Sunday, 3 January 2016

Daphne's New Frock

I would love to brag about the lovely wrap dress that I spent 3 days making from the kit that I bought myself for Christmas but as per usual, Daphne the mannequin is more likely to wear it out in public than I am. There is really nothing wrong with the pattern - in fact I managed to follow it reasonably well but I was reminded yet again that I should have spent the past few rainy days doing some colouring-in, mindless patchwork piecing or doing a jigsaw puzzle instead. I almost threw the part-made frock in the bin but I was determined to get it finished, even if it will only ever be worn by Daphne. 

The first hurdle was choosing the correct size. My measurements gave me several options and I just could not decide how to redraft it so I opted for a kind of average, hoping for the best. My fatal error was cutting the length at the point where it could be lengthened or shortened. My finished frock only just covers my bum instead of reaching my knees. 

The silky jersey fabric was an absolute swine to sew. Despite using a fine microtex needle, dual feed and a straight stitch plate, it really did not want to cooperate. I wanted to use the overlocker but one of its air-threading loopers is not functioning so I need to find some thin wire or sturdy fishing line to attempt to fix it. 

I’m sure that I cut out all of the correct sized pieces yet the neckband which was meant to stretch a little had to really, really stretch to fit into the correct place. I am not going to say which pattern I used since the designer helpfully answered an email query from me and everyone else who posted pictures of their frocks online seemed to manage perfectly well. Maybe if I invest in an industrial set of foundation undergarments the frock will fit me better around the middle but even Daphne had to breathe in a bit to get it to hang properly at the bottom.

I should have taken the time to make a muslin to check the fit and learn how to follow the instructions but I was too impatient. I wished I had just bought myself a nice frock from a shop for Christmas. This is now the second item I have made a garment for myself that only fits Daphne on her slim setting which is telling me that I should either stop wasting my time with dressmaking OR try harder next time! 

I painted the fuzzy, grey interfacing on the black wool shawl with fabric paint that was as black as possible but it still was not as black as the wool and there were annoying splodges of sticky stuff here and there. There other major issue was that when I measured the width of the shawl after its dyeing and shrinking experience it was actually 10 inches narrower than it had been which means that it would no longer cover the quilts underneath. I decided that the only way forward would be to layer it on top the other black wool shawl that I have and that it might as well have holes cut into the grid in an attempt to look like the perforated stonework found on some Indian palaces. I used very sharp embroidery scissors with my fingers underneath so I did not snip the wrong bits. I have ordered some black organza which might also come in handy. 

Coming up with something that is allegedly “Arty” without being rubbish seems to be rather challenging. The underneath quilts may well look good but I am convinced that the piece will be judged on the oddity of the outside. And I still don’t know how I will attach them all to each other for display. In the hanging instructions I will have to request the presence of a permanent Quilt Angel to flip the shawls back to reveal the hidden layers;)

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