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Building Up My Summer Dress Stash


Sewing Buddy

I’m on a real sewing kick right now.  I’m starting new projects the instant I finish the one before.  I’m falling asleep thinking sewing and waking up thinking sewing (and wishing it were Microbiology, but that will come).  Loki keeps me company, drifting off right behind my machine.  He doesn’t even mind when he inevitable gets covered in fabric:

Here, I’m working on McCalls M5314, which is a wrap dress with a fifties-ish cut to the skirt and a big collar.  The fabric was a $1.25 thrift store rescue.  The pattern is pretty easy, though I did run across my traditional issue with commercial patterns: they’re not cut for a bust as large as mine, particularly paired with a waist as comparably small as mine (and I’m carrying a few winter pounds right now).   I hope I don’t sound like I’m bragging, because I’m not; my issues with fit both of patterns and of commercially-made clothes are one of the driving forces behind my sewing.

Said issues certainly reared their heads in this dress.  Of course, when I first noticed the fit issues, I shrugged it off and finished the dress.  I thus damned myself to spend twice the time it took me sewing the dress together in the first place selectively tearing out seams, taking bits in, and sewing them all back together- and while it’s wearable now, I’m still not sure I’m done tweaking it.

It’s not perfect, and I know it.  Years ago, I would have called it good enough the first time around.  It’s lovely to see how I’ve grown.

A month or so ago I was watching Anthony Bourdain.  He was in Japan talking to a knife maker, and he asked the man “Is a perfect blade possible?”  The knife maker replied, and I’m paraphrasing the translator here, “I work every day to learn what perfect is.”

I used to be an instant gratification crafter, but over the years I’ve been turning more and more towards a love of process, of method, of skill and it’s come to the point where I find myself hunting my own perfection.  You’d think it would be a draining pursuit, an impossible goal and a constant reminder of failure, but for me it’s not; instead, it’s a profession of love for the craft and a joyful reminder that I still have more to learn.  And the learning?  That is what I’m here for.   I’m not in this to make a living.  I’m not in this to make a statement.  I make, not of necessity, but of love.  And who wants to cut corners on love?  As long as I keep studying…

…keep learning….

…and most of all, keep doing…

…maybe some day I’ll know what perfect is.

(And that goes for the Microbiology too.)

8 Comments leave one →
  1. 03/25/2010 12:55 PM

    Love the dress, great style. Funny tho, you standing in the snow to show off a Summer Days dress..

    • 03/25/2010 1:03 PM

      I know! It was fantastic the morning before, I swear.

      You’d know, of course, what with not being too far away. At least it’s melting!

  2. 03/26/2010 5:08 AM

    You look stunning in that dress! Great job. Looks like it also have pockets which is always a plus in my book. :)

    And the new site is great! So much easier to leave comments too!

  3. 03/28/2010 11:54 AM

    For me, the only perfection is in the process, not the outcome.

  4. hellesbelles86 permalink
    03/29/2010 3:52 PM

    Just wandered over here from Dollar Store Crafts and I had a moment of instant recognition when I saw your picture of this dress even before you said what pattern it was. I bought this pattern with great hopes and was pretty disappointed in it- it now resides in my failures pile. I too am busty and have a smaller (in comparison) waist which made this dress give me missile chest about 4 inches lower than where my actual breasts are. Needless to say I wasn’t going to go for that. I’d love to know what your process was for fixing the problems as I’m a bit new at that end of things.

    • 03/31/2010 6:36 PM

      My process is rather primitive. I’ll baste the seams I know are problematic together, then turn it inside out, throw it on, and attack it with safety pins until it fits how I like (safety pins, because I’m clumsy and will inevitably stab myself wearing straight pins- your mileage may vary). Then I check to make sure the safety pins are symmetrical, and sew the seams where it was pinned.

      I’m sure actually learning how to modify the pattern in the first place would be a lot simpler. I even think I have a book for that!

  5. the ME in Melissa permalink
    05/07/2010 11:55 PM

    I love this dress! I think I will have to look for the pattern and give it a go.

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