Keeping it simple

Wednesday 27 October 2021

I have had this piece of multi-coloured plaid cotton sateen out on my cutting table for several days trying to decide what to make from it. It was an on-line purchase, so I didn't really see that it had an unbalanced plaid until I received the fabric and spread it out - had I realised this I would have bought more fabric because it would have made things far easier! I tried so many combinations of different dresses, shirts and skirts to get that dominant blue line equally balanced on both sides, and then I tried a simple shape but on the bias which also didn't work due to lack of fabric.

So in the end I decided to keep the pattern simple, and just make another dress with a plain bodice with a gathered skirt - less need for pattern matching that way. This is Burda 07/2015 #115, which I made just a few weeks ago from another cotton sateen. It's a simple pattern and easy to wear, so is a winner in my books.

I was really disappointed in the quality of this fabric. This cotton sateen from Nerida Hansen is quite thin and more like cotton lawn or poplin to me, which actually is quite perfect for this style of dress. I've since discovered that  the term 'sateen' refers to the weave and shine, and not the fabric weight, it's just that cotton sateen I've purchased from other stores are quite thick and stretchy that can be used for tailored pants and jackets etc which this fabric definitely could not. 

However what I most disappointed about was that this fabric was printed quite off grain which made it even more difficult to pattern match. At first I thought it might just be that the tight weave at the selvage might be causing the stripes to skew, because it was mainly at the edges that the stripes didn't line up. So I clipped the seams and tried to stream and stretch it straight which didn't really help.

In the end I cut the fabrics out single layer and ignored the grain lines, instead preferring to have the stripes lined up. A massive sewing crime I know, but the skirt and bodice seems to sit well enough and getting those stripes horizontal was more important to me.

Luckily this pattern doesn't have a centre back seam, so no pattern matching was required there, and for the skirt I used the full 150cm width so there's only one side seam which again reduces the need for pattern matching.

I probably should have cut out the fabric a bit more carefully so that the dark blue stripe is at my waistline and the dark green vertical stripe at the centre front continued through the skirt but now I'm probably overthinking it all. If this was a RTW dress I probably wouldn't be this picky at all! 

Anyway, after all that whinging I actually like this dress. It's light and simple to wear since it literally just slips on over my head with no zippers, buttons etc and the gathered skirt means it's not too tight or restrictive which is important after all these months of wearing stretchy sweat pants! And while the fabric quality is annoying, especially since this isn't the cheapest of fabrics, it is going to help me reduce my fabric purchases in future because I don't think I'll purchase any more fabric from this seller. So there is a silver lining in almost everything!

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