Sunday, March 30, 2014 in crafty things

Adventures in dressmaking

I’ve been on a dress kick lately – not that I’ve been wearing any recently (too cold) but I have been thinking about it since last summer.

I bought the Oolong dress pattern from Colette – they are not wrong, their patterns are indeed beautifully printed. I found the shipping to be steep but only ordered one pattern. It pretty much double the price, so I wonder if 2 or 3 or even 4 patterns could have been shipped at that rate.

That being said, totally worth it, gorgeous patterns, well made, beautifully instructed. I really admired the total package.

Of course, I couldn’t just do it as written, I had to make adjustments.  I don’t necessarily mean fitting adjustments either. This pattern was for woven fabrics cut on the bias. I used a slink knit cut on the cross grain. In cases like this, that’s actually a similar substitution. The fabric was a cut length of 3 or 4 yards I picked up at Value Village (thrift store like Goodwill) for a whopping $3.99.

I do have a serger but it is over 20 years old and probably on its last legs. It has a really hard time handling slinky knits like this. I did one seam and felt like tossing it out the window. The rest of the seam I did on a regular sewing machine with a slight zig zag stitch, nothing fancy. On some seams I made sure to stretch the fabric a bit so the threads wouldn’t break when the fabric itself was stretched.

I cut a 14 because that is my size and the size according to the measurements. I generally make up a pattern without much fitting to give myself a standard to go buy because often it should mostly fit with little issue. I traced off the size I needed onto tissue paper, which was a fair amount of work. The size lines are actually quite close together on the pieces, so my usual method of “fold back and hope for the best” was to difficult in many places.

I did make a dress form last year, but I think the form is actually larger than I am by enough of a difference to matter. The last two things I’ve made are snug on the form and loose on me.

Same with this dress.

If I made it again in a knit, and if you are considering the same in a knit, go a size smaller if you like a snug fit.  This dress should be slightly fitted and in a knit it winds up a teensy bit loose. I would also eliminate the darts when using a knit, the fabric should compensate. The gathers at the bust and using a knit means you don’t have to do a FBA (full bust adjustment). At least I didn’t.

 

The other changes I made were sewing the front skirt to the bodice. I just did a straight seam and not topstitched as directed. I have a similar dress with a pint in the front and it is constructed the same way. It was easier to do it this way with the knit.

I also did not line the bodice, but went with a facing. I did stitch the seams to the facing but this was still not enough to keep the neckline facings in place. So I stitched around the neck about 3/4″ in. It looks nice and keeps the facing in place. I will probably trim off the excess. I’d like to see how the neckline would work when using fold over elastic (FOE) instead.

As for the length – I cut it as long as the pattern and I knew I’d have to lop off quite a bit. Dresses on me need to hit just below the knee to look right so this means cutting off a good 6″ even before hemming.

That;s the only step left to do, and I hope to get it done before we go to Denver in May. Yes, it might take me that long. I’m also considering making a lime green drapey knit cardigan to go with it.

I will probably make this dress again (considering how much the pattern costs, yeesh) and try a woven fabric next time, and make adjustments to the pattern  itself before cutting out. It’s a similar style to the dress I’m making in this post, just a different pattern and something that looks reasonably decent on me.

About andrea

City kid turned country wife, obsessive crafter.

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