SPRING CLEAN episode #1

Exhibit A- Shoddy Black Raggy Cardigan

The Rag and I were painfully avoiding each other for the entire Winter. May I say the rag looked amazing in the shop (I will not give you the name but there are plenty to pick from) and cost me a guilty 139 (gulp) Euros. Yes I know, uneducated sense of luxury.

Moral of story: just because it’s black and basic doesn’t mean it will serve you well.

From a distance, it doesn’t look too bad. I’ve passed by other people wearing it, walking down the street, and I’ve looked twice. But upon closer inspection, you can see where the silver threads fall down like stalagmites, catch in door handles and around the buttons so the whole thing becomes impossible to even take off!!!

However, those buttons are quite tasty. This week I gleefully cut them off and they now look as edible as liquorice toffee’s.


Here is a dress I made to go with The Bolero (see March 2010) in indigo satin back crepe, a most snaggable unravelable fabric when working with the satin side faced towards you . There are a few things I learnt from this project, or rather, I have identified areas that need improvement and research.

Firstly, if you look closely at the bodice, you can see it buckling around the bust area. This happened because (a) it was a difficult shape to work with anyway (b) because my iron was too hot (c) I applied too much pressure for too long and (d) my impatience (this is bad for U Seam Nice). Take note my friends, the iron can shrink your cloth and erase all your precise labours in one fell swoop of molded and baked molten aluminum.

Secondly, although I used an invisible stitch for the hem, I might have been better off doing a Hong-Kong edge and using a smaller needle and thinner thread if it exists…

Thirdly, the design is based on a pattern from Burda 3/2010. The straps are 3mm indigo velvet from A Rubanesque Ltd. The dress was supposed to hold itself up especially since there is boning in it but I wasn’t so sure…See http://www.facebook.com/pages/A-Rubanesque-Ltd


I find most instructions of putting on an invisible zip very hard to follow so for what its worth, here’s what I did….

1. First of all, I replaced the regular presser foot with a zipper foot.
2. Then I placed the two sides of the skirt, right side facing me, on a flat surface, so the top of the skirt faced away.

3. I opened up the zip and turned the left front side on the left front side of the skirt and pinned it into place.

4. I brought the needle position on the machine to the full left so that when the presser foot was placed down on top of the fabric, the stitch line would be directly beside the teeth of the zip.

5. You can see the first line of stitching here in a pale pink.

6. I then attached the right zip to the right side of the fabric and sewed the zip in place using the same method as previous. (You can see where I have pinned the open seam below).

7. You then sew the seam below and press the zip and the seam flat. The stitching looks a bit crooked on the zip but it’s only because of the bubbling effect of the jacquard. Okay, I was a bit half hearted about this project but do read on please.

8. Finally, I used a zig-zag stitch to finish off the rough edges of the fabric where it met the zip. Its also important not to have too many stray threads hanging around because they’ll get caught in the zip.


Last month, I made the safari skirt Burda 3/10 (123), with two inverted pleats in a cheap yellow polyester stripe I had. It looked a bit like translucent upholstery fabric and was a very shoddy piece of cloth indeed. I’d never done a front fly zip, like you see on a man’s pair of trousers, so I decided to experiment with this cloth. It worked, but I thought it was too much effort on a simple pleated skirt and can look a bit bulky.

I wore it once, it started to rip, I cursed myself, I snarled at the lip.
I thought it would be so imperial, but I wasted cash on shoddy material.

So, I got my hands on admittedly, a wintry looking jacquard, and proceeded to make the skirt again, this time, with a simple invisible zip at the side. To do this, I cut the seam allowance off the front pattern piece and cut one piece out on a fold instead of two halves. The fabric was quite stiff and I considered cutting it on the bias (to give better drape) but I hadn’t enough cloth.

Tomorrow I will show you how I put in the invisible zip.