Confident BeginnerA Jack of no Trades
Sewaholic Saltspring Dress
Months ago, I had purchased the Sewaholic’s Sewtionary and Saltspring Dress pattern from my local fabric and notions store, Spool of Thread. After coming home with my purchase, I obviously threw it on a shelf to never remember that I had a great sewing resource at my side nor handy-dandy-non-computer-paper-taped-together-pattern at my ready. After cuting and piecing and taping together multiple PDF patterns, coming upon the real deal, tissue paper and all, was a bit of a dream.
When I bought this, I was very interested in making the maxi version (and still am), but my impatience made me go full steam ahead and use whatever fabric I had lying around.
Also, if you do not know me, and only remember one thing about me for the rest of your life, just remember that I am terribleeee at picking and choosing fabrics. My sewing life legitimately started with a bag of second hand curtain fabric that I some how made three, yes THREE, shirts out of before realizing I needed to grow up and buy legitimate cottons. I am sad to say that I have still not grown up. I will still take fabric from everyone and anyone, and pretend it drapes well because it is fashion and not because it is fashionable curtains. This next story will be no exception.
I started making my Saltspring dress out of this mysterious drapey polyestery fabric that was found in my grandmothers garage, and I had made myself believe that because it has selvages it was actually fabric and not for curtains. I have now come to the understanding that curtain fabric can also have selvages.
I think my review of this dress is very highly skewed by the materials I was using. I know they are not the best, and therefore I did not get the best possible dresses I could have. However, I will digress. I started with a muslin for proper fit and to test out some techniques that I had never done before. I think the sizing is pretty accurate, but Sewaholic patterns are made for a pear shaped fit, which will become important later on in my tale.
Sewaholic instructions are very easy to follow, accurate, and were gentle on a beginner’s mind (that’s my brain type). As this was my first time installing a zipper, I knew that it would not come out 100% correct, but the instructions were generous enough for fools like me. Oh, also, spaghetti straps: why don’t you like me? Trying anad failing to turn my straps inside out took the most amount of time with this dress. I am thinking about investing in a loop turner, because the ol’ safety pin and chopstick method do not work. They just do not work. Don’t lie to me and say that it works and I am dumb, no one in the history of the world has ever turned a tiny spaghetti strap with a chop stick. All of that aside, when I actually put on this dress for the first time, I hated it.
The inner bodice literally decimated the small amount of boob I am working with, and the drape of the outer bodice made me look like a cylindrical meat pole. The pockets only came to emphasize my child rearing hips, and the back (which I deemed to be a disaster) could not be shown to any human or beast with a discernible eye. I was distraught. I stood pallid and incoherently babbling obscenities under my breath. I may be a beginner, but I am also an aspiring perfectionist and this was no where near perfection. This may have gotten on the bus to perfection, but was kicked off for boisterously talking to other passengers about ‘dreams’ and ‘aspirations’.
Anyways, I threw it off of my body, blaming the poor fabric and, you know, Obama, and all of that, and relegated it to the deepest depths of my closet.
And then, you know, I made another one.
Again, I had this interesting knit fabric lying around and I thought back to my long maxi Saltspring dreams and immediately started cutting into it. I, of course, realized on my final piece that I did not have enough fabric for the full maxi, and cut another short version of the dress. However, not interested in working with both zippers and knits (why don’t I just give up now?!) I had opted to omit 1 1/4″ (the 5/8″ seam allowance from the back zipper openings) from the back bodice and back bodice lining and cut the pieces on the fold line. I also cut out 5/8″ on either side of the dress back, although I kept it as two pieces because I am not that confident in my pattern altering abilities.
I also ended up taking out the pockets, as I knew they would not make my silhouette look flattering at all.
It probably would have been better for me to make a muslin out of this as well, as I think my bodice is a little wonky in some places. Alternatively, it may also just be the stretch of the knit, as this was my first time using knits, but the neckline and back puff and/or scoop when I bend. However, if my plan was to show all of the people all of my boobs when I bent over, then I would be succeeding left, right, and center (that, in fact, was not my actual plan). Because of the bulk of the fabric, my waist-band is quite thick, but that is the actual least of my worries. Obviously, I still have the meat cylinder look, which doesn’t particularly go well with my body shape (the model in the picture for the pattern is an actual twig, so I should have had some clues right thur). Finally, after refusing to learn how to do twin needles on my sewing machine, and not having a cover stitch to finish it up, I had to do some mega improv on my knit hem. Luckily, the material has a slight pattern to it, so black stitches remain relatively hidden. I ironed my hem up to the appropriate allowances and used a wide zigzag to hem that baby up. It had lingered for about a week and a half before I made up my mind, and I am glad I went ahead with it rather than waiting to win the lottery and buy a new machine.
Now, you may be thinking, ‘If you hate these dresses so much, why did you blog about them, dummy?’ I have come to love these dresses. By themselves, I would most assuredly never wear them out in public (need I remind you of the meat cylinder?) but their simplicity makes them perfect layering dresses. I wear them almost weekly underneath big sweaters, ponchos, scarves, hats, cardigans. They just work so well being the hidden star of the outfit.
Probably should have moved that strawberry plant out of the way, hey? #nextime
Maybe, i’ll go find some actual nice fabric and do this pattern right. Maybe. Either way, I would LOVE to hear your stories about good ideas gone back (and then maybe turned back to good again). Make me believe in my dreams again, the internet!