Saturday, April 25, 2009

A little palate cleanser...


I think I've mentioned it before, but just in case I haven't, I'm an instant gratification kinda gal. I see something I want to make, and I want it made, right now. Along the way, I do actually enjoy the sewing process: the satisfaction of a neatly pressed hem in a crisp cotton; the feel of manipulating fabric through the machine; the rhythm of taking tiny handstitches and drawing the thread through the fabric. Those are the good bits. Often though, I get overwhelmed by an urge to finish the garment because I just want it done - and of course, this is where it all invariably turns to ...y'know. Crap.
Lately, though, I've been trying to be far more measured and patient, inspired by my sewing neighbour-from-across-the-road Mary Anna. From what I've seen, her way of working is the antithesis of mine: patient, meticulous, self-controlled, and her garments are always beautifully finished. I, on the other hand, have a tendency to cut corners wherever possible; find lazy ways of doing stuff; and rush to get things finished. I often find myself swearing at a totally botched garment at midnight; a garment which was in good shape and had potential a mere half an hour earlier.
Anyway, I'm trying to take a leaf out of Mary Anna's book. If something isn't working, I stop. If it's 11:30 and I can barely see, I stop, even if there's only the hem and some topstitching to go. If I'm experiencing any sewing rage, I walk away. So far, it's working well :-)

The set in sleeves in Mr 4's duffel coat are giving me grief, so I decided I needed a little break from it. A sorbet; a palate cleanser between courses, if you will ;-) So I decided to whip up a quick knit dress for myself. I've had this idea kicking around in my head for ages, and have been searching for the perfect pattern to use. I've actually found quite a few candidates, but in the interim, I used good old Simplicity 3835, here in the dress version. I added about three inches to the length, gathered the neck with clear elastic (quartered and stitched on with a 3-step zig-zag), then encased the gathered neckline in a bias binding. I needed to repeat the colour of the binding somewhere else on the dress for it to make sense visually, and had thought about edging some pockets with it, but instead opted for a mock button tab on the sleeve edge. In the end I omitted the pockets entirely, because I thought they'd make the whole thing look too busy.


The fabric is a wool blend from the Kate Sylvester sale - all of $2 a metre or something, and the binding is cut from a fat quarter of some art-deco-ish leaf print quilting fabric. All in all, the verdict is good - it's warm, albeit a little scratchy at the waist underneath the belt (solved with a little cami underneath) and it's suitably casual and comfy to suit my lifestyle.

Right. Sorbet over. Time to move onto the main course - jacket body, here I come.


  1. aah .. that dress is a winner .. beautiful detailing and nice finish. Worth waiting for.

  2. Very nice - I really like your fabric.

  3. That is lovely - You are SO slim!!!!!!
    I really like the sleeve detail, very nice.

    I am the same as you in the patience department with knitting. Hardly ever swatch (because doh that would take up valuable knitting time ;0 )

  4. I am amazed at your prolific sewing output!
    Love that dress, it looks very styley indeed, and they detailing is so quirky and cool.

  5. I just finished sewing my first Knit(jersey) tshirt. Egads. What a disaster. Making a straight seam is like trying after 3 martinis. I noticed your seams are so pretty. Is there a secret? Needle? foot? whatever? I have bought so much pretty fabric and now I'm spooked. thanks, hilary