Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Sunday Sewing AKA 'I Want to Drown in a Bucket of Gin'

(Quote from Heather on last week's 'Great British Sewing Bee'.)

So on Saturday, it was all going swimmingly.

Pretty pattern, sweet fabric, uninterrupted time to stitch away,  great instructions, resulting in a lovely dress.

On Sunday, just one of the ingredients changed and it all went pear shaped!

Pretty pattern - check

Sweet fabric - check

Uninterrupted time to stitch away - check
(Miss U-t-B, still being geographical, did not require transport to and from work.)

Great instructions?  
You'd think so, from a long-established pattern maker like Butterick.

But no - this pattern somehow must have slipped through the testing and proofreading net because it fell far short of my expectations.  

Some of the pattern pieces had too few markings on them to really be sure you were sewing the right bits together.  In the case of the yoke at the top of the sleeve there was no way of telling which edge had to be attached to the front, and which to the back, so I decided I would have to use the diagram as a guide.

Sorry for the fuzziness of the photo - I was near incandescent with rage when I took it. (Well, as close to that as I ever get, which is actually not very...)  So the diagram showed  the straighter edge attached to the front of the sleeve and the more slopey one attached to the back.  So I did that, trimmed and finished the seams and then proceeded to attached the fronts and back of the blouse. Only to find that the sections  did not fit correctly, one seam having to be stretched slightly and the other having a fairly large overlap.  

Once I matched up the pattern piece to the mismatched garment, I realised the yoke pieces should have gone in the other way round!  

So I tried the blouse on to see whether it was worth the hassle of unpicking pretty much every seam I'd put into it, only to find that the neckline  was a wavy, ill-fitting mess, that stood proud of my decolletage in a most unruly way!

I could go on about other problems with the pattern (the instructions for the front facings, the fact that the markings for the pintucks meant the pintucks sit overlapping one another, rather than individually) but I won't bore you any further.  I'm pretty fed up about it (and will be writing a letter of complaint pointing out the fact that I'd waited till pay day to buy this nice fabric and now it's RUINED!) but let's face it, no-one died.  

The only good thing that came out of it was that I learnt to do shirring on my machine - a technique I had seen on the Sewing Bee last year but which I'd not been brave enough to try.  

I will let you know what response my letter of complaint gets!


  1. Hope you do get a response
    Julie xxxxxxxx

  2. Just goes to highlight how good the other pattern and instructions were. Their response should be interesting......


  3. What a nightmare Alix! Such a shame about the fabric, it looks so pretty, and after lots of time spent trying to make up this rubbish pattern its just all so disappointing for you.
    I hope you get some satisfaction from Butterick, and I hope you can salvage some of that lovely fabric and make something else - I know you will, as I know how clever and thrifty you are, as well as liking a challenge and NOT being defeated, so all will not be lost.
    Gill xx

  4. What a shame, its lovely fabric and should have been beautiful had the pattern been okay.

  5. Pity about your lovely fabric. Hopefully they might recompense you. Shirring is fun. I've done a tiny bit before on a dress for Little Bird.

  6. What a nuisance. Lovely shirring anyway! He you get a satisfactory response.

  7. This is so sad! I don't think that it is anything about you or anything that you could have done anything about, as your efforts on Saturday show - tell them that in your letter!! - I guess that it shows that it is worth paying for those expensive patterns, but you should be able to get a good pattern from a company like this that even a non dressmaker like me has heard of. I hope that you have some luck getting a reply and some apology from them. In the meantime that vat of gin sounds very appealing!! xx

  8. That's such a shame. The fabric is really pretty X

  9. Oh no I think I would cry if it happened to me, it's such a lovely fabric I hope you get a satisfactory response.

  10. Sewing patterns give me cold sweats, I cannot follow them properly for love nor money and usually abandon them and freestyle my way to the end!

  11. that is such a shame, you are so blinkin clever..i think you need to be on the sewing bee xx

  12. I think the gin comment will stay with that woman forever now - although last night she did say she could do with a valium! Get yourself applying madam! Jane x

  13. Wow monster post - good to see that someone else is as eclectic as me! x