TL; DR – READ THE DAMN INSTRUCTIONS, seam allowances matter, fabric choice matters, and sometimes you can mark everything and it still ends up weird.
Readers, I’ll fully admit, I got cocky with this one. I love love loved the wrap look of the Willa Dress from Fibre Mood. I didn’t read the instructions carefully enough and printed the pattern WITHOUT SEAM ALLOWANCES. What are seam allowances? Well, you have to have SOMETHING to hold the garment together, so either the pattern has a certain amount of seam allowances on all the edges of the pattern pieces, usually 5/8″ or 0.5cm, but it varies, and will often tell you in the instructions.
But, some patterns don’t have seam allowances built in, so you have to build them in when tracing the pattern or cutting the fabric. Fibre Mood lets you print your pattern with out without. I missed that crucial detail and printed them without the seam allowances, cut the fabric without seam allowances, and started sewing WITHOUT SEAM ALLOWANCES.
So, this time, even though I carefully marked the fabric pieces with any markings from the patterns for proper alignment, IT DID NOT MATTER BECAUSE I WAS SEWING EVERYTHING WRONG.
I also didn’t read carefully enough on how to lay the pattern pieces on the fabric for cutting, and not realizing that the piece with the ties was meant to be adjusted in length. So my first tie was not actually a tie, but a stub. I ended up cutting a longer piece to extend it, sewing them together to make an actual tie. I still didn’t make either of the ties long enough to get the look I was hoping for.
I also didn’t read properly which pieces needed to be cut in mirror, which would also explain why one of my skirt pieces ended up a good six inches too wide for the bodice (or top) piece. Seriously, I got the bodice together, put on the Raglan sleeves (so, Raglan sleeves, if you look at the picture, just means there’s no arm hole and the sleeve starts at the collar. I’m not sure how I feel about them, but given that I forgot the seam allowance, I’m not surprised that it isn’t as comfortable as I hoped) without issue. But then when I took the skirt pieces, they did not fit or align. At all.
I wish I had taken a picture, because it was nonsensical how wrong I got things. One skirt piece was six inches longer than the other one, while the other one was six inches too wide. But, you may be asking, why didn’t you just turn one of the skirt pieces. I did, and somehow made it worse so that neither of them fit on the bodice. I’m sure there was some solution that I wasn’t seeing, but I turned those pieces of fabric every which way and could not get them to properly fit together.
So I sewed and trimmed. You clearly can’t tell from the final results about the troubles I had with the skirt, but the lack of seam allowances in the top are evident by the slightly strained fit. I re-printed the pattern with seam allowances for when I make it again. I will also read the damn instructions three times over.
Once again, as well, I chose the wrong fabric weight, using the same fabric as the Drapey Knit Dress, just in that lovely shade of burgundy, probably my favorite color. But it needed a bit more structure, just like the Drapey Knit Dress. Jersey is a great fabric, but sometimes you need a sturdier knit. This is where I start to research and learn about ponte knits, sturdier than jersey, not quite as stiff as scuba. I become obsessed.
One of the other issues is that the dresses so far don’t turn out the way I have them pictured in my head, informed largely by the professionally shot photos of the garment being worn by models. But again, the fabric choice matters. Of course, the garment isn’t going to look at sharp if I chose a fabric that doesn’t lend itself to sharpness. I make it work, and I largely like how things have turned out so far, but I am still left feeling deflated at the end of my sewing projects – I can take in or let out, shorten or lengthen, but I can’t change the fabric and thus the garment is what it is, just slightly off from what I wanted.