Tuesday, February 25, 2014

UFO's, and the good, the bad and the ugly!

I have a few sewing projects on the go so my UFO collection is, well, expanding.  It would appear that I am expanding too, because I have had some annoying "fitting" issues.  The sewing bug-bear I have is that I have discovered that the amount of time and care spent on the construction and finishing is exactly disproportionate to how much I like the end result. 

Bad: made me mad.
Exhibit A: 
Description: short sleeved top with bust darts and centre back seam.  Minor adjustment made by inserting two slim darts in back to remove excess baggage fabric.  Made from polycotton mix, found in an op shop.  Pattern New Look easy two hour top with neckline variations.

Diagnosis: the problem with this top is that it is slightly too small across the bust and shoulders.  I wanted to tuck it into the waist of the skirt to give a nice silhouette.  It kept coming out.  Getting wrinkled.  However, on the bright side the upper back is possibly the best fit I have ever achieved and the neckline sits very neatly. 

Prognosis: will be worn from time to time, but with a cardigan over the top. 

Here is my cheery cherries top, made from the same pattern:
Badder: made me madder, borderline ugly. Actually I am hating the top right photo.  
Description: pattern same as Exhibit A, made from fabric from Lincraft - a very light cotton.  

Diagnosis: The neck line and front does not sit nicely.  Honestly, the fabric choice was the beginning and the end of the problems with this top.  I opted to use bias binding around the neck because I did not want the pattern to show through if I used the fabric to do the facing, and I thought that white facings would be too stark.  Additionally, the fabric is so thin I had to wear a singlet underneath and although it was fine cotton it felt like it "grabbed" at the top all the time! 

This time I scaled up to what I thought would be a size 16.  I hoped that this would solve the shoulder bust problem and it is a little roomier than the turquoise polka dot version.  The sleeves are much more comfortable. I can almost put my arms out in front of me without worrying about ripping the seams. 

Remedy: will attempt a white cotton facing around the neckline to resolve the neck problem.  Need to wear a nude coloured camisole not a cotton singlet underneath.

Okay, now for something a bit different.  
One day while browsing at the Bond Street Hospice Shop I spied at the back, behind the counter something made of the most gorgeous fabric.  One quick look and it was identified as a cross-over house coat made from 1950s cotton fabric.  I can't remember what I paid for it, but I have blogged about it briefly ages ago.  Anyway, it is now a UFO.  I want to convert it from a house coat to a dress:
Beautiful rose print vintage house coat with wrap front, wide collar and pocket

These three photos are an attempt to show you the original sewing (top right) the cross-over front and wide collar (left) and the pocket detail (bottom right)  the placket is on an angle, not straight and this can be seen better in the left hand photo.  I would like to convert it to a dress, so in the weekend I started by unpicking the facing of the collar which is in two pieces and very similar to a traditional kimono design.  (I have unpicked a kimono and its really fascinating how they are constructed). 

In it's current form, it is not really a UFO - it is not yet altered so it is not yet unfinished.  In my opinion it is beautiful, but not practical. I am a tiny bit nervous altering it, because I might ruin it.  On the other hand it was simply made (there aren't any clippings in the sleeves for example so it could be unpicked completely).  

Any thoughts?  Suggestions?  Advice?  Is there a support group for disillusioned sewers?  


  1. That rose print fabric is beautiful - I'm sure you can make something lovely out of it. I have the same thing with knitting though - weeks of effort, only to put something on and have Mr A-P say 'Ah...bingo wings'. (The offending cardi is now half of a stripey blanket - no fitting issues there).

  2. If I'm looking at the photo right, it's like a robe? With no closures? You might need help with fitting this: put it on, figure out where on the inside you want it to close, at the waist add a tie, then on the outside waist add a large hook and bar. That should make it easier to alter the front (which you want to close?) Mark down from the waist about 6-7 inches, like a shirt opens. Under the opening sew it closed as much as you what. Mark from the bust wrap enough buttonholes to look right and sew some pretty buttons on. If you can't make buttonholes(I don't know your skill level) sew medium size snaps, the sew buttons on the outside. Geez, I hope that makes sense!

  3. Oh I am no use whatsoever for sewing help, I'm afraid. I am in awe of all your wonderful seamstresses out there in Blogland, whipping up blouses and dresses in e blink of an eye. In a way, it's comforting to know everything you make isn't easy or perfect!
    The tops look great, even if there are elements you aren't satisfied with, and the rose print of the house coat is beautiful. Hope you succeed in making it wearable as a dress. Could it just be worn as a top layer, over a camisole and petticoat, so you aren't caught flashing more than you want to?! xxxx

  4. You know it's heartening for me to hear that you still strike UFO's in your sewing adventures. I wonder if I'll ever really get the hang of it. Doesn't help when you're a perfectionist, & my sewing is far from perfect! I altered a dress today....you would be proud! I love the first top. And I can't wait to see what you do with the dress. Xx

  5. Don't get me started on UFOs! My mending/remaking baskets have more clothes than my actual wardrobe. But I think I really need that flowery fabric.

  6. If you find a support group, please let me know. I've got some fine hand sewing to do on an otherwise perfect vintage kimono and I'm feeling rather nervous about that. I agree, the construction of kimono is incredible! I love the cherry fabric, I've been through this problem so often that I've given up on tops. I'm ok with pants, specifically the 70s flares pattern Tamera sent me - two pairs and counting. I guess that means I'll be sticking with trusted patterns. Don't give up! xoxo


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