Jersey Maxi Dress

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With the arrival of Spring, I’m feeling much more inspired to sew, though it did snow about 2 inches this morning.

This is pattern M6700 and I used a jersey fabric.  I ordered the fabric from Fabric.com, and didn’t realize how large the pattern repeat was, and once I got the pattern on the fabric, I decided to “color block” the dress.

Jersey Dress - Back

However, I didn’t have quite enough fabric to do this, so it required me to halve the back skirt section into two panels and sew the back together.  Not a huge deal, but lining up the stripes proved more difficult than I anticipated.  I’m actually really proud of my stripe-matching-skills (above).  It did give me good practice for matching the side seams.

I cut and sewed the ties at the shoulder, but when it came to putting them on the dress, they just didn’t make a lot of sense to me so I left them off.  The shoulders don’t slip, so it’s not a necessary design element.

The only modification I made was to bring the waist band up to create a higher empire waist as the pattern waist falls about near the natural waist.  I also cut a larger pattern size to allow for outward expansion…

Jersey Dress - Side

(please excuse the cat photobomb)

That reminds me – I’m 4 months pregnant!  For the near future, I’ll be trying to sew maternity-appropriate clothing.  Mostly I’m just altering my current patterns and sewing A-line, empire patterns, but eventually that won’t be enough.  So if you have maternity pattern suggestions, please let me know.

Chiffon Dress

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Back

Like my last post, this is also a very tardy post.  I bought this fabric probably this past summer sometime for V1240.  I was nervous about working with chiffon after my adventures with the polka dot shirt, but I wanted a challenge.  I read several articles and blogs about soaking the fabric in gelatin or spraying it with starch to stabilize the fabric to make it easier to work with.  For months, I thought about this project and how to best manipulate the fabric, knowing I should make a muslin, etc.  Finally, I realized I was never going to do those things, so I just took a shot at it.

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Dress form(s)

First, a quick shout out to my mother in law who got my this incredible dress form for Christmas!  I guess I’ll have to retire my duct tape form.

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Neck band

The reviews on sewing.patternreview.com consistently referenced the arm holes being REALLY low, and they weren’t kidding.  When I got to the point of attaching the neck band, the arm holds were halfway down my ribs and the front panel was so angled that it caused major side-boob.  My fix was to just take about 2 inches off the front and back panels at the neck and then reattach the  band.  However, now the neck band attached very differently to the two panels and none of the symbols matched up anymore.  I finally got it to work through trial and error, but I think it took me three tries to attach the band, which started to destroy the fabric.

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Zipper

I  have to say how proud I am of this hidden zipper.  It only took my one try, it lined up perfectly, and I still don’t have an invisible zipper foot!  I was incredibly surprised it worked the first time.

The only other change to the pattern I made was to use French seams.  It seemed prudent considering the chiffon frayed by just looking at it.

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Ta-da

This is by far my favorite project.  I wore the dress for a Thanksgiving party, and then a Christmas party (I told you this was a tardy post).

Spring was here for one day, so I wore this dress I made

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Yesterday was 70 degrees!  Today it’s 40 degrees.  Ugh.  But at least I was able to wear this dress yesterday to the theater.

I’ve been working on this dress since right after I finished the plaid button down.  The pattern is M6557, and is really pretty simple with only a few pieces and really not that much sewing.  The top is lined, and the back is cut-out (my favorite part of this dress).  Because the button down was such a challenge, I thought this would be a quick and easy project to building the confidence back up.

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But here’s the thing.  The bust darts were more than a little outrageous.  I’ve had this problem on the last few McCall’s patterns I’ve used.  Is it just me, or does McCall’s think my breasts are at my shoulders?  And not only are the bust darts REALLY high, but they’re extreme in width, too.  Unfortunately, this left me with the pointiest darn bust darts, a la Anne Hathaway.

I shortened and reworked the darts, and sewed and re-sewed, and pressed the crap out of the bust, and I was still left with pointy bust darts.  Luckily, my professional-designer-aunt-in-law visited and told me to just take out a seam of the lining and extend the dart with the slightest curve at the end.  So I did.

The bust darts are still a little wonky, but it’s wearable now.  Anyone else have issues with the newer McCall’s patterns bust darts lately?

Fall Dress

 

I went to an outdoor wedding this past weekend, and made this (fully-lined) dress to try to stay warm!  The pattern is V8701.  I read several reviews on sewing.patternreview.com, so entered this project with caution.

First, the fabric! The main fabric was on the sales table of “assorted fabrics,” so I’m not positive what the fiber content is, but it’s heavy, which is what I was looking for.  The lining was the end of another bolt on the sales table, but has a bit of a sheen on the right side.

Because the reviews were not all raves, I made a muslin in a size smaller than I normally make.  It sews up pretty quickly, but it was just a bit on the small size.  So then I made a muslin in the next size up and it was ridiculously large!  I ended up cutting out the smaller size in my fabric and adjusting the seam allowances slightly to give just enough ease.

Somehow, despite making two muslins, the dress turned out to be SO BIG.  I really have no idea how this happened.  I pretreated the material, and it’s is not elastic so did not stretch. At this point, the dress was practically completely sewn (except the zipper), so I ended up taking the bodice off the skirt and reworking several things:

1.  The darts that attach to the waist on the front are crazy high.  They end at the wrong place on the chest…not flattering. I let out the darts and repositioned them lower so they ended below the bust.

2.  I shaped the side seams with the dress on my dress form.  I ended up taking in nearly and inch on each side – again, I have no idea how it ended up so large!

3.  I took about an inch off the bottom of the bodice when reattaching the skirt to try to get it to fall more closely to my natural waist.

4.  I added the zipper further in than the normal 5/8″ seam allowance.

Another thing to be mindful of is attaching the lining.  This was not as easy as some of the reviews led me to believe.  I ended up having to attach the lining three times because it wasn’t lining up (haha, pun) correctly.  The sleeve lining is also a bit tricky – it’s a little hard to describe in writing on a blog post, so if you’re working on this pattern and need help with the sleeves, just let me know and I’d be happy to help.

I don’t know that I would necessarily sew this again.  I had to reconstruct a lot of it, and doing it in a patterned fabric would be a nightmare.  I’m pretty happy, though, with how it turned out.

Stripe Dress

Ah, I’m really behind on blogging.  This is my most recent project, but there 1.5 projects before this one that I have not posted yet.

Anyway, this is my stripe dress! (Slideshow with more photos below.)

This is pattern M6554, and it’s pretty simple though this project kinda became a pain for other reasons.  I really wanted something with stripes, so was really happy to find this fabric.  The pattern is a little difficult to cut out because you don’t fold the fabric and cut 2 at a time but cut each panel and piece separately.  I’m not sure that makes sense.  Anyway, I got myself in trouble when I cut one of the back panels incorrectly, making the vertical stripes diagonal.  I probably would have just used it as it was if it wasn’t so obvious, but this is what I get for trying a patterned fabric.

I ordered another yard of fabric.  Of course it took like 5 days to get here, and when I opened the package, it was the wrong fabric!  I was really disappointed but my order was fixed with little hassle.

So jumping ahead to the delivery of the right fabric, I was ready to finish this thing.  The dress sews up pretty quickly, but I had to sew in the zipper literally 4 times.  I really need to get a zipper foot…this is getting ridiculous.

I was feverishly finishing this on Thursday to wear to an event on Friday, and ended up taking a few shortcuts and machine sewing the hem (if I understand the directions correctly, I was supposed to hand stitch a blind hem).  The hem, by the way, was a pain because the dress is so full it’s nearly a circle skirt.

The moment of truth!  I tried on the dress, and it was a little baggy around the ribs.  *sigh*  I didn’t have time to worry about it, so put on a belt and worked it.  The bodice is lined, so I don’t think I’ll ever go through the trouble of removing it and taking in the sides.  I’m just surprised how big it was considering the zipper placement was considerably further in on the hem line on the back since I had to take it out three times and ended up with little holes near the edges.  I think I need to start making everything one size smaller.  I know, I know, I could make muslins, but I don’t have the patience.

Anniversary Dress

This wasn’t by design, but it just so happens that I finished this dress just in time for my anniversary tomorrow, hence “anniversary dress.”

IMG_0275I’m pretty happy with how this turned out, but I have a bone to pick with the pattern (V1224, by the way).  The difficulty level is listed as “very easy,” which I am here to say, it is not.  Sure, the pattern isn’t too bad, there’s no darts.  But, no piece of clothing made with jersey should  ever be called “easy.”  Jersey is just about the most infuriating fabric to work with.  That being said, I do really like the way it lays and it’s light and airy feeling.  (View of back to the right.)

The skirt is lined with (surprise, surprise) more jersey mesh lining, which made me want to give up when joining the skirt, lining, top, and elastic waist casing all at once.  I’ve never basted so many separate layers in my life…to be fair, though, this is only my fifth sewing project.

In any case, I’m excited to wear this dress tomorrow for our awesome anniversary dinner (reservations at a really posh downtown restaurant…yay!).

My biggest looming question:  With belt?  Or without belt?

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Summer Dress

Introducing my official third sewing project!  I started sewing this one when I was waiting to put the elastic in the jumpsuit.

This was pattern M5659, and I made view A.  I thought this pattern was classified as “easy” but about half way through I checked the envelope again and couldn’t find a rating…I don’t think it was “easy.”  That being said, this wasn’t so difficult in hindsight.  The yoke and bottom contrast were new techniques for me, and I had to stare at the pattern for a bit before figuring out how to construct them.  I also made the bottom contrast about half as wide and the original pattern – it just felt too bulky.

The pleats were also a new technique for me, but turns out they’re super easy.

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More photos below 🙂

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And here’s one without the belt.  I think the look is okay, but it feels a little baggy, hence the belt.

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