After a rather long hiatus I have once again started work on the Colette Peony dress I have been making for what seems like one hundred years. I am rather monogamous with my knitting and my sewing so once I’ve started I tend to carry on until the end rather than having lots and lots of things on the go. So, my main motivation in starting this up again was to get it finished, so that I can start something else. Something much easier which will task my brain in no way! My other motivation was the sight of my lovely sewing machine starting to look a little dusty and unloved and the table it sits on fast getting so cluttered with other random items that it might disappear!
So, I dusted off the machine, cleaned up the table, ironed the pattern pieces (which were looking rather creased after some weeks in the sewing box) and made a start. I’d come to a stop because I was having problems with setting in the sleeves. I just couldn’t get them to look right. I’d sewn the gathering stitches and tacked up 2 or 3 times and it still looked rubbish.
This time around I decided to take the same approach to sewing as I usually do with knitting; just have a go in a slightly slap-dash manner and hope for the best (substituting the mantra ‘it’ll block out’ with ‘it’ll press out’). I think I’ve been too precious with my sewing in the past; really wanting it to be perfect and so giving up every time I hit something hard because I don’t want to mess it up. This time I am just going to get on with it and have faith that it will turn out okay.
I hand sewed the gathers to make sure that they were good and close to the edge and then tacked the sleeves. I took advice from my awesome 70s Singer sewing book and ironed the sleeves after tacking and before machine stitching. This seemed to help and I took the plunge and machine stitched. They are not the best looking sleeves that the world has ever seen, and I still prefer setting in knitted sleeves because you can easily bodge it and make it work by pulling it a bit, but they look okay and I am rather proud!
Buoyed by my success I made a start on the skirt. That was much easier and involved no worrying at all. I’ve gone for nice purple pockets to contrast with the light purple of the dress and I’m planning on a purple zip to match (well as much as it is possible to match things when ordering on the internet). I had to go for the pocket option as I love pockets and it’s one of the things I look for in a skirt or dress.
The next step is going to be the fear inducing task of attaching the bodice to the skirt, I have never done that before. However I am going to take the precaution of tacking it up first and then sew it right up! Wish me luck!