Sunday, October 4, 2015
Do you read the McCall Pattern Company blog? Last year they started doing videos of their new collections and posting them on their blog. One of the women in the video was wearing this dress and I was instantly smitten.
One of their blog commenters pointed out that it was also in their Fashion Fusion magazine, Fall/Winter 2014, on page 18. Fashion Fusion combines Joann Fabrics with McCall patterns. I have to give credit to Joann's; their fashion fabric is getting better. No, it's not like going to the NYC Garment District, or downtown LA, but they are getting some better fabrics.
It's a spongy knit with 25% crosswise stretch.
Here's the pattern envelope:
I went by the finished pattern measurements and started with a 10 grading to 12; by the end it is probably a 10 all over. (The dress is supposed to be "very loose fitting" so it starts with a lot more ease, plus I was using a knit not woven fabric. I usually start with a 12 or 14).
I was totally intrigued by that above-bust seam. It basically is taking the place of a dart. I wanted to match the fabric print at that seam, so that it would be as invisible as possible.
I traced the pattern onto swedish tracing paper first, so that I would have full pattern pieces. Have you used swedish tracing paper before? An advantage is that you can sew on it and use it as a muslin! Of course it is not stretchy like my fashion fabric, but I wanted to get a rough idea of where that seam was going to fall. I basted that seam, the shoulder seams, and one side seam, then put it on (where the neckline promptly ripped--again, not stretchy--I just taped it back together again later) and used binder clips to hold it shut.
This gave me the idea to take 1/2" out of the top, to raise that seam up a bit. I didn't want the seam to fall across my bust. I then removed the basting stitches from the tracing paper.
When it came time to cut out the real fabric, I realized that the holes from the basting line gave me the perfect positioning of where I should place the pattern on the fabric. I also had to tug on the fabric to grain it to get the lines in the fabric to be horizontal.
The above picture was taken afterward, on a scrap, as a not-so-dramatic reenactment.
If you stare at this picture long enough, you will see where the seam is.
Instead of lining it as recommended, I bound the armholes and neckline with Nike Dri-Fit. I love love love the effect. Since the fabric turns out to be a little scratchy inside, I wear it with a full slip, and use a belt to nip it in at the waist. Next time I make this dress, I might try lining it completely in Nike Dri Fit.
The hem is very rounded and instructions for hems like this usually say something about basting that raw edge so you can gather it up to hem it. A big tip (sorry, I don't remember where I learned this) is that if you crank up the DF on your serger to finish the raw edge, it will start to gather your fabric up (kind of like a fitted bed sheet corner) and naturally curl inward.
It worked like a charm. Well, my first attempt I only brought the DF to 1.3 which wasn't enough to get the curl, so I went around again, over the existing serged edge, with the DF up to 1.5 and then it worked like a charm. (I will note that it worked quite well on my serger (BabyLock Enlighten), but when I visited Lynn last week to show her this tip, it did not work on her serger at all, even when the DF on her serger was all the way up at 2. Probably the tensions would have to be adjusted too on her serger to get this to work.)
Then I press it with my Elna Press.
Then I set it up for blind hemming.
Then I blind hemmed it on my sewing machine with the stretch blind hemming stitch. Usually I use a setting of -1 but I had to change it to -2 because this fabric is so thick and spongy.
Overall I love this dress! I like black and white combinations; I love this fit and flare style. It does not wrinkle. My boss said that it looks expensive. High praise!
Flowers from the Princeton Farmers Market this week.