Peasant dress/top – part 1 (pics will come later)

well, Jax, just for you, here’s the saga so far!  No pics yet, we are short of a camera at the moment and the one on my phone is a bit rubbish.

The first think I have to say is that when printing patterns, espeically patterns from the US, where paper sizes are different, be very careful what options are checked in the printer settings…… the one you want is “none”  cos if you have anything else checked it WILL all end in tears.  Trust me.

Anyway, once printed you then spend an evening cutting and sticking like a blissfully happy toddler (but hoepfully a little more accurately) and finally you have your pattern pieces assembled, on nice sturdy paper rather than that thinnest of teh thin tissue paper that “real” patterns come printed onto.  This is good.

Now, I’m not usually one who studies instructions all that carefully.  I’m a visual kind of girl, and usually I can look at the bits and see how it all goes together.  But this was a new sort of pattern to me so I was a good girl and followed the instructions to the letter.  Hmmm, not sure I’ll do that again in a hurry although to be fair, it was useful just this once so I could get a feel of how it works.   The instructions say to turn the hems at the neck and sleeves before you join the garment together at those points, leaving an inch or so unsewn at both ends to give a gap to thread the elastic through.  I tried this on Trial 1 (Aprilia’s)  but really feel that it made for a much bigger faff later on as then you were trying to join seams with the fabric already trying to fold over at the ends rather than laying flat.  For Trial 2 (mine) I did it my way, sewed all the seams up first then rolled the hems over and sewed them down (leaving a much smaller gap to slip the elastic through) and this felt like less fiddling to me, although i accept that that may be down to me and my odd way of working rather than the patterns fault!!!!!

I did quite like how the casing for the elastic at the waist came together, although it is a bit bulky and I think i can work up something better with a bit of thought and patience, more on that when I get the light bulb moment!  And eventually I decided not to elasticate the sleeves as they look quite nice as they are.

So, what to do differently?

I wouldn’t turn the hems like they say, it’s just as easy to turn them after the garment is put together and I think it ends up neater that way.

I wouldn’t zigzag every raw edge, it makes them rough, I don’t like rough scratch bits in my clothes!  I’ve top stitched them down on Trial 2 and that looks fine, will stop any fraying and isn’t scratchy.  Jax, will do a pic so you see what I mean.

I wouldn’t zig zag the hems then turn them, on Trial 2 I turned the hem with a zigzag stitch, it holds it down and stops it fraying at the same time, as they are going to have elastic threded through them it doesn’t matter that they aren’t pretty neat little striaght stitches, they will be lost in the fabric gathering and will lay much flatter than doing 2 seperate lines of sewing.

I’m wondering about using the kind os seams you get on jeans (tent seam?) at the waist to reduce the bulk but still give me a space to tread elastic round.

I think it would look really lovely with a “twirl skirt” or really full gored skirt rather than the very straight one that the pattern calls for, would match better with the fullness of the top part and make for a really lovely cool floaty summer dress.

So, that’s what I’m going to do on Trials 3 and 4 really isn’t it!



  1. Posted 30 August , 2009 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    wondered about the separate zigzagging to hemming, will try out your suggestion with the next doll’s top we make.

    Overall I’m liking the approach that they give with loads of instructions alongside the pattern pieces – I’ve found the standard pattern pieces and stuff all information to be completely inscrutable in the past.

  2. Posted 30 August , 2009 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    I do like the patterns, although, be aware that different patterns have different standards of instructions with them (depending on brand) but you should be okay with most of them. I think the major plusses are that
    a) if you foul up the cutting out the pattern bit you can just re-print… I’ve got a few tissue paper patterns that are well and truly trashed from not following the cutting lines properly…
    b) you can re-print for every size so you don’t have to mess about if you want to make more than one size out of a particular pattern and
    c) the instructions come on nice clear A4 pages not faintly printed broadsheets that fall appart or are so illogically laid out that they really encourage you to make it up without them!

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