Baby Steps, Baby Steps

For any of you who hadn’t picked up on this, my recent make of the Cambie Dress was what’s known as a diversionary tactic. I was scared of continuing with my make of the V4934 without Sunny Gal by my side.

Like all good teachers, Beth knows when to give a gentle prod. ‘How’s the dress coming along?’ she emailed. And like the good student that I am, I snapped to attention. There was no avoiding it – progress alone was the next step.

So today I began, taking on board all the lessons that I learnt in San Francisco along with a few extra encouraging words from Beth.

For the first time in my sewing career, I am using tailor’s tacks.

I am marking the wrong side of my fabric with a nice big fat cross in chalk, so that I don’t forget which is the wrong side.

This is very special chalk, gifted to me by Beth. It’s White Wax Tailor’s Chalk that melts away when an iron is applied. UPDATE: This chalk won’t work on all fabrics. In particular, be wary of using it on silk, satin or polyester.

It’s so, so clever. I’d share a snap of the fabric with a disappeared chalk mark, but that picture is up there with ‘Most Boring Sewing Blog Photo Ever’. This stuff is truly wonderful and clever, though. If you’re interested in buying some of your own, I found an Ebay link here.

I’ve traced wax dots onto silk organza for the placement of the SIX darts involved in this skirt. And did I mention the supplementary gathers? Yet, the final result will be a fairly simple pencil silhouette – intriguing.

And, finally, I’m hand basting silk organza underlining to the fashion fabric.

I was tempted to complete this step on my lap in front of the TV last evening, but then I heard Beth’s voice ringing in my ears: ‘Work on the flat, Karen!’ And to be honest, you really need good light for this type of work. By good light, I mean daylight.

I’m not going to rush this make. If a job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well.

Baby steps, baby steps.

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21 Responses to Baby Steps, Baby Steps

  1. Wendy says:

    Hi Karen, I’m intrigued by the wax chalk. When it melts does it leave traces on your iron? Tailors tacks are something I was taught at school (yes, in the olden days :)) but haven’t used since.
    Looking forward to seeing more of this project, the fabric colour is gorgeous!

  2. I must say that wax chalk is something I haven’t encountered. Sounds like amazing stuff!

  3. Your baby steps have taken you so far already. Me? I am afraid of tackeling the Cambie dess (although I’ve cut it out) and am procrastinating with sewing for the kids that does not involve fitting apart from ajusting the elastic for the waist band. I am in awe of your skills, really.

  4. Joanne says:

    uh oh just bought the chalk – didn;t even think about it. Love the phrase ‘work on the flat karen!’ – it will ring through my head every time I try to do something on my lap!

  5. Jane says:

    I was taught tailors tacks at school and in my grow up sewing class but disbanded them as soon as I was left to me own devices! I know they’re the right thing to do but I’m just too lazy. I still mark the wrong side of fabric with a cross though, so at least that one’s stayed with me. Oh yes, and I’ve just bought the chalk too! Keep up the excellent baby steps Karen. x

  6. There is sometimes time & place for tailor tacks, it’s true. Even I do them sometimes. That is going to be one special dress ….

  7. Maryom says:

    This looks like one of those projects that takes more time in the preparation than in the actual making up! I had tailors’ tacks drummed into me at school and still use them in preference to normal tailors’ chalk, which I find rubs off too easily. I’ll have to check out the wax chalk as it sounds like an improvement. Good luck with this project – taking care now should mean it all comes together easily.

  8. Shivani says:

    For me, these posts are more exciting than The Bridge (or whatever it is we’re supposed to be watching). I can’t wait to see how it turns out, and I love all these tips along the way. That fabric is too delicious!

    • Ha, ha! True confession time: I have no idea what The Bridge is. What a nice thing to say, Shivani. I do have a weakness for blogging about the journey of a big make!

  9. Neeno says:

    Thanks for sharing the link to the chalk 🙂
    Can’t wait to see the dress 😀

  10. Elizabeth says:

    Can’t wait to see it all finished. You’ll never be sorry you learned the proper way from a very experienced professional.

  11. gingermakes says:

    Wow, this dress is going to be amazing! It’s so fun to hear your tips and your process!

  12. Heather from Canada says:

    Hi Karen, thanks for the tip on the wax, I just bought some. Would you mind sharing a picture of the adjusted pattern pieces, pretty please?? I have loads of vintage patterns and I’d like to see how a professional adjusted them for you. Thanks a bunch!

  13. Evelyne says:

    Tailors tacks was my job when my mum was making me clothes. I always do tailors tacks – I love this part of sewing – takes time, but worth it!!

  14. Carolyn says:

    Can I also add that taking the time now will make the final dress absolutely amazing! I love the process posts so please keep sharing them with us!

  15. Thanks for the great tips, and for reinforcing the importance of tailor’s tacks. I’ve really been wanting to force myself to try them, so this might be the kick in the butt I needed. Can’t wait to see the finished product!

  16. Amy says:

    Baby steps has been my motto for a long time. Ever since I fell in love with the movie “What about Bob?” I’m glad you’re keeping Beth’s voice in your head as you finish your project. Before you know it, her good lessons will be second nature to you!

  17. Tilly says:

    Wow, your sewing is becoming so professional, Karen. I’m far too lazy for tailors tacks, I’ve only used them a few times and much prefer washable felt pen or chalk for really dark fabrics. That really does look like beautiful fabric though, far too beautiful for felt pen! xx

  18. Bold Sewist says:

    Oh I’m so looking forward to this dress revealed! Even your tailor’s tacks look beautiful!

  19. symondezyn says:

    It is such wise advice… I used to rush things trying to get to that coveted finished product but there’s no doubt the finished product is that much better – and more satisfying – when you take baby steps to get there.

    Your skirt sounds amazing, and I’m sure it will be something you really treasure when it’s done! 🙂

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