Sewing and textiles with Ann
I like the work of both of the Tilton sisters and their designs feature quite regularly on my blog. Their work presents a bit of a challenge, but unique results in styles that seem to suit me. They create slow sewing when you need it. I have to read the pattern carefully and then follow it, most usually in the order as prescribed in the instructions – not a mode of sewing that I follow all that often! This is Butterick 6213, by Katherine.
I’ve had the pattern for several months, and I know that I bought the fabric, with the intention of using it for this dress, in August, from Guthrie Ghani. The main reason it didn’t get cut out until Christmas Eve was that Christmas sewing got in the way, having lasted from about September until about a week before Christmas. It’s also not straight forward to cut out. Soft jersey never is, and many of the pieces are cut from a single layer, making for much moving a fabric around the table to get everything out of the yardage – I have to say, without a lot to spare!
The dress hasn’t seen the overlocker, which is very unusual for jersey patterns. But my machine has a good stretch stitch function, which I always used in pre-overlocker days. The pattern requires several seams to meet at squares, particularly at the centre corner of the pockets, so greater precision was required that is available from the overlocker. I did wonder about mixing the machine and overlocker, but decided that the differing weight of an overlocked seam might cause the dress to hang oddly.
It was quite straight forward to put together. There were two challenges: a design decision about what to use for the button loops. I bought 3 solutions in total. And getting the hem level.
The ribbon solution cost 70p from the market and was a realistic option, as you can see from the fact that I tacked all 12 loops in place.
I also bought some cord from John Lewis, which was the most expensive option, and was never going to work, as it unravelled once cut.
The eventual ‘winner’ is anorak cord bought at Abakhan in Liverpool for 20p! It’s just the right colour and hasn’t unravelled. I think that there is a risk that it might slowly disintegrate with wear, but I have saved the ribbon strips just in case!
My apologies that it’s not a very clear picture, but the fact that you cannot see the loops is testament to the effectiveness of the solution. I bought the buttons in Birmingham market at the time that I bought the fabric. I thought that it was important that I bought the right size, otherwise the spacing and hang around the buttons was going to go all wrong. In fact, it all blends so well together that there is less of interest to see in the dress than I had hoped. That’s why I have added a ‘signature’ butterfly to the front – to present a contrast in a sea of navy.
And the other problem was getting the hem level. I kept leaving the dress to hang – or was I putting off doing the hem? That was my excuse anyway.
I expected it to be too long. Designer patterns often are. I am ‘average’ height, after all! I had also noticed that the waist line was below my natural waist, but the thought of altering what would be almost every pattern piece except the pockets and sleeve, was too high risk. There was a distinct possibility that one piece would be wrong and the whole thing wouldn’t fit together. So my approach was to go with what the design team had worked out, and adjust at the bottom. I lopped about 4″ off the length and then let it hang again. I have a hem marker on my dress form and I couldn’t have managed without it, but I kept changing the hem, especially beneath the section where the pocket and the buttoned seam join. So many minutes spent lying on my study floor looking at the level, and then changing something!
In the end you just have to go with something…. It drapes quite a lot and that tends to hide any irregularities anyway.
So here I am – 5 months later and the dress is complete. Its been a dull but mild winter so far – just right for a comparatively light-weight winter dress. And as soon as its finished it gets cold and I have to dig out my real winter wardrobe. I think it will be wearable in the same conditions as my Moneta, which I wore so much last year. .. so hoping this will get the same amount of wear.