Meet Murphy: the New Look 6000 dress that didn’t want to be made


I’ve named this dress Murphy, as in ‘Murphy’s Law’, because everything that could have gone wrong while I was working on it did. I actually think the only part that was smooth-ish sailing was the side pleating, which was the one part I was expecting to be a headache.

I should point out that because this was such as stop-start project for me, I can’t honestly say whether the issues I had were my own fault or because of the pattern, though I’m inclined to think it a combination of the two! It was my first time working with plaid to I really took my time cutting it out. I bought the fabric a while ago specifically to test run patterns –  it came, very cheaply, from a remnant bargain bin (the shop owner actually had no idea how long it had been in there) and I really like its 60s vibe. I was holding out for a while for the ‘right’ fabric for this pattern but in the end thought I might as well use this stuff to test it.

Young Murphy

Originally I had wanted to make the New Look 6000 version you see in the photo on the front of the pattern – complete with collar and cuffed sleeves. After difficulties working with the extremely fraying fabric, inserting the zip (never usually an issue with me, not sure what was going wrong!) and matching the two back panels up while stitching the stretching fabric, I jettisoned the collar and the sleeves. I honestly couldn’t understand how to put the collar on at all and eventually chucked it. Then I dropped the sleeves because, by that point, I just wanted the damn thing finished!

Now that it’s done, I actually quite like it, though there’s a fair bit of neck gape at the back. I’m not sure how to fix that at this stage without totally mucking up the matching pattern across the back so I’m happy to leave it be – I can’t see myself wearing it without a cardigan in winter anyway.

As learning curves go, this was a steep one. I found it a really tough project to finish (most likely down to the combination of this fabric and my skill level), but I actually love the pattern designs so much that I can see myself having another go. I am pretty happy with how the back panels matched up across the zip in the end:

Matching Murphy

Skills learned: Pleating, working with patterned fabric, working with stretchy fabric.

Recommend pattern?: I found the instructions pretty vague for my first time around at some of the techniques, but think I will give it another go as the designs are really lovely (as so many other sewers attest!).


Comprehensive interfacing versus lining: any tips?


When Craftsy had a ‘holiday sale’ recently, I took advantage of the half-price drop to enroll in a couple of sewing classes I’d had my eye on for a while. I have some really good sewing books that are invaluable as reference material while sewing, but I definitely find it much easier to learn by seeing a technique in practice and am really enjoying the Craftsy experience. Plus, it’s great to hear the tips that the tutor mentions aside throughout the video.

I’m about halfway through the first class I enrolled in, 40 Techniques Every Sewer Should Know. One of the tips the tutor, Gail Yellen, mentions is that she likes to fully interface every pattern piece when she’s working with certain fabrics, such as linen, because it can help them to keep their shape and prevents creasing.

When she said it, I had one of those ‘of course!’ moments: there are some dress fabrics I’ve been reluctant to use because their weight and transparency means  either wearing slips underneath or else fully lining them. I’d love to hear from other sewers about their experiences with this – have you tried fully interfacing something before making it up? How did it work out?

Finally finished: my first Beignet skirt

Beignet front other

I finished a few sewing projects recently but have had difficulty finding the time (and the lighting!) to photograph them for blogging – until now! So here’s my first Beignet. I guess this is what is referred to as a ‘wearable muslin’ – I used a navy polycotton to try out the pattern first time around and check the fit. I’m not sure it’s the ideal fabric for this project as it wrinkles like mad, but I’m actually really happy with it and can see myself getting a lot of wear out of it (especially like this, with a collared shirt and sweater).

I had a bit of a panic attack about three-quarters of the way through making this (basically when it was too late to go back and make any adjustments without an awful lot of hassle) because I somehow suddenly thought I had cut out the wrong size. Turns out that it’s actually a perfect fit. This is the ‘2’ and I like that it’s not skin-tight, so I have room to a) sit down and b) eat.


The process

I still consider myself a beginner sewer and I was a bit daunted that this pattern is graded ‘intermediate’ by the designers, but the instructions were brilliantly comprehensive. It’s the most technical project I’ve taken on so far and I learned a lot of new techniques and skills while doing it, including making pockets, buttonholes and belt loops. The lining was definitely much more complicated than anything I’ve done before, but even in saying that, the directions guided me through the whole process.

I lined it with some grey anti-static lining and found these lovely buttons at The Cloth Shop. At Eur0.50 each, I think they add up to being more expensive than the rest of the skirt put together, but they really finish it nicely and I like that they’re each a little bit different to each other.

Overall, I’m really, really pleased with this one and will definitely make it again (preferably in a more skirt-appropriate fabric!).

Beignet buttons