This JJ did not want to go together. The construction is terrible, the errors and flaws innumerable… and yet, I still like it. From a distance, anyway, it’s still pretty cute.
Partly, it’s this stupid fabric, which is a slippery sheer polyester I rescued after a wedding last summer, where it had been used as bunting. It made good bunting—pretty, drapey. It’s the kind of fabric I hate to sew with,but I have a bunch (albeit ripped into strips about 20″ wide by 4m long) (note the characteristically Canadian blending of Metric and Imperial measuring systems there. I learned to sew in Imperial, but fabric is sold by the metre. I am trying to move towards sewing in metric, but so far… limited success).
Partly it’s me being impatient, and frustrated with this stupid, slippery fabric that doesn’t want to take a crease. It doesn’t help that I don’t have a small enough machine needle (or at least I THINK that’s what’s causing some of the puckering at the seams). But mostly, I think, it’s me. Like last night I started pinning a cuff to a sleeve; went to finish it this morning and started sewing and realized it was on the wrong side. On the plus side, I forgot to shorten the stitch length from all the gathering stitches I was sewing, so it was easy to rip out. :P Or the side French seam that I sewed wrong-way in. Or when I sewed the side back piece to the back piece upside down.
But, it’s now together. The ruffles are uneven (and were a pain to get hemmed, and I still don’t think I got the right pieces on the right length for all of it). The collar is a mess. The whole thing is a little too snug because the french seams (which are fairly uneven) took up a bit more seam allowance than the pattern actually had (plus the one I mis-sewed I was too lazy to rip out, so I just cased it around itself again, costing me about a cm of girth. But, from a distance it’s still pretty cute, and since I’ll always be wearing it over a camisole or something, it looks fine with just the bottom buttons (or even only one done up). The sleeve closure detail doesn’t actually open since I couldn’t get my machine to do nice buttonholes on such a small, thick piece of fabric.
Alterations: French seams (as I mentioned) since the material was sheer and ultra-ravelly. I narrowed the collar and the sleeve cuffs a bit, more-or-less successfully. I attached the ruffles differently; I was going to just shorten them (since I think they look too long in the original) but I wound up finishing both edges and sewing the gathering seam about 1 cm in from one side.
A few minor fit issues remain. The back still shows a bit of swayback bubble, which I might actually have to remove with a horizontal tuck to get rid of. The front princess seams actually fall to the inside of my nipples, which makes me want to move them over a bit (given that I seem to have slight to not-so-slight gaping in the front, maybe I should just widen the centre front piece). I’d still like to make a couple more of these, I think, one in black (either linen or a cotton eyelet) and one in a white cotton that I could actually wear without the fancy shirt underneath. At some point I want to draft a long sleeve, and play with the design now that I have a nice, (almost) perfectly fitting princess bodice.
So, things learned…
1) don’t sew with fabrics you hate. It’s not fun.
2) Take your time. Fix your mistakes. Don’t be too lazy to iron (ESPECIALLY with a difficult fabric).
3) zig-zag rolled hems are WAY easier than straight-sewn ones.
Wearable? Well, we’ll see.