The story of the hole and the three sins
Why did I go into Misan Fabrics in Berwick Street on Thursday evening and buy a piece of cloth that had a large hole in it?
Well, I liked the fabric colour and design – a sort of damask effect on a quality cotton-mix jersey. Very soft, a vibrant shade of pink, and a bargain. That was what swung it. £12 for the piece, and certainly enough, said Margarida, holding it up against her skinny body, to make a dress. Just ignore the hole! It was hard to ignore the hole. It was quite a big hole. Easily big enough to put your head through. But, she wheedled, that is why it is so cheap! And it’s so lovely! And the colour suits you so well! This from a girl who had accidentally booked a flight to Portugal from Birmingham rather than London. So it came home with me.
I can’t really imagine why anyone would cut out a hole in the middle of a piece of fabric. Maybe something nasty happened here and rather than have a big stain the manufacturer got the shears and cut the stain out. It wasn’t even symmetrical so was even more wasteful. Making holes in fabric – the first big sin. But I suppose selling the butchered remant to an adventurous sewist with a penchant for pink was some sort of absolution.
The second sin was mine. In order to make a lovely Diane Von Furstenberg dress with sleeves a number of crimes against the Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Sewing would have to be committed. Can you count the errors on my layout?
Novice sewists look away now! Qualified sewing teachers- please don’t report me to the authorities! Here is the full shameful list
- shortened the dress by two inches
- jettisoned the belt and scarf
- decreased the width of the dress front and back by about 1″ (as a b36 pattern this should have been OK)
- (not measured carefully)
- compromised the seam allowance at back shoulder and CF hem
- not one single pattern piece was pinned on the correct grain
- neck binding and sleeve on the cross grain
- dress front and backs slightly off grain to accommodate the pieces
- by putting the pieces top to toe the pattern goes down the front, and up the back
- cut two neck bindings by mistake
- the crude folding on the sleeve pattern isn’t very impressive
- all these changes should have been done correctly, measured and trued on pattern paper. The neck and shoulder alterations are reckless
- complete disregard for pattern matching across the front or back of the dress
Pattern Review for Vogue 1547
The third sin was Diane’s but I will get that.
I am a complete sucker for DVF dresses. I have a few patterns and I love them. The all have the fit and flare shape that I like,”closely fitted” on the bodice like a T-shirt, with a swingy, slightly exaggerated skirt. They are often designed for jersey fabrics. The Vogue Designer Original series has the dresses made up or illustrated in DVF fabrics in vibrant, colourful patterns. I really like wearing 1970s designs like these which I find feminine and elegant and easy to wear. I love the long-sleeved version and the self belt too (next time). It’s a “below mid knee” number. Even with two inches off the hem I put a three-inch hem on it, and this was my only hand sewing. I started the dress with a hole before work on Friday and finished it before we went to friends for dinner on Friday evening. The joy of the overlocker is that making a jersey dress in a few hours becomes an easy pleasure. I didn’t baste a thing.
My verdict on the pattern? It’s a close fit, but it’s a nice fit, The shaping in the CF and CB seams – common to many DVF patterns – make the dress. I don’t love the neckline finish. It stands a little proud and its my fault for cutting the band (twice!) on the cross grain. It should be stretched to fit so that it contracts a little. It also requires a hook and eye, for goodness sake. It didn’t really work for me. So this is my penance for my sin of layout compromise.
The only issue I have with Diane, and her sin is this – she specifies a back zip. I wanted to leave it out. But I worried about the close fit, and putting it on with sleeves. I needn’t have worried. I pulled it off without unzipping when I got home. Drat! Next time….And there will be a next time, because this has all the makings of a perfect dress.