When bad things happen to good fabric – the leopard print dress of doom

One of the things that I thought about when I did my big blog rethink back at the start of the summer was that often, the makes that are disastrous are forgotten about, pushed into a corner and inevitably written off as best not to talk about them.

Yet, when you think about it, these are some of the best things to talk about. What went wrong, why did it go wrong and really, did it really look that bad (yes is the frequent answer….)?

So, with all of that in mind, welcome to the first in a new series of posts that explore those times something just goes so very wrong that the only thing left is to burn it / start over / hide in a corner, crying and drinking gin. Welcome to when bad things happen to good fabric…

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Operation Leopard Print

OperationleopardprintIt’s finished! Or rather, it’s not finished if you read the pattern, but it is if you want to wear it out to dinner on a Saturday night….

Theoretically I should still be adding double breasted buttons on to the cape, but I’m not sure whether I actually want to have buttons on it. They seemed like a really good idea at the time, but now that I’ve discovered the buttons I’ve bought are too big for my one-step buttonholer I’m not so sure (surprise surprise….), especially when I realised I could use a fab brooch instead. I might change my mind and go back to it, but for now I’m going to revel in it in all it’s swooshiness*. That and figure out what to do with half a metre of leopard print fur. Maybe trim a wiggle dress for the ultimate fifties look?

What is it?

A LEOPARD PRINT CAPE! Boom! Operation Leopard Print is a success!

Is it blue?

No. It’s leopard print fur. Just too awesome.

What’s the fabric?

Leopard print faux fur.

What’s the pattern?

Papercut Pattern’s Milano Cape

Where’s the fabric from?

Barry’s Fabrics in Birmingham

What was good about making this?

Aside from getting to swoosh about and wear leopard print, the cape itself came together really quickly. I also got to learn to make welt pockets which was a bit of an experience and one I’m pretty proud of.

What was bad about making this?

Well there were a couple of things, but the biggest issue was the neckline. I have no idea if I cut the cape pieces too big or misread the seam allowance or what but it ended up being about two inches shorter than the facing and the collar. I managed to bodge it a bit, and thankfully, because it’s a shiny material and is meant to hang you can’t see unless you look closely but that wasn’t great. I even went so far as to get the collar paper piece back out again because I was convinced I must have cut the wrong size. It was also pretty dull to sew together as whilst it was fast it was a lot of long straight lines and the fabric got pretty heavy once it was all connected.

Would you make it again?

Hmm. See, I bought the leopard print to test this out before buying some ludicrously expensive coating material. Except, actually, now I’m not so sure I want one that’s made from coat material. I fancy making one in some sheer guazey fabric for the next time I go to a wedding or posh do (which is not that often if I’m honest) as an alternative to the obligatory pashmina, and I think I’ll probably make one in sequin fabric for next year’s festival season. But a cape in coat material? That will almost certainly be a block colour? Probably navy? It just doesn’t seem fun enough for this pattern. We shall see.

*Speaking of swooshiness, of course I had to test out how swooshy it was as soon as the cape pieces were together. And then I had to make a gif of it. Because gifs.

This way madness lies….

So a while ago I was in Guthrie and Ghani and spotted something that caught my eye. It was a new indie pattern designer I’d not come across before and there was a host of interesting designs.

There was however one pattern above the others that stood out to me. It wasn’t the most practical of items, but, none the less, it was intriguing.

I ummed and ahhhed about it for the best part of a month; would I be able to make it? Could I justify buying nearly 4m of fabric for something I might not wear? Especially as I’d need particularly expensive fabric.

Then, one evening, the boy asked a seemingly innocuous question that got my brain whirring.

And so, this weekend, I’ve begun on what can only be a foolish road. I’m code naming it “operation leopard print cape” because, well, I’ve decided to make Papercut Pattern’s Milano cape using fake leopard print fur.

Wish me luck, I’m going to need it….
fabric and pattern