Have you ever had a spell of time where the old sewing mojo ups sticks and disappears? I’d love to know where mine went to the last few weeks, but it has been officially MIA.
Part of the problem is health. I’ve suffered from migraines my entire life but just lately, they have stepped up several gears. And as they impact my vision and my ability to use my hands, sewing isn’t really an option – don’t fancy sewing through a stray finger or two!
Of course, this hasn’t stopped my interest in sewing by any means. I’ve still been on Instagram, I’ve still been reading blogs, I’ve been having a little play around on The Fold Line (not so much as I’d like – see previous thought on vision problems)…and consequently still buying the odd pattern and bit of fabric.
Thus causing the second problem – massive indecision! Where to start? Where to dive in to all the lovely possibilities when my already limited sewing time is further pushed by stupid migraines?
As is often the case these days, this was resolved by my children. Or rather by my eldest daughter wistfully commenting that she hadn’t any winter dresses that fit and wouldn’t it be nice if I’d made that fabric she chose up?
Guilt is a killer, guys!
But, since she asked very nicely (and since I had let both girls select their own jersey fabric and then ignored it for several weeks), their new dresses promptly jumped to the top of the list when I finally got a few hours migraine free this weekend.
Welcome the Kitschy Coo Skater Dress. I bought this pdf pattern a few weeks ago (not sure why? probably fed up of looking for dresses in shops for the biggest little girl, who at 5 is taller than most 7 year olds but about as wide as most 3 year olds) and had even got as far as printing out two copies so I could just cut out the stuck together A4 sheets, rather than tracing (HATE tracing, seems to take forever!). And then it had sat there, the victim of shinier projects / migraine / indecision.
As the biggest girl asked nicely, her dress was up first. And the fabric she’d chosen?
Yes, that is orange jersey with elephants on it. Hmm.
I have to be honest, I personally would not have chosen orange anything and my daughters are just as pale as me. However, I didn’t have the heart to talk her out of it when I turned around in Fabworks to find her cuddling the bolt of fabric with a hopeful smile on her face. Plus it was £5 a meter so I was prepared to cope with it!
Also, cute elephants!
Mum later informed me that there had also been a pink bolt of the same fabric. I’m not sure why she waited 2 hours after we left the shop to tell me, but never mind!
So, onwards to the pattern.
I actually really like this one! I took ages cutting out, partly as this was by far the thinnest stretch fabric I’ve ever used (everything else in my 3 garment repertoire has been a ponte of some sort), partly because I wanted to line up the rows of text that appear between each row of elephants.
Check out that side seam! Clearly, I didn’t match the actual elephants and, were I to do this again, I would pay more attention to where the central elephants on the skirt were getting their heads cut off, but live and learn.
All in all, this one took me over an hour and a half from first sticking a pin in to finishing the hem. It would have been faster except part way through, disaster struck.
Yes, that is a hole, right behind pink elephant! And no, it wasn’t courtesy of my cutting out as I used my rotary cutter and took extreme care. Thankfully, I had extra fabric left so managed to squeeze an additional skirt piece out of the leftovers, plus I noticed it before I’d sewn that skirt piece on the bodice, rather than after – silver linings and all that.
And the finished article?
Well the recipient is rather chuffed with it! In fact, I’d made her try on for length (I’d cut a 5/6T and added on 1″ to the skirt length) and I had great difficulty persuading her to remove it to hem it – only a desire to start painting Christmas ornaments inspired her to remove it in case she accidentally painted an elephant!
At this point, biggest little girl is twirling around the house shrieking, “LOVE, LOVE, LOVE” and smallest little girl is looking rather mournful as she displays incredible memory feats for a just-turned-three year old and asks where her pirate dress is?
So in the interest of family harmony (and feeling utterly giddy at how fast that first dress had gone together!) I persuaded husband that a lazy hour on Sunday morning would do the girls good, headed downstairs in my pj’s and proceeded to sew together the pirate dress.
The pirate dress (her description since seeing and insisting on the fabric) is slightly different to the elephant dress. Firstly, the fabric is a heavier jersey. It’s still not heavy as such, it’s just probably more what you’d expect from a winter weight dress. The white printing is a lot more sturdy too, actually probably a disadvantage on such a stretchy dress as it may kind of crumble? but I doubt it’s going to matter.
In terms of cutting out, Katie is also tall and slim so I cut the 3/4T and took nearly 3/4″ seam allowance on the bodice section, leaving the suggested 3/8″ elsewhere. I also decided that I would personally like a fuller skirt on this dress, so took the very scientific approach of lining the pattern piece up on the fold as suggested, then rotating it round a bit to give a fuller section of the circle! I’m sure that would probably have got me into trouble on a woven or a larger dress, but I was getting a bit giddy with the ease of jersey sewing at this point so threw caution to the wind and I seem to have got away with it!
Time taken to avoid total meltdown at getting dressed time? Under an hour (!!!)
I seriously cannot get over how fast these dresses went together. I think some of that could be due to the introduction of the walking foot I bought at the last fair I went to. You know, the one that cost over £40 and has been sitting in its packaging ever since? Much like the Lidl Overlocker which I also haven’t found time to fathom out yet?
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Ok, I have managed to attach my new walking foot to my machine! (Largely because I'm still intimidated by the overlocker's manual) – baby steps. Now let's see if I can use the 10 minutes before the children return from gymnastics to figure out how to use it! #alwayslearning #sewingblog #sewingkeepsmesane
Anyway, I finally got over myself, read the packaging, read it again and then googled a tutorial on how the hell to fasten it to my machine! Why the instructions couldn’t be on the packaging is beyond me – clearly this is another of those things which, if you purchase, you are meant to just know!
Between the new, shiny, magic foot and, on the second dress, the use of the lightning bolt stitch rather than the zigzag stitch (not sure why this makes such a difference?) I seem to be making headway on my skipped stitch issues which 2 weeks with the engineer did not solve.
And, most importantly, I have two very happy little girls who gave their new dresses a good try out at Lotherton Hall, testing the climbing frames, swings and enjoying the scarecrow hunt. I’d apologise for throwing in some gratuitous photos of them, but I’m their mum and I’m not sorry!
Hopefully this marks the return of my sew-jo (and a decline in migraines) – in the spirit of optimism, I’ve cut out my first Linden sweatshirt and am hoping to snatch a few hours here and there this week to try that out!
How about you, how goes your motivation and what’s your secret to capturing it again when it goes away?