more! These are from a quilt (my first) from my bed, and the apple print was a remnant that is both a doll dress, and what was going to be a knitting project bag for me, but was quickly appropriated by the owner of the doll dress because of how it matched.

Then....I was sort of out of leftover cotton fabric. I had some more sitting around though that was earmarked for projects, so I decided to cut out those projects now so that I could scavenge my made leftovers.

The cutting table still needs trim and stain, and the drawers are wonky....but I LOVE it. It made the cutting and piecing of a pdf pattern so much easier than chasing it around on the floor, or hunching over my dining table. I'm so pleased with a large work surface at standing height that I can't even believe it. 

This crazy blue is intended to be a probably crazy toddler dress. I've made one other dress from this book (I can't recall if I blogged it) and honestly I didn't love that pattern. I had to make a lot of fit adjustments, but the end product is quite well loved. And yes, its scraps are already in the blanket. And also in this hat actually! I tend to overbuy yardage. This dress is a much less fitted design than the first one I did, so I'm hopeful that I won't have to make any adjustments.

I've also been intending to make some more project bags. This time I gave a zipper a go, using this tutorial. I made the medium size, because I'd picked up two 12" zippers. I was hoping it would be sweater sized, but it's a bit small for that. Maybe it would be good for a kids sweater or a shawl. In either case, I had a good time practicing with it. I'm not great at inserting zippers, and I did a decent job this time. Basting. Sort of key. Yep, my lazy self needs to quit skipping that step!

Such an adorable, springy little pouch! I think for my next one I'll add a little loop or something on the zipper pull side, which will be the same size as this one because as I said, I have a second 12" zipper. Then I'll have to get my hands on some bigger zippers to make larger sizes.

In the meantime, I'm putting the scraps into service already.