Dress

Jackie by Victory Patterns and some thoughts about conscious making

Sew Mariefleur Victory Patterns Jackie

When Kristiann from Victory Patterns asked me to test her latest pattern, the Jackie Dress, I had to decline, although I loved the design. I didn’t have the amount of fabric at home, I didn’t have the time and I had a very specific idea for this dress: I had to be a floor length velvet dress. Kristiann loved the idea and sent me the pattern after its release, even though I hadn’t tested. Thank you, Kristiann!

Sew Mariefleur Victory Patterns Jackie

Sew Mariefleur Victory Patterns Jackie

Making the Jackie with Fashion Revolution Week coming up really made me think about how I sew and what I sew. In general I take pride in making garments looking as nice on the inside as they look on the outside, even though it takes time and I have to re-do things. In general I want to make garments I actually wear. I have to admit that Jackie doesn’t really check any of these boxes – it was something I just wanted to make, because I loved the idea.

Sew Mariefleur Victory Patterns Jackie

Sew Mariefleur Victory Patterns Jackie

I found the perfect colour of stretch velvet at LA Finch Fabrics – and I had to order more than four yards for this dress! I know that it’s possible to find silk, bamboo and cotton velvet out there, but I am not sure how stretchy those are, and especially this amount of silk velvet would have been crazy expensive. The LA Finch Fabrics velvet is a polyester velvet, like most stretch velvets out there, and it feels nice on both sides, it’s not too hard to work with and feels good on the skin. I have used three or four poly fabrics lately, something I dislike, but I promise you, all the next garments I have planned are going to be made of cotton and rayon, and I have dismissed quite a few fabrics recently because they were made of poly (like this suede shirting from Style Maker Fabrics that I’d LOVE to make something of!).

Sew Mariefleur Victory Patterns Jackie

Sew Mariefleur Victory Patterns Jackie

Sew Mariefleur Victory Patterns Jackie

Jackie is a beautiful knit dress with long sleeves (it comes sleeveless, too), a high neck, princess seams and a wide skirt. It’s closed by three buttons at the neck and has a little keyhole at the back – the perfect counterweight to a high neckline and long sleeves. The bodice and the skirt consist of six panels, without any waistseam, except for the middle back. The dress comes in two different lengths – knee-length and midi, but as you can see I lengthened it about 20 cm. I love wearing the dress, I love the velvet, I love how the dress skims my hips, I love how the heavy velvet twirls. But to be honest – will I ever wear this dress? Maybe once or twice for Christmas, but that’s about it. There aren’t too may opportunities to wear a floor length velvet dress, I’m afraid.

Sew Mariefleur Victory Patterns Jackie

Sew Mariefleur Victory Patterns Jackie

But looking at these pics makes me think that sewing this just for a photo shoot might have been worth it. But then I think about all the fabric I use, about Fashion Revolution and I kind of feel bad about using that much fabric on something that won’t be useful. Something I just want. Yes, I don’t participate in the fast fashion industry by buying RTW garments, but the amount of fabric I buy exaggerates the amount of garments I’d ever buy. Producing fabrics has an ecological impact, too, and fabric can be produced by underpaid workers, too – although I like to imagine that sewing cheap garments is more likely to be an exploitative industry than weaving fabrics. But still.

Sew Mariefleur Victory Patterns Jackie

Sew Mariefleur Victory Patterns Jackie

Sew Mariefleur Victory Patterns Jackie

The other thing I feel kind of bad about is the fact that I am not really proud of my sewing. I hurried through sewing this dress, because I really really wanted to take pics of this dress in Lofoten, while visiting my in-laws during Easter. I was so careful while pressing the velvet, but I have a slightly visible pressing mark across the princess seams at the bust, which really annoys me. I also haven’t finished the seams on the inside, since my serger isn’t working and I didn’t have the time to sew a fake overlock stitch after sewing all the panels together. Oh boy, those seams are long!! And on the one hand I think that a stunning dress like this really deserves a beautiful finish from the inside – I should have taken the time to make this dress the most perfect dress ever. On the other hand I think that this is mainly a photo shoot dress, and that it’s ok not to have a perfect finish on something that isn’t going to be worn that much.

Sew Mariefleur Victory Patterns Jackie

Sew Mariefleur Victory Patterns Jackie

Sew Mariefleur Victory Patterns Jackie

I opted to hem the dress by hand, and it took me forever. The skirt hem is more than four metres long! The original skirt isn’t that wide, but when lengthening the dress I added length and width to the skirt instead of lengthening the dress at the lengthen/shorten lines. I just thought that some extra width wouldn’t hurt, and I’m happy with that decision. When trying the dress on I realized that I cut it a little too short, so I only turned the hem once and opted for a tiny hem. My handsewing isn’t the best, so even though I tried really hard to end up with invisible stitches from the outside, my hand stitching just shows a little, and I would have preferred a wide a luxurious hem for this dress. I give myself a thumb up for hemming the dress by hand, but I’m not too happy with my hand sewing and the tiny hem.

Sew Mariefleur Victory Patterns Jackie

Sew Mariefleur Victory Patterns Jackie

Sew Mariefleur Victory Patterns Jackie

I hemmed the sleeves by hand, too – hemming tight knit sleeves by hand isn’t working too well, either – hand stitches just aren’t stretchy and I don’t like how they restrict the stretch of the fabric while putting the dress on and off. The facing is sewn to the outer fabric by hand, too – and I was really disappointed by the fact that I could see the stitches on the outside. I think it’s a combination of sewing with velvet and the fact that the heavy knit fabric pulls down, it just pulls on the stitches, making them more visible. I get some pulling lines at the sides of the back waist seam, too – right there where the velvet isn’t held up by the facing anymore. Otherwise I’m pretty happy with the fit of this Jackie dress! I made the smallest size and didn’t change anything but the length of the skirt and the width of the sleeves – my upper arms are tiny.

Sew Mariefleur Victory Patterns Jackie

Sew Mariefleur Victory Patterns Jackie

I am aware of the fact that this blog post sounds a little depressing (sorry about that!), but it has nothing to do with the wonderful pattern, and looking at the pics I’m very close to saying that the amount of fabric, the fact that it’s poly and my finishing techniques don’t matter at all – everything was worth it to get these pics. But I think that I’m at a point where I basically don’t need anything more in my closet, apart from a pair of pants or two, underwear and maybe a coat. But I love sewing, I love being a maker, I love taking part in the sewing community, I love trying new patterns. Somehow I think I should slow down, be a little more like for example Sasha from Secondo Piano – sew less, be even more thoughtful about the fabrics I buy and the garments I make. And then I think that this is my hobby, this is what I love doing, and it should be okay to make more than I need, just because I love doing it.

Sew Mariefleur Victory Patterns Jackie

We’ll see where this is going to lead in the future – I am a “yes”-person, I love saying yes to testing, to blog tours, to sewing communities, to sample sewing and everything else, so changing my habits may be hard.

Sew Mariefleur Victory Patterns Jackie

I’d love to hear from you out there who are sewing a lot, too. Have you reached a point where you don’t need anything more? Are you conscious about what you are sewing? Do you care about a beautiful finish? Do you take your time while sewing, or are you hurrying to start your next project? Do you participate actively in testing, sample sewing, blog tours and so on, and how does this go along with a “conscious” sewing habit?  Write me here, on Instagram, on facebook or shoot me an email – let’s discuss these issues in honour of Fashion Revolution Week 2017!

Sew Mariefleur Victory Patterns Jackie

– This blog post is linked to the German blogger party RUMS. –

18 Comments

  1. wow, wirklich toll. sehr elfenhaft. ganz tolle kulisse.

  2. its a beautiful dress and I totally understand your dilemmas.
    I tend to sew clothes from other clothes I find in charity shops and even then I sometimes get in a bind if I think I am wasting that fabric if a project doesn’t work that well (I am making purses out of my mistakes currently). I do buy fabric new when I want to try a particular pattern that needs a generous cut, but as all of my purchasing and sewing is generally well considered I don’t guilt trip about it so much now.
    All of my makes are more worn than if they were rtw and are better made for me.
    Personally I can see that dress getting worn a lot over the years – and any of your issues with hand stitched finishes will fade as the stitches settle into place (although you may need to let the dress hang for longer in case it needs rehemming) – It really is a wonderful dress – and when the winter evenings start to draw in, you will have an instant go-to dress

    • Thank you! I wish I was better to recycle clothes from charity shops (or my own wardrobe!) I think my love for planning gets in the way sometimes. I think wehen recycling or upcycling garments, you need to be a little bit more flexible regarding how things turn out, how many pattern pieces you can get of a garment and so on. And I realize that I just love nowing the exact width and length of a piece of fabric, being able to plan exactly how things are going to work out. Being a planner is very handy at times, but definitely not good for starting to re-use clothes more instead of buying new fabrics!

  3. We’ve already talked about these issues. Same here, same here. What bothers me the most is the fact, that me being a yes-person, too, leads to me sewing up a lot of stuff that I somehow like – but not love. Is that the difference between a blogger and an normal sewer? My decision for the future: More nopes to okay-patterns and more yeses to selfish sewing. More nopes to okay-fabric and more yeses to OMG-fabrics. AND sewing for fun for the win!

  4. Ahh, I have so many thoughts!
    1. That dress is totally stunning, and OMG, the mountains are amazing.
    2. I think special occasion sewing shouldn’t have to be something you’ll wear more than a few times! When you do need a dressy outfit in winter, you are set!
    3. The great thing about a dress is you can always change it later. Make it knee-length if you want to wear it more, or make it into a skirt… plus, I can picture it as a cute fall everyday outfit with a big cosy sweater and boots.
    4. Sewing is a creative endeavour, like painting or pottery making… and if we only ever valued the most practical things we make, we lose the chance to experiment!
    5. And yet… I’ve been through a similar stage, and decided to say no to some things. No to testing patterns that I don’t love or mean I have to invest more than usual in fabric, and no to “opportunities” that are a lot of work with little reward. You do SO MUCH testing that I can’t think when you posted about something you made just because you want it! But if you love testing, then keep going! 🙂

  5. WOW! really, really beautiful! the dress and the pictures 🙂

  6. This dress is amazing!! Don’t feel guilty about making yourself a beautiful dress. What you should do is plan a special night out with your husband every year just so you can wear this dress. Go to a charity gala, a ballet, or a musical. Plan a dinner date at a fancy restaurant. Then as the years go by, you will have all these exciting adventures wearing this beautiful dress. And no regrets about making it.

  7. First off, the dress is absolutely stunning!! Just stunning.
    I do hear you about rushing through and not finishing the seams the way you would like to just so you can finish it on time. I do that too, and it also bothers me. Having said that, I think you are right, for a special occasion dress you will only wear rarely I think it is enough.

    I too have been thinking about my sewing and “making all the things”. I also want to slow down and pay more attention to my makes and my output. I want more quality garments.
    I also love making and I love testing patterns and sewing everything, and I am also at the point where I think I have enough. I do have a small closet considering how much I make, only select top items make it into regular rotation and that is how I would like to keep it.

    I am still learning what makes the item worthy of space in my closet. Fit is a straight forward one. Quality of finishing is as well. Wearability and “playing well with others” also are important. As well as quality of fabric. All of these things lead me to think more carefully about my makes.

    I am trying to concentrate on choosing good patterns, repeating patterns and working with great quality fabrics (which means I can not buy a lot because they are more expensive).

    I am still trying to see where it will lead and what will happen from all of it. But it is a journey!

    Oh, and for times when I want to make all the things, I am trying to make more things for others. Unselfish sewing doesn’t come easily to me, but I am trying. It is also a whole other story and very long comment!

  8. WOW!!!Wonderfull pictures and a Wonderfull dress!!Really great work!!!!Sorry for my bad English;-)
    LG tanja

  9. Ich verstehe deine Argumente total gut und kann mich den meisten nur anschließen. Aber in diesem Fall bin ich für jede Verschwendung dankbar, denn die Bilder sind einfach nur traumhaft schön und entführen in eine Märchenwelt. Manchmal darf man auch egoistisch sein 😉
    Lg Maarika

  10. Was für ein Traumkleid! Da darf man auch mal etwas verschwenderisch sein. Und es sieht so wunderwunderschön aus! Die Innenseite sieht ja eh niemand 😉 aber ich weiß genau, was du meinst … Auf jeden Fall bist du die wunderschönste Märchenprinzessin in ganz Norwegen in diesem Kleid 🙂 <3

    LG
    Kristina

  11. You, your dress,and the pictures are absolutely magnificent! They remind me of old movies like The Sound of Music. It’s fine to make a special occasion dress that may not get worn much; after all, they can be costly to buy raw. It’s the perfect dress for a winter cruise and the places Ariadne mentioned. When you tire of it, you could donate it to a theatre group.
    I haven’t really considered conscious sewing, except to realize I don’t have room in the closet for more clothes. My wardrobe has been more and more handmade and I just need to sort and donate things I don’t wear or like. Sewing is my passion though, so I don’t plan to stop! The Stashbusting Sewalong group keeps me from buying fabric I don’t need and I make a lot of gifts.
    Like you, I love testing patterns so it’s hard to skip by. I’ve had to ignore them lately with family in town and it just about killed me! Just kidding, but it was hard! I have my favorites to test for that take priority. And I believe it takes a lot of testing and sewing different styles of patterns to see what looks and feels best on me. The items I don’t love will get donated and hopefully get put to good use. It sounds like you are doing a lot of warring with yourself. Just don’t give up something that you love to do!

  12. So beautiful! Totally worth it for these pictures!!!!!!!

  13. This dress, you in it and the whole scenery is absolutely gorgeous!! Don’t spoil it by thinking negative about it – and still, i think i know exactly what you mean! I think, being conscious about what we’re doing and careing about the materials we’re using is a very good thing to do. But being happy with what we do is also very important! Enjoy your wonderful dress!!

  14. francesca

    Very pretty, and a bit Sound of Music. I don’t think this is such an unwearable dress. Do you know Lily Sage & Co@? She’s always changing and upcycling her clothes. Eventually you could cut this into a midi or even a mini and even a top:). But if you do want to go more ecological, poly is very very unecological. Viscose also – I only recently discovered this and was very upset as I always thought it was a great alternative – manmade from natrual fibres as opposed to synthetic made from oil or plastic…. Tencel is actually very environmentally friendly as is bamboo….
    Re the hemming and the wrists – a good stretchy hand stitch for tight wrists would be herringbone stitch. It works brilliantly on my tight wrist tops and dresses – and I have ridiculously tiny wrists but not tiny hands:). Try it. That said, if I realise that my hand stitching is going to show and not be invisible, oftentimes I will machine stitch as I prefer a neat machine stitch to an ugly hand stitch.

    I too like to have beautiful insides. But you have to pick your battles :). If you have miles and miles of seams to sew and the fabric doesn’t need finishing – why bother? It will only make you nervous which will affect your final feelings towards the item:). Also it will use lots more thread and electricity etc etc….

  15. GORGEOUS! If sewing is your art how can you think of it only in terms of needs ? The question “do we need art” should never be asked Enjoy your art!

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