Like a fair majority of the sewing community I am a huge fan of Tilly and the Buttons, it was her ‘Love at First Stitch’ book that started me off on my sewing journey last year so when I heard her new book ‘Stretch’ was coming out I pre-ordered it and eagerly awaited its arrival, there are some lovely patterns in there, the Joni dress is actually one that I overlooked at first, nice as it is I wasn’t sure it was really my style but after seeing all the fabulous versions on Instagram I decided to give it a go.
I spent a day before a weekend away tracing all the pattern pieces and carefully cutting them out. I cut a size 4 my usual size for Tilly patterns and I already had some lovely polķadot viscose jersey in my stash from the Sewing Show earlier this year that I had been saving for that special project.
Refreshed after my weekend away I decided to spend a sunny Monday afternoon working on the dress.
I carefully cut around all the pattern pieces after deciding how best to lay them out on the fabric for minimal waste. At the time of cutting I did think the skirt waistline looked a little on the small side but I carried on regardless😢
It took be a couple of hours to sew the bodice together, there are techniques I haven’t used before – mainly adding the twist to the neckline and I wanted to take my time and get it right. The instructions are very good and I was pleased with the outcome. I have also gone for the flared sleeves which required a re-drafting of the original sleeve pattern, this is carefully explained and illustrated in the book and I think they make the dress look that extra bit special. Once the sleeves where added it was a case of sewing up the side seams. I then tried on the bodice for size and was really pleased with how it was looking.
Next up was sewing the front and back skirt pieces together, this is where my big mistake became very apparent! It was fairly obviously from just looking that the bodice waistline was much bigger than the skirt waistline😞 At first I couldn’t understand where I had gone wrong and wondered if I had cut out the wrong size? I took the pattern piece from the back of the book and opened it out to look again. This is when I realised my big mistake. When tracing the skirt pattern ( It is 1 piece for both front and back) I had left an edge of the pattern turned over which was 3 inches of the skirt which is ‘cut on fold’.
All in I was 12 inches short on the waistline which is a pretty big error to make (how did I not realize!) I had hardly any fabric left having only had 2 metres to start with ( the pattern suggests 2.3m) and having used extra for the flared sleeves.
After much frustration and almost throwing the whole project away I finally figured that I had just enough fabric to cut 1 skirt piece out but I would need to reduce the fullness of the piece to fit the fabric. I re-cut the skirt pattern piece to the right size and re-cut the fabric as best I could with the reduced fullness and a little bit shorter on the length.
I used this new piece for the front of the skirt and used the 2 originally pieces for the back so I now have a seam running down the centre back but amazingly it has worked and I have to say I am really pleased with how it looks. I don’t think the error is noticeable – the skirt section actually has more fabric at the back than at the front but unless I point it out I really don’t think anyone will know that it isn’t exactly as it should be. I actually love this dress style and will definitely be making another (correctly cut next time).
Definitely measure twice, cut once and if it doesn’t look right then it probably isn’t so always re-check if in doubt.
If mistakes are made then they can usually be corrected with a little thought, more fabric and some artistic licence.
Sometimes different styles will suit me so I should try and be a little more adventurous in my sewing rather than just sticking to a few tried and tested patterns.
Has anyone else made any silly sewing mistakes, if so did you manage to save the project?
The Joni Dress along with some other fabulous patterns can be found at the link below, for anyone wanting to have a go at sewing with stretch material I would highly recommend.
STRETCH! MAKE YOURSELF COMFORTABLE SEWING WITH KNIT FABRICS