non, je ne regrette rien

oh this dress was so hard to finish.

early on in the process, i began cursing it. like a sailor. a drunk and very mean sailor. i mean, that's not out of the ordinary, but i cursed it so many times, i think it took its vengeance out upon me by cursing me. every time i thought of a solution, it would give me a baby carrot of success, only to present me with a new and smelly onion of a problem. it has some sort of power over me, i swear it. EVEN WRITING THIS POST WAS NEAR IMPOSSIBLE. error forms all over the place. accursed, i tell you.

how else can i explain why i would hang onto this hateful piece of cloth for three years of fixes?

as you can see, it was supposed to be a loose drapey dress. but as i traced the burda magazine pattern, i remembered for the umpteenth time: ruggy doesn't like loose in his womenswear. (yes, i know there's a joke to be had in there. big daddy, have at.)

now, this was the first (and last) time i'd ever decided to cut a muslin first. i chose this very slippery extremely flammable bastard of a print, thinking myself so smart to use cheap fabric that simulated the expensive silk i envisioned for it. after screaming through the first three pleats on the shoulder of this monster, i calmly folded every piece up and stowed it away in le ziploc bag.

one year later, having pinned a goodly amount of other slippery fabric, i did the side and shoulder seams. then tried to futz with the drapey front, twisting it at the waist and cutting the excess, making a nice front shape... and making the side seams curved like the mississippi river. back in the bag it went.

another year passed, and i had the bright idea to add a panel to each side seam. seams nice and straight again. but curved front now hung two inches below the hem. bag it, sammy.

six months. learned about bias tape. made some out of excess bastard fabric. who knows why i kept any excess, i'm telling you, it put a spell on me. recut the curved section and finished it off. successfully inserted the invisible zipper, and found that there were pools of fabric hanging off of my shoulders and back like i should be ringing a bell in notre dame. two months in the bag for you.

darts. i knew something about darts at this point. threw some darts in the back and shouted hallelujah. then glared in wide eyed horror as the hem now sat four inches higher on my ample rear.

three months ago and many successful hems later, i thought i could finish it and wear it as a holiday dress. at this point, it was no longer a muslin. it was The Beast. and there was no way i was making another Beast. i carefully cut the hem to micro mini length all the way around, and realized i'd have to do the draped section all over again.

*&#@! BAG.

yesterday, in the face of sew weekly's UFO challenge, i informed this garment: it would be my bitch. redid the drape. added a wide bottom panel to make the hem wiggle length. oh, it put up a fight. slipped under my scissors. caught itself up in my serger. refused to be ironed. but i beat it into submission. not perfect submission, no-- plenty of ripples on that bias, oh yes. but it's wearable in mood lighting.


fabric: bastard cloth from hell.
pattern: burda magazine 118.
year: 5/2009.
notions: invisible zip ($1), 2 yards of fabric ($5).
cost: $6, and part of my soul.
time to complete: three years.
first worn: when i took these pictures yesterday.
wear again: if only to show it who's boss.


  1. Wow, that is amazing. You are truly a goddess among stitchers. Me, I woulda... Well, probably not started, slippery fabric scares the bejeezus out of me. But seriously, this woulda been handed over to my kids for "refashioning" by the second ziplock bagging. For sure.


  2. whoa. what a saga! you're a better woman than I, that bag would have been in the incinerator!
    But you have MORE than triumphed. It doesn't show any signs of having been wrestled with screamed at. It's totally cute! And I bet Ruggy likes the fact that it is now more figure hugging :o)

  3. You inspire sewers everywhere! :) You are an amazon of seamstresses; I hope to be as tenacious as you with any future vicious projects. I really just get so impatient, and I hope to be better at working through problems instead of throwing them away. Awesome post!

  4. you're scary. you know. in a good way.

  5. You look so good in all those photo's and the dresses are great too! Who's making the pics? He/she deserves a price :)

  6. This is why I read you religiously, you give me hope that some of my deep sixed projects will eventually come around to my point of view.

    Thanks for the hilarious (and uch more common than we all care to admit) post.

  7. You're the boss! Wear it! It looks great. It seems for that alone it was worth it. Win the part of your soul back from it by wearing.

  8. ahahahaaa
    you just made my day with this story
    i know it was hell to you
    been there billion times
    but, when it's all over
    you can just laugh to it (and maybe curse a bit more), don't you agree :)
    wanted to make this dress since i first saw it in burda
    now i have to make it
    masochist in me needs to win this battle
    and, hell girl, you did a great job

  9. Your post left me laughing! From the pictures, it looks really good.

  10. That dress is amazing! And you are so perseverent! I would have stopped the damages way faster...

    However, in a few weeks you will *know* deep inside that it was not that bad, and maybe, *maybe* you will use once again that kind of lovely fabric that made you lose a little bit of your soul. If people in TV shows can live without their soul for half a season (I am a Supernatural geek...), then can we too!

  11. It's such a good feeling when that project that's been making you pull your hair out finally gets done and actually looks GOOD. Way to teach that fabric who's boss!

  12. Your story had me laughing so hard I cried! Fabulous work - congrats on finally showing that cloth who is boss!!!!

  13. ★ tanit-isis: i think the ziploc acted as a "solitary confinement". the ability to punish the thing was rewarding.

    ★ emilykate: he hasn't even seen it yet! i'm scared!

    ★ seeks: thank you! by the way, love your stripey dress :)

    ★ beangirl: YOU KNOW IT.

    ★ julie: weheheellllll, the photographer would be me. with a rinky dink tripod, a camera that often refuses to focus, and a heaping amount of sharpening with iphoto's crappy editing tools :)

    ★ magpie: :))) and one of your prize patterns is in my little next-up pile!

    ★ hana: i'm liking the winning my soul back. you know what, i'm going out tonight... i'm wearing it.

    ★ mokosha: i would LOVE to see what you do with this pattern!!!

    ★ lisette: thank you! i was hoping for laughter, i had more than enough anger over this bastard fabric.

    ★ laurwyn: supernatural, you say? i need to check that out. i LOVE me some otherworldly.

    ★ becky, &
    ★ meg: yes, i am the tony danza of this fabric!!!

  14. hahahah! "bastard cloth from hell" love it.
    The dress looks absolutely adorable. I'd say it's a definite success given the torture it put you through.

  15. oh this was soo funny! You give me hope. You're a way better sewist than I am, so when I see you make mistakes and live to tell about them----and conquer them, I hope I can do it, too.

  16. haha, well done on finishing it :-)

  17. "ruggy doesn't like loose in his womenswear.(yes, i know there's a joke to be had in there. big daddy, have at.)"

    No, Oona, sorry but I won't have at it. Not on your blog. There is no delete button and I'm too far behind on today's Jim Beam quota to ignore that detail.

    PS Ruggy always looks maaahvelous in loose womenswear.

  18. You look fab as usual but I am especially cheered that I am not the only person that cusses like a stevedore or a hard sunday morning when my sewing goes south.

  19. thank you, ladies! and yes, sewing goes so much better with cursing. and wine.

    & big daddy: ! i KNOW you have a joke up your sleeve (and possibly a jim beam in your hand?) okay. i'll wait.


i thankya truly for taking the time to comment, i love a good conversation-- and hope you know my thanks are always implied, if not always written!