pivotal points

Pivotal points – there were two in the pattern and a multitude IRL as I grappled with my first Vogue Patterns Marcy Tilton. Some have referred to this as an easy sew – I’m not one of those people. And that’s purely because of a feature which elevates this pattern head and shoulders above the rest – those expertly placed pivots. Thankfully, I’d bumped into Ann at The Big Simplicity Blog Meet who diplomatically pointed out to a fledgling sewer, that the pattern had proved challenging to her despite years of stitchery to her name.  If I hadn’t, I’m pretty sure I would have thrown in the towel during the construction of my bedsheet toile.

Labelling up each jigsaw puzzle pattern piece as I cut them, proved invaluable when joining them together – the difference in the front and back of the fabric being barely discernible. Opting for this grey Ponte de Roma from Abakhan was an unwitting masterly move for my first foray into sewing with knits. I’ve since discovered it’s a stable double knit and handles much like a woven. Crucially for me the fabric cost £15 all in and I was conscious that a low cost fail would be a lot easier to swallow.

Unfortunately, it did mean that I wasn’t able to put my newfound sewing with knits knowledge – courtesy of my day in may – into full usage. I did tinker with the differential feed on my overlocker and switch to a stretch needle but as many other bloggers have observed, sewing with Ponte is easy and well worth a punt. It’s not a fabric I would have considered before encountering this pattern but I was drawn to it’s weight and shape. The only misgivings I have is that it’s polyester and the propensity to pill. My sister and I have waged a lifelong crusade against bobbling and the jury is out as to whether this will stand the test of time.

Anyway, back to those pesky pivots. Ann advised me to attach a small square of stretch interfacing over the central point on the wrong side of the upper front, before reinforcing the inner corner and slashing along the centre front to the small circle. A tip, which along with know how garnered from this blog post, saved me from defeat. For me, stitching away from the central point each time and splitting the seam in two was key.

I’m feeling less triumphant when it comes to the neck and armhole binding. Interfacing the edging ensured minimal stretch during construction but my top stitching was woefully off point. As is often the case with a bias bound finish, I failed to catch the material underneath and whilst I could say that the ribbed effect on both neck and armholes was intentional, that would be a lie. Any tips on achieving the smooth finish detailed in the instructions would be welcomed.

If you are practised in the art of pivoting and adopt an organised approach to identifying and storing your pattern pieces, then you will probably find V8975 well within your sewing scope. My temporary undoing was launching in without the requisite skills and naively assuming I was a contender for a Vogue pattern marked ‘Average’. Needless to say, the descriptor would not deter me in the future but it would present a note of caution and prompt a tad more investigation from the outset.

In summation – as is the dressmaker’s wont – I’m declaring this pattern my new favourite and well worth the efforts required to perfect that pivot. Choosing a patterned fabric would make the task much less arduous but I’m glad I opted for a plain palette, which rightfully focuses all the attention on its bold lines and deep folds.

And by way of a postscript, here’s a pictorial celebration of a pivotal point of my own, crafted by the very talented @saltandchilli_emma who is well worth checking out over on Instagram.

Love in stitches

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12 thoughts on “pivotal points

  1. Wow this looks amazing a real statement piece. Congratulations on trying something so difficult. Regarding the bias tape you have 2 main options. Firstly, attach it right sides together from the front and at the back hand stitch it down using a small catch stitch. Alternatively apply the tape from wrong side flipping Towards the front and top stitch from the right side using an edge stitch foot.

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  2. Thank you very much Louise. I’m starting to look for the kind of clothes I’ve always wanted to wear but couldn’t afford, rather than just something I can sew. Brilliant advice on the bias bound edge. I think the second approach might not work in this case as there is no turn under like bias binding – just a strip of fabric which you trim after stitching. However the first suggestion would definitely have seen me proud and is what I’ll do next time.

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    1. Thank you Ann – it was such a big help chatting to you about the pattern and when I started to come a bit unstuck I remembered that you said it was a bit tricky. Next project is Marcy Tilton V9112!

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  3. Your dress looks great! Beautiful point sewing! So glad you found my quick tutorial helpful. =)

    I often attach binding right sides together on the outside, trim seam allowance as necessary, and then fold to inside – leaving the inside binding slightly wider. Then you can stitch-in-the-ditch of on the outside and catch the binding on the inside.

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    1. Thank you kindly Brooke for the compliment and the binding advice. I found your tutorial super helpful – that’s what so great about blogging – you pick up so many tips from each other along the way 🙂

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  4. What a beautiful and complicated looking dress. It really is a statement design but looks wonderful on. Definitely like one of the avant-garde Japanese designers. Not all pontes are created equal and some do last the test of time better than others. It is such a shame that it has a tendency to pill because it is great to sew. Xx

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    1. It’s a fantastic pattern and like you say is a statement design but eminently wearable at the same time. I’m sure my eye was drawn to it due to my love of Japanese designers. Fingers crossed on the Ponte pillage front – I might handwash it every now and again or just give it a good air! Thank you for stopping by – much appreciated x

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  5. Aimee, I adore it. When you mentioned you were to do a marcy tilton pattern I was intrigued as her stuff always has some quirks so either way would not be a straightforward sew and the result is so fab, its got to have been worth it. I am not the best machine sew-er, and when I do any bias binding, I prefer to hand finish it as I could never get the even finish. It is not something I lose sleep over either. I agree with you on the pont fabric. Its a double knit so you get the best of both, and the ponts I have bought have pilled, but not too awful either, something I could live with. Its a stunning dress on you, a brilliant make – take a bow! That drawing is gorgeous, I will look her up

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    1. Ahh thank you so much Eimear – I’m really glad you like it 🙂 I wasn’t at all prepared for the difficulty factor – which I really should have been from just looking at the pattern envelope! But now I’ve dipped my sew in the pivot point pond, I feel prepared to return and perfect my skills at a later date. This is good enough for me for now. I’m hoping I can live with the inevitable pillage and am going to treat it with care so I can get maximum wears from it before my pillage threshold is reached! A few people have suggested a hand finish on the binding which is definitely what I would do on a repeat make. It’s just not worth the headache to botch it at the end when you’ve spent so long on the dress itself. My next make is another Marcy – she’s got me hooked. Bowing out – virtually and metaphorically. Thanks again for the kind words.

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  6. This reminds me of dresses that I marveled at, made by an individual designer at a sale of work in Sheffield. This is just your style and the detail and drape are perfect for you. It looks expensive and a real head turner. Lovely! X

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    1. Ah thank you Terri – it’s a bit like the dresses in the shop on Sharrowvale Road. I did find the pattern a step up but it was well worth the efforts getting my head round it. This year is the year of stepping up and challenging myself as I no longer have the excuse that I’ve only been sewing for a year! xx

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