More Dressmaking Fails & French Knitting

This week in dressmaking class, I was attaching the sleeves and oh my goodness what a nightmare I found it! I’m hoping that by sharing my issues, if/when you make clothes, you’ll find it a little easier.

The sleeve edge turned out to be a lot longer than the bodice edge I was attaching it to, which is apparently deliberate! My lovely teacher showed me how to “ease stitch” it, which is something I’d never heard of and the pattern didn’t mention, even though it is NewLook, a very reputable pattern brand. Ease stitch means pulling out a couple of stitches on the longer fabric, and pulling the thread until the fabric curls up enough to fit the other piece of fabric.

The idea with ease stitch is that the fabric curls at the edge rather than being puckered into the garment when being machine stitched. Easier said than done!

Another mess! Top tips: Before you machine sew your sleeve to your bodice, don’t just press the middle seams out; pin it right down the seam to keep it in place. Also, as you go along, keep making sure the fabric is all nice and flat underneath. This is really hard to do! I had to unpick so many times due to puckering that I could have cried!

Due to a mental health issue, I find it hard to keep my environment tidy, which means I spend half my sewing time looking for things, which slows me down even more. It is so frustrating when you feel like you should be further along in your progress and everyone else on the course is steaming ahead.

But I am determined to finish this course and finish this dress and I am doing my best to stay organised and work as hard as I can and learn as much as I can. Esme and Patrick from Sewing Bee probably wouldn’t be impressed with it when it’s finally done, but it’ll be the first dress I’ve ever made and it will be mine and I will keep it for a long time.

Oh, and another dressmaking fail, layering my seam! But is it really a fail?

You’re supposed to snip the *lining* side to make the seam lie flatter. Not the pattern side! I was panicking before class that I’d have to do that whole sleeve again, so imagine my relief when the teacher said it wasn’t a big deal! She said she just snips the edges of both pieces of fabric and doesn’t layer the seams! PHEW šŸ™‚

You might have seen my post on Instagram about French Knitting.

I have found it a really good way to relax after an intense dressmaking session and do something simple but still enjoyable with textiles.

Excuse the video dumps! But here is the best tutorial I found on how to do French Knitting:

I have no idea what I am going to use my French Knitting for yet; maybe to tie gift tags to presents? But sometimes it’s good to just do something repetitive for a little while whether it’s productive or not, to clear the head. I find it almost meditative!

Thank you and a big well done for making it to the end of this post! What have you found a struggle when learning how to make clothes?


Published by alicemowse

Writer. Occasional performer, stitcher. One book published so far, my collection of poems 'Saved by Porpoise' available on Kindle. Featured in the anthology 'Around The Mulberry Tree'

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