Monday, May 24, 2010

The Post Wherein I Bitch and Come Up with an Idea

I've been sewing for 2 days and I just finished Vogue 1179. Seriously. I turned off the machine and turned on my computer, which is how I'm able to vent with such clarity.

Something tells me my back isn't going to be too happy tomorrow.

Very soon (once I get over the trauma), I am going to show you a photo of the dress. A photo of me in the dress. I mean, I could go photograph it on a hanger right now, and post the shot, but I want to show you how it looks on me specifically. Or at least on a human being. And given how hunchy horrible I feel right now, ain't gonna happen today.

In lieu of the photo of me, please content yourself with a photo of Adrienne in the same dress. She did a gorgeous job, don't you agree?

Now let's get on with the hardcore bitching. I am happy to know that the wonderfully descriptive, expert sewists on Pattern Review (of which Adrienne is one) find Vogue Very Easy, DKNY 1179 to be, um, very easy. It's got 3 pieces - a front, back and cowl. It's got a mere 1.5 pages of instructions, minimal by any standards. They are, apparently, very clear to everyone. (Even to me, they are somewhat clear.)

Nonetheless, unlike my other pattern reviewers, this did not come together quickly while watching daytime TV, ready to go by noon. I had challenges with clear elastic tape, with the outrageous stretchiness of my fabric.

Note: there's a reason I used stretchier fabric than recommended but it's too boring to get into. I checked with a few people in the know, on the viability of using lightweight rayon jersey, and I got a resounding "go for it". Alas, my first hem fell out (now it's zigzagged). Thank goodness I made the 10 and not the 12. Between the stretch of the fabric and the 8+ inches of ease in this "very loose" fit pattern, I could have made the 8?! And, as per usual (this is becoming a trend), I shortened the "waist" by 2 inches.

The cowl just didn't want to come together. I had one of those wretched spatial reasoning experiences that truly makes my brain and body hurt. That lasted a good hour and then I basted the neck to the cowl but I basted it wrong. After another hour at the drawing board, I tried to figure out how to sew the cowl on neatly and that took a couple of attempts. Only I couldn't bear to rip out every row of unnecessary stitches. So it's got a lovely, "I made it myself" vibe going on. Whatever.

My zigzagged hem, for reasons of stretch and weariness, looks like I sewed it while drunk. Despite what I say on Twitter, I do not sew drunk. I merely wallow in my ineptitude while tipsy.

But then there's the stuff I can't blame Vogue for: The paper bag look is, perhaps, not my best. Not even in rayon jersey with great drape and pleats (it was my first time constructing those and I think they turned out well). Oh, and for reasons I cannot fathom right now, I opted to use a large floral in hot pink, brown and orange.

Yes, you did read that correctly.

Large floral. Arguably "complex" colour scheme. Don't think for a second, by the by, that I sewed this thing so that the pattern actually lines up. I gave up on that about 10 minutes in.

I'm going to belt it, needless to say, and wear a heel - and I took up the hem, natch. (You know that's my thing.) The dress is a freakin' sack. One needs a a long leg line to give it some proportion.

OK, bitching over. Here's the idea:

Someone should come up with an online sewing community, like Pattern Review - or even one less complicated / full-service, for rank, but serious, beginners. I mean, if you've sewn for more than X hours in total, or X months, it's not for you. Likewise, for example, if you sew less than 20 hours a month, it's not for you.

The reviews - which could simply be maudlin descriptions of problems encountered - are free to be crafted in the angstful (sometimes hilarious) voice of the new sewist.

Questions, if he or she ever gets around to asking them, could be answered by a resident expert. One who doubles as a trained therapist.

The expert could host a weekly sew along of an actually easy(ish) garment. A really flattering and stylish one that suits a particular body type, for example. Each session would conclude with an opp to post photos or ask for clarification.

Its motto: No glitch is too stupid to happen to you!

Seriously, if this is already out there, you have to tell me. I need to join.


  1. I'm amazed by your perseverance!

  2. There is always one really bad attempt and you learn from it. I always find a cowl neck hard to do and I really like them.

    BTW you and WendyB v funny. I need the now kids look too xx

  3. You sound just like me sewing. I start with great enthusiasm, and then have one of those brain-freezes over some spatial 'thing' and give up or just go and have a glass of wine. One of my besties can sew (he did a fashion design course) and generally I end up handing things over to him. Sometimes it's the things that LOOK really easy that are a b@stard to make ...

  4. I agree that sometimes it is the things that look really easy that somehow take all the starch out of me. And I won't even begin to list the crazy things I have attempted that now only make me wonder where I left my brain.

  5. Wendy: At least I'm through the novice stage of cooking. Now that was painful for everyone around me :-)

    Kate: When my spatial reasoning gives out, it's truly a tough slog.

    Tiffany: You are SO lucky to have an expert sewist friend near by. Make sure to ply him with booze!

    Mardel: But don't you find that, sometimes you attempt the impossible (as you see it) and it all comes together just fine? How to explain how the "easy" (with instructions!) stuff goes off the rails?