Ride ’em cowboy! 

I have finally finished my V2960 vintage pattern and I’m ready to share. 

What an incredible learning curve it’s been. 

When the theme for our end of season party was announced as ‘Country and Western’ I knew immediately that I wanted to get hold of this fabric and make myself a dress. Deciding on the pattern took a bit longer. I love the 50’s look and was already in possession of the net under-skirt but I was looking for a pattern that had a hint of cowgirl. I found Vogue V2960 just about right. 

I say just about because the pattern has a button front that I’m not a fan of, so cue my first ever pattern hack. 

It’s been a while since I made a dress, what with moving house and life, so I really enjoyed preparing the pattern pieces, marking the stitching lines and getting everything ready. I decided to make a muslin to check fit as the fabric was quite expensive now that I’m a part time worker so I didn’t want to waste any. In actual fact the bodice hardly needed any adjustment but I was so focused on that that I failed to spot a more fundamental error that had bigger consequences later. 

I went ahead with the bodice, using up old scraps to make the facing. I had a bit of trouble getting the facing to fit accurately – another clue to my niggling issue that I failed to take heed of. 

Next I tackled the skirt. It was clear that the vintage 50’s pattern needed WAY more fabric than I had so, another first, I drafted my own patern pieces to make the biggest circumference I could round the bottom of the dress. I managed to get six lengths from my remaining fabric so did the maths and made a six panelled skirt that fitted the waist size of the bodice. Success. 

But this is where my earlier mistakes came back to bite me on the bum. When I tried the dress on there was a massive issue with the fit on the arm holes. It appeared I had attached the back pieces of my bodice to the wrong sides! 

After several days ignoring the problem and mulling it over I decided there was no option but to unpick the whole thing and change them round. So that’s what I did. I learnt that unpicking isn’t as awful as you expect and it actually only took one afternoon to unpick and re stitch the entire dress. 

I took my time hand stitching the bodice together around the shoulders and, although I’m not the worlds neatest hand stitcher, I’m pretty pleased with the finish. 

I traced the original issue back to an incorrect marking on my muslin, so of course the fit now needed some adjustment which I took care of when reinserting the zip. After adding a hook and eye and hemming the skirt it’s finally ready. 

It’s far from perfect but I thought I’d share for all the other intermediate sewers like me out there. I am always inspired and in awe of other sewing bloggers, but occasionally a little intimidated. 

I hope you like it. I’m certainly looking forward to wearing it later in the year. 


Swing Night Success

So I’ve been making my Sew-la-do-da Blitz dress for an upcoming special occasion and that was last night. I actually finished the dress a couple of weeks ago, but have been so busy with the festival that there just hasn’t been an opportunity to put it on for a photo.

I’m pleased with the fit after adjusting the paper pattern on my dress form and it’s my best invisible zip to date. I like the length of it and the bodice  lining  makes it a pleasure to wear. I’ve already blogged about my difficulties in getting the collar right, but I have to confess to finding the pattern instructions difficult to follow at times, which slowed me up a bit. Although photos can be helpful, the black and white images with plain calico fabric used in the example only served to confuse me more than help. Also, if I make this again I’ll attach the lining to the bodice differently. I think I’d have preferred to hand stitch the lining at the centre front, I think it would help it sit better on the neck line.

However, I’m really pleased with finished dress and enjoyed wearing it while cooking potatoes for 100 guests last night. It was comfortable and easy to wear that received many positive compliments. (I even wore it to go to the Musician Pub afterwards to see my son’s band Dig Lazarus (@Dig_Lazarus) WIN the Original Bands Showcase.)

Will I make another? I’m not sure. It’s not my usual style but I did enjoy wearing it. What would you do?

One Hour Session

I managed to fit another quick session in on my Sew La-Di-Da Blitz dress today. I gave myself an hour of sewing and just managed to get the zip in during that time.

The instructions suggested getting a friend to fit and pin the dress in order to stitch the seam with a long basting stitch, press then unpick to get the crease as a guide to insert the zip. My only deviation was to use the body form instead of asking my husband to stick pins in me!

This was the second new fitting technique I’ve used on this project. First I adjusted the paper pattern after pinning it together on my dress form. I then checked the measurements on my form before pinning then sewing this dress. Even though I double and triple checked the measurements (luckily I’ve lost a bit of weight so it’s changing in the right direction!) I still wasn’t sure the fit would be right.

And so onto sewing the zip. Zips don’t frighten me, but I wouldn’t say I was anywhere near an expert level. I can get ’em in, but just don’t look too closely. Actually, this one today was my biggest successes so far. Don’t get me wrong, the waist isn’t perfectly lined up and the anchoring at the base is a little messy, but it went in first time and does up! Result.

So finally I tried it on. Not bad. If anything, it’s slightly on the large side, but not enough to start unpicking and re-sewing. My issue is a larger belly, so to take the top in would show off the weight I still need to loose. There are still the sleeves to sew and the lining to add, so not all of the excess material will be part of the final dress. Add to that it’s not really my style of dress, so I’m not sure how much wear it’s going to get after the 1940s event I’m making it for…

Onto the sleeves next. See you soon.


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So, I was back at the machine with renewed enthusiasm to try and get this collar sorted. Usually on these occasions a fresh start is all it needs, but it just wasn’t happening for me again! 

After 2 attempts to get it right yesterday I added another three to my tally today. 

I just don’t know what my problem was: they were either the wrong way round or upside down. Eventually I hit on the idea of writing ‘top’ on the pattern and all the pieces. Helpfully (or not) the top of the collar (I.e the bit highest up when sewing) is at the bottom of the pattern piece if you turn it upside down. Perhaps the overall issue was with my spacial awareness!

Whatever, that didn’t work either because I finally realised I needed to sew the bottom of the collar not the top and , hey presto, it worked. Talk about a learning curve – and I’m still not sure I could do it again. I wouldn’t mind, but it’s not the first ever collar I’ve done. I had no problems with my shirt patterns previously. 

However, onwards and upwards. At least I can be getting on with the rest of the dress now. I’ll keep you posted.