But then I instituted a two-out-one-in rule to help me achieve the goal of all my fabric fitting in its designated cupboard, and while trying to sort through what I had that could be immediately used, I realised I had a remnant of pink ponte knit of the exact dimensions specified for version 1 of the Wren. It seemed like fate; there would be more space in my cupboard, and I could try an initial test run of a) the pattern and b) the company on a piece of fabric I paid £3.99 for. Result.
(Possibly this is my "Result" face)
I settled down to start cutting and immediately hit a snag. When deciding what size to cut, I looked at the finished garment measurements, saw that the pattern was designed to have two to four inches of negative ease at the hips and went HA HA HA NOPE. I am not going to be wearing negative ease on my hips. I'm not saying I will never ever wear negative ease on my hips, but right now that is not a thing that will be happening. So instead of grading out to one size larger in the hips as I would ordinarily do, I graded out two sizes larger. Which is fine, but the 1.5 metres of fabric wasn't enough for that. Luckily I also had a ton of black ponte from the same remnant bin, so I decided to colour block it (also, two fabrics used! One new fabric for me!). Once I'd started cutting it I panicked that a bright pink and black dress would look too 80s for words, and not in a way that would seem deliberate, but eh. It was only a test.
(I cannot explain this pose to you. I'm sorry.)
The first thing I did was sew the skirt up, because that's what I was most worried about. I tried it on and it seemed to fit perfectly. It wasn't the super-fitted "here is my ass" type of skirt that I think they were going for, but for what I wanted, it was great. Going two sizes up in the hips gave me somewhere between zero and a fraction of an inch positive ease, which gives me a nice silhouette without pulling and make me feel self-conscious. I will possibly make myself a carbon copy of the skirt and put some kind of waistband or facing on it, because it seems like the perfect work skirt, for when work is a thing again.
I moved on to the top. "Hem with a twin needle", it said, and I thought, hey, this is just a test one, I could try the twin needle, everyone says it's really easy. If I had to sum up my first evening's attempt in one word, it would be GRAAHHHkcjnbvhruuogb (or something to that effect). My machine ate the fabric, which it hasn't done in months. The threads kept tying themselves in knots, and once one of the threads managed to feed itself directly through the middle of the other thread. I have no idea how. I eventually got the neck edges hemmed, but it took me 40 minutes and about nine or ten complete rethreadings of my machine. I put it to one side, discouraged and disgruntled.
But I would not be defeated. I WOULD finish. I came back to it the next day having read up on how best to tame a twin needle, and I managed to hem both my armholes with only one reset. I was pleased. When I hemmed the skirt, I got it all done in one go and felt extremely accomplished.
BRAIN: We did it! Now for decorative topstitching in bold contrasting colours!
ME: You do know this hemming isn't actually straight, right?
BRAIN: Tra la la...
I have a tiny bit of weirdness around the bust, as you can probably tell from the flashes of bright blue bra you're getting in these photos. I'm not entirely sure how to fix that; I think I need to raise the armscye slightly and possibly even go down a size in the shoulders then try doing one of these full bust adjustment things. Basically, though, I'm really happy - it gave me more grief than I was expecting, but I can see how this would be a fairly easy pattern if you're a bit less useless than me. I think it's super flattering and having gone up the extra size in the hips, really comfortable as well.
Anyway, dress. We were talking about a dress.
Boyfriend's assessment at the trying-on stage: "It's not even that 80s. I was expecting much worse from what you said. It's actually just quite a nice dress." Then he noticed that I hadn't sewn the bodice and skirt together yet and starting poking me in the midsection, because our relationship is largely based around being quite childish quite a lot of the time.
I have plans for a couple more of these - one in this style with long sleeves, and one with a gathered skirt, possibly in the aubergine print jersey I've been hoarding (once I've tested the other skirt out on something, because I am completely terrified of making a mess of that material. I'm not sure why it's such a block, it wasn't even that expensive in the grand scheme of things). I also need to make a cropped jacket to go with this, because it is very much not November attire, even with this weird-ass fake November we have going on at the moment.
Yay Colette! I'm so glad this worked out, I wanted to like you so much that I think I'd have been a bit upset if the dress hadn't come out well. Next stage: see if the Moneta works as well for me as it seems to have done for every single other person I've seen in one. I have high hopes now.
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