Buying fabric - I did something stupid

(24 Posts)
CatherineDeB Tue 21-Jun-16 09:37:17

I bought five lengths of cotton recently for summer dresses, really lovely lightweight cotton, Rose and Hubble prints. I found it on my local market for £5 a yard and only need two yards for a dress.

Or so I thought, I think in yards but obviously buy in metres. The man asked me if I wanted to buy in yards or metres, 'yards' said I.

Well, I kid you not, those few inches makes a lot of difference to a dress pattern that is already scraping by on 2 metres (I know its exact requirements because I have made a few of them over the years).

My on the knee length dress is now above the knee (which is not a good thing.

I will have to find something else to make with the other lengths.

BikeRunSki Tue 21-Jun-16 09:39:30

Could you add a band of a contrasting colour round the bottom? I don't make clothes, but I find shop bought dresses are often too short and sometimes do this.

KittensandKnitting Tue 21-Jun-16 09:42:01

It really does make a difference sometimes!

I would add a band of contrasting colour to the bottom as bike suggests it will still look lovely and maybe then make your own binding out of the same fabric or a belt to make it all tie in.

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Tue 21-Jun-16 09:44:07

My mum cuts off a couple of inches from the hem, inserts a band of different material then adds the bit she's chopped off. Really effective way of lengthening shirts/ dresses.

CatherineDeB Tue 21-Jun-16 09:53:29

Really good idea ... but time is short, I needed two of them for the weekend and don't have much time to shop.

I could go back to the market (Thursday) and buy 1/4 yard of each of them and add a double sided band on the bottom, maybe with a split at each side, how would that look? I have already self bound the neck and it has short sleeves so no more binding required. Sort of a baggy shift dress.

These dresses weigh nothing and roll up smaller than a hanky so they are great for travelling when you are carrying everything you own all day.

I did something daft recently - gave all my old ones to the charity shop because they were tired and faded after being worn for a couple of years so I have nothing to change into at all that I can carry without noticing the bulk/weight, nothing.

KittensandKnitting Tue 21-Jun-16 09:59:06

You could just add extra of the same fabric but it really depends on the fabric...

If it's a busy pattern you may not see it, not so busy and any mis allingment is going to show up. You could add a ribbon in between suppose giving a smaller band/pop of colour to seperate the two?

Is the pattern one piece for the front? Was thinking you could deconstruct from the waste down maybe? And redo the "skirt" bit if you want it all one type of fabric? You would then have the skirt fabric to do something else with.

Side splits could work if it is like a shift dress but would double over make it too heavy?

Other option would be something decorative on the bottom maybe to give the illusion of extra length?

So hard without seeing the pattern smile

CatherineDeB Tue 21-Jun-16 10:06:38

No option to deconstruct it has to be a simple addition. It is so lightweight I think the double think will be fine and no pattern matching either.

Am going to go with Bike's band in the same fabric, hopefully I will get chance to go there!

KittensandKnitting Tue 21-Jun-16 10:15:57

I think a band in the same fabric will work well actually - your hardly notice it at all.

Have a lovely lovely holiday!!! I'm very jealous

JoffreyBaratheon Tue 21-Jun-16 10:49:49

I've found that some patterns which ask for 2.5m, I can comfortably get away with 2m - but only if it's a plain, not patterned fabric.... (And even if not trying to pattern match just the fact you have to have the pattern pieces a certain way up to prevent the print being upsidedown!)

So I am always slightly more generous buying patterned fabric, than plain. That said I can frequently get a dress out of 2m that is supposed to need 2.5m.

As others say, you can away with edging it with a self coloured fabric. Another trick is if you find this happening again, use a similar (or nicely contrasting self fabric to cut out side panels (if a dress that is cut that way), sleeves, or top half. I had not quite enough of a certain fabric to make a dress last summer - a paisley print - and realised I could make the entire dress above the yoke from a similar plain fabric, and it turned out to be one of my favourite dresses I've made!

CatherineDeB Tue 21-Jun-16 12:42:08

I rarely buy what the pattern makers suggest. This has been my go to dress for a few summers and I know I can get the length I want our of 2m, 45 wide, just not 2 yards!

I have done contrast yoke, sleeves and binding before on it. Not sure what to do this week as short of time. I might make a different sleeveless dress I know works and will fit on 2 yards! I just didn't think when he asked me if I actually wanted yards!

CatherineDeB Tue 21-Jun-16 13:11:00

Been through my stash and despite its volume there isn't anything right in there to go with any of these summer weights so I am going to have to make the time to drive to the market on Thursday.

I think I will cut two dresses out at the right length and make them apart from the sleeves, everything done so that I just have to cut out and insert four sleeves.

this chap must have been used to selling to older people (even older than me) as he had prices for yards and metres!

JoffreyBaratheon Tue 21-Jun-16 14:31:12

Yes, Catherine, have to say I think I'd have made the same mistake as it's not often you even get a choice between yds and m! (Well I don't but I buy most of my fabric locally or on eBay).

In fact don't think I've ever bought from anyone who sold by yds and m - although I think a lot of us make US patterns which are still in yds, so maybe since the advent of t'internet, and the ability to d/l US patterns, more and more of us are doing non metric patterns?

I grew up learning both metric and imperial at school - shows how old I am - and must admit am perfectly comfortably with m, but still prefer imperial for weights (for years went to a market stall for veg where he continued to sell in lbs for the older peeps!)

KittensandKnitting Tue 21-Jun-16 15:52:14

Depends if the pattern if requires "nap" from its exluding nap you will require extra for pattern match smile

CatherineDeB Tue 21-Jun-16 19:06:07

Joffrey, my first school year was in 1971 but I feel sure I must have been taught imperial for a long time because it is so familiar.

Have to say that I have never noticed those few inches making a difference to my sewing before.

Kittens, when I was a student in the early 80's I was in the habit of buying clothes from charity shops to re gig into something that an 18 year old would wear, definitely before it was the in thing, there was only one reason for doing it, poor and not much to wear. I did not (couldn't afford to) give a fig about nap, in fact I used to like the effect of pile one way and then the other, probably because that was the only way I could make it work.

I find that the new generation of pattern makers are more likely to give a fairly accurate fabric requirement. I hadn't used a vogue pattern for years until the other week. A tailored suit I hadn't made before, I bought their fabric requirement. I had enough left over for a shift dress from empire line down. Masses of the stuff.

KittensandKnitting Tue 21-Jun-16 20:37:46

Wow catherine you sound amazing in your sewing talents

My grandmother made shirts, dresses from parachutes after WW2 she was a wonderful tailor, she would just look at fabric and rip it apart to make something amazing. She just made things from nothing

She taught my mother and her sister, they are so both amazing at creating things.

I fought against it, until two years ago I was given a sewing machine

I bloody love it!

KittensandKnitting Tue 21-Jun-16 20:39:03

I actually now make my own patterns but I still make mistakes X I wish my grandmother was still here

CatherineDeB Tue 21-Jun-16 20:45:20

Still trial and error Kittens.

Everyone sewed when I was younger, bet Joffrey says the same. Nearly all my fellow students did it. I think it was before the days when the high st became flooded with cheap clothes. Fabric shops were cheap, and everywhere and we were always skint.

We used to drink beer shock, the wine of the day was Blue Nun which was hideous even then. Beer, an unpicker, a hand turn singer, few pieces of clothing to butcher and a couple of friends = very productive night in, and of course we looked fab not.

VertiginousOust Tue 21-Jun-16 20:51:07

I'm so jealous of you having a market at which to buy fabric! Ours just has fancy wooden things and stalls of jewellery.
I was taught to sew by my nan but we also had lessons in home economics. Fabric shops were indeed everywhere, and now seem rarer than hens teeth.

CatherineDeB Tue 21-Jun-16 21:12:35

I was really surprised Vert. First time there, 5 miles from home and lots of nice, branded even, fabrics. Have also got a fabric shop 12 miles away and a specialist wool fabric shop 20 odd miles away plus a service man/Bernina shop 12 miles away.

Have bought R&H dress cottons for £12-15 per metre before as well so really good value.

Best I have had on my doorstop for a very long time, more to discover too, just need the time.

CurlsLDN Tue 21-Jun-16 22:37:20

This dress sounds fab! Can you link to the pattern online at all?

HoneyBunnySunny Wed 22-Jun-16 08:43:29

I get this a lot. I make a lot of long skirts. It takes 2m. If buying fabric from the US I need to order 3 yards otherwise I can't get a long enough length with enough for waistband and hem. One yard is 36", a metre is 39". So if I buy 2 yards I'm 6" short. And those 6" make a difference! if I could buy two and a half yards it would be good but most sell in whole yards only

JoffreyBaratheon Wed 22-Jun-16 11:21:32

Catherine, I was also a student in the early 80s and did loads of charity shop shopping (still some 1960s' things you could pick up cheap... I had a 60s' faux suede jacket I wore to death!) I didn't have the skills for alterations but did make stuff from scratch, buying fabric from Mr Sharman's stall on Birmingham Market and the Fancy Silk Store. Wish I still had some of my 80s' sewing, or at least had kept the fabrics to turn into patchworks! I'm still daunted by alterations - yet will hand sew the most elaborate pair of regency period stays, by hand, without natting an eyelid!

Really should take some inspiration from Great British Sewing Bee and actually start trying to play around with my charity shop finds!

JoffreyBaratheon Wed 22-Jun-16 11:22:06

batting an eyelid, also... ;o)

CatherineDeB Wed 22-Jun-16 13:10:20

Funny Joffrey but I wouldn't do it now, my reasons for sewing are different, to make individual things that fit, rather than to save money (or even have clothes to wear/choose from).

I am pleased there aren't many photos - I reckon I looked like a dogs breakfast grin.

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