Tuesday, 15 November 2016

My Missoni brain teaser- Help, where did I go wrong?!

I was super excited to get my hands on this Missoni wool from Fabric Godmother, it is really delicious - amazing quality and I did a pre-wash and it washed perfectly.

I wanted a pretty simple pattern for it as I didn't want to make it complicated with all those zig zags - so I went for the Wendy Ward MIY collection pattern, the Wisewood dress- a really straightforward cowl neck dress.

In theory, I could have sewn this up in a couple of hours.  Sadly theory didn't prevail ;(  In fact this turned into something that I still haven't fully worked out!!!!!!  Nothing to do with the pattern - the pattern is wonderful - I sewed up a test one very quickly and perfectly.  So what happened.

It was all going really well.  I spend a lot of time carefully cutting out to ensure my zigs and zags were even and then carefully pinned the sides together matching zig zags best i could.  Now this isn't my biggest skill so its not perfect, but I m pretty happy with what i managed.  Zig zags are some what more difficult to match than stripes I learnt.  Here is a shot of my side seam...

So I d sewn the neck and the sides, I d tried it on and was super happy with it.  Look how good it looks!

And it fits perfectly too...

So what is the problem, I hear you ask!!  Well I thought I was almost done- just do the hem and I m ready to wear!  And I thought- well the hem will be easy- just cut and pin around one zig zag line and it will be even.  So I started cutting at the desired length (I had made it a bit longer than the pattern as I hadn't decided on length) and here is where things get funny.  I started cutting at the front along one line - I cut round the back, came back towards the front and shit - I was on a totally different repeat- a good 3 inches further up!  If I kept cutting, I would go in a spiral and end up at the neck line!

One  hem side seam looked like this:
But when I kept cutting around the  other side it looks like this...

So here is the puzzle.  What did I do wrong?!!!!!!!  I ve spent a lot of time trying to work this out. Here is the thing:
- I matched the stripes when I cut out so each side and front & back were the same
- I matched each & every stripe  on the side seam
- The stripes look straight when the dress is on as you see from the picture- so I didn't spot there was any issue at all when I tried it on.  So what happened and what should I do?

Here it is laid down flat:

What happened- there are only 2 theories I can come up with...
- Even though i measured it carefully when I cut it, I didn't get it exactly right and ended up with one extra repeat in one side but never realised
- I lost a repeat somewhere by trying to match the zig zags & with the fabric stretching, maybe around the armhole.  But how do you lose a whole repeat- i didn't cut one off?! is that possible?!

So what to do?  I am not taking it apart.  I have no spare fabric and I m not going to get those overlocked side seams apart and back together without damaging the fabric.  Plus it looks rather good I think (well obviously apart from the small hem issue).  The good news is  the issue is on the back.  The only obvious course of action is to just cut the hem at the back straight and sewing the hem- but it will look less than perfect (and probably optically will not look straight) as the hem will not be parallel to the zig zag line on the back. Any other ideas or solutions anyone?!

What would I do different next time? (and yes I've got one more piece of Missoni in a different colour way).
1. Firstly, be super careful when i cut out. I struggle with giving myself this advice as I was more careful than usual and was confident I d matched everything perfectly when I cut this- but even so, I could have made a mistake.
2. Secondly I would stabilise the seams a bit as it was pretty easy to stretch the fabric out of shape- I would probably cut a strip of tape to the length of the pattern and tack that to the edge before assembly to ensure i don't stretch any sides out when zig zag matching.
3. And last up I d stick with a really, really simple pattern like this one.  For a relatively inexperienced sewer like myself, matching zig zags up was not easy and when they are out, you really notice.  I wouldn't want a pattern that needed any excessive matching beyond straightforward side seams.  I d also avoid darts etc as they would just stick out badly in a zig zag

Any thoughts on where I went wrong or any other bright ideas on what I should do to finish off the hem- leave me a comment, I will be grateful ;)

I really love the pattern, I would highly recommend.  The issues were nothing to do with the pattern as I ve used it before absolutely fine!

Anyway, I do rather love it (when I don't look down and realise I 've still got a raw uneven hem)


  1. I've read it over and over again, but sadly I can't tell you want went wrong. The fabric is beautiful and the dress fits. That's a positive outcome.

    1. thanks Sonja for your comment & positivity- yes I do really love it

  2. Although I cannot tell what went wrong from the photos, you have said you seek a solution that does not involve taking out a side seam. I have two Missoni dresses (which I have saved from my life before I began sewing--and would not buy now), each of which has a solid black border on the bottom. I also used to wear knitted dresses and skirts by St. John. These always had a crocheted hem. Taking these two ideas together, I wonder whether you could cut off the part of your hem that is hanging down, and add a narrow, solid hem, either crocheted or cut from knit fabric. Although the stripes would be uneven on one side (which I hope is the back), the even, solid hem would probably fool the eye into not noticing the small uneven portion. I believe, in time, you would forget all about it. By the way, both of my Missoni dresses came with a built-in slip, which prevents the knit fabric from clinging to the thighs. Although your dress looks lovely on you, if you would prefer slightly less cling, a slip will do the trick.

  3. The only thing I can think of is that you somehow cut it out wrong in the first place and had the back less spread out than the front,that might explain what happened. So you've added an extra stripe. From the photo of you wearing it taken from the back the left side looks more gathered, and the stripes are starting to slant, unless that's just how you were standing. Does it do it all the way up?

  4. I thought you might find this blog post helpful:

  5. Fab dress, what a complete pain, I've no idea what went wrong but think it's worth saving if you can as it looks great on you

  6. I apologise if you've read my previous comment on another post, this makes the same points. Did you pin? If so that might account for the discrepancy. BUT the biggest tip I can give you is to put the stretchiest fabric at the feed dogs [bottom] because they will feed through quicker, this is emphasied with stretch fabric, SO don't pin that can distort fabric as it goes through, hold the fabric edge to edge and check along the way -hold the bottom ends of the seam tight in your right hand and then at the top, holding all the way so that when you finish both sides will end together. Even without stretch fabric if you just sew two pieces of fabric together, often the bottom edge will finish first and you will be left with a slight overhang! After more years of sewing than you have been alive this was a 'lightbulb' moment from Janet Pray [Craftsy] she is an excellent teacher and I had to go right back and undo all my previous bad habits [a bit like taking your driving test again years later!] I love the things you sew and you will find a way round this with the other excellent ideas out there.Do look at Craftsy - there are some excellent teachers and I have had learned a lot so you're never too old to learn, thank goodness.

    1. such good advice- I ll definitely do this in future. Although I don't think I would have got the zig zags even without pins on this one!!

  7. Hi I recently bought some striped rib trim to lift a plain linden. I cut the cuffs and waistband carefully along the stripes. Easy, then went to cut the neckband. I lined up my scissors on a grey stripe and when I completed the circle I was two rows down. What!!! Your fabric is obviously the same. It looks amazing though. Hope you get over this and just wear it. It's fabulous. I made the cowl but voted for you in the competition K xXx

    1. thanks for sharing, glad its not only me;)