Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Ok you want Butterflies.

My family has a saying. "Only a fool learns from his mistakes, a wise man learns from someone else's". I'm giving you all a chance to learn from my mistake, and it was a biggy.

  A friend rung me up asking for a simple dress with fabric with butterflies on. I will be honest, I left starting a little late. I popped into the shop to grab some butterfly fabric and I was in for a little bit of a shock. You see I didn't realize  how MUCH butterfly fabric we have. I didn't know where to begin, and with such a varied choice, all of them so different I just knew there was a chance I could pick the wrong one! Let me show you some examples.

To begin with there are just the light weight cotton Butterflies.

These fabrics are almost identical, they have a lovely butterfly motive s well as a few other things such as presents bows and fans (and chickens). They are just in different colours, or as well call them Colour-ways. At 140 cm wide and £9.00 per meter a simple dress would have been within my  budget. and perfect for a summer dress. Then I realised something. I forgot to ask WHERE the dress would be worn. Just because the weather was nice she may not want a summer dress she may want something more formal. SO I thought I'd take another wander through the shop.

Another stroll through the shop lead me to the brocades. I love brocades, they're a lovely weight, easy to work with and always look stunning. It's my fabric of choice for  waistcoats. 

 Both of our Chinese styled butterfly brocades came with a red background. The first comes in at £7.70 per meter, the second at £9.90. So both again within my allotted price range. These would be perfect for a structured dress or a simple, but less flowing dress. SO again I realized I had made a grave error. The term "Simple Dress" means different things to different people. To some it's a classic shift Dress, to others it could be the classic "Little Black Dress".  I had filed to gather enough information before starting the project.

  Thinking that these fabrics may be slightly too structured I went hunting again.
 These two fabrics come in at £12.75 per meter and 110 cm wide. They don't look it at first but they are the same pattern "Butterfly Carnival" just two  different colour-ways. The orange colour-way was looking like a good choice to me as it would work both in a formal dress, a maxi dress and a summer dress.

Finally though I came across THESE 

The young lady in question is a free spirit. I know she enjoys bright colours. I had to just bite the bullet and ring her and admit I had not started her dress yet. It wasn't paid work, and I had been busy I was a  fool for worrying, she understood entirely. She opted for this lovely rainbow  and butterfly fabric.  So what am I trying to say here? When taking on a project for Solomon else start  early. Even if you wont be able to get around to to sewing at least get the fabric, or indeed  get some samples to show the client. And get as full a brief as possible. One persons simple is someone else's rustic or even someone else's formal.  Try to get a grip on the personality of the person in question, and then find out if the outfit is for a certain event.

With this  information you'll be able to make a better choice of fabric and pattern. Don't accept a vague term like "butterfly". Not only are there lots of colour-ways to choose from but so many different styles. Some of these are carefree, others are modern, others are classic. Some can be abstract. There is also the idea of texture, some of these fabrics here are smooth and shiny, others slightly fuzzy.In the words of Sherlock Homes "Data Data Data, I can not make bricks without clay". Even if you are not a professional tailor and dressmaker you have the right (and responsibility) to interrogate who ever you are making the costume for.

|IT can help to try and think of your project as a professional one even if it is for a friend and unpaid. Then you will feel more able to ask the 'client' questions about their needs and ensure you can just relax and most importantly of all ENJOY YOUR SEWING