You Must Really Hate Your Readers

Someone asked me recently if I ever have sewing disasters. ‘Hell, yeah!’ is the short response. The longer response involves me spending hours of my life sewing a skirt and blouse to prove on this blog that disasters are all par for the course. What type of martyr am I?!!!

Okay, not quite disasters – but certainly disappointments. The skirt’s fine – I know I’ll get some wear of it going into the office. But the fabric proved disappointing. It’s polyester, rather than wool, which means I can chuck it in the washing machine. But… Well, you all know how fond I’ve become of wool. If you want to make a similair skirt in better fabric, I used the pattern pieces from my Gertie Bombshell Dress. (It’s a Burda pattern: Burda 5/2011 Bustier dress.)

Sewing with tartan… If you suffer from any form of OCD, don’t touch tartan with a barge pole. You become absolutely obsessed with lining up all the stripes and squares. You can’t do this perfectly, it’s just impossible. As if to prove my point, one of the stripes on my skirt is interrupted by a waist dart so that I can see this displeasing lack of alignment every single time I pull the skirt on.

Moving on! The Taffy blouse. Ah, the Taffy blouse. Chewing on a mountain of toffee would have given me less head stress than the clenched jaws involved in this make. Now, don’t get me wrong. The basic shell is lovely and I would really like to use it in an adapted make. But if any of you are considering making your own bias binding for the FIVE METRES OF BINDING that are required on this make, I beg you to think again. I spent half a day making my own binding from the grey satin, and attaching the binding to the sleeves. What a big fat mess that was. Truly. See?

Shoddy binding with random badly placed seams!

I painstakingly undid all the binding and… No, I didn’t! What, are you crazy?! I lopped off my bound sleeve hems with some scissors and started again with some shop-bought contrast binding tape.

Look into my eyes. Buy bias binding. Do not make it. Buy bias binding. Do not make it

If you are making the Taffy blouse I urge you not to skip the step of making notches. They are really important with something cut on the bias because bias cut seams will stretch like you wouldn’t believe and you’ll need to know what goes where.

I made a very quick toile of the main body to check fit. Mine is a size 6, which is spot on to my bust measurement (36″). It was nowhere near my waist measurement, which should have taken me up to a size 10, but I didn’t worry about that as I knew there’d be give in the bias. It fit absolutely fine, though is more suited to wear with skirts than over jeans.

I didn’t add the waist ties. I’m the type of person who walks out of public bathrooms with toilet roll stuck to the heel of her shoe. I knew that waist ties coming loose were begging for my blouse to start looking messy on me.

A lot of effort went into this make, we can agree. So it’s a shame I think it looks absolutely awful on me! Mutton dressed as lamb. My boyfriend agrees. But I can’t let this blouse go to waste, so if anyone wants it, I’m happy to give it away. It’s cut to a size 6 – 36″ chest, 28″ waist, 38″ hips. I’ll impose a deadline – say, Wednesday 1 February midnight GMT – but a deadline assumes anyone will want it. Don’t worry, I won’t be offended if you politely decline!

As I said earlier, I like the shell. But if I’m going to make this again, I definitely need to draft a new sleeve treatment. Good job I’m on a pattern making course, then! I’d also make the back neckline less scooped and widen the shoulders.

So, there we have it.  I told my boyfriend I’d decided to give the blouse away.

‘Give it away?’ he asked in a surprised tone of voice. Pause. ‘You must really hate your readers.’

You’ve gotta laugh, or you’d cry!

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36 Responses to You Must Really Hate Your Readers

  1. Maxi says:

    Classic! At least he gives you his honest opinion I suppose lol. Ps – saw your article in Sewing World, love the dress :)

  2. Dibs says:

    lol. You just have to love men who say what they honestly think.

  3. ooobop! says:

    Lol!!! What would we do without the critique of our loved ones?! I am fast learning the pitfalls of cheap fabric. I’ve just invested a lot of time into making something unwearable because I scrimped but hey ho… wont be doing it again in a hurry! I’m not bagsying the top… not because I don’t like it. Just not a fan of the caped sleeve. I’m sure whoever wins this will be delighted with your beautiful handiwork.

  4. Ack! I’m doing the Colette sewalong and the Taffy shirt is the project I am dreading. Your post did not ease my dread. ;) But I will listen and buy the bias binding.

  5. Karen, what would the world be if we couldn’t share our disappointments & make light of them? I actually like the sleeves (not the prospect of so much bias binding however!), & whilst I know what you mean about tartan-OCD, remember that it’s you that knows (oh, & your gazillion blog readers – ooops!)
    Most of all, thank you for making me laugh – again – when you started to talk about being the one that leaves the ladies with loo roll stuck to your shoe, think, it could be worse – it could be hanging out of your knickers!

  6. woolmix says:

    Goodness, if this is the bad, I can’t ever show anything I’ve attempted. I think the Taffy blouse is lovely, but not sure that the hot pink would go with red hair. I am slowly mastering the sewing machine, and working up to a Taffy, via Sorbetto. Will heed advice and buy in the bias biding.

  7. Marie says:

    Haha, that is exactly the sort of thing my boyfriend would say to me in his brutally honest way! Mine never seems to be able to tell when what I’ve made is finished – LOL! I agree that making your own bias binding can be a pain, especially large quantities and slippery fabric…shop-bought is sooooo much easier ;o)

  8. Rachel says:

    Oh, but I love it! I made one the other day from pale blue chiffon…which is completely see through. But I did use bias binding and it still took me forever! I will DEFINITELY have it if no one else wants it! And be conforted byt he fact that the rest of your sewing is amazing (:

  9. Claire says:

    I like it too! Of course, I’m sitting in a window seat and the bright sun makes it difficult to see anything on my laptop screen…. but ignorance is bliss! I was thinking of making the Taffy soon. I’m a 36″ too, so this would be a serendipitous chance to size it up.

  10. Reethi says:

    For what it’s worth, looking at your blouse, I think it’s the contrast bias binding that “makes it younger”, not the fluttery sleeve… And yeah, families/loved ones – it’s a good thing we already love them, else we’d want to throw something at them, no?

  11. leahfranqui says:

    Heh, well, at least he’s candid, right? That’s…some comfort, I suppose. I honestly like this skirt quite a bit, and I like the top, really, but I understand, it has to make you feel good, it doesn’t matter what we out here think.

    I think the trick with tartan or any plaid is just to cut the waistband on the bias and then you avoid that pesky “match this stupid seam” issue and you have the added bonus of a neat “design element”. Also, you have a stretchy waistband. Which is awesome.

  12. Rachel says:

    So funny – I immediately showed my boy your outfit and said ‘I love it! I want it!’ without reading anything first. I will definitely put my hand up for the blouse – it is gorgeous. You are very generous. Will you make it again? It really does suit you, especially with that skirt.

  13. Judith says:

    I am more of a ‘shirt out’ wearer as opposed to tucking my tops in – those days are long gone for me!!! So the skirt dart wouldn’t worry me at all – what the world can’t see won’t hurt them…

  14. Lauren says:

    Ohhhhhh I hate matching stripes. I usually end up cutting half of my pieces on the bias just to avoid having to match. Of course, bias stretches like nobodies business. Er, you win some, you lose some.

    I want to make the Taffy but I am terrified of the sleeves making me look younger than I already do.

  15. Felicity from Down Under says:

    I’d support the suggestion of doing the waistband on the bias; and if I were making a skirt with such a wide plaid, I might also give some thought to lining things up in such a way as to have the darts further from the broad stripe (it might not be possible in the end, as you seem not to have done so; and I imagine you tried). All the same, a blouse worn out rather than tucked in or a jumper over the top will hide that particular feature so what’s to worry about?

    The Taffy is pretty, even if you’re not convinced by it. Or your boyfriend either (gotta love the honesty!). However, how you feel about a garment is the ultimate test and if you’re not happy with it, then you wouldn’t wear it. But though I could see it being useful for my work environment, it wouldn’t fit me; so don’t include me in your generous giveaway.

  16. MrsC says:

    I love this outfit on you but it was slightly disturbing me and when I read your words I got it. It’s matchy matchy. Like a stage costume or a book illustration. Sounds like a fantastic idea, but doesn’t work in practice! This is the Curse of Sewing – you don’t get to try things on first!
    All of us need to remember the important Code: Just Because We Can, Doesn’t Mean We Should. And this is what quilting is for btw, so we can let out all of our OTT desires and matchiness into an innocent cushion cover or quilt that will truly appreciate them.
    Sorry to be such a tease, but I am speaking from many experiences of “Do I bin it, give it away, or bury it in the garden?” myself and this one isn’t anywhere near as bad as some we have seen!

    • Yes, good points about match overload. You live and learn!

      • LinB says:

        I think that, had you added yet another matching element, you could have redeemed this outfit. A trench coat in either the grey or the tartan would have disguised both the “faults” in your sewing (really, you are too self-critical!) and the “mutton dressed as lamb” factor.

  17. janine says:

    I tried to make bias binding and I couldn`t even cut out a perfect 10cm square to start with – that should have been the first warning. But then I noticed that the tutorial showing how to make bias binding was just using plain cotton and not slippery shiny fabric so I gave up.

  18. its nice to know even the best sewist had off days…
    I think the styling is good… I ignored the bias completely and so glad i did as everyone is having loads of issues with it…

    • Yes, a rolled hem on the overlocker would be a good other option.

      • LinB says:

        Or lace! Serge the edge and then apply lace. I adore self-made bias binding, and make it from any-sized rectangles (a square is merely a special sort of rectangle, after all). I think that Threads magazine had an article several years ago on constructing bias tubes for garments that illustrates the method. I don’t make it of slippery fabrics, or of any that cannot be steam pressed quite aggressively. I usually set two pins aslant in my ironing board pad, and pull the tape through them so that it “tunnels” the sides to the middle, and press it, for double-fold binding.

  19. Paola says:

    Hmm. Thanks for the food for thought with this post. I’ve been eyeing the Taffy, because the fluttery sleeve will deal with the heavy upper arm situation I have going on, and I have a nice piece of silk to make it in – but being in my 40s is the style too juvenile? I’m a bit hesitant with Colette Patterns, much as I like them, for this reason.

  20. Clio says:

    Oh, see you’re brave to even TRY to match up the tartan. The only thing that works for me with any kind of stripe is to deliberately not match it in the hope that it looks like it’s supposed to be that way. LOL.

  21. oonaballoona says:

    i’mdeclining. i’m going to say, because it’s black.

    that taffy is a killer. I had to add neckline darts (is that what they’re called?) and I just serged the edges.

    (your man is hilarious.)

  22. Gabrielle says:

    I actually really like your Taffy blouse, and it would fit me! I would love to become its proud owner if you feel like spending a ot of money on postage to Australia …

  23. I’m with you about making your own bias tape. Unless it’s cotton, forget it!

  24. Hannah Jean says:

    Are you kidding me? I love the blouse. Are the measurements you gave the finished garment measurements or the wearer measurements? If it’s the latter I’d love to get a package in the mail. :)

  25. Karine says:

    Hello karen !
    I’ve been lurking for months, and here I am, showing up to participate to the giveaway ! This is a nice blouse and very precious for all the time you spent on it !

  26. I’ll take that lovely shirt if you’re willing to mail to the US. :-) The colors go very well together, I think.

  27. Jo says:

    I have been looking at this blouse in the Colette book and wondering! I love the look of it and would be proud to wear it – count me in.

  28. I really like the blouse and skirt on you. Better than the sweater. But you have to be comfortable in it : )

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