This isn’t a fabric that I would choose for myself. It was a birthday present. The design is Yuendamu Bush Tomato by Aboriginal artist Audrey Napanangka.
I thought the print would look best as a shapeless dress, again not something I would normally choose but no other pattern felt right to me so I figured that I might as well try it and see what would happen. There wasn’t enough fabric for the dress so I had to add a band of different fabric across the bottom. It was very difficult to find something that suited. I also picked out a dark peach zip, which I think went very nicely with the fabric. I went to the effort of attaching it before deciding that actually, this dress doesn’t need a zip. So I unpicked it.
Despite being marked as easy, I found the pattern instructions a little confusing and had to carefully re-read multiple times before I grasped it. I haven’t really lined dresses before so the process was foreign to me. But it seems to have worked out.
For the lining I chose some flimsy pink fabric that I had used for a Fail Skirt way back in my first year of sewing. It is awful material to work with and I had decided to never use it again. But I didn’t really want to buy some more lining and the colour went well with the fabric so I decided to try it and if it failed then I would get something better. Using gelatine to stabilise the fabric helped a lot but it was still horrible to work with.
Despite not being something I would choose for myself, I actually like this dress.
I had three family christmas parties in as many days so making this dress between events kept me from going crazy. I’ve been waiting for some grey tights to arrive before taking photos. My standard black tights just don’t cut it for this dress.
I’m not entirely happy with the bust. I’m just not busty enough for the pattern. I attempted my very first small bust adjustment with my very toile and my calculations came to only 0.5cm adjustment on each side. I was very skeptical about so small an adjustment but the toile looked good. Unfortunately the real thing did not work so well. I didn’t try for any further corrections to the garment as I had no fabric left in case I stuffed it up beyond repair. Regardless, this brief venture in toiles has convinced me to stop being lazy and make 2018 the Year of the Toile. Or perhaps the Year of Getting My Shit Together And Stop Taking Shortcuts.
The invisible zip also gave me grief. I have sewn one successful invisible zip (during sewing class when I used the teacher’s invisible zipper foot) and have had a string of disasters since then. Generally I’ve avoided them but I really couldn’t with this dress. I’ve long suspected that the main issue was that I have a crap invisible zipper foot and this time I paid close attention and discovered that one side of the foot is fine. The other side doesn’t sew close to the zip, resulting in a very visible zip. Urg! I’ve drawn a little X on that side so I know to never use it again. Using the good side of the zipper foot I was able to sew an acceptable zip. It isn’t completely invisible and there is a slight bulge in the fabric that I can’t figure out but given my years of bad zips, I’m calling this a win. Now that I’ve figured out the problem with the foot I can focus on improving my invisible zip skills.
My goal this summer is to make plenty of dresses. Long ago I didn’t wear skirts and dresses, partially due to low self-esteem but mainly because I have difficulty finding nice shoes that don’t make my feet bleed after only a few minutes of walking. Nowadays I have a few nice pairs of shoes but still a small dress collection and I’m getting sick of wearing the same ones over and over. Except my first dress is too heavy for a blazing Australian summer so I’m not being very logical with my sewing plans…
My boyfriend picked out the fabric from the reduced section. The fabric is meant to be for active wear but I’m as active as a potato on a couch. Anyway, he found the fabric and then patiently waited while I flipped through the pattern catalogs, finding the right right dress pattern for the fabric. I chose McCall’s M7160 and am very happy with it. It was very easy to sew and I love how the skirt drapes. There is meant to be elastic in the waistband but I omitted it as it doesn’t seem necessary. And of course I ran out of thread whilst sewing the final hem. Why is it always the final hem?
The fabric does have tiny holes in it so I underlined it with a light grey knit. I also made the pockets grey because I first thought it would be weird using holey fabric. Now I think the teal would have been fine but I kind of like that the pockets are little hidden contrasts. And they are really well concealed.
Next I will definitely make a summer dress and it will be finished before summer ends!
After struggling with my first jacket, I thought this dress would be a breeze. And it was…except that I made a horrible error…
Until recently my career has focused on following instructions. Deviations from procedure were a big no no. I haven’t yet developed a good core understanding of sewing so I tend to stick pretty closely to the instructions. I attached front to back, then bodice to skirt. I took what I learned from the jacket and sewed mainly without pins and was very pleased with my work. Then came adding the zip and I realised that the waist was in fact too small. 😦
I did a lot of unpicking and then ignored the pattern instructions. I attached bodice to skirt, added the zip, and then attached front to back with some alterations. It was a little tricky as I had already attached the bias binding to the arm holes and didn’t unpick that. So the side seams (particularly under the armholes) don’t look quite as nice as I originally did but the main thing is that it now fits.
The frustrating thing is that I already had the relevant knowledge, I just didn’t know. When I made a dress in a sewing class in 2013, my teacher told me to add top to bottom first instead of front to back. But she didn’t explain why (ie. makes it easier to alter the size if it isn’t quite right) and I never thought about the reason why. So here I am, mindlessly following the instructions like I always do, instead of actually understanding what I’m doing. This is what makes me still a beginner despite sewing for four years.
At least I now know a to attach my dresses top to bottom instead of front to back. May I never make this mistake again.
I had big plans to make lots of clothes for autumn and winter. But now we are in our second month of winter and I’ve only made one dress (and I feel like most days are way too cold to wear it!). I would probably be better off making winter clothes during summer and vice versa.
This is actually my first time using a McCall’s pattern. The dress also had lining, which I’ve never done for knitted material before. I made two changes. The first was to have an exposed zip. To be honest, the dress is so stretchy that a zip wasn’t needed at all. The second change was to add a neckband. I thought it looked nice with the striped material so I played around to make it work.
I did a fairly good job matching the stripes (for me at least) but one of the back panels didn’t match up the rest of the dress. How frustrating! I had just enough material left to try cutting a new piece.
My second attempt was a better match but still not right. So I shifted the panel to make it match. The problem with this was that I did not trim the neckline to make it even and completely forgot about it when I was attaching the neckband. FFS!
Now the I have finally finished, I wish I had put more shape in the waist. And I can’t seem to press the seams out of the way of the sleeves so they look annoyingly puffy. After all the drama, I’m left feeling a little disappointed. But at least I can move onto other projects.