It seems a while since I did any dress making, although in reality it’s probably not that long since I made my Coatigan. I kept promising myself that once I’d finished the Splendid Sampler quilt I would make myself some clothes…so I did!
Of course I made what I wanted to make rather than what I need! I need every day clothes like tops and trousers, so I made myself a dress!
I bought the fabric a couple of months back, I have to admit it was as much an impulse buy as you can get! I follow a few fabric shops on facebook (bad move!!) and this flashed up from Croft Mill, two clicks later and I’d bought 2.5 metres!I love the way it drapes, I can’t remember the fabric composition but it feels like viscose. The colours aren’t what I usually wear but equally they are colours I know I can wear! I have to admit though it’s one of those fabrics that I love one minute and really not so sure the next!
My original plan was to make Vogue 8997, a very elegant princess line dress, however I discovered it’s a very fabric hungry pattern, I looked through my stash of patterns and came across McCalls 6966, a shirt waister dress that has become a pretty iconic pattern amongst bloggers, I was beginning to feel I was the only one who hadn’t sewn it yet…which does have the advantage of being able to read all the reviews first…and it’s also one of my Sew Nine 2017 challenge!
Many reviews mentioned a size issue, which is surprising seen as the pattern offers cup sizes as well as bust size,but having read the ease measurements I can see why. I was a bit puzzled by the method of measuring cup size. I always understood that the cupsize was the difference between full bust and under the bust, which for me works out at a ‘C’ cup. The pattern ask you to measure the full bust and then the upper chest, which would have been an ‘A’ cup! I decided to go for ‘C’! I think officially I should have gone for a 16A, but I cut a 12C and it fits beautifully!
I decided to make view A which is sleeveless with a full skirt. The hem on the pattern is above knee, I rarely do knees!!! I decide to cut it as long as my fabric would allow, which was pretty much a maxi!
The fabric frays like anything so I decided any seam that wasn’t enclosed would be french seamed. I wasn’t sure about french seaming a skirt with a side pocket, but I found a tutorial on ‘In the Folds’ and followed it carefully, it works perfectly.
The pattern included a centre back seam in the skirt, but as it was perfectly straight and along the grain line, I just cut on the fold instead. The skirt is beautifully pleated which I must admit was a bit time consuming but I think it does make a lovely drape to the skirt.A few people have also muttered about the amount of hand-stitching with this pattern, I enjoy the hand-stitching part and would actually expect a pattern with facings to have a fair bit of hand-sewing. The yoke, collar, front band, sleeve facing and hem all needed slip-stitching down, I suppose you could get away with machining some, but I like the hand-stitched finish.
The instructions are pretty straight forward, though I did my collar in a slightly different order. The night before I was due to stitch my collar on a post came up on facebook about tips on stitching collars..perfect timing!” Sew Sarah Smith posted ten tips for sewing perfect collars, some I was too late for as I’d already cut my collar out. Other tips were very useful, like always stitching from the centre back, she also recommends stitching the band to the neckline first, then the collar onto the band and the band facing last. I have to say it is a lot easier! It is certainly one of my better collars.
I hemmed it to above ankle length. I used bias binding to hem the skirt, stitching one side on the machine and the hand-stitching the other side.
Is it just me getting tight or are buttons getting more expensive? I went to a shop in Leeds which I wouldn’t consider to be in the expensive league, the first buttons to take my eye were 89 pence each…and I needed 14!!! I even looked at self cover ones but for so many it still worked out at a major expense. In the end I bought some pretty simple ones at 39 pence each.
I’m really pleased with this dress, it fits well and feels really comfortable to wear, I love the length of it too, I can see a few more being made as it feels like it could quite easily be worn as an everyday dress too. I finished it at about 10pm on Easter Saturday, just in time to call it an Easter dress 🙂
As well as completing one of my sew nine challenges, this dress also fits in with #EasterSpringDress2017 challenge organised by Judith Dee and Akram and the #sewtogetherforsummer, a challenge based around making a shirtdress, organised partly by Sew Sarah Smith…so that’ll be a win win win 🙂