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The Almost Disaster Floreat Dress

The almost a disaster dress | Megan Nielsen Floreat dress made from designer remnant silk

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.

Silk Floreat dress by Megan Nielsen Patterns

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.

Megan Nielsen Floreat dress made from designer remnant silk

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.

The almost a disaster dress

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 ;)

About Author

Meg is the Founder and Creative Director of Megan Nielsen Patterns, and is constantly dreaming up ideas for new sewing patterns and ways to make your sewing journey more enjoyable! She gets really excited about design details and is always trying to add way too many variations to our patterns.

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Emily Franklin
Emily Franklin
1 year ago

Looks awesome!! Despite the blood, sweat and tears ? no bloodstains visible to me!

Here’s my most recent fail turned success.
I had planned a self-drafted tulle top and made a toile using cheap tulle and got to the point where I was ready to cut into the nice black tulle with velvet polka dots.
Then I think I had one instance of my machine eating the fabric and other distractions (getting engaged…making bridesmaid dresses!) that I put it away for about a year.

I picked it up again a few months ago and decided to change the pattern because the sleeves weren’t right. Cut it out and sewed the French seams…..neckline was way too big for a collar because the new top pattern I used had a wider neck ughhhhhhhhhh.
So I unpicked it all and cut new front/back based on my old pattern and sewed it up.
Not quite finished but I wore it to work today!!!

Susan
Susan
1 year ago

I LOVE the fabric and appreciate your sharing as I am currently quit stuck myself. Beautiful! Thanks!

Kathleen Ann Coulter
Kathleen Ann Coulter
1 year ago

I think this dress is beautiful! The fabric is amazing. I only saw a water color painting and no blood!
Did you hem the lining with the hem facing your body or the face fabric? I sometimes face the hem to the back of the face fabric and do an extra deep hem on both face and lining so the garment can be reversible.
My most recent disaster was on a linen jacket that I made. All the contrasting topstitching was completed. Somehow, when I was trimming stray threads, I managed to cut a hole in the front edge near the collar! After having a big pout I pulled out some ribbon in the topstitching color and added an accent to both the front and one pocket. Saved!

James Goacher
James Goacher
1 year ago

I am a fella of several years, no need to hide, and apart from the funny shape :-) looked OK to me.Looked similar to my favour shirts front.

Marilin
Marilin
1 year ago

Blood? That is so sad, what beautiful material, and you created a stunner to boot!

Mary Creighton
Mary Creighton
1 year ago

I didn’t see the print as blood, but in the tiny thumbnail in my email, it came across as cowhide! So of course I had to come here and read your story. The print is actually quite lovely and not at all like cowhide!

My most recent disaster was a cotton/linen Fibre Mood Norma blouse. I somehow managed to print out the pattern using the wrong scale. It looked right and I went ahead and cut it out adding an inch to the body length but the rest I left as is. It ended up too small at the hips. I spent quite a bit of time matching the patten and cut strips that tapered up to the sleeve with slits at the hem. It was slow going and still, I ended up putting them in on the wrong sides.I also cut the cuff too small, too. I can wear it but it’s just a little tighter than it should be. I’m sure no one else will notice but I may have to go back and rip those out and redo them for my sake. Just not yet…

Jenni
Jenni
1 year ago

Hi Meg, I have a LARGE bag of things that are not quite finished for some reason or other.
I am about to line my Floreat dress, also! Did you cut the whole dress out of the lining or did you use some other magic?

Michelle Freudiger
Michelle Freudiger
1 year ago

Hi Meg

Thanks so much for this blog post. It is exactly what I needed right now as I feel like every project I sew at the moment is a disaster. I think I can mostly attribute this to my own lack of concentration. What I am realizing is that I really need to be in the right space for sewing and take my time. I am still relatively new to sewing garments and have only recently attempted Advanced beginner / intermediate projects.

I won’t even bore everyone with all the gory details …. I think what is important is that I don’t give up and knowing that this happens to everyone and is almost a “right of passage” is very helpful.

Elizabeth Pinna
Elizabeth Pinna
1 year ago

This is what often happens to me when I sew anything other than simple garments. But like Megan I push on with the garment, sometimes putting the garment aside to sew something else and then come back to it later – sometimes years or months later LOL.
The fabric chosen for this dress without waist definition shows me that I also can wear a dress like this, and hopefully it will look OK on me – so long as I chose a fabric with an unusual big and bold print. I have a similar figure to Megan.