Monday, March 28, 2011


So here's my latest project, once again for somebody else (?!), this time my daughter:

The pattern matching isn't great at the top, improves as I move down the fabric. This is one crazy pattern to try to align.

This is a securely-attached zipper that nonetheless looks like crap. This is what I'm talking about trying to resolve in this post...

The goal here was to a) match the rather difficult pattern and b) create a summer dress the kid could enjoy (should the weather ever actually improve).

Alas, I didn't excel on either account.

For starters, I'm going to level with you: I loathe matching patterns. I rarely do it, preferring to deal with solid colours (even if in very tricky fabrics), or huge florals, neither of which demand the precision of this cotton lawn.

But I saw this fabric a while ago. It was in the $2.99 bin and it was compellingly lovely. It even has a nice smidge of stretch, odd for straight cotton.

It didn't occur that it would be a freakin' bitch to match for the following reasons:
  • The pattern is very regular.
  • The pattern is neither small enough nor large enough to be inconsequential.
  • The pattern is extremely complex. Almost filigree.
  • Back diamond darts really screw with how a pattern lies at a centre back seam.
I guess you live, you learn.

The second domain of failure was in fit. While I cut the 8 (which accords with her bust, waist, hip measurements), and lengthened it substantively, I discovered at the end that (even with a mere .25 inch turn-up hem) this thing is already too short for my kid.

Note: Today my not quite 11-year old fit into a pair of size 14 skinny jeans from The Gap. The legs are not actually skinny on her (and, thankfully, the button elastic allows us to pull in the waist circumference), but the length is just right. Jeez.

Other than the zipper finishing, I'm very pleased with my workmanship on this garment - a plus given all the things that didn't quite work.

So, I'm remaking it right now in lovely, predictable, solid-shade denim. I added another 3.5 inches onto the bottom (in addition to the extra 2 inches I applied to the first attempt). It looks like it will fit, even in June!

Thank goodness for young, tiny nieces. Or this would just depress me.


  1. I think it looks absolutely lovely, and the only reason you're noticing it is because you're so close to the project. I would've never noticed the slight off-ness of the pattern if you hadn't mentioned it. You and your daughter should be very proud of the dress!

  2. This is why I like having two girls. Followed by two nieces a nice stretch younger (otherwise the jeans I made Tyo last June that she had outgrown by August would've been a total tragedy). That fabric is gorgeous, but I feel you on the pattern pain. So far I've dodged and fudged any serious pattern matching, but I will have to face it one day, I know.

    Size 14, wow. My almost-11-year-old only outgrew the 7/8 sizes last fall...

  3. Your pattern matches way better than most of the crap I see in stores!

  4. I think the dress is lovely, and I hope your niece will wear it a lot! I was fully grown at age 12, so maybe you'll be able to sew real "keepers" for your daughter soon!

  5. I think the dress is darling!! She could always wear it tunic style with capri length leggings- I am loving that look on the tweens. My daughter is 11 as well. I can't believe how challenging this age is to sew for.

    I can always find fault in every piece of clothing I make, but luckily, no one else seems to!!

    AKA ConsumedwithSewing

  6. Scroll some of the designer print pieces on net a porter and you'll see patterns that don't match up just so. No big deal IMHO! I feel that the only prints that have to match precisely are plaid lines.

  7. I know nothing about this and so I'll say - I LOVE it. The shape is so sweet and I would never have noticed the pattern thing if you hadn't written a post on it!

  8. Ginnie: Thank you! I'm going to stand back a bit.

    Taran: It's crazy. Longest. Legs. Evah.

    Wendy: That's what I like to say. I should make that my new tagline :-)

    Uta: I have a secret wish that she'll be tall (not that it matters a bit), it's just that I'm not. So maybe a few more years of growing will be ok. But not so much for the wallet!

    Tricia: You're so right about the leggings. She doesn't like tights though, so I don't know if she'll go for it.

    Sewn: I think I have to take the edge off a bit. It's not that important. You know, though, how you get a sewing challenge in your mind and you have to go with it??

    Susan: Thanks!

    Stacey: Thank you. It is a really sweet shape. So appropriate for little girls.