The Not Beige Experiment | Veronica Darling
Fabric: Red Cotton Drill type stuff, $4 a metre from Lincraft, but joined the stash 2009
Patterns: Simplicity 8189, 50c
Year: c. 1977
Notions: Vintage Buttons, free, Handmedowns from a friend's Granny's stash
Time to complete: 4 hours
First worn: March 2011
Wear again? Yes! I think it's really fun and practical!
Total Cost: ~$8.50
My sewing pattern stash is varied and kinda large, and if you took a peek, you'd pick up at least 20 patterns and push them in my face and ask, 'WHY? Why keep this awful thing!?' and then we'd laugh and laugh. My friends and family give me a lot of leftover or random patterns and I have bought some weird patterns from the op shop, just because they're strange or different or 'just in case' I need to make something with a funny puffy forearm sleeve thing. As I haven't yet drafted any of my own patterns, I do feel the need to hang onto these weird patterns until I learn how to do it myself!
For this week's Sew Weekly theme, I took about 20 of these funny & ugly patterns and asked Husbie which ones he hated the most. He found 3 of the worst ones, shuddering and feeling sick after choosing them! I settled on this Simplicity (E.S.P standing for Extra Sure Pattern – and it's a VERY good first sewing pattern FYI! Heaps of instructions!) because my first thought was, 'I bet this could look great in anything but beige'. My 'Not Beige' colour at hand was this red cotton drill fabric, that I got heaps of because it was cheap when I made a friend a mini dress a few years back.
Everything was straightforward enough, as the pattern cover says, the E.S.P part makes you go slowly, and 'extra sure' that things will work out. I resized the skirt before cutting, about 2 inches for my height, then travelled along the instructions with 'extra sure' care, and determined to do everything just like it said.
I took the time to double top stitch the front panel, back panel, shoulder straps and waistbands, as the pattern told me and at the time I felt like pulling my hair out! But I'm pleased with how professional it looks now, and it's very sturdy I guess!
For this dress isn't lined, and made from thicker cotton drill, I decided to overlock all the edges, but use the straight stitch for the seams, and iron the overlocked seams flat. Once again, reading through the Sewing Circle discussions, I noticed you guys were chatting about Seam Finishing, and thought I'd make the call when the fabric demands it. This thicker fabric really loves being ironed and looks superb with the top stitching. If I'd overlocked everything, it may have not ironed out as smoothly, and the little old overlocker might not have liked so much bulk to chop up as well.
YES, how much have I learnt this year already from you guys already! YAY! But I don't know if you noticed, but I just wrote a sentence about how cotton fabric 'likes being ironed'… I *am* a true seamstress these days! LOL!
Once I'd sewn everything together apart from the buttons and button holes, I tried it on (as best I could) and it looked AWFUL. The brighter colour still didn't make it look nice, and even though I'd resized the skirt, it was still almost to my ankles! It was extreme modest dressing, and I felt very dowdy.
Luckily I slept on it, and with Husbie's advice to cut it short and to add black buttons, I'm super happy with the transformation of my Not Beige Experiment! Perhaps that's a rule to test, if a pattern cover is in beige, choosing Not Beige fabric could make it wonderful?
If you can see in the smaller photo of the pattern (above near the 'facts), the back of the packet shows the layout of the dress, so it's pretty much a wrap dress! One waistband loops through one side to button up so the back skirt pieces are double layered.
I really love the larger black buttons, the shape of the (much shorter than the pattern) skirt and of course the pockets! Everytime I make something with pockets I get so excited!
Just to add, the white shirt isn't handmade, unfortunately, and I stole the 'top button done up' look from my friend who wears cute tunics all the time over shirts like these! It's a light cotton stretch material FYI, and if I had the time, I would have tried to make my own undershirt. Perhaps next time! This pattern was only for the tunic afterall!
And here's my pattern re-enactment!