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

Murphy

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!).

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Pesky pleats: working on New Look 6000 dress

I decided to tackle a few new skills in one go with the lovely New Look 6000 dress pattern. I had just ordered the pattern when I came across Scruffy Badger’s great slideshow of different projects using it.

I’ve been holding out on using the pattern until I found the right fabric to work it with, but eventually decided to just give it a lash using some mystery remnant I picked up weeks ago (think it’s a cotton and wool blend, quite lightweight). I’ve never worked with check before but I thought that this fabric would suit the pattern’s 60s vibe.

Cutting it out was not as difficult as I had anticipated, though I took a lot more time and care than usual. I followed the advice of the Colette sewing book in lining up the shoulder sections to match the check on the front and back panels (I guess we’ll find out later how well that panned out!).

Cutting New Look 6000

I’m working on version C, shown in red on the pattern cover, which involves some inventive pleating along one side. Without a single pleat under my belt, I found the instructions a bit vague (they’re along the lines of ‘go on and make the pleats already’) but I figured it out while pinning it together.

Pleats stitched

It gave a lovely smooth finish on the right side once the pleats were ironed into place:

Pleats finished

Next step: inset the zipper. Then I’ll be able to put the front and back panels together and crack on with the collar and cuffed sleeves (neither of which I’ve done before, so quite the steep learning curve with New Look 6000!)