Sunday, 2 March 2014

Completed: Calamity Cami

Crikey, I've just realised that this post marks my first blogiversary! I can't believe how quickly the year has gone. When I first started out, I decided to trial it for a while and see what happens. I didn't expect it to become the constant in my life that it has. I have learnt so much over the last year as I've pushed myself to try new techniques, look at different patterns and try out new fabrics. I'm not sure how much of that would have happened if I wasn't sharing my experiences with the world. One thing is for sure, I wouldn't have met all of you, either virtually or in real life. I've said it before, sewing people are some of the best people ever. I love that I have reignited friendships and made new ones. I love, and appreciate, that you come back week after week and that you give your time to comment. I feel privileged to be part of a community that is so supportive of each other, keen to help where they can and are just so damn nice.

Calamity Cami

Anyway, enough gushing! I have a dress to share with you today. I raved a lot about my first Cami dress and it has been in constant rotation since I completed it. I don't think a week has gone by when I haven't worn it. It makes me happy and I feel good in it. This could only mean one thing, I had to make to another! Looking back, it is unusual for me to use a pattern more than once, this is probably down to the fact that I spent last year trying to clock up many different patterns for the challenge. But now I'm a free spirit there's nothing stopping me working out my TNT patterns or making the same one again.

Calamity Cami

However, there was a hiccough in this love affair. This is the dress that nearly wasn't. Almost everything that could have gone wrong with the construction, did. As you'll see, it was all because of me, not the pattern. I used the black cotton with small flowers that I picked up at Mood last November. I've been using cotton a lot recently. I've been struggling to get my sewing output up this year and have leant towards cotton because it is easy to work with - there are no surprises with this fabric. 

After checking my measurements, I cut out using the pattern that I altered last time. The problems started early when I was working with the darts. I stitched three out of four of them incorrectly, totally missing the stitching lines on one side. In my defence, I was distracted. There were cute baby orang-utans on the TV and I had one eye on them and one on the darts. Lesson learned - don't watch cute animals when sewing!

Calamity Cami

The collar is my second attempt. Somehow I managed to sew it so it wasn't symmetrical. It was completely off. By the time I realised I had clipped and pressed it into place, although luckily not stitched it to the bodice. It was probably salvageable but I had enough fabric left over to try again so I just recut. When stitching the skirt to the bodice, I missed the correct number of folds on the right placket. Not once, but three times! After correcting it, I realised I was testing my patience so walked away from the dress for a week. 

After cooling off and determined to become friends again, I came back and inserted the zip. I tried the dress on to check the fit and buttonhole placement only to find that it didn't fit. I was completely stumped. I knew that I had cut it out properly and remeasured myself to check that I hadn't suddenly gained an inch. For the life of me, I couldn't figure it out. The dress went back on the UFO pile for another week. I figured out the problem on my second fitting. As I was adjusting the waist I came across this.

Giant pleat

How did I miss a giant accidental tuck?! More unpicking ensued and from here, thankfully, the rest of the construction went according to plan. I had no problem with buttonholes. I've discovered that if I reset my machine between each one, they come out perfectly. It seems I'm not the only one to notice this, Marie recently spoke of a similar problem when she had a Janome. It is a little tedious but at least I'm no longer facing the prospect of unpicking buttonholes.  



Calamity Cami

The skirt on this version isn't as full as the fabric was reasonably narrow. I like the difference though, it feels a little more fitted and I like the cleaner silhouette it makes. This dress is perfect for day to night. Again, it is unlined and this is something I need to start thinking about for future dresses. While it won't be a problem in the summer, this dress has stuck to my tights and my coat and ridden up a little when walking. I need to find a good slip pattern. Any suggestions?


Calamity Cami


The colours of the flowers means I can mix it up with accessories and my beloved cardigans and jackets. I suspect that this one will be worn a lot too. Despite all of the hassles in making this one, the Cami is still one of my favourite patterns and I hope this won't be the last one. Have you had major problems in constructing one of your favourite patterns?


26 comments:

  1. Well, what a pretty dress it turned out to be, despite all of the problems you encountered! Well done for persevering with it. It definitely is important to step away from it for a while if it's driving you crazy. I've been there!

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    1. Thank you. I hate stepping away but sometimes you just can't avoid it!

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  2. Congratulations on your Blogversary, Claire! It has been a delight to follow your sewing adventures and what a lovely dress to celebrate with!

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    1. Thanks, Teresa! Hopefully there will be more to come.

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  3. I haven't used this, but did suggest it to Jo of Sew Little Time, and I think she found it useful: http://www.blogforbettersewing.com/2009/07/make-vintage-inspired-half-slip-no.html

    Happy Blogiversary! And the dress is lovely, I am making lots of daft sewing mistakes just now too! Let's hope we both get over it soon!

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    1. Ooh, thanks for link. It looks exactly what I am looking for. Fingers crossed we both stop making silly mistakes.

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  4. Happy blogiversary! Ive totally had that 'grrr, why is everything going wrong' feeling a lot recently with my most recent make. I'm impressed you persevered :) the dress looks gorgeous on you!

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    1. Thanks, Katy. I hope you're sticking with your recent make - I'm sure it will be as fabulous as all of your makes.

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  5. This is lovely! Despite being a bit trying at times it has definitely been worth the perseverance! Happy Blog Birthday too!

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  6. I'm so impressed that you persevered - and so quickly. I would left it fester in my UFO pile for far longer! It was well worth it though, it's lovely x

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    1. The blog keeps the momentum going a bit but the main reason is it sat on the ever growing pile of alterations. That pile makes me feel guilty every time I look at it so I had to get on with the dress to ease my conscience!

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  7. Happy blogiversary!
    Your dress turned out great! I am impressed of youre patience!:D

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  8. This dress is gorgeous, it really suits you
    Love your hair in these pics too!

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    1. Thank you. It was time for a change and this style is much more manageable. I noticed that you had chopped yours too - very nice! There must be something in the air.

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  9. Yay for a year!
    And you would not be able to tell this was a labour of love- it is smashing on you!

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  10. Happy blogiversary! As Helen above mentioned Gertie has some great slip ideas and is currently selling kits on Etsy for full ones. Shipping from the States is a bit pricey though. Love your dress and well done for not giving up!

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    1. Thanks for the tip on Gertie - I'll poke around her posts a bit more.

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  11. Happy blogiversary! Well done for persevering and working through all the problems - it must have been so frustrating when you'd already made the dress so knew it should fit. The end result is lovely, and well worth the effort!

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    1. Thanks! At least it hasn't put me off trying it again.

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  12. This is lovely, and well done for sticking at it, it was worth it in the end. Happy blogiveresary!

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  13. Seeing the result, you wouldn't know you had so many misfortunes with the dress! It looks really great and the fabric is so pretty. About the slip, you could also add a lining to the skirt only (simple gathered rectangle in lining fabric). And congrats for the 1 year blog anniversary!

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    1. Thank you! I like the idea of adding the lining to the skirt but I have been lazy and have about four or five unlined dresses! I think I will need to make a slip and then be more disciplined about lining in the future.

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