The Dress that Broke the Overlocker's back...

Monday, 3 February 2014

Hey Guys,

Just popping in to show you my first (almost didn't finish) make of 2014. I decided to ease myself in after the Christmas burnout with something that I thought wouldn't be too taxing, but as anyone who know's-me-knows, those are my famous last words.

Dearies, everything in my life is a trial. All of my molehills morph into mountains. I'll tell you one thing, it makes me want to become a recluse and not venture into the modern world ever again.

If you follow my social media (@inkfairy on twitter, and @vintageinkfairy on instagram) you will know that my overlocker and I almost came to blows last friday afternoon. I had a TWAT shaped moment, and caused some damage.

Basically, I knew that in my 'Beginner Serging' class on Craftsy, that She shows you how to insert a zipper with your Overlocker. What I wanted to do was just to secure the zipper tape to my fabric. However, I didn't really consider what to do when I reached the zip. I thought about just serging off before I got there, but I thought, sher maybe I can pull the zip through like I do on my machine.


I should've taken the foot off, or something sensible. But I got the zipper stuck, and then trying to get past it/off it, I hurt my poor overlocker. It didn't want to chain the left needle thread after that, and then didn't want to chain at all, and it all ended in tears that looked like this.

I am now a threading ninja, and have absorbed the process through which the needles and loopers interact, and the threads chain (at least on the surface of the machine). From examination of mine and another Janome model, it appeared to me that my upper looper had been dislodged slightly, and I spent an evening doing micro-adjustments to it until it was decent. It's not 100%, and still skips the odd stitch, but it's a band aid for now. Part of the issue may be that I replaced the needles that were there since I got it with Stretch needles instead of Ballpoint, but I can try and remedy that at the weekend. It did go off a bit on Saturday again, but I tweaked it back. It's definitely useable for now, but I can see a service looming in my future.


Those things are intricate. And when I say micro-adjustments, I mean MICRO. Those needles come within a fraction of a millimetre of each other when they are working in unison. You do not want to balls it up any further. I know I'm the one to talk - I bloody well did it myself, but I was confident that I knew what the issue was and what needed to be done.

Now, let's resume tonight's scheduled viewing

I tried out my first long-sleeve Anna bodice, with a Simplicity 2444 skirt (I know, a Dolly Clackett special!) with some leafy and birdie print fabric from Fabricland in Brighton.

I know I've made the Anna pattern before, so things to note after this version:

I did Sonja's back neck adjustment of 3/8". It worked, but I may need more. Or maybe I just hold my shoulders odd sometimes. I damaged them a number of years ago, and they sort of have a mind of their own.

If you do the adjustment, don't forget to go back and redraft the facing (if you use them).

Don't underestimate the width of your arms when drafting the sleeve! I did, and had to go back and let out the sleeves.

The Simplicity skirt pattern marks the pleats quite far down the pattern piece, even though you are only supposed to pleat the top. Be careful not to mark it the whole way down with carbon paper (which I did without thinking in Sewing Club) and then have to spend time in the bathroom with a bottle of Vanish.

The eagle-eyed amongst you may notice that I managed to cut the front skirt panel upside down. Whoops.
I even TRIED to make sure I cut them all the same way. 

I think I will reduce the bust pleats on my next version, as these are coming up over the beginning of my bewbs.

I prefer how the skirt looks in these photo's but in real life, I feel that my shoulders/bust are looking slightly bigger than my hips, which isn't usual for me. I think if the skirt had more body I would be a lot happier - not to self, make a very light petticoat. I have a built in petticoat in one of my favourite dresses that consists of little more than some satin and a small tulle ruffle at the bottom, but it does the job.

I've worn this twice already, its very cute and comfy - I think I need a few more! I didn't line it, as I wanted it to be a light Spring dress, so I think I'm going to have to get around to making a half slip to avoid the sticking-to-tights trauma.

Well that's it for now dudes!


Emmie xx


  1. That's lovely Emmie! And well done for wrestling that overlocked back into line!

  2. Charity Shop Chic3 February 2014 at 21:33

    You look great in this Emmie! What gorgeous fabric! So glad you managed to fix the overlocker too, I was getting worried there for a moment...

  3. It's gorgeous! I love the fabric. I'm dying to get an overlocker... but am a little scared now. I'm glad you rescued it!

  4. aww. sorry about the incident with the overlocker. I'm glad you were able to get past it. The dress is very pretty and looks great!

  5. Gorgeous! The fit looks pretty much spot on and I love the fabric. You're now an over locker ninja!!

  6. Ooooh lovely. Sorry it was so traumatic but you've ended up with a lovely new frock. I couldn't tell the skirt print was upside down until I squinted. That fabric looks beautiful.

  7. That looks fab - hurrah for the pattern hack! I wouldn't be able to tell the skirt print is upside down either so I'd call this a win!

  8. "Oh knickers" to the overlocker!! I imagine you said something like that at the time! Mine was playing up at the weekend, but it turned out that it didn't like two of the thread cones I was using. Your dress is gorgeous! What a great pattern hack. I am looking and looking at the photos, and I can not see how the skirt front is upside down. It looks perfect to me. Lynne

  9. Beautiful dress, it looks great on you. Hope the overlocker gets well soon!

  10. This is so great on you! The colours really work for you. Sorry to hear about your overlocker nightmare. I managed to break the blade on mine the other day (getting a bit slapdash with the pins when I was tired, naughty) and there were tears too!


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