Nyssa’s Christmas dress is driving me CRAZY!!!!

Did you ever sew anything that should have gone together as easy as pie but instead gave you fits? I know you have Linda, and a few others who have emailed me with difficulties you were having. It’s no fun sewing when it becomes a chore or things just won’t cooperate… Well, this is what has happened to me working on Nyssa’s dress. Magalies dress pattern is actually a fairly easy one to follow if you do what she says and you HAVE FABRIC THAT DOESN’T RAVEL! That is where my troubles have come in… OH…and it stretches when you press it! UGH!!!

I worked so hard last night getting the skirt pieces sewn to the bodice pieces and thought I was in the clear and set to get this dress finished…


I thought it was going to look so pretty on Nyssa…


Well, this evening I was beginning (and still am) to wonder if Nyssa was ever going to get to wear this one! Seriously, it’s been a LONG time since I’ve had this much trouble with a doll dress. I got ready to attach the lining to the dress and it looked okay to me…


When I turned it, basted it in place and tried it on Nyssa, it looked like this…


It was too high in the neck area and too flared out at the armhole area. But that wasn’t the biggest headache… look at this…


The fabric had frayed away enough that when I made my back seam… it was too short to lap over the other side… Are-you-kidding-me???
So I had to pick out the lining (extremely hard to see my stitches in this fabric) stitching and add a little placket to the back and
lower the front so it wasn’t so high on her neck area… What a pain!



I think Nyssa could feel my frustration and asked if we could just have a “pretend photo session!” I told her I’d try to make her look good if I could. I redid the front, lowered it and will somehow figure out how to make the back look presentable! Here’s a few “sort of pretty” shots of Nyssa…




I guess I’ll keep working and see if I can get this dress mastered… Never in a million years would I have dreamed it would be this hard to sew this fabric… I can tell you this, it’s a ONE OF A KIND… and there will be NO more dresses made from this fabric… It might just find itself in an auction on Ebay for .99 cents… with a BUY IT NOW!!!

Sorry I don’t have more to show you…

See you tomorrow,
Blessings, Jeanne

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  1. Marilyn Grotzky says:

    Ha! I’m the first. Believe it or not, I’ve never used a crockpot. I’ve always thought it would be nice to come in and smell dinner cooking away by itself, and I’ve had the silly thing for some time, but I’ve never used it. Have you read the directions recently? It sounds as dangerous as a small bomb. Right now it’s trying to cook a stew and the onion fumes are getting to my eyes.

    It looks to me as if you’ve solved the neck and arm problems. I’m looking forward to seeing what you come up with to fix the back. It’s nice of you to say it unraveled too much but it looks to me like it’s just too small. I was thinking of adding a panel to the back, but how would Nyssa get out of the dress? I thought of lacing the dress up the back, but the fabric ravels too much. The positive thing, and it’s a huge one, is that Nyssa looks lovely. The front now fits beautifully. Are you going to make the jacket? Do you think you have some lovely fabric that isn’t this one that will go with the dress?

    The stew is finally starting to smell less like raw onions. The crockpot has not exploded or burned the kitchen down.

    • HI Marilyn,
      I can’t believe you’ve never used a crock pot.. I probably use my at least once a week… and Rebecca uses it even more than I do… I hope your stew is done and yummy!

      Hurrah for me! I finished the dress! I can’t believe it!!! No, the pattern wasn’t too small, I’ve made it before…it was just too ravely and I couldn’t get as close to the edges as I should have. At least it was salvageable!
      Yes, I’m planning on making the jacket next, but it’s a really slippery slinky fabric, so I’m a bit gun shy right at the moment… trying to think this through before I start!
      Thanks Marilyn,
      Blessings, Jeanne

  2. Linda Doyle says:

    Oh, dear Jeanne, yes, I DO know what you are talking about!!! So frustrating, when you have a pattern that fits, and should go together fairly easily, but because of the fabric, is another animal altogether! At least I’m not selling mine! If I had an Etsy shop, I don’t think it would go anywhere but down!!

    From the pictures, though, I think you are doing a fabulous job and Nyssa thinks so too, I’m pretty sure!

    • Thanks Linda,
      I got Nyssa’s dress finished and I feel like celebrating… I had hot chocolate!!! YAY!
      Nyssa likes it so far, and now it’s time for the jacket. I need to figure out her shoes too… I don’t have very many for her…I guess I could make her some… but….
      Thanks and Blessings to you, Jeanne

  3. Jeanne, the dress looks so pretty. I know, I know…grrr! Nyssa is really lovely in it though! You have tons more patience that I do. Good luck today!
    Did you see my last post about my troubles with dyed beads?

    • HI Cindy,
      Yes, I did see your post about the red beads.. UGH! I can’t see the red on the white sweater on my computer though. I bet it just barely shows… I have read all your last posts but they come on my phone and I read them. Then I tell myself to “comment” on them when I get on the computer, but when I get on the computer they have already been “opened” so I miss seeing them again and then I forget to go back and comment.
      I was really interested in your Sweet Potato Chili as we just bought 25 pounds of sweet potatoes from a farmer for $5.00!
      I will try and get back to make a comment on your dresses… they are too cute not to comment on!
      Rebecca is leaving on a trip to go see her boyfriend graduate from the Navy so I’ve been swamped doing things for her…then throw in Nyssa’s dress mess…and that’s my world lately!
      Thanks so much Cindy,
      Blessings, Jeanne

  4. I too think you have made a fabulous job out of what would have been a failure. You are a marvel with “needle and thread”. I’m greatly looking forward to what I’m sure will be a beautiful outcome to this creation.

    • Well Becky, I’m not sure I’m a “marvel” with a needle and thread, but I just had so many hours invested in the dress that I wasn’t about to let it win and have me throw it away. I think there is usually a way to make something work. I did get the dress finished and those who don’t read my blog would probably never know it was a headache to make…
      Thanks so much for your very kind words…
      Blessings, Jeanne

  5. Your troubles make mine of yesterday extremefly minimal. I know we will see Nyssa’s outfit completed soon.

    • HI Jan,
      You’ll see Nyssa’s dress sooner than you thought… I got her dress done so I at least have something to show you tomorrow besides a half done dress. So far so good…now onto the jacket!
      Blessings, Jeanne

  6. Jeanne, you should never apologize for your blog, you always entertain us. I am sorry that this time it’s at your expense, but surely you will win over that fabric. Looking forward to seeing the finished dress tomorrow!

    • HI Jevne,
      I think if I sold this dress for $200, I’d still lose money, but it wasn’t about that…it was about not letting it get the best of me. I hardly ever have a sewing project that wins…(maybe that little set I was making for Ten Ping, but I still have it so I might try and finish it.) I knew Magalie’s dress pattern wasn’t the problem, it was the fabric, so I just had to figure out a way to make it another way… I did just finish the dress, so now it’s on to the jacket…
      Blessings, Jeanne

  7. I think this dress is looking very beautiful..elegant fabric and color. If I looked at your last photos, and hadn’t read your blog posts lol I would not know there were any problems… 🙂

    • HI Jano,
      Welcome to my blog and thank you for your kind compliments on Nyssa’s dress. I’m glad the dress doesn’t scream “Look at this dress and see all the mistakes Jeanne made!”
      Thanks so much,
      Blessings, Jeanne

  8. Well, it looks like you have conquered the fabric! The dress is looking just great. Hope you can finish up and get on to something a lot more fun. Strange things always seem to happen to me with my sewing. Perhaps because I’m always changing the pattern or putting two together, and something then is not quite right. I haven’t sewn one of Magalie’s patterns yet, but maybe some day. I do look at them longingly though.
    And Nyssa is so pretty, she could wear a sack and make it look good.

    • HI Joy,
      Magalie’s patterns usually go together like clockwork and fit very well, but it was the fabric this time… I’m certain of it. Thanks so much for your kind words about Nyssa’s dress. She’s happy with it… but she’s been so neglected, like you said, she’d have been happy with a sack… just to get out of her box!
      Thanks Joy,
      Blessings, Jeanne

  9. Jeannie Brandon says:

    Jeanne, I feel your pain. {just had to say it that way} !! I think some fabrics are just not meant to be made the way envision and that is okay. They have other uses. So I am thinking it is okay to say, “the heck with this one”. I don’t have as much determination or patience to have kept at it as long as you have.
    I will say that using an iron on stabilizer to the back of this fabric before cutting might help with the raveling issues. I did not know much about stabilizer until two years ago ago. Since then I have used them for other than their original intended purpose. Not with embroidery at all. Maybe even a light weight iron on interfacing would tame this fabric.
    If you remember in the ‘old days’ a fabric called “hop sacking” was popular. Boy oh boy, that stuff would ravel if you looked at it sitting on a shelf. Awful stuff to sew with but very popular.
    I am in the middle of making fancy gowns from the movie, Frozen. Lots of shiny and glittery fabrics. So many pieces to each outfit. The Butterflies better appreciate and take of these dresses or Grandma will be very happy!
    Wishing you the best today as to tackle the Nyssa dress.

    • HI Jeannie,
      If I had just sewn for a little while on it I might have thrown it in the trash, but I had a lot of hours invested in it and was pretty certain there was a way to make it work. I just finished the dress and will now move onto the jacket… I hope it goes together like I have in mind…
      Magalie wrote me a note and suggested the same thing… a very lightweight fusible interfacing on the back side.
      So I guess I’m not the only one sewing slippery and shiny fabrics… I hope you don’t run into too many troubles…
      Thanks so much Jeannie,
      Blessings, Jeanne

  10. The answer to fabrics that fray like this is June Tailors Fray Block. I cut the pieces then lay them on a sheet of white paper and put the Fray Block on every cut edge, with a paintbrush. I use the brush for more control. Fray Block is much better than Fray Chek, as it doesn’t make the fabric too stiff or stain it. I would put it on before you close up the dress, so the seams don’t pull themselves out. Yes, you need lots of patience for this, LOL, but it’s what sets you apart from other seamstresses. 🙂 I am sure you will make it beautiful!

    • HI Allie,
      The next time I go to Joann’s or Hobby Lobby, I’m going to take a look at the Fray Block and Fray Stop products. I have one called Perfect Sew, but you have to wash it out when you are finished.. that’s the last thing I wanted to do with this dress.
      I did get Nyssa’s dress finished and will hopefully show it tomorrow…
      Blessings, Jeanne

  11. I laughed at your comment that there would be NO more dresses made from the fabric. As I was reading the post, I was thinking to myself, “I’d get that one finished and put the leftover fabric into the trash!” Good luck on getting it finished. I’m sure it will look great.

    • Hi Carolyn,
      I don’t think I will be making anything out of this fabric soon but I am I intrigued to know if making a larger size dress for a doll like the American Girls would be any easier…
      I am almost finished… yay!
      Thanks Carolyn,
      Blessings, Jeanne

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