Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Finished - Emerald silk jersey frock

This could also be called the Emerald Frock of Many Swears. But I prefer to live in the moment, not the hideous, slippery, fragile silky past. Here finished is the frock I wore to my dear friends wedding over the weekend.  I adore the fabric - it reminds me of the divine green frock Kiera Knightly wore in Atonement.....


This seemed like the perfect combination - silk jersey purchased last year from Mood, made up into a lovely, simple drape neck dress - the out of print McCalls 6489.


I'm being dramatic really. But I don't know that I want to go near silk jersey again in a very long time.  The pattern itself is great. Because my fabric was both precious and rather pricey I made a toile in a synthetic something-something that had a similar drape, and was so pleased with it (I was tempted to finish it properly). I cut an 8 bust, and grade up to a 12 at the waistband, and a 14 over the hips - I didn't want it to be too clingy as the jersey is so slinky and shows up every last unnecessary lump and bump. Looking at these pics I probably could have gone with a 10 in the bust, but it did actually look better in real life. The drapes are formed by pleating the shoulders - so clever and elegant:



They sit so well and drape perfectly all the time. The cowl is self faced, which is a pretty standard construction method for knit cowl necklines. I didn't both to finish the edge of the cowl. I left off the tacky back strap and instead made ribbon and press-stud bra strap holders which worked very well. In retrospect I should have lined the skirt. I did wear a full slip underneath, for modesty and warmth, but the elastic waistband of the dress kept making the slip ride up a bit, hence the wrinkles. I used this Colette tutorial to make thread belt loops which I was THRILLED with (alert, sewing nerd). I want to  make thread loops for everything and anything now. 



My main drama with this beastie was finishing the armholes. I realised, with growing horror, that a ladder had formed at each armhole, in the same spot, in the back, just below the shoulder seam - obviously handling the neckline and the pleats had created some strain there and I just watched the damn stuff unravel in front of my eyes. Fortunately I noticed it JUST as it reached the edge of the seam allowance. I applied some fray check (which stained) and hoped it wouldn't be visible when I finished the armholes. The pattern calls for the armholes to be finished pretty much just before hemming the skirt - next time I'll do it first, even before making the cowl pleats. Being a Big 4 pattern the seam allowances were still 5/8 inch, way too much to just turn and stitch on a tight curve such as an armhole. I tried turning and stitching. Awful. I tried binding and stitching. Horrendous. Finally I ended up unpicking the side seams, trimming away half of the seam allowance just to get it to turn nicely, and with a combination of steam-a-seam and sheer rage I managed to get them to look adequate. 

Oh how I swore with this dress. I did use words that a lady should not. Precious expensive fabric plus best friend wedding plus crappy finishing methods = sounding like a sailor. Swearing when sewing - lets discuss.  Here are my top 5 reasons for swearing in the sewing room (ranked most common occurrence at number 1):
1 - Bobbin runs out just before finishing top stitching a hem. Usually the final hem. At the front of the garment. 
2 - Front waistband attached to back of garment. Or vice versa.
3 - Dodgy zip insertion especially dodgy fly zipper. 
4 - Any need for quick-unpick/seam ripper.
5 - Discovering shorts fit badly after nearly completing them. 



Anyway. It was finished in time, worn comfortably without any seams splitting open, and did receive admiration so I suppose one must call it a success. But like some of my other more stressful makes I did find I wasn't in love with it in the end. I just wanted it to be perfect and was peeved that it wasn't. But the bride was divine, the groom fabulous and it was one of the best weddings ever - and that's the most important thing, isn't it?

38 comments:

  1. Ah I know the feeling well of kind of hating a garment that's given you so much grief in the making process. Your finished dress looks beautiful though so you'd never guess! Gorgeous colour and a perfect match for the pattern.

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  2. Oh but it does look just so beautiful on you. The colour is amazing. I must remember this pattern as well. I adore it.

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    1. Thankyou Kirsty - I could definitely see you in it. I'd love a cotton one for summer - next year!

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  3. Oh, that's so beautiful! I wish I had a dress just like that - honestly! But I also know that feeling of continuing to be mad at a garment that gave me fits! Isn't it funny?

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    1. Thanks Gail! As Morgan says I'm sure some time will make me look upon it with happier eyes. For the most part i do think it is beautiful!

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  4. Oh, how disapponting some projects can be!! Swearing is so good!!! ;)
    Lovely dress, and you look fabulous in it!

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    1. Thanks Mary - better to let the rage out I say, or else risk taking to the frock with a pair of sharp scissors!

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  5. The finished dress is gorgeous and you look great! Another pattern to add to my never-ending wish list.
    But as the other ladies say, I do know that feeling where every little issue just looks gigantic even though no-one else notices it. For me, it usually passes if I just don’t look at the thing for a while.
    And … silk jersey! If only I could get awesome stuff like that over here!… Visiting Mood is on my Mental List of Things I Want to Do at Some Point in My Life. (:

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    1. Thanks Jana! I'm glad I used my Mood silk - it deserved a special make, and I'm sure I will mellow in time, towards the frock!

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  6. Oh, who hasn't had the mouth of a drunken sailor while at the helm of a sewing machine? Knits and zippers do it to me every time, and yet I return for more. Despite your sewing woes you look fantastic and that dress rocks! I'm glad you saw it through to the end. Also, thanks for linking to the thread loop tutorial, someone showed me a loooooonnnnnggg time ago and I had forgotten that it's not hard.

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    1. Thanks Ono- those thread loops are so easy and turn out so great! Glad also your moustachioed men arrived safely!

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  7. The color and drape of this dress is just gorgeous on you. I'm sorry it was the cause of so much profanity! Maybe you guys just need a bit of time apart before you can see it with fresh eyes!

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    1. Thanks Morgan! After that one nasty afternoon we have slowly been working out our differences! Some time in the laundry basket will no doubt help us!

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  8. You look so elegant in this dress and I love the little bit of bling in the shoes, belt and purse. Just lovely, so all the swearing was worth it!

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    1. Thanks Andrea! I really deliberated over which colour to accessorise with - I'm very happy with the silver!

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  9. This is just stunning! Well worth all the angst and worry.

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  10. Sorry you suffered making it, but this dress is absolutely gorgeous!

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    1. Thankyou Sara, i should have known it wouldnt have been straightforward!

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  11. It's absolutely PERFECT!! I had serious Fabric Envy when you did your show-and-tell post last year and couldn't wait to see what you made with it...this really is the perfect marriage (he he!) of fabric and pattern. No one looking at it would hear even the faintest echo of Many Swears...Hopefully the angsty memories will fade with time, because this dress deserves to be seen and admired again! Now, go and sew something amiable and cooperative as a reward ;)

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    1. Haha, I'm glad you like it! It is the most glorious fabric! You know my sewing needs well - I've already churned out another nice easy knit top to wind down! Hopefully I do get the opportunity to wear to again soon!

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  12. The most divine green and how it drapes - ooh la la! I know how you feel when there have been so many trial and tribulations to a make, you kind of fall out of love with it. I'm sure you'll come to love this dress as it should be loved. All hail the sweary seamstress!

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    1. Thanks Lexi - let's hope the sweary seamstress doesn't rear her head for a while!

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  13. This dress is divine! That colour and drape is to die for. You look completely elegant and beautiful and all those so-called problems are invisible to the naked eye. Enjoy it my friend, she's a keeper.

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  14. gorgeous!! I loved that dress in the movie, and this is a stunning nod to it

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  15. Yes! it's just like the movie dress from what I remember. Stunning color - great job!

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    1. Thankyou Renee - thanks for coming by!

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  16. Oh my goodness this is incredibly beautiful!
    Just gorgeous.
    ~Michelle

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    1. Thankyou Michelle - thats lovely of you to say!

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  17. LOL yesss to number 1!! That ALWAYS happens! It's like the bobbin KNOWS

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    1. Haha it defintely does on my machine! Thanks for coming by!

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  18. Love that drapey cowl neck...it's so feminine!

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    1. Thankyou so much- thanks for coming by!

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  19. Gorgeous! The color looks divine on you.

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    1. Thanks Margo - that's very kind of you. Thanks for coming by :)

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