My friends this Floreat dress was almost a disaster. Have you ever made something and no matter what you do it just isn’t going well? Don’t lie to me – we’ve all been there. Actually if that doesn’t happen to you once in a while then you’re either a magician, or I’m not sure you actually sew ;) Kidding. But really – having a disaster sew is a rites of passage for makers. It happens once in a while and there are a few options open to you when it does (because it will) happen. You can throw in the towel, trash it, give up and basically burn it. That’s almost what happened to me. Or you can push on through, find a solution and finish.that.make. I chose the the second option this time, but gosh it was painful! Let me tell you all about it.
I stalled on this dress so many times, and honestly the only thing that kept me working on it was my love of this fabric. I bought this silk at a Morrison warehouse sale a few years ago and it was love at first sight. I used it in a pattern sample and kept some for myself because I loved it so much.
Looking back at my Instagram I can see that I started making this Floreat dress two years ago! That was the first time I stalled. After that post quite a few people commented that it looked like it was covered in blood and could be part of a crimescene. Yikes. I was a little gutted if I’m honest. When I look at this fabric all I see is watercolour, but I was really horrified to think that other people might see blood and that my end dress might looked like a Halloween outfit.
But after some time I realised the same truth that stands for everything I make for myself – the only thing that matters is that I like it. So I cut out my silk Floreat dress! There was only enough fabric for a sleeveless dress with facings, and a slightly shorter than normal belt. But I went for it.
Then the second hiccup happened. After attaching the facings and turning them to the inside of the garment I noticed I could see them through the right side of the dress. And I don’t mean in a normal way – I mean in a high definition way. I quickly basted the seams together and tried on my dress at which point I had a panic attack. It was completely 100% see through. I tried on all my slips with it, and it looked insane. It was so see through that you could see the facings, and the slip and it was just an awkward mess.
So I did what all mature makers do when something like this happens. I had a tantrum, rolled it in a ball and shoved it in the cupboard. Where I promptly forgot about it.
When we were moving into the Megan Nielsen Studio last year I found it, and enough time had passed that my heart had healed and I was ready to start again. I decided that I loved the dress enough that it was worth unpicking and fully lining. So I made my way over to Fabulous Fabrics (which is the home of all gorgeous silk and occasion fabrics in Perth) and purchased some truly gorgeous 100% silk lining in my skin tone. After this point I was well and truly over committed. The original silk hadn’t been expensive because it was from a warehouse sale, but the lining, my goodness. It was expensive. And because it was expensive I had that cutting into expensive fabric freak out that I sometimes have (See sewing with Liberty fabric). And you guessed it – shoved it in the cupboard and stalled again.
Then COVID hit, and we had widespread lock downs in Perth, so like all people who make things, I decided that it was the perfect time to make some things! Instead of working on anything super new, I decided to tackle my forgotten and neglected projects and finally finish them (like this raw silk River top). So it was time to take a big deep breath and just get on with it.
Turns out ISO is a great time to unpick things ;) So I did the thing we all hate – and unpicked my entire garment, pressed it again, cut out the lining and remade the whole thing. I had one further issue which was that when I was installing the facings originally I had graded back all my seams, which meant that I really didn’t have enough seam allowance to follow the original neckline and armscye size. So I have ended up with a slight wider neckline and bigger armscye than the original design, but I don’t think you can tell?
And since it was ISO and I wasn’t in a rush, I decided that to really do this fabric justice it needed a hand sewn slip stitch hem. I think the extra effort was really worth it for how nicely the hem hangs and the unbroken clean lines of silk with no visible stitching just really make me happy.
Sometimes when I’ve really had a rough time finishing a make I like to sit back and think about what I can learn from the experience (the pain needs to be worth it!!). For this make i think it really comes down to perseverance and believing in your vision. I’m so glad that I didn’t completely give up on this make and that I finally finished it – It’s become one of my favourite dresses!
Now seriously, please make me feel like I’m not crazy and tell me about your disaster makes. I need the company ;)