The Great Brute-ish Sewing Bee: Difficult Fabrics Week(s)

The creation of The Dress resulted in quite a few by-products…for which I vainly try to line up The Daughter for glamorous photo shoots, so I am going to do the unforgivable blog-thing and just post cellphone pictures, so I can get it out of my system and move on!

The Vogue 8729 pattern did not suggest a petticoat, but definitely needed one to give the shape illustrated on the envelope. I reckoned “well, how hard can it be?”



But let me tell you this: my sister downloaded all 4 seasons of the Great British Sewing Bee for me.  So, in the many many many hours of making The Dress, I furthered my education.  Then after I had worked through all the episodes but there was still a lot of dress left to make I switched to some dark fantasy / horror stories on Audible.

Consequently in future I will always think of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Pit and the Pendulum” whenever I work with tulle.  From the depths of of black spiderweb I listened to that story about a condemned wretch subjected to slow, meticulous torture. I TOTALLY identified with the poor soul.

A tongue-in-cheek friend sent me this picture after I delared my passionate hate of tulle. Yes, slightly crude, but believe me it was just what I needed at the time! Nothing like a drop of humour to pull one through….


Thing is, I bought the wrong tulle.  Though I went for a more expensive type, it turned out to be too “glassy.” The petticoat LOOKED lovely as a garment – but did not work as an underdress at all. Much, MUCH too scratchy, even over the lining! And noisy, too.

I do not have a picture of Attempt no 1 because in a moment of despondence I cut all three layers loose again to recycle the lining fabric, AND to stash 12m of  black tulle away for hypothetical future use. I do not have space to store a multilayered petticoat that fills up an entire closet!

Two fabric store visits later, a grandmotherly saleslady dug a limp roll from the bottom of her stock.  “What you are looking for, my darling, is BRIDAL tulle,” she said. “But we only have this much left in black.”

Only 8 metres.  Which is why, friends, we have a duo-coloured petticoat.


The Daughter was not home the afternoon I finished it, so I couldn’t resist prancing through the house in the 4-layer tulle petticcoat myself, while Little Son said I look like his little cousin Emma pretending to be Barbie:


Then there is the velvet jacket.  I made it (a) because I love a challenge because The Daughter always wanted a velvet jacket and (b) because two weeks before the Matric Farewell we experienced a cold front (4 degrees!) I wanted her to be ready for anything and not shiver all night just to show off The Dress.


Fortunately pleasant weather prevailed.  Very fortunately, because I did of course not finish the thing in time…


I am not going to write much about velvet. (Pattern review here.)  Except to say black velvet is the devil’s fabric and in future I will avoid stuff that covers the whole room in black dust, makes my nails dirty, my nose itch and my eyes burn!

Now to wait for winter before she can actually wear the jacket.

2 thoughts on “The Great Brute-ish Sewing Bee: Difficult Fabrics Week(s)

  1. I must admit the first thing I thought of when I saw the black tulle in your sewing machine was an episode of Star Trek when the Enterprise was being consumed by a black cloud! 😂 Love the fart joke – can I “borrow” it and send it to my brother-in-law? He will laugh so hard he will fall off his chair! All your sewing efforts – black cloud, tulle, black dust – were rewarded with a lovely jacket and dress!

    Liked by 1 person

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