Skip to content

Jigsaw puzzles

2011 June 16
by elizabeth_admin

Do you ever feel like sewing patterns and the resulting garments you make from them or the process of sewing is somewhat like building a jigsaw puzzle?  Over the last couple of weeks, I have been puzzling out how to make my next version of NL 6022.


I knew I wanted to use a silk twill I had in my stash, but it’s a little sheer to wear without a lining or a slip. 


So what to do?  My pattern is not a lined dress.  The low scooped neckline and shortness of the dress would require an unusually low bodiced and short full slip.  I looked high and low for a slip pattern that might work, to no avail.  I thought to line the dress, but I didn’t have a good lining that worked with this color combo.  I really wanted to keep the brightness of the cream and orange and all my linings were too taupy and toned the colors down.  I opted to buy silk batiste (on Carolyn’s suggestion) from Farmhouse Fabrics.  I wanted a like fabric for the lining to keep the lightness of the dress.

The next puzzle was, if I lined it, how do I change/adjust the construction of the dress? I spoke to a number of my friends about this issue and underlining the silk twill with the silk batiste was the consensus.  Funnily enough, I seem to recollect that I might have thought of that a few weeks ago when I originally ordered the silk batiste, but had forgotten it in the interim.  Oh well. 

Now, I am puzzling the seam allowance finishes.  With an underlining, a french seam might be too bulky.  Claudine suggested today that I might press the seam allowances under and machine stitch.  And I think that’s just what I am going to do. 

Last night I cut out the silk batiste (just the front and back sections), discovered I had forgotten to cut out the neck binding piece from the fashion fabric and basted the underlining to the body of the dress.  After I cut the neck binding, I will be set to stitch up this dress right quick. 

But not tonight…  Tonight I am going to be sipping a margarita on the Upper West Side.  Jealous?

So what do you think?  Is the process of sewing like a jigsaw puzzle?  Where you ferret out the pieces and slowly put them together?  Do other sewists enjoy jigsaw puzzles like me?  Do you think jigsaw puzzle people are naturally inclined to sew?  Hmmm….  Things to ponder. 

Random Elizabeth trivia fact:  In numerology, I am a 4, as my best friend Cayce is gleefully fond of telling me.  The 4 life path is about stability and process.  I hate process.  I always want to get from A to Z without having to pass any of the other letters.  I chose singing as my first career because I was already a good singer from the get go.  I didn’t need to practice to sound good (or so I thought at age 12 when I chose my path).  Needless to say I discovered differently as the years of training and, yes, practice were needed and followed.  When I first learned to sew, I wanted to make all the complex garments right away.  Two, almost three, years later, I am still plodding along with my learning process.  Everything I’ve chosen to do in my life has involved process: singing, mosaics, sewing.  Apparently I need lots of lessons in process.  😉   I think jigsaw puzzles are about process too.  Each piece leading to another until the whole comes together.  Perhaps I am unknowingly attracted to the things which will teach me about process.  Or it could be a chicken and the egg thing.  Which came first?

10 Responses leave one →
  1. June 16, 2011

    I might be too late with this suggestion, but how about a slip like this: Click It was made to be worn under dress 131.

    (I can’t preview this comment, so I don’t know if there is a clickable link above. If the link isn’t a link, look for #132 in May 2011 Burda style.)

    That fabric will look great on you. I can’t wait to see the dress.

  2. Lynn permalink
    June 16, 2011

    Can’t wait to see this dress – what pretty fabric!

    I’m a definite jigsaw puzzler – that’s what I do with my job, too – figuring things out, finding the missing pieces, checking the details and making it work! Sounds like a good connection with sewing.

    I don’t know about numerology, but I know I have a lot to learn about process too…

    I really enjoy your blog – Have fun on the Upper West Side!

  3. June 16, 2011

    I’m definitely a puzzler – it’s why I’m so OCD about fixing mistakes I’ve made or fit on patterns until I’ve got it right. But it also makes me procrastinate. I know I know how to add things to patterns that aren’t included or I can figure it out, but making myself slow down and actually plot it all out means I have to get into a different mind-frame or something.

  4. June 16, 2011

    I dont think lining it would be a big deal. French seams in bastiste sewn close are not bulky. But if you are worried, just topstitch them down. This dress will look lovely – looking forward to it. And yes I am jealous of margeritas in NY. I stayed on the Upper West Side on my last visit in 2007 and I want to make the 12,000 km journey again soon, real soon!

  5. June 16, 2011

    Hi Elizabeth. Your slip does not have to be as full as the dress itself, maybe it pays to make a slip in neutral colour to go under any dress? Something with straps perhaps? As to seam finishes if fabric is very fine then french seams will not add any bulk, I just finished sewing a silk camisole. The seams press razor thin 🙂

  6. June 17, 2011

    I know what you mean about putting the pieces together, although I’ve never thought of it as doing a jigsaw, perhaps because I get hung up on the three dimensional aspect of it all. For me it feels more like solving a maths problem because of the way you think of one method, start to think it through, then reject it and try another.

    I love your fabric. It’s going to look great with your colouring.

  7. Marie-Christine permalink
    June 17, 2011

    That print is just gorgeous, can’t wait to see it done. But I think there may be a terminology problem – twill just can’t be light enough to be sheer. It’s a weave designed to pack more thread into the same surface of fabric, sheerness is not in the cards. So probably you have something else entirely? Is there really a strong diagonal texture to this fabric? Likewise, silk batiste doesn’t exist. Maybe you have silk organza, which is very crisp and sheer? or so-called China silk which is a plain-woven but very lightweight fabric? I’m with Elaray, a separate slip would be not only easier but more versatile, able to be worn with other dresses.

    Also, if it’s sheer a French seam shouldn’t be a real problem. That turn-under-and-stitch method isn’t as lightweight as all that, in a sheer silk it’d definitely show through. Test!! In real silk twill, I’d use pinking shears, which stop fraying but add no bulk at all.. Very sharp pinking shears. But if your fabric is sheer it may ravel horribly too.

    • elizabeth_admin permalink*
      June 17, 2011

      That’s funny, I just found a whole bunch of silk batiste all over the internet with just a cursory Google search. And the fabric I am using to underline my dress was sold to me as silk batiste.

  8. June 17, 2011

    That chrysanthemum fabric is tricky! I made a dress of it last year (still haven’t worn it because the weather has to be *perfect*, not too hot not too cold). I underlined the bodice with cotton batiste and lined the skirt with a slippery lining.

    If you haven’t already started, you could also do a faux hong kong finish–cut the lining pieces with an additional half inch seam allowance, sew the fashion and lining fabric pieces right sides together along the long vertical seams, turn right side out and let the extra lining seam allowance turn over the seam, and voila! (as seen here:

    • elizabeth_admin permalink*
      June 17, 2011

      Darn it! I remember that now too late. ARGH!!! That would have been the perfect trick for this dress. *kicking self for not remembering* Already cut out the fabric. 🙁

Leave a Reply

Note: You can use basic XHTML in your comments. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS

  • Follow SEWN...
  • My Weapons of Mass Construction

    Singer Featherweight 221 (1938)
    Baby Lock Imagine
    Brother 2340CV
    Husqvarna Viking Emerald 183
    RIP: Brother 1034D
  • Translation

  • I’m a proud member of

  • I support

    Project 95
  • Archives

  • Categories

  • The Trench Sew Along