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Jun 23, 2010

"Oh, SHI--chiffon!" I'm in trouble.

NOTE: This post includes images that may cause temporary double-vision, vertigo, nausea and/or fatigue.  MPB is not liable for any resulting injuries or accidents to readers.   Please avoid if pregnant or using prescription medication.

Readers, look closely at the image above.  Do you see a pattern?   Does it repeat and where?

Look again.  Take a minute or two.

There is a pattern here, rest assured.  A very, very WIDE and subtle pattern.

Now look at this:

And this...

And this...

Loyal followers and lurkers, can you see what the problem here is?  Can you see why after a noon meeting uptown today that rest assured is not psychotherapy not that I wouldn't benefit from some at this point I will be heading back to the fabric store?

I can hear your collective groan of empathy and I thank you.  It means a lot to me to know you're there, wherever there is and half the time I have no idea.  I try to keep things in perspective.  This is not the BP oil spill or even the Exxon Valdez.  In fact it rates no worse than the Titanic and much less than the Jonestown Massacre.  Life goes on.

I will use this lovely periwinkle and lavender print, oh yes, I will.  Gathered and and covered with cheap beads, it's very lovely.  It will make a beautiful caftan, beach cover-up, or dress so flowing your eye never tries to make out what's actually going on with those artsy-fartsy medallions.


But the bodice, well really the whole front of my Twenties dress is flat.  Very flat.

A confession.  Confused and impatient to hear some words of validation last night, I took my problem directly to the Pattern Review message board.  (What was I supposed to do, post something here at MPB and hope that some reader in New Zealand would be up at 2 am my time?  I don't even know where New Zealand is, or Old Zealand for that matter.)

Anyway, a few kinds souls on Pattern Review confirmed my worst suspicion: this chiffon print is not meant for this dress.

Oh well.

Readers, has this ever happened to you?    Have you ever fallen for and purchased a print fabric that, upon closer examination at home, was wrong for your project?   Did you paid more than $2/yd for it?

That would make me feel much, much better.

Finally: what do you think about big polka dots?  Stripes?

Have a great day, everybody!


  1. Ooo, dots. Dots are just my speed as they don't need to line up. Do they? This is why I don't sew clothes.

  2. Zealand is the largest island in Denmark. Just like York is a city in England. :-)

  3. Yes, I've bought fabric that's not right for what I want to use it for!! And yes, I paid more than $2 for it.
    Maybe Cathy would like a blue bathing suit with a periwinkle and lavender chiffon cover-up, for sitting sipping cocktails in?

  4. well, i pay $2 a yard for my fabric about 70% of the time. $1 a yard 25% of the time. the rest of the while, i splurge on fabric with portions of birthday money specifically set aside... and then i never touch the stuff for fear of wrecking it.

    (evil oona: burnout. BURNOUT, FOR THE LOVE OF PETE.)

  5. That chiffon print would be great for a draped cowl neckline, but I think you're making a good call to abandon it for this project. Thank goodness you draped it over the form! Think about how disappointing it would have been to have the realization with the first fabric fitting. I am happy to say that I have the foresight to at least drape the fabric over my body before cutting into it now, but there was a time where that disappointment would have been mine.

    I like the idea of a horizontal stripe on the yoke, with a vertical stripe on the body- it would give the dress a costumed by Tim Burton feel, that Cathy could really rock.

  6. I think you reached a good decision. You can use this crazy paisley for another project. There is another fabric right for Cathy's new dress out there. You'll find it and realize it is the best choice.

    I've had too many sewing disasters to enumerate. At least you haven't cut into it yet.

  7. Completely agree with your pattern reveiwers. Won't work. And yes, I've been there dear. Paid a mint for fabric that wouldn't work. Have done that too many times to count. At least you know that it won't work and you know, that's key. You'll find something even more fabulous. Promise. Polka dots sound delicious!

  8. Oooh, this is a good cautionary tale! Thank goodness you hadn't cut into it before you realized it just wouldn't work. I haven't always been so lucky… and the fabric cost WAAAY more than $2 a yard.

    I like the Burtonesque striping idea that LAP had. It would be a modern, fresh take on a classic look.

  9. ALWAYS consider how the fabric will be cut and where it will fall on the body when made up. Large scaled prints like the paisley are designed to be used with lots of pleats and fold/gathers to break them into shards of color. Used flat they make bullseyes on butts and boobs. Good choice to save this piece of fabric for something soft and gathered. Your work is amazing.
    Jotham "Sew, he knits, too!"

  10. The pattern is printed diagonally, but still symmetrical. Looking at the pictures now I think maybe it would have been too drapey for this kind of dress

  11. Oh No!!
    Well done for spotting that one. Thank goodness the internet has helpers the world over for advice. That is many hours saved so you deserve a pat on the back for your cleverness.
    I vote burnout too still!

    By the way this is where the kiwis live: I don't know why they named it after Zealand in Denmark.

  12. Been there, done that. I have found, since I am kinda busty, it is REALLY important when dealing with prints to figure out ahead of time how that print will look on various parts of the body before cutting out the pattern.

    Good save!!

  13. The only thing I did is I had a lemon novelty print from Joanns and forgot to remember the up side and the downside of the pattern pieces (trying to fit all of them without wasting fabric). On two gores I had upside-down lemons.

    Totally go for red and white polka dots, perfect with a white cloche and a string of pearls.

  14. Once paid a fortune for a very graphic Marimekko inspired print. Did not notice until my dress was almost finished that the fabric was printed off grain. Had enough to re cut with the print vertical but there was enough bias that the seams looked lousy. Spent rest of day swearing like a sailor's swearing instructor... Dots or stripes will look great. Can't wait to see what you do!

  15. Zeeland is the the Netherlands ... (Zealand is also an island in Denmark).

    The Dutch were a big exploring & trading nation in the 1600.

    You needed to know that. :-)


  16. Wow, what a resource you guys are. Just picked up my new fabric; tune in tomorrow!

  17. New Zealand was 'discovered' by the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman, hence the name!
    (And if you posted at 2am tomorrow morning half the country will be up - sorry not reading your blog, but watching our All Whites play Paraguay!)

  18. Wow, can't wait to see what you new fabric choice is. I do like LAP's strip idea though. xx

  19. I am a loyal follower of your blog, all the way from New Zealand! I too have purchased fabric with a pattern which was not suited to my project - however, prices for fabric here are higher than what you pay, and therefore a more expensive mistake. I love paisley but have had more mistakes than successes. I LOVE polka dots and stripes - I am looking forward to reading your next entry. Go the All Whites!

  20. Today I detest polka dots, I've never really liked them but I'm always late to the party. I do, however, like Swiss dots.

    I love your original fabric and if I were you, which I'm not, of course, I would continue with my original plan.

    Have you tidied your sofa?

  21. We Australians were up at 4am watching the football. Yes, I do this all the time. I fall for a fabric and in my mind it becomes the perfect garment, print matched and placed perfectly, fit spot on ... then I lay the fabric out on the table. I have a knit print in my sewing queue that is destined to remain unsewn because every one of 5 patterns I've pulled out and layed on it don't work with the pattern.

  22. At least you didn't start sewing or cutting, before you realized it wasn't going to work out! It's a pretty fabric.. for a different project. Maybe the beach jumpsuit with palazzo pants?

  23. Ugh, not polka-dots. Too 80s does 20s/50s.
    I buy the wrong fabric all the time. The worst was flannel for a mini-length wrap dress. In the winter. With a tropical print. Hm.

  24. Maybe it's a Canadian market kind of thing but I always spend more than 2 bucks a yard - and sometimes the results are not appealing! The cheapest fabric I've ever found was $3.50 a yard - if you bought 4 yards. Obvs I'm not going to the right places.

  25. Have you ever fallen for and purchased a print fabric that, upon closer examination at home, was wrong for your project? Did you paid more than $2/yd for it?
    Oh yes. Very much so. Thankfully my niece loves "sewing" with fabric (she's only 6 so "sewing" is more like "cut up and pin buttons on it") so I can always give her my what-was-I-thinking pieces.

    I do like the blue chiffon when gathered a little... those are really pretty blue shades.

  26. New Zealand is down here next to Australia, and since we are more or less on the other side of the world, it was probably lunchtime and your Kiwi readers may well have been wondering what you were up to.
    I like the idea of a beach cover up for Cathy out of the chiffon. Burda Magazine had some a few months back.
    Or...maybe some sheer harem pants? Or is that too out there even for MPB?

  27. If you use that fabric for sheer harem pants, please don't post photos.

  28. I'm with sewsister (glad I'm not a lone voice!). I can see the problem with the first pic with unfortunately placed motifs, but I can't see what is wrong with the others. In fact the front pic with necklaces is gorgeous! I think you can make a really interesting 20s dress with this fabric, and if I were you, I'd stick to my original plan...


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