Monday, 14 February 2011

Tartan 'Sewing Class' Dress - FINISHED!

Woo! It feels like so so long since I last posted a finished garment on this blog - I'm so bad at finished projects!!! But I am delighted to say that I have finally completed the dress that I started sewing in my sewing class (see here and here):

(the flower is just a hairclip - it matches in 'real' light, but the flash has made it look a lot lighter!)

McCall's M5923

This was a long and sometimes rather stressful journey - but I learnt a lot. I think the biggest thing I learnt was that my sewing class wasn't teaching me enough fast enough!! I mentioned in another post that I decided not to bother going back to the class because I knew I could spend the two hours at home more productively...and I was right. Now, I'm not saying that I know everything about sewing - far far from it! But the class was unfortunately too basic and everyone was working on a different project, so the teacher was spread to thin.

The next important thing I learnt was that commercial patterns are made with WAY too much ease. You measure your actual body and look at the chart and go by what size they say you should cut, right? - wrong!! This is something I will just never understand. Everyone complains about it, but apparently that's 'just the way it is'. Er...why?!!! I cut a 16 in the skirt and graded up to a 14 in the top for this pattern and here is what it looked like straight from those sizes:

A giant SACK! I took a full inch off each side (that's already sewn does that not equate to 4 inches off the pattern?) - that's just crazy! Had I not have started this in the sewing class I would have made a muslin and been able to rectify all these sizing issues before cutting my expensive wool fabric, but the teacher told us we wouldn't have enough time to make muslins so I trusted her knowledge in pattern sizing (ah well, I guess you live and learn!). I also had to take in two seams at the back - these were princess seams at the top which I was very nervous about resizing, but I think I did a good enough job. I didn't touch the invisible zip, which I had already sewn in, because I had spent so long ensuring the tartan matched up and I didn't want to ruin that. I was so pleased with my tartan/plaid matching:

Yes - there is a zip down the middle!!!

Anyway, after I dealt with the sizing issue, everything else came together quite quickly. The top is self-faced and I edged it with pretty lilac bias binding (actually my teachers idea, so I definitely give her credit there - it looks really sweet, even if it's only me who sees this.). My final issue was the hem...I am so scared of hems - am I the only one?!! I just hate to see a hem bulging or to see the stitches coming through. This is quite heavy wool so I didn't want to do a doubled up hem. I ended up sewing some of the left over bias binding to the edge, turning it up once and then doing the smallest hand sewing I have every done in my life to secure it in place. I was really pleased with how it turned out. It's so funny, I was so excited making those last few stitches on the hem and clipping the thread - my dress was finally DONE!!! What a feeling!

My next issue is how to style it. I wore it to my Mum's like this: 
With a long black cardi

The shoes go perfectly with it - but they are sky scrapers and its still far too cold for that kind of foot wear so I won't be wearing it like this for a good while yet. I think it works well over thick black tights and a polo neck:

Oh, and the highest accolade of all - my mum was visibly impressed and told me I had created a 'masterpiece' and never thought in a million years when she bought me a sewing machine that I would end up making something this difficult! That is high praise indeed - praise is not given lightly from her, believe me! And you know what felt great, when I showed her the pattern and the fabric she really thought it was going to be too difficult for it was a great feeling to show her I could do it.

Oh dear - I really didn't mean to sound so boastful! Apologies for that!

On another note I made my boyfriend an pair of pj's on Saturday. I needed an 'easy' and 'instant gratification' project after making the dress! I'll post pics of it later in the week. But it will be me wearing them because he has jetted off to Bulgaria this week to go skiing - yes, without me! The cheek! lol.

Oh, and I also made up a quick muslin for a vintage top. Another easy project, or so I thought. It's not quite the right size for me, so I think I may need your help with fitting it!!


  1. Your finished dress looks amazing! The plaid matches up perfectly.

    I also don't like hemming. It is a tedious process for the last step-- when you just want to be done so you can wear your masterpiece!

  2. This is beautiful!!! The plaid is wonderful and you lined it up perfectly. Great Job!

  3. This turned out so beautiful! I love it, you did such a good job =)

  4. Thanks so much for the comments guys! And Trisha - so glad it's not just me who doesn't like hemming!!

  5. It's lovely Suzie, well done! I really like it dressed up with the shoes and black cardi, but it also looks great for work or daytime with the polo neck and boots. The tartan looks fab too, I've always been too scared to go for something that I'd have to 'line up' as not sure my skills are up to it, you've done a great job. Cx

  6. WOW, that is a HOT dress!! I know matching the plaids adds a lot of work/stress/time, but you really did an amazing job. The results are completely worth all the work you put in :) It looks great on you!

  7. It's a gorgeous dress and you look stunning! Great job! I have eyed that pattern because I love the tartan version. Might have a go at it :)
    I also do not understand patterns measurements, silly really!

  8. Really great job! Cute styling too!

  9. Wowsers guys, thanks for all the really lovely comments - you all made my day, big time!

  10. Hey Great! You did a wonderful job and a perfect fit dress, no wonder your mom was completed. I would also compliments you if I find you on the street. "Wow! How nice, where did buy that dress ????"


Thank you so much for your comments - they really do make my day!

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