Ok, so I know I haven’t had many good things to say about sewing machines since I started this blog.  After a long break, I took sewing back up again as a hobby and to be a bit social (my work is quite solitary).  For this reason, and because I like the feeling of hand quilting, I haven’t been using my little old Janome back-and-forther.

This weekend I cracked.  First of all, I wanted to try American paper piecing because so many blocks of Gayle’s sampler quilt are made with this technique.  Second, my brother lent me the fourth season of Project Runway, and it brought back happy memories of costuming sew-ins.

Why did nobody tell me how good this show is?  It’s really technical, and I’ve been geeking out on it with my BF, pausing every half hour or so to fill him in on the machines they’re using, the horror of sewing denim, and the reasons why some of them struggle so with the time limit (Christian is SUCH a gifted cutter!).  But I’ll blog about that some other time.

So, anyway,I pulled out my machine.  First, little easy things.  Two headscarves and a patch on my jeans:

The dear BF assures me that this is a normal expression for me.  Ack.  He refused to take the picture again.

I ditched the zigzag on the second one.

Then, some paper piecing.  I LOVE this technique.  And after hand piecing, it does feel very fast 🙂

I had a little trouble with the first,

But I re-made it and all was (mostly) well from there.

Last item was a little less successful.  I thought that I would ease back in to clothes construction by finding a simple pattern, something I could master and re-use.  This one seemed to fit the bill nicely: a great work dress and a sun dress too.  I thought I’d make the simplest, View D, in a cheap pink jersey to see how I’d go, and maybe use that test as a nightie.

The packet says ‘easy’.  You can see it right there in the top right-hand corner.  This is meant as a joke.   It’s only easy because it’s completely un-alterable and so ugly it’s clearly not meant to be made.  Both of which points seem to me to be a little beside the point of making your own clothes.

You can make this pattern in a size 8, 10, 12, 14, 16 or 18.  But you’d better not deviate from that, because there are no adjustment lines (although the instructions do tell you to use them if you need to – wtf?), and the strange mock-wrap business happening at the front is very hard to alter.  I had to stick with a size 14 throughout, slash the back at the waist, and pray that adding 2″ to each bodice part would work.

Could that save this pattern?  I wish.  The design has raw edges intentionally left in places where you can’t see them (until they unravel, I suppose), and after three unpicks to fit the weirdly misshapen crossed bust (is that model a midget?, I turfed it.  It really is very ugly indeed.  Annoying to spend a day making something like this, but I’m not worried by it.  I’ve broken my machine sewing drought and I’ll spend more time choosing a decent pattern soon.  If anyone knows a good pattern for the same kind of dress, I’d love to hear about it.

Hmmmmm …. is it more ‘teenage mum of three’ or more ‘Barbie just gave up caring one day and hit the bottle’?