Sunday, 9 August 2015

It's a dress!

I know! And it's not a two-year project that I finally finished; it's a dress from pattern to hemming in just two weeks (and that's rather impressive to be me)!

But most importantly, it's been fun. As you might have sensed during the spring; I haven't sewn, I've had a major wardrobe and style crisis, and also a bit of identity crisis - if I don't sew, what do I do?

But I do sew!
Blue dress in cotton sateen |
Anyway, the pattern is my own; the Ultimate Dress Pattern but let's say we're not quite there yet. There's still something about those sleeves. And I didn't make it in the Liberty fabric as planned, since I just couldn't decide on sleeve length, and neckline and lining or no lining and I went crazy with not being able to just do it, so I changed the fabric to this lovely sky blue cotton sateen (cotton satin?) that I bought last time in Paris. I did some project planning and started to cut. Oh well.
Sewing project planning |
Since the last I sewed was the slippery fluid fabric from h*ll (also known as silk charmeuse and an absolutely a dream to wear) I thought it would be nice with a simple cotton. Ha. This was almost as fluid as the silk and didn't want to get cut at all. And for some reason, very difficult to mark. A bit hopeless to sew and press as well, and my, does it wrinkle! The fabric is a bit too drapey for the simple and rather structured design I chose; it would be better in a more stable fabric. I didn't think at all about combining the right pattern with the right fabric; I just thought cotton and summer. So next time. And some tweaks for the sleeves.
Cutting blue dress cotton sateen |
Split bust dart blue dress cotton sateen |
To get a really good fit I used double darts on the back and split bust darts as reminded by Did You Make That. The more seams, the better the fit. I finished the seams with rayon seam binding, a favourite of one of my favourite bloggers Laura Mae, but it was not my cup of tea. Perhaps it was more difficult because of the drapey fabric, but the amount of time and thread and it still looks a bit wonky... I didn't have enough seam binding for the inside of the sleeves, so I used one of my own preferred ways to finish a seam, the clean finished seam, also knows as the turned and stitched seam. (It happens to be one of Alison Smith's favourites as well, and she says it's perfect for vintage sewing and is very sturdy, making it suitable for children's clothes.)
Seambinding blue dress cotton sateen |
But I did like seam binding in the armscyes, but sewed it by hand. I think it went almost as fast as with the machine, no harsh words were uttered and the result turned out so much nicer.

I supported the facings and the entire centre back seam with silk organza, and stabilised both shoulders and neckline (front and back) with twill tape.
Stabilizing seams with silk organza blue dress cotton sateen |
The zipper is handpicked; both because I think it's the safest way to insert one(I've never had to insert a zipper more than once when I do it by hand. When I do it on machine there's always some little mess and I have to un-pick at least a bit.) and because I think pick stitches are so fun to sew. So that's what I used to understitch the facings as well.
Pick stitch zip blue dress cotton sateen | www.stinap.comDouble darts back and handpicked zip blue dress cotton sateen |
As you can see above; double darts in the back, and the handpicked zip. When the dress was almost finished - just the hemming left - I remembered that I read about the couture way to sew a facing. I must remember that next time; I really don't like the standard way of sewing right against right side, flip over, notch and understitch. Now I need to remember that for my next dress.

The hem and sleeves are first clean finished and then hemmed by hand. And I even did a little arrowhead tack (or at least, my version of an arrowhead tack...) at the end of the slit with silk buttonhole twist.
Arrowhead tack slit |
I wore it the other day to work the other day and felt really good in it. Perhaps I was a bit generous with the ease, and I should have taken in a centimeter or two in the neckline back; it's gaping a bit. The fabric wrinkles when you wear it, but not as bad as I thought. (And of course I spilled some food - grilled chicken -  on it. I only do that when I wear a new dress. The grease is gone, but there's a light shadow from the water stain. Darn.)
Blue dress cotton sateen |
(It's so fun with a tripod and remote to the camera!)

So what's next? I really must give some of my vintage dresses some love so I can wear them a bit more. And I have a baptism coming up in October and what better to wear than a dark blue pencil skirt in lace?


  1. Jättefin!! Jag är heller inte så förtjust i den där "rayon seam binding". Mycket jobb, och ofta inte perfekt resultat i alla fall... Men stort plus för handsytt blixtlås!!

    1. Tack! Jag har helt lagt ner att sy i blixtlås på maskin. Det blir så mycket finare för hand - plus att jag varken blir stressad eller sur. :)


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