Every so often you encounter a project that so confounds you that you start to question your sanity, your intelligence, and your eyesight. This is one of those projects. Folks, there was actual weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth. My fine gentleman began to give me looks of fear, and hesitantly suggest I take a break. I may have thrown the unfinished garment a few times, until I realised that the fabric was so drapey that this was fairly unsatisfactory (the throw-waft-plop sensation just did not convey the intensity of my FEELS!). I also dropped my seam ripper at least 50 times. This infuriates me. Seam ripper, why must you be so stupid?
First, I must confess: I did not make a muslin for this project. I know, I know, mea culpa, I hang my head in shame. But it took me about 3 hours just to trace all the pattern pieces and I just couldn’t face laying out and cutting a whole damn muslin. As it is, getting the pieces to fit on my fashion fabric was rather a brainteaser. This thing has a LOT of skirt. Like, a LOT. All the skirt, all the time.
The fabric was a lightweight drapey fabric that was described as wool crepe on the label. I am dubious because it’s pretty soft and unwooly, but what do I know about fabrics? Nothing. What I do know is that it frayed and dropped threads all over the place, so I decided to finish the garment with french seams.
It is black, this fabric. It is so black. Black as night, as pitch, as tar. And somehow; even though it has a slight sheen to it and is hella slippery; it sucks in light and gives out only darkness. What I’m trying to say here is I can’t see what I’m doing half the time: trying to match seams is an utter pain in my bottom because the one fabric edge will disappear into the other quite utterly. When you find yourself seam ripping with a head torch for extra light, then you know the true depths of desperation.
I also had the fantastic idea of using pleather for the collar, cuffs and waistband. I did not realise that the pleather I had purchased was quite so stretchy. Very pretty, somewhat matte, but lordy, stretches like a mad gymnast. I had to use tear-away interfacing to get it to stitch without puckering, then had to pick at tufts of white fluff (it *is* the type that dissolves in water, but it goes sort of gooey so I tend to try get as much out as possible to avoid goo-dress issues). The collar was just… ugh. I spent 2 hours on it , trying to get it to lie properly, trying to get the peter pan curves to match and not have points, trying in vain to topstitch it, only to toss it aside in exasperation. Since it’s a detachable collar, I might return to it at a later date, but it will have points. Peter Pan be damned, DAMNED I SAY!So much pressing and fixing and pressing. So much hemfixing and topstitching and swearing and crying and drinking.
I had a brainwave when I did the cuffs to use hemfix to hold down the pleather while I stitched and it worked great! next time though*, I might just use applique interfacing and hold the whole thing down since the bottom/ hem edge was still a bit wiggly. In fact, I should have really approached all the pleather bits as an applique. I think this might be a lesson for any future fabric trims.
I struggled a bit with the cuffs though. Well, with one cuff, which I couldn’t get aligned for love or money. eventually after a lot of huffing and puffing, I got it sort of aligned-ish. So, wearable, at least.Cuff 1: not bad. Cuff 2: So bad. Cuff 2(part 2): ugh fine whatever.
By the time I got to hemming the damn thing, the bias had of course stretched out by over an inch (although I must admit it could have been my wonky cutting too. Lordy, this job was just a collection of epic fail). I ended up taking an hour and a half to measure and pin the hem, then steam, then hang it off a hanger, then repin, then resteam; while an awesomely terrible Hart to Hart tv movie played on etv in the background. It had Jason Bateman in it, being JasonBatemanish. Then the next night it took another entire movie to finish the hem. There was a lot of hem, unsurprising really considering the amount of bloody skirt. All the hem, forever.Could Not Even Be Arsed To Photograph It Properly So There. (please not my selfie grimace.sexy).
But now it is done. And it fits! and looks pretty good. So one day, I will be able to wear it without wrath, I think.
* there will be no next time.