Sew For Victory – The First Try

So I have my Blitz dress pattern and a sheet. First job was to trace from the printed pattern sheets onto tissue. I normally do this so I don’t have to cut the original pattern, in case I want to go back and cut a different size, but on this occasion it was also necessary as the original pattern is on such thick paper, it would be difficult to work with. The pattern handily has the the different sizes marked with different colours, so no following a dotted line, I just followed the purple one.

After the chat I had with Caroline of Sew La Di Da Vintage when I bough the pattern at the Selvedge Winter Fair, I decided to cut a size 12. She had mentioned the discrepancy between UK high street sizing and sewing pattern sizing and told me her patterns follow the high street.

The pattern looked a little strange, as the grain lines were abnormally enormous (see photo below). Tilly assisted by sitting on things when ever she could, and occasionally trying to eat the tissue paper.

Wondercat on pattern

Grain line giant arrow coming out of Tilly’s ear.

DSCF2166

 

 

I found this pattern a bit of a nightmare. It’s certainly not the first dress I’ve ever made, so shouldn’t have been that hard, but the instructions seem incomplete, missing steps out or not being clear enough to follow.

I’ve scribbled notes all over the pattern instruction booklet so I could offer a step by step grumble report of what was wrong with it, but maybe I’ll just say the dress design is great, the instructions are so awful I suggest people don’t bother buying it. At one point I was livid that this pattern could be sold to an unsuspecting beginner, who might doubt themselves and give up sewing rather than realise the pattern instructions are at fault.

One piece of the pattern is rather oddly shaped – the collar. I have made quite a few peter pan collars, and this one just isn’t long enough for the neck opening. There wasn’t a notch or marking for where the collar starts and ends on the dress, which also didn’t help. Through a bit of trial and error, I drafted my own collar piece instead, by putting the dress on my dummy (trans. for US =dressform) and making a rough drawing around the neck opening onto tissue and then using a curved ruler (Shobun Fashion Curve, more multi purpose useful than a french curve) to draw a collar. I made it in fabric three times before I got a good size and curve.

In this photo the top is the Blitz dress collar, bottom is my collar. The dress has a back zip, hence the collar needing two sides, rather than the one piece you would have in a shirt or blouse.

Redrafting collar

Here are some pictures with the muslin made with one collar side by me and one side of the original pattern. Spot the difference! My collar in on the left.

Blitz Dress Muslin

 

From the back

Blitz Dress back

See how the original pattern collar on the left just stops ? When I tried it on it wanted to stick up quite a lot.

I altered my muslin a few times before I was happy with it and got on to making my first try at the dress in real fabric, but that is a whole other story for another post (including everything that went wrong with fitting this muslin).

 

6 thoughts on “Sew For Victory – The First Try

  1. Your cat is adorable and I can sympathize, every cat I have ever lived with has wanted to be apart of my sewing. Including my father’s fat cat who would wrap himself around my sewing machine to sleep.

    The issue with the collar is very strange, I wonder is it supposed to be a faux collar and stop halfway, or is the piece supposed to be cut on a fold? It’s too weird for words. I’m happy you replaced the collar with a nicer looking one.

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  2. I am so glad I found your blog. I thought I was going mad as I am experiencing exactly the same problems with the Blitz pattern. The instructions are dreadful. I can’t believe I paid £20 for this poor quality pattern. I am at the collar stage and thought it was wierd that it just stopped 3/4 round the neckline!!! Have you finished your dress and if yes are you pleased with it?

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  3. Hello ladies .Your comments are valuable and we did experience some problems with that Manuel .We have made alterations to the Manuel and the pattern .If you would like an updated version please e mail us .Or indeed a free pattern and try a different design .
    We are constantly striving to improve and update our designs and we are passionate to get it right .
    We always listen to our customers comments positive and negative and act accordingly .
    Have you seen our new pattern Mr London – Kirstie Alsopp loved it and Stuart from the Sewing Bee is currently making one and we look forward to hear how he got on with it .
    With regard to the paper ,when I teach dress making and indeed comments at shows the overall response has been its nice to have a pattern that doesn’t tear .
    We will have a tissue version available soon .

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  4. I am also glad I found this! My friend and I have been making the Audrey version and the instructions are atrocious. The “what you need” list doesn’t include half the stuff you need (ie boning and interface). There are steps missing, we have had to muddle our way through it. The lady at the fair where we bought this said it was “good for beginners”. No WAY could a true beginner make head nor tail of it!!!

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    • I haven’t seen the Audrey dress pattern, but really sympathise. The lady I met at the fair was very pleasant, but has a pattern cutter to make the pieces and has a background herself in fashion design, rather than experience of using sewing patterns. I think if you have bought her patterns recently some of the instructions have changed, so she is trying to improve. However I wouldn’t buy one again. They are also quite expensive compared to Sew Over It, By Hand London or Tilly and The Buttons, which are three other UK independent pattern companies. I recommend you have a look at their websites.

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  5. I’m happy I found this too. We bought two patterns at Olympia Mar 2016. I am an experienced dressmaker but the instructions are dreadful. I made a toile version of the Margo jumpsuit at the weekend as my daughter is in between sizes. If I were a beginner, I would have given up, I’m glad I have an idea of what to do. Often there is no mention of which pieces you should be using “lay pocket bag right sides together matching notches, stitch” should have “lay pocket bag right side together with trouser front!”. It would have been easy for a beginner to sew the two pocket pieces together. “Understitching is done” – great if you know what understitching is! There are pattern pieces for SQ Cuff and SW Cuff for which there are NO instructions AT ALL in the manual. Really not clear. There is no mention on the back of the packet with the notions that a zip is needed until you encounter it in the instructions!!! Certainly won’t be buying any of these patterns again as they are very expensive and there are cheaper and better products in the market place.

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