Size matters

Recently, I asserted that most yard goods come in 45″ and 60″ widths, and they do. The key word here is most.

Today, I set up to begin pinning/cutting/marking the 6 bajillion pattern pieces for my dress mock up. I carefully ironed the patterns and the canvas. This is an important step that I used to skip. When I started working in leather I realized how teeny discrepancies, from wrinkled patterns, can add up to huge issues. I now do everything I can to minimize anomalies. I make enough mistakes without handicapping myself.20160206_161126

I take a hard look at the pattern layout. Hmm, I think, that doesn’t look like it’s going to fit. Okay, I know I have a horrible time with manipulating shapes and spacial concepts, so it’ll probably fit just fine. And with that, I got to work.

After mucking about for a bit, to no avail, I sat and thought. Something was seriously wonky. After some time and some additional examination of the layout, I realized that I was trying to do the layout for dress A, while having the pattern pieces for dress B because, well, I’m an idiot and I am in fact making dress B. (heavy sigh) This is why I try to mark everything in red pencil before I start. That red pencil you see above? Yeah, that was done after I tried to make the wrong dress from the right pattern.

I spent some more time mucking about with pattern pieces, still to no avail. They still did not fit. After exhausting the possibilities, because I was truly convinced I had to be reading/doing something wrong, I finally (I know. You would have thought I had done this ages ago, right?) get out my measuring tape. The fabric is not 45 inches wide. It’s 40. Leave it to me to find the exception to the 45″ rule.

Fortunately, I know I make a lot of mistakes, so I always buy extra fabric. It’s funny I almost didn’t for this project. I was buying a different weight canvas than I normally do because it was 1/3 the cost of my normal stuff. I didn’t want any leftovers of an odd weight hanging around in my scrap bin. What can I say, old habits die hard. I bought an extra half yard. That combined with some rearranging of the pattern layout (and flagrant disregard of grain lines) I had enough fabric for all of the pieces.


Now, before all of you sewists come down on me for (mostly) ignoring grain lines, remember, this is a mock up. How the fabric hangs/performs when I’m finished makes absolutely no difference. Neither will it matter if the light catches the grain differently on individual pieces. I’ll be disassembling the dress almost as soon as I’m finished.

Little known fact about leather, though it does not have woven grain like cloth, it does have grain. Since I work with cow hide (for now) I don’t need to worry about it. When sewing, cow leather stretches for the most part, in one direction. Not a big deal. When I start working in deer hide, I’ll need to be more attentive as deer hide stretches in multiple directions.

While I have a pair of deer hide shorts on my to-do list, I have a feeling this dress is going to cure me of any new projects for a while.






4 thoughts on “Size matters

  1. Yeah, I’m useless when it comes to spatial relations (why won’t the station wagon fit into the parking space that’s marked “compact cars only” in the parking garage us a fucking mystery to me), I have zero hand-eye coordination; I’m the idiot who would cut without realizing it’s 40 instead of 45 and then say “Now why doesn’t it fit/drape right?”Somewhere in my house is the baby blanket I started knitting when I found out my sister was pregnant with my niece…my niece is four years old already and the goddamn baby blanket never got finished because I googled “how to knit a baby blanket”, bought some yarn & knitting needles, and made a real effort for about a day and a half. Then I got tired of sweating and cursing and said “Yeah I’ll just get her a blanket from pottery barn”.

    • Long ago I tried learn something with needles. Crocheting? Knitting? I don’t know. Something like that. After a couple of hours of being told I was holding the needles wrong, my stitches were inconsistent, too small, too large, the tension on the yarn wasn’t right, I decided I would find something else to pass the time.

  2. The grain is really important about 50% of the time. Like when drape matters on a bias, or pants. Mock up? Pshaw. I’m with you. My biggest annoyance at this point in my projects generally surfaces when I realize I bought a directional fabric and not enough extra. Sewing words fly!!!!

Please offer your thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s