Sinfully Expensive and Dirt Cheap

When Henry Ford said something along the lines of ” You can have any colour as long as its black”, did it cross his mind that not every black is equally black? Probably not – black auto paint is as black as it gets.

Its not so simple when it comes to fabric is it? In a building lull yesterday, I made Very Easy Vogue 8825. It was Very Easy. I used a yard and a half of dirt cheap jersey from a fabric stall in Watney market, priced at either £1 or £1.50 a yard, I forget. The fabric was originally intended for something else but became a dress for the price of a cheap tea towel. a

Vogue 8825 has the Vogue signatures of a plunge you need a camisole under, and a very generous tie belt. The belt goes someway to explaining the two and seven eighths of a yard they tell you to buy. How hard is it to match blacks? I think I got away with the belt, the closest black I could find in stash, but match the black in the print it does not.

At the weekend I met up with some sewing pals from The Sewing Forum. We did Berwick Street.

I focused on collecting samples of sinfully expensive blacks – cheapest £39 a metre, least frugal £60 a metre. Er yes a blue and a black tulip snuck in there when I was off my guard, but mostly I kept to the plan, silk or silky of cocktail dress persuasion.


There’s a black velvet  with tulips embroidered in a delicate line of silver thread and a chiffon with a narrow stripe from Misan Fabrics, as well as an embroidered black on black, a nice crepe and something with a crinkled surface texture from The Cloth Shop, and nice medium weight silks from The Silk Society, Broadwick Silks, Biddle Sawyer Silks. You couldn’t find an exact match amongst the different qualities though. Fibre and surface texture must alter dye take up and shade.

Having stuck to my guns and not bought any lengths before drafting a pattern, I needed a treat.dThis beaded yoke piece will find its way onto the boat neck of something one day. All of these shops and a few more are either on Berwick Street or just off it on a crossing street. Berwick Street leads off Oxford Street between the tube stations of Tottenham Court Road and Oxford Circus.

When I got the batch of patterns including Vogue 8825, in an unusually organised streak, I checked who had made them up, who had reviewed them, and posted a summary of their comments on the back of the envelope, before the excitement of new patterns wore off.

bThats how I knew to downsize from what the measurement table gave as my size. Yes, there’s a bit of the Vogue acreage in there again.

The jersey I used was medium weight and quite soft. A heavier jersey could make the layers in the cross over at the waist seam unduly bulky. There are pleats folding at the same point, and a grown on facing. The only changes I made to the pattern were a teeny FBA and ignoring the cuffs in favour of bell shaped sleeves.


About jay

I design and draft patterns
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4 Responses to Sinfully Expensive and Dirt Cheap

  1. Black matching is blinking bothersome, all black cloth is most definitely not created (or dyed) equal. I’ve found the same with yarn too. Shame, ‘cos I love wearing black.
    Love the dress, the samples and that collar!


  2. mrsmole says:

    What a special day out!!!! Thank you for sharing your samples…how many blacks are there out there? Love your kimono wrap and coloring!


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