Month: June 2014

Old Make, New Friend

Today I present something that happens to me now and then. Old Make, New Friend!

Every so often, I toil away on a garment only to find that I don’t love it upon completion, for whatever reason. Usually, a make such as this is relegated to the cupboard and after a brief interlude of dejection I turn my attention to a new project. This was one of those makes!


I am a big fan of the slightly shapeless tunic, so the Wiksten Tova is right up my alley. I like that being a dress, it’s a step up from jeans, yet given the roomy shape it is really comfortable to wear. I love the yoke detail on the front as well as the 3/4 sleeves. So when it came time to make this dress, I was really excited! Unusually for me, I made up a quick toile in linen to check the fit. Admittedly at that stage the size XS that I had cut out was feeling a tad snug, but for some reason my silly brain transmitted that it was just fine! So away I went and proceeded to lovingly sew up this version in a beautiful Liberty Tana Lawn.


I had been hoarding this sweet floral for some time, so naturally I put extra time and energy into nice finishing techniques, and I even underlined the dress portion in a soft silk cotton. So you can imagine my disappointment when, as I tried it on for the first time, I could hardly get it over my shoulders! Still in denial, I proceeded to wear it out (uncomfortably) on more than one occasion. I always felt really constrained, as it was far too small across the back and the armscyes much too high. The cuffs were also a bit tight, much too tight to roll up out of the way. Feeling defeated, I set it aside for months and months.


Finally, a little while ago I presented the Problem Garment to Sue, my pattern drafting teacher. She of the wise words gave me instructions for how to adjust the dress to fit, and I did so by inserting long wedges of self fabric that tapered from the underarm on both the body and sleeves. Action gussets, if you will! I think I put an extra 3cm on each side of the body and 6cm into each sleeve, and made some cute gathers on the tops of the sleeve seams for ease of arm movement. I also cut about 6cm into the cuffs and added bias bound sleeve plackets. Hey presto! The dress now fits like a dream and I’m incredibly happy that I took the time to fix it.


For next time, I will make at least one size larger (lesson learned!), and I think I’ll also add a back yoke to break up the shoulder area a bit. I’ll also widen the skirt to make the dress a bit more of an A-line shape, as I could use some extra room at the hem. All in all, months after its original disastrous creation, I love this dress to bits. I hope my sorry tale and eventual triumph might inspire you to rescue failed garments of your own!