Stashbusting UFO Challenge – the Lisette Passport dress, and a Bison

IMG_2433When it was announced that the theme for EmSewCrazy and Cation’s August’s Stashbusting Challenge was to be UFOs and refashioning it couldn’t have come at a better time. I have had to put all fabric buying on hold. I was going to say that it is because ethically it is not good to be buying stuff that I don’t really need, especially when my stash now takes up six boxes and a big plastic container under the bed.  This is true. I was very inspired by Zoe’s post on the importance of stash busting and refashioning a couple of months ago and I have really started thinking about my consumption habits, but I’ll admit that despite having worthy intentions the main thing that has stopped me giving into temptation and buying more is that I am skint.  A load of bills have come in in the last month or so and I need to cut back.

Anyway, having bugger all money for fabric has actually made me think a little more creatively, focus on what I do have in my stash and along with this challenge it has also given me the excuse I needed to trawl through my UFOs.

I have far too many unfinished projects.  I’m afraid I’m not much good at working on one thing at a time and I have UFOs going back to when I first started making clothes.  The thing that first got me sewing regularly was doing the Sew Weekly.  Incidentally there is a Sew Weekly Reunion going on at the moment and I am totally taking part.  Not only was the Sew weekly my first introduction to the sewing community but it was brilliant for motivating me to just sew, regardless, and I improved dramatically.  However there were some weeks when I just didn’t finish what I’d started. And then the next week’s theme would come out, and I’d want to make something for that instead so I ended up with a lot of stuff unfinished.  This dress, the Simplicity Lisette Passport dress, was one of them.

It seemed like everyone was making this dress at the time and most people said it was pretty easy so I though I’d give it a shot.  Unfortunately back then I knew nothing about fitting and would just pick my size off the back of the pattern, sew it up and hope for the best. I have no idea what size I made here. It fitted fine from the waist down but the top half was a baggy mess. I had obviously made it according to my bust size and not my upper bust, because that area gaped loads and the back was way too big. You’ll have to take my word on how bad it was because I forgot to take pictures, but my best description of how it looked would be this:

IMG_2444It was a shame because I love the fabric and the style.  It is quite hard to see with this print but the darts make a nice V shape at the front.  It reminds me a bit of Colette’s Hazel (which has been on my wish list for ages, in case Father Christmas or the birthday fairy is reading).

I decided it could be saved even if it was a bodge job. Luckily the zip is at the side. An early attempt at a lapped zip, it is a bit messy but not too obvious.  I took a wedge of about three inches out of the back, which kind of hoiked the front round a bit and removed some of the gaping.  I would have liked to put in a couple of darts at the front neckline to get rid of the rest but unfortunately I had already put in the facing and top-stitched with tiny tight little stitches and there was no way I was unpicking it. I did a narrow machine hem as it was quite short already and it was ready to go.

I tested it out at Wildwood, our local British Wildlife park. I have mixed feelings about animals in captivity but they do a lot of conservation work and breeding programmes and are working on reintroducing lots of rare and endangered species into the wild.  We live just up the road so it was worth getting membership as it includes free entry.  They also have an excellent adventure playground and a drop slide that is not for the weak of bowel.

IMG_2438Can you believe this was taken by the three year old using my iphone?

IMG_2464And the back. Still a bit baggy, but wearable. I had no idea about pattern matching back then. I do now, but still mostly manage to avoid it, bad sewist…

IMG_2434Konik horses. These are about as close as you’ll get to the wild horses that used to live in this country.  Herds are now being brought in to graze the wetlands of Kent, which helps boost biodiversity.

IMG_2424Me again. The hem is straight in real life, I promise.

IMG_2447A bison.

IMG_2474Here you can see the V shape that the darts make. You can also see my many chins.

IMG_2453The obligatory ‘deers with human faces’ picture.

IMG_2487A quick pint and a little too much thigh while I assess the performance of my finished off UFO.  The skirt is not that short,  it’s just the way I’m sitting.

So how did the dress stand up to a day of hanging about with animals?  It is comfortable, the print makes me feel happy and it is really easy to wear.  I would like it more if it had pockets, but I like it a lot anyway and I think it will get a lot of use.   I’m really glad I rescued it from my UFO box, and now I have the experience to see what I did wrong I may even attempt this pattern again.

36 thoughts on “Stashbusting UFO Challenge – the Lisette Passport dress, and a Bison

  1. babygreens

    That’s very pretty, definitely worth rescuing and finishing. I made another Lisette dress, Attache, and loved it.

    I doubled my stash in one fabric shop recently… It wasn’t that big to start with but I have some serious sewing to get on with now!

  2. Wendyp

    The V-shaped darts are a great detail and the fabric is really nice. You did a great job rescuing this UFO from the box…
    6 boxes and a plastic container full of fabric? Wauw, that is almost an entire fabric store (of the smaller kind). My stash exist only of project dedicated fabrics (except for 2 fabrics) and now consists of 9 items, 2 of which are being cut up as we speak…
    And when it comes to caged animals I totally agree with you. When the animals have a lot of room and are stimulated in their natural behaviour and there is a programm for preservation and breeding and re-introducing in the wild, I’m all for it. Turn of the century (19th to 20th that is…) unadapted to modern times zoos are great for their architectural value but I don’t envy the animals that live there…

    1. The Amazing Taracat Post author

      Thanks! I wish I had the self discipline to only get project dedicated fabrics, I am definitely not buying anything for a few months now though, and if I do you can all tell me off 😉
      We are lucky that where we live there are some really good animal parks that put welfare before entertainment. It sometimes means you don’t actually get to see the animals though because they have so many places to hide, but I’d rather that than some of the concrete monstrosities that used to keep animals when I was a kid.

  3. Cherie

    I had to google the word skint. I like learning new words. I like that you finished a project from the past. Well done. It looks comfortable. I am not sure I would have matched the pattern on the back for this, either.

    1. The Amazing Taracat Post author

      Thanks! You know it didn’t occur to me that skint is not a word that everyone would know. Glad to know I am also providing educational value 🙂 And thank you for saying you wouldn’t have bothered with the pattern matching. In the past I got a bit intimidated by all these perfectionist sewists, but at the end of the day I have limited time to sew and ‘good enough’ has to do sometimes.

  4. KimP

    Love the fabric and color!!! I hadn’t noticed this pattern before, but you are inspiring me to want to make it! I love the V shaped darts – it is unexpected, which is nice. I think the color looks great on you.

  5. Helen

    Really pretty and worth the save. Funny how time puts things into perspective and makes what was scary, actually not that bad! Love the print – so summery and a lovely colour!

    1. The Amazing Taracat Post author

      Thank you! You’re right. I’m sure half the projects I gave up on because I got stuck would seem really easy if I revisited them. Now if people would just stop bringing out all these gorgeous new patterns that i have to try then maybe I would have time…

  6. beebeesvintagedress

    Lovely version of passport dress!! I made one for the Royal Wedding but Its a great pattern you should totally make another. I think I might, its great for layering, maybe with a Renfrew under in the wintertime? xx

    1. The Amazing Taracat Post author

      Thanks! I remember your version, you made it in Royal Wedding colours with a contrasting top and skirt. You should totally make another, your first looked fabulous on you, really elegant.

  7. gingermakes

    Cute! I really love this color on you– so pretty! This pattern was one of my first dresses– I made it as a bridesmaid’s dress for my sister and I have nooooo idea what I was doing. I must’ve made three muslins and just fumbled around in the dark trying to correct the fit. You’ve made me think that I should give this pattern another try!

    1. The Amazing Taracat Post author

      Cheers! Well worth giving it another try, this style would really suit you. I think it must have been one of my first dresses from a real paper pattern – before then I’d just downloaded freebies from Burdastyle. If only we knew then what we know now…

  8. Roisin Muldoon

    Nice save, Jo! I like this a lot – I hadn’t realised how interesting this pattern is, might have to track myself down a copy. Also – BISON?! You are winning at photo locations gurl x

    1. The Amazing Taracat Post author

      Thanks! I’d send you my copy except I have no idea where it went, I think the last time I saw it was when I threw this dress in the UFO pile in disgust. To be fair the bison was behind a fence. It would have been way more impressive if I’d been riding the bison, Wild West style. However I think that would probably have got us banned, and the kids like going there.

  9. sewexhausted

    Love the print! It is so bright and cheery! 🙂 Like you money has been tight (Kids- I tell ya! Always needing something!) so I am not buying fabric. I WANT to buy fabric… I look at fabric… and I touch it… but then I leave. SIGH… At least I have STASH! ~Laurie

  10. Shar

    Great save! I love red dresses (I just made one recently) and the color looks great on you. I really like the v detail on the bodice. I’ll have to check this pattern out.

  11. zora read

    I have just spent the last two weeks altering clothes, I still have a load to do but it is so satisfying. I love the dress, it is a lovely bright colour that really suits your colouring.

  12. Gjeometry

    Wonderful, was great to see this dress sewn up! I have this pattern, got it on sale for $1.99 and really want to sew it. Wasn’t sure if it was beyond my skill level, but you say here that everybody thought it was very easy. I think it looks great on you. Love the fabric. Glad that you were able to finish it. Much more satisfying than having a heap of half sewn fabric, yes?

  13. Scruffy badger

    Nice recovery I’d say. I love that dress pattern, having made it once myself but have lent it. I found the darts loverly….and your fabric is bright and cheerful, so all round top dress amongst those with four feet and grotty bots.

    1. The Amazing Taracat Post author

      Cheers! I remember yours from around the time I was researching the pattern, it was fab. Four feet and grotty bots could apply equally to the animals and my children. My youngest has a baked bean habit and they love playing fart tennis. I have raised such ladies. By the way, there is something weird going on with your blog. I noticed now there it says there is a temporary connection issue so hopefully you are getting it sorted.


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