I thought this dress would be a quick, confidence-building creation that I could just whip up and feel proud of myself for which that would subsequently help me finish some of the other projects that I had been procrastinating on, but it ended up being a procrastination in itself.

That’s the reason why this gorgeous summer dress is now finished in Australia’s winter. But I make do with what I have. And I’ll be damned if I don’t wear this dress despite the cold outside. Slip on some stockings and a cute black top underneath, and you got yourself a winter-wearable summer dress.

P.S. I will never apologise for making yet another Butterick 6453. Only God can judge me.

It took a social sewing session in my city to finally break myself out of the cycle of procrastination and finish up a bulk of the dress. I made a few rookie errors with this one, and so that I never do them again, I will document them here for posterity:

  1. Cutting a waist out of 3/4-circle skirt pieces after I had finished sewing the sides up. I had just made a giant fabric pie chart with haggard central joins (because they weren’t perfect wedges, of course) and then the stretch of the fabric further intimidated me. Instead of just going with my template, I made sure to walk the lower bodice pieces around the chalk outline of where I thought the waist should be, and thankfully, it all worked out. But 0/10 experience, would not try it again.
  2. Creating a lining for a stretchy dress out of non-stretch fabric. I think there’s a reason that you don’t see this done in ready-to-wear clothing. Strangely, it actually kind of works? I made the bodice pieces a tiny bit narrower for the shell to account for the stretch and did not size down the lining pieces at all, and it’s somehow come together. Then to slipstitch the lining to the waist, I stretched the waist over a mug as I sewed (you read that correctly). While it works, I am so doing facings the next time I use stretch fabric.
  3. I put the rear zipper in too low because of the piping so now there’s a bit of a gap at the top. I pride myself on expert invisible zipper installation (see tutorial) but boy was it a fuck-around with the piping. Instead of being a snotty little overachiever and trying to get the piping to meet at the top of the zipper, I might just taper off the piping a centimetre before the zip and never have to deal with the hell of inserting a zipper next to piping ever again. I tried putting in a hook and eye but it just didn’t work, so it’s something I will just have to live with.

Who would have thought that such a plain-looking dress would have been such a massive pain in the ass? My one solace is that I eked it out of a piece of fabric 150cm square and it’s pretty good for that sort of effort. I’ve become increasingly terrified of using existing fabric in my stash so I’m trying to work off my jitters on new fabric that I can easily obtain again if I massively screw up. This is a widely-available cotton sateen print that’s been around for ages, so don’t mind if I do.

I bought it cheaply from TaoBao, from one of my favorite novelty print fabric sellers. It comes in blue but I haven’t been able to buy it yet because the sellers keep insisting there’s something wrong with it and cancelling my orders. One day, one day…

My best friend and a very wise woman told me that people procrastinate because of one or two reasons:

  • Because they’re perfectionists and believe if they’re not going to knock it out of the park, they might as well not do it at all
  • Because they think that if they don’t devote a good chunk of time to it (more than 15 minutes or so), they might as well not do it at all

For me I think it was more of the first one. Perfectionism, and specifically the fact that sewing does not have a Ctrl+Z attached to it. And I usually only buy enough fabric to make 1 thing out of it, with no mistakes, and that’s it. The obvious solution to that, of course, is to sew more test runs (or buy more fabric every time just in case I mess up, which isn’t a solution I want to entertain–you know I’m a frugal lass). If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know I have all the muslin fabric I could ever want, but I’ve always viewed muslins as a waste of time. But… what I hadn’t considered before was that I was wasting that time anyways. Instead of sewing, I was putting it off and watching TV, “wasting time” regardless.

I don’t know where I’m going with this. I think about sewing all the time. I’m always designing pretty dress patterns in my head, my sketchbook is full of crazy dress designs, and my Pinterest is brimming with “inspiration”. But sometimes (and I attribute this partly to chronic depression), it’s so hard to sit down and do the work. I’m at awe of my partner, who can sit down for an entire day and work on his own (unpaid!) project, and has no problems with discipline or motivation. That’s my goal, to be able to be as productive as him or all the sewing Instagrammers I follow who seem to have sewn something new every day.

I haven’t figured out what the secret is, but when I do, I’ll let you know. Alternatively, if you know the secret, can you please tell me? I’m dying over here; I know there must be some kind of manual to life everyone else is following while I struggle along like some bedraggled jester in my own Truman Show.

On another note, some of you have probably noticed a new little friend featuring in some of these photos. Evie deserves a post for herself, but I guess now is as good as any time to introduce her. Meet Hugo’s little sister and the newest addition to our family! She’s a gnarly country girl at heart, but we really couldn’t have rescued a sweeter kid. More to come soon!

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4 Comments

  1. I totally get you.
    Starting an easy in between dress, that takes forever to finish. Yes, that happened several times.
    Fitting a dress in way that somehow works, but isn’t the way you should do it. Yes
    Watching tv and thinking about dresses you could sew instead of sewing. Happens way to much, but it helps to realize which projects are worth your time.

    Nevertheless the dress is really pretty and the combination of the fabric and piping is just perfect. And the dog is so sweet.

    What helps me to sew are deadlines. ( The dress needs to be finished for a fotoshooting or an upcoming event. )
    And I love to sew when I don’t have much time or should go to bed.
    Sewing in companion is also very inspiring and motivating to sew.
    And sometimes I sew with a timer. Its quite often how you were able to sew in a hour or fast the time is over.

    But sometimes I don’t sew at all. I don’t think there’s any point in forcing yourself to sew.

    • Demi

      That’s really good insight! Thank you for your kind words :)

      I think you’re right, I’ve always worked well with deadlines and last-minute assignments, so why not for sewing? :) Agreed it’s much easier to sew with friends around. I really need to get more sewing friends in Brisbane to help motivate me, haha!

  2. Great fabric, trims and styling for our sub-tropical winter ;o) I think the ctrl+Z for sewing is the unpicker, it’s the ctrl+Z for the scissors that doesn’t exist!! I have quite a few projects where I wind up invoking the words of project runway mentor Tim Gunn (“make it work”), but it really does slow down your project and motivation when you go off piste with the instructions or have to strain your brain to think of how to fix something up (I’m having a bit of a moment like that right now with a dress but I want in for frocktails in less than 10 days so I will just have to push on…….)

    • Demi

      It’s the scissors part I’m worried about! Or using a fabric that might have served a different dress pattern better than the one I picked. My greatest fear in life!

      I can’t wait to see what dress you’ve made for Frocktails :D

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