Sunday, March 28, 2010

A magnificent failure!

I had orginally intended this post to be a bit of a show and tell about an outfit from Dolly Dolly mag that I've made. However, I have declared my first version of this blouse to be a magnificent failure - magnificent in that I have learned so much from sewing this itsy bitsy item, regardless of the less than perfect result. For the purposes of blogging, I popped it on for a photo. Note that the odd fit around the torso is due to the fact that I haven't put any press studs on. This one is bound for the bin, so I didn't bother finishing it off!

I've made quite a few Blythe outfits before, and all of them have come together quite nicely and without much fuss, so I was feeling a bit cocky when I started making this outfit. The apron is adorable and the skirt is very simple, however I was intimidated by this blouse from the beginning. Collars and inset sleeves are tricky even on people sized garments, and when you are dealing with a sleeve that's only an inch long, any tiny blunder becomes very very noticable. Sewing on such a small scale is a real challenge - having to try and muddle through with Japanese instructions does not help matters!

Lessons learned:

1. Fray Stoppa (the Aussie version of Fray Check) will make your garment very stiff. Regardless of how neat and lovely it makes your seams look, they will be bulky and make your garment appear to be lined with cardboard.

Next time, I shall be using the pinking shears and only use FS on the sleeve/shoulder seam.

2. The collar is bloody tiny. Sew the side and bottom seams before cutting it out next time. You will save yourself much cursing.

3. The incomprehensible photo tutorial in the front of the instructions is in actual fact the instructions for making a facing. You will need to do this to attach the collar to the blouse. If you look very closely at the drawings, you will see the facing on the inside of the garment. Note to self - look more closely at the illustrations next time - you will save yourself much cursing.

4. Despite a recommendation that I read in someones blog a while ago, the soft tulle that I bought for this purpose did not make a good facing in this instance. At all. Tiny blouse version II will have a facing made of fabric. The results could hardly be worse!

5. The cuffs need to be edge stitched BEFORE the side and under sleeve seams are sewn. Because even though they did sit nicely with the cardboard-like Fray Stoppa, without being stitched down Blythe's thumbs will get stuck in them when you attempt to put the garment on. Particularly since the FS has bulked up the seam, making the cuff opening super-tight. And stiff.

6. The sleeves seem to go in more easily if you sew them in two stages - starting from the centre to the outer edge. Surprisingly they were the least of my problems. Next time I might even try skipping the machine gathering and see how that goes.

Also, a good rule of thumb to follow when sewing tiny Blythe clothes from Japanese instructions is to avoid having a glass or two of champagne beforehand. Even if it is Saturday night. It does not help. At all.

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