Friday, 8 December 2017

How wedding dress alterations led to experiments with a Knipmode dress pattern



Back in August I got an emergency phone call from a friend. "Do you know anything about overlockers?", she asked. There was a hint of panic in her voice. I went over to her place and found her struggling with an enormous cloud of lace, satin and organza. She had promised months ago to hem her daughter's wedding dress and procrastinated doing so till four days before the wedding. And then her overlocker refused to do a rolled hem. We spent the evening reading manuals, changing settings and trying different needles but nothing worked. When it was way past bedtime I took some offcuts of the dress home to see if my machine could do the trick.
The next evening I was again reading a manual and looking at settings because I had never before used the rolled hem function. What a relief when good old Bernie produced a lovely, wavy, tiny rolled hem. I cleaned my sewing room because it was still covered in blue fluff from a previous project. I also like to write little reminders on my sewing table. Somehow I didn't think the bride would be overjoyed when finding my topstitching notes printed over her skirt!

The next morning the bride and her mom came over with the dress. We improvised a little stand so we could do a final check of the length and started threading my overlocker with the right colour Gutermann threads. Fail!
Pressure? What pressure? (Two days to go till the wedding)
At this point I should mention that the bride is one of the most laid back persons you'll ever meet. I've known her from the day she was born and she has always been very relaxed. Even now. While her mother and I were stressing she was cheering us up. "Don't worry! We can always cut it and use clear nail polish to seal the hem", she suggested. Or pinking shears. Shiver! We took a deep breath, had more coffee (was it really too early for wine?) and threaded the overlocker again. And it worked!

MOB's victory moment

The bride looked gorgeous on her wedding day so there's the happy ending!

After the wedding I returned to a spic and span sewing room and rolled hems were still on my mind. Now that I had learned a new trick I wanted to use it again. And then there was also that ongoing mission to tackle the fit of the Knipmode block. To kill two birds with one stone I took a length of black and white striped jersey that was earmarked to become a nightie and a Knipmode knit dress pattern.

KM1712-07

This pattern from the December 2017 magazine had made an earlier appearance in the October 2017 supplement. In fact this garment was made before I started sewing my birthday dress and it turned out to be a rather useful pre-toile.




Instead of a neckband I used pink lingerie elastic, leftovers from another nightgown.




And of course, rolled hems....




That was fun! What about the fit? Well, it was too big. I could go down a size at the shoulders, the sleeves were too wide and it was a tad too long. If I had made this as a dress I would call it a wadder, but for sleepwear it is quite okay. Oversized but comfortable.
All in all it was a useful exercise that gave me a better idea where to start with Knipmode knit dress patterns.

Of course I owe you a picture of me wearing the actual thing. Since it's snowing outside this rather awkward indoor selfie will have to do. Barefoot in the sewing room, surrounded by a minefield of pins. Living dangerously for the sake of sewing science!




Next up: a kimono, to wear as a robe. I'm freezing!

11 comments:

  1. Oh boy, what a stressful project (the wedding dress)! I'm glad it got done on time.

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    1. So was I! I used to do a lot of deadline sewing but not anymore. Such a joy killer!

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  2. When I bought my latest overlocker (2 years ago), I asked the sales lady to show me how to do the rolled hem. Would have been good if I had come home and practised!!! So I can understand the panic you and your friend had over the rolled hem stitch on the overlocker and well done you for making a nightie straight using your new learnt skill. And a lovely nightie too Marianne.

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    1. The overlocker is rarely my weapon of choice. I learned some tricks during a workshop and never used them again. At least I knew where to look for the right settings! My friend's overlocker still couldn't deal with the organza when she tried again after the wedding, it's now scheduled for repair.

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  3. I'm glad it worked out! I ended up overlocking the lining hem of Helen's wedding dress the night before using an accidental setting.

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    1. O no! I used to deal well with time pressure but lately it's causing brain fog. Never a good thing when it comes to sewing!

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  4. A rolled hem is so pretty! I’ve used it on knits and wovens and I love the results. Well worth learning and keeping a note on the most successful settings!

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  5. What an entertaining sewing story to read! I was cheering for you the whole way through! And the silver lining, besides a beautiful bride in her beautifully hemmed dress, is now knowing how to do those rolled hens!
    You certainly are a good friend....

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    1. In hindsight it is entertaining but back then we were so relieved when it got done in time! I was already considering hand sewing four layers of a very wide skirt, which could only have worked if I skipped sleeping...

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  6. Oh wow what an adventure you had! I am so glad everything worked out in the end. Happy bride and you even got comfy sleepwear - yay!

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