Slippery Reeta

My sewing group made camisoles at the last meeting. We traced and cut the fabric before the meeting and a lovely tutor came to the meeting and took us through rouleau loops, sewing a neat hem and adding lace if we wished. There were only four pieces — front, back and two strips for the rouleaux. We had four hours for the class, so it should have been simple, right? You know what the next bit is. 
My top hem didn't work, it looked lumpy and wouldn't fold over evenly, the rouleau loops were good but stretched out extensively during steaming. I had to cut facing pieces for the top hem. Unpick, trim, restitch. I eventually finished the thing, after much swearing, on Sunday evening, not on Saturday at the end of the class. 

I was the only person who had problems. After I finally finished the thing I posted this on my sewing group's facebook page.

It's always the projects I think are going to be simple that end up being the most trouble. If I mentally prepare for a slog, like with the Kelly Anorak, it goes much smoother. I cut my facings and sewed them on with the straps last night, only to try it on and discover that the straps are absurdly, indecently long and need to be unpicked, trimmed and resewn. Then I have to hem.

I should have known this already though, because it happened to me with the Named Reeta dress as well. 

I bought this pattern very confidently at the beginning of March, soon after it was released, thinking I could whip it up in a weekend. I had the perfect fabric, a silky grey brushed cotton from the Morrison sale last year, bought for just $5 a metre. The pattern pieces are huge, but there is no collar stand, front placket or waist seam, it's basically a giant shirt, so I thought it would be pretty straight forward. 

Fast forward to ten days later.

"Just get it done, one step at time," a friend wisely suggested. I plodded on, by this time finding the slippery fabric and the volume seriously hard work. I misread the instruction for the yoke and had to unpick. I tried it on and realised the lack of pockets were going to drive me nuts. Draft and cut a pocket, unpick insert.

Add a pocket to one side. Understitch, close side seams. Try on. Realise that without pattern markings, I have no idea of the right place to insert a pocket. It is way too low. Unpick, restitch, add second pocket, keep going. 

Fold cuff up per pattern instruction. Try on, realise the shorter sleeves look bit mumsie and I'd prefer them just hemmed. Unpick, iron, steam. 

I decided not to do the drawstring, I like neither the look nor the feel and I prefer the appearance of a waist tie on the outside. 

And of course, by the time it wall all finally finished, there were some smudgy finger food marks on the front and the whole thing was hopelessly creased all over. The fabric presses well but creases in wind almost - can it really be cotton?

By this point I had a deadline, I wanted to wear it to the Australian Sewing Guild 20th anniversary afternoon tea and I had a massive, marked, impossible to iron (it's just too big) new dress. 

I took it to the dry cleaners a few days before the ASG event and although it was about $16, at that point it was worth every cent. They got all the marks out and sent it back to me perfectly pressed. "You can't iron this yourself, we have a frame," the woman in the shop said when I picked it up. 

And so I did go to the afternoon tea, and even appeared in the fashion parade - that's the picture at the top.

I haven't worn it since, the weather has since turned very cold so it will have to wait until Spring, until then it's a warning against assuming a sewing project will be easy.

Fabric: Brushed cotton from Morrison
Cost: Around $15


  1. Yes, some projects are just not meant to run smoothly, it seems. But your end result looks good, and good on you taking it to the dry cleaner - sometimes it's totally worth it! I'm struggling through V1502 (I think? The Rachel Comey one. I see you've made it as well.) The waist is too large, but the back fits nicely. I'm going to unpick the front waist, make two more pleats, make at least one seam in the waistband, and sew it all back together. Not today, though! I'm letting it marinate.

    1. Ah, my waistband is too large in the Rachel Comey dress as well. It IS wearable, but would look a lot better if I took it in a bit. My fabric choice was not great either. It's just hanging in my wardrobe, waiting for me to make a decision. I am way more energetic with new projects, fixing older things tends to fall by the wayside.


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