And By Dogged Determination Alone~

June 17, 2019 0 Comments

Determination. Dogged determination is what it took to finish this simple, TNT little dress:

Beset by 😈gremlins😈, so it was. Let me just say, by the end of this…*thing*…I was so done. I love the pattern, it’s another cloned Gap dress, I love the fabric, a rayon challis from the Fabrics by Gertie collection. But this little thing gave me nothing but grief and heartache.  

Maybe that’s a little over the top in the dramatics department, but I’m very glad to have this project in the can, put to bed, fín and completed. Or maybe it’s tap dead-on center just enough drama to describe the construction here. I won’t be noting the gremlins in order of construction, just as I come to them while writing here.

Been grokking about the inseam pockets. The way I’ve been doing it leaves raw edges on the inside that’s not enclosed in a sewed up seam. That’s bothered me since I started putting inseam pockets into everything, because I loves me a good pocket and won’t be denied, but I haven’t found anything out there on YouTube about what to do about it. I solved one piece of it by aligning the pocket bag pattern piece right on the selvedge so there is no raw edge to the pocket bag. I thought I was so clever until after I sewed it to the garment and saw that the side of the garment itself is still a raw edge. So my next solution to try will be, after I sew a pocket flap onto the garment, I will zigzag just where it is seamed onto the garment. (To understand this, you’ll have to do it 4 times, zigzag where each of the 4 pocket flaps and raw edge of the garment are sewn together)  Then iron the pocket flaps away from the body of the garment, sew the side seams and joining the two pocket flaps into a bag. That should do it. I also zigzag around the seam after I join the flaps together to form the pocket bag just to neaten, and trim the excess material away as close to the zigzag as possible. Makes for a much cleaner finish. I’ll take pics of this technique on my next garment, promise. 

I felled the inside seams by hand to make a very neat inside. (Why do I do this??? It takes a quick easy project and turns it into a week or longer ordeal! I have sewing machines! Machines!! Plural!! And the really, really good ones! Berninas for the love of…) The first side went ok but on the second side, I wasn’t paying attention and felled the upper half above the pockets toward the back as I should, but below the pocket, I felled the seam toward the front. It’s insane that I do this by hand. A free cup of coffee to the person who notices this while I’m out wearing it.


When I put the placket on, I sewed it onto the wrong side. It should be right side of placket to wrong side of garment and I sewed it right side to right side. I spent one whole day trying to make it work and nearly did until I got to the bottom where you stitch the pretty little “X” in the box to finish the placket tab. That, I could not get to work correctly and I fiddled with it for hours. In the end, I unpicked it, cut another placket out and resewed it on the right way. Because I was afraid I had stretched the fabric out with all my fiddling…although I was VERY careful and conscious of that when I was handling it, I cut it longer the second time. There’s no way the fabric wasn’t stretched in all the working with it. That made the front opening just a bit too…open, let’s say…so I sewed buttons on the front…sans buttonholes because I could not get the buttonhole set up right and I just wanted to be done with this. I just had enough! The buttons are sewn directly onto both sides of the placket. We’re not even trying to pretend there’s a buttonhole there. The buttons were the last thing I had to do to finish the dress and I had to unpick 2 buttonhole attempts before I said “Done. I’m sewing the buttons on and that’s just that.” 

Sigh. I did notice when I was sewing the buttons on that there’s a very small hole next to the placket that I’m sure happened during the fiddling to replace it. I’ll have to do a bit of mending to it to keep it from getting larger before I throw it in the wash. The good news is, I’ve been reading and looking at pictures of how to mend a hole. That’s not the point, tho, is it? The point is… “Everytime I think I’m out, this dress keeps pulling me back in.” Jypsea Corleone, here, so I am.

I added a back shirt pleat (?) onto the pattern this time. The shirt pleat is centered, the dress is just not centered on my dress form here, so the back pleat looks off but it’s on. I had to pull a thread to find the grain on this fabric. Matching selvedge to selvedge didn’t get it. If you look close, you can see the pulled thread on the pleat. I’m hoping the wash will straighten that out.

When I was finished with the hand sewing, I let it hang overnight before hemming. I do not know how to explain this but I looked at it after letting it hang, and it seemed fine but something happened. The front of the dress, closer to the side seams, was longer than the back. Odd, this error, because it dipped back up to meet the back at the side seam perfectly. It was just this little dip a couple of inches away from the side seam and several inches away from center front. And because this only happened only on the front, it pulled the entire dress forward so that it looked like a big pink burka on me when I slipped it on. At this point, I just had to put the dress down for a couple of days to get away from the exasperation. Later, I put it back on the form and got out my yardstick marking an even length all the way around. It was just about 5-6” of the side, right before it met up with the back. That took me 2 days to correct and I’ll just say, I fiddled with it. I should have taken the entire hem out, gave it a press and then marked it all the way around for evenness but that’s not what I did because I wanted this done and believed it could be a “quick-fix”. I was wrong, I spent 2 days on it, so I didn’t get out of any extra work and it may have been harder in the end than if I had just unpicked the hem and started over. I’ll have to remember that for future. The easy fix isn’t always the best choice. At my age, I know that already but because I’m only human, I need constant reminders still.  I think there’s a bit of wavy unevenness in the hem still, but it’s slight and the fabric is drapey enough I think I can camouflage it pretty well. If not…well, the other thing I’ve told myself is “This is a little summer thing. It means nothing. It’s a camp dress now, let it go.”

I’m not somebody who can put a project aside and begin a new one, with a large pile of UFOs in the corner. If I start a project, I have to finish it. Seems untidy and unorganized not to do it that way. No. What *I* am is the person who gets doggedly determined and exasperated and “…just want to get this finished!” and ends up with mistake after mistake after mistake.

That I fiddle with.

To try and hide.

For hours, or even days on end. That’s me.

I did a hand embroidered stitch to outline the pocket. I like that. I was mostly trying to catch the raw edge of the garment so it would be enclosed inside a seam of sorts.

Also, this is my very first time to bind the neck and armscye in self fabric instead of something contrasting. I have no contrasting fabric whatsoever on this dress, not even on the placket! I think because this fabric is just so lovely and soft and drapey and I just quite liked it. A lot. Even with all the gremlins, I still love this pattern and especially this fabric. 

 I just had #OneOfThoseProjects this time around.

As I’m writing this, I think the hemline gremlins can be due to the fabric itself. A bit slinky, extreme soft drapey hand, and it was beyond difficult to keep the straight of grain. Looking back, even when I was careful and pulled a thread to make sure the grain was straight, I noticed that it got pulled off grain quite easily. And folding it over selvedge to selvedge didn’t work. The folded edge warbled in and out of grain and the fold marking on the pattern didn’t quite sit flush with the folded edge. If I aligned the fold marking to the folded fabric, the selvedge didn’t line up with the straight of grain lines. If I realigned the selvedges to the grain line marking, the folded edge was off. And I spent hours trying to reconcile that. Hence, the pulled thread. Yes, I ironed it before cutting so that wasn’t the problem. Once I had to put a pattern piece back onto a bit of cut fabric because I had forgot to note a marking and lo and behold, the fabric was now larger than the original pattern piece. Not all the way around, just in one corner. I have to grok about that because I love this fabric and I have more of it. The 3 definites and 2 maybes along with a new fabric I ordered online that’s not in the stash cabinet to make 4 definites of the same type fabric. I have to figure this out. 

Maybe try spending extra time to make sure the grain is straight and then pin it to keep the fabric from shifting before I place the pattern pieces and rotary cut them. I’ll see what’s out there because I can’t be the only person who’s had this happen to them. I did read in an older sewing book about not letting excess fabric hang off the end of the cutting table as that could pull fabric off grain and I did let it hang off on this. I thought it was anchored enough with the SAD irons I use as pattern weights. Next time, I will cut the fabric to fit the pattern piece, do the bias stretch to pull it into straight grain and start there. 

Either way. I will look cute as a bug in a rug sitting round the campfire in the evening out in the RV or buzzing into MegaLoMart for a half gallon of milk. RD will think I’m totes adorbs and that’s all I care about!

I did get an extra long post on one single garment out of this. Also, good to note, I’ve just taken on 2 young girls to teach them to sew. I started out with “Look, mistakes are your best friend. Accept your mistakes and learn from them. You’ll learn more from your mistakes than you will by doing it right the first time.” And here we are. Practicing what I’m teaching. And I have a fresh incident to point the girls to. I’m liking teaching them, by the way. Really enjoying it. I’ve always believed if you really want to learn a skill…teach it. It reinforces the skill set.

RD has gone for an eye appointment so I have some time while he’s out of the house to play piano. Then, I’m back in the sewing room to start work on the Alder Shirtdress. I’m really looking forward to this! Going for View B but I do see a View A in my future.




Jyps 🦋 

Jypsea Rose