A colour blocked McCalls 6011

I made this pattern up once before just   a couple of weeks ago.  It fitted perfectly and was a dream to sew.  While I was making that first dress I cut out a lining in a cheap green cotton “lawn” that I didn’t end up using and it seemed a waste to not use it.  I already had made the dress and worked out my fitting adjustments.  Why not make a second dress out of the already cut out lining?  Easy, right?  A quick “whip it up” project.  Two dresses for the angst of one? Right??? Right????

Shockingly, despite it all the finished dress looks fine, with no hint of the massive PITA process.

Sigh.

(cue, me banging my head slowly against my sewing table)

I do not know WHAT was going on with this fabric.  I think it stretched.  It certainly has a much looser softer weave than the lovely quality cotton I made Version 1 in.

The bodice just had all these horrible wierd wrinkles and puckers that for the life of me, with all the faffing about I do for fit, I could not get rid of.  I removed and reattached the bodice to the skirt THREE TIMES.  The third time was to do a sway back adjustment to remove wierd back wrinkles that I did not have for the first dress.  I pressed and pressed and resewed the lining to the bodice  TWICE.  I attempted to put the zipper in TOO MANY TIMES TO COUNT.  Including HANDBASTING it in TWICE.  Each time one side of the zipper ended up 1/2″ longer than the other side.  Despite when I checked the bodice length it was the exact same to start with.  Arrrrgggggghhhhhhh.  Seriously.  This quick and simple “lets make another easy dress to do the school run in” has had way way way too many hours invested in it – I could have made a couture masterpiece for the time it took me to just attach skirt to bodice and sew the zipper in.

Some pictures I took during the agony of the (snort, snigger) “fitting process”.

So, here we have the finished dress with the worst lapped zipper I have ever inserted and the wierd bodice wrinkles around the boobs. I was sure that the zipper would pull and gape at the waistband but in the photos I am immensely relieved to see it looks ok.  And I am sooooo happy that I managed to get rid of the wrinkles in the back with a 1/2″ sway back adjustment (which I didn’t need to do for the first dress, I might add, again).

The inside is nicely finished as I decided I may as well.  Now I’m glad I took the trouble as of course the nice insides make it feel nice to wear.  It will work ok for its intended purpose (casual/house/day dress) but the lesson learnt from this experience is it pays to work with decent quality fabric.  This was $3.99 cotton lawn or something from Spotlight and I don’t think it is intended as “outer” layer fabric.  Its actually fine for cotton lining, which is why I have it and I have used it successfully for lining a number of dresses. But blueggghhhh.  Phooey to you, crappy fabric.

And now it is doing my head in even more by looking absolutely fine in the photos. Honestly. (cue more head banging).

 

I also put in some cap sleeves for something different and accidentally put them in too small/snug/fitted.  Once I finally got the zipper properly installed I realised I couldn’t raise or move my arms without them cutting into the tops of my arms.  So I slit them up the centre line , tucked the edges in (they are self lined) and top stitched to make the two piece sleeve.  Comfortable, a quick fix and I think looks like I meant it.

The zipper pulls a bit but not as much as I was expecting.

 

 

Dodgy zipper – see puckers on right side and dodgy job around the waistband?  Blleeuggghh.  Looks fine from a distance (hoping).

The piping is made from basic purchased navy bias tape and the bottom band is cotton broadcloth in an exact colour match to the piping.  The band at the bottom is just because the skirt was originally cut a bit short (as it was meant to be lining) and I don’t really like anything above the knees.

Other details: lapped zipper, fully lined with a pale green batiste that I use for nearly everything as I have heaps of it.  The seams are either pinked or serged. The total cost for this dress is probably less than $10.

Other lesson learnt: I am really doggedly stubborn and a total perfectionist when it comes to sewing.  Not so much with other aspects of my life, but there is something about sewing that brings out that aspect of my personality.  Anyone else have this problem?  I guess its not a huge problem, except for the massive time suck it creates putting work into a project that probably is really not worth the effort.  Mmmmm.  Hours spent on this project: too many to count.  Many many hours.

  • It’s amazing what a difference the fabric can make! Both versions turned out nicely, though I can see how the first one worked a little better. If it wasn’t for the side-by-side comparison, you’d never know!

  • It's amazing what a difference the fabric can make! Both versions turned out nicely, though I can see how the first one worked a little better. If it wasn't for the side-by-side comparison, you'd never know!

  • You had me laughing! I’ve certainly had those days! The finished dress looks lovely and I really like the (snort snigger) sleeve detail, it’s really pretty. Just pretend you always set out to achieve that sleeve. Works for me LOL!

  • You had me laughing! I've certainly had those days! The finished dress looks lovely and I really like the (snort snigger) sleeve detail, it's really pretty. Just pretend you always set out to achieve that sleeve. Works for me LOL!

  • Sharon

    How frustrating that two fabrics are so different. Love how you dealt with all of the issues and in particular the sleeve fix is wonderful.

  • How frustrating that two fabrics are so different. Love how you dealt with all of the issues and in particular the sleeve fix is wonderful.

  • Sandra Julian

    Yep, stick to good quality fabrics regards how tempting the cheap stuff is. You’ve done a great job in wrangling the fabric in – it does look good in your photos.

  • That’s so crazy… Some projects are just cursed, I’m absolutely convinced. 🙂 But it did turn out cute despite the headaches! You know, I find that I grit my teeth over perfection in my sewing sometimes worse than others, and it’s usually when I need some sense of control in my life. Totally NOT saying that’s what yours is about, just sharing what I’ve noticed with myself! 🙂

  • That's so crazy… Some projects are just cursed, I'm absolutely convinced. 🙂 But it did turn out cute despite the headaches! You know, I find that I grit my teeth over perfection in my sewing sometimes worse than others, and it's usually when I need some sense of control in my life. Totally NOT saying that's what yours is about, just sharing what I've noticed with myself! 🙂

  • I think that we compared our handmade creations to the ideal which often leaves us disappointed. Compare this to something you’d buy off the rack and it’s a wonder! Sometimes perspective matters.

  • I think that we compared our handmade creations to the ideal which often leaves us disappointed. Compare this to something you'd buy off the rack and it's a wonder! Sometimes perspective matters.