Ancient Project – The Boat Dress

When I first got a sewing machine in my early 20s I was pretty set on making clothing. In a style fairly typical to me, I set my sights high and became very frustrated when my skills didn’t quite match up.

'Fast and Easy' eh...

‘Fast and Easy’ eh…

I started this project around 6 years ago, finding an easy pattern after the chance discovery of some rather fabulous Laura Ashley curtain fabric in a charity shop. Alas, times being what they were, the dress was never finished – the domestic situation was uncommonly complicated and it must be said that I lacked confidence as a seamstress. I got about halfway through the pattern instructions before deserting the whole thing. Looking back at it now, I still think ‘simple pattern’ is a bit far-fetched. It seems to me like they have their own internal logic. There is no room to be slapdash – which is everything I stand against as a maker!

I was also 2 dress sizes larger in those days, so in order to boss this beautiful bastard I was going to have to completely deconstruct in order to begin again. My Mum is getting married next week, so it would be nice to get this finished for that…

Lovely Laura Ashley fabric

Beginning with the unpicking of every seam, I then cut around each fabric piece to match the size 8 measurements, apart from the front facing which I had to recut and face, as it was a completely different shape in a size 8. The others were much simpler, just a pin on and cut around job. Having read through the instructions a few times, I started sewing.

I still feel nervous about dress making, even though I have done so many more complicated projects since those fateful days struggling on with the original incarnation of the boat dress. A wonky dart and a mis-read of the instructions later, I have had to have a little break. Why oh why is this so exasperating?

Bring me words of comfort, friends. Do you have any dressmaking tales you would like to share? Inspirational success stories equally as welcome as whining narratives such as my own. Thanks for reading and liking, as always. x.


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