A stretch too far
I’m gonna keep this post short as this dress has already taken up more of my life than I would like…. I am pleased with the final result. It is not in the slightest bit perfect, but it nearly got scrapped so many times that I am just pleased that I actually have something wearable out of it! The big overriding issue here was fabric choice. I chose it because I liked the colour. Not dissimilar to how I might chose a car. Same problem occurs though – colour doesn’t necessarily mean the chosen item will fulfil the requirements that are asked of it.
More and more as I sew the biggest take home lesson is fabric choice. Anyway, this one was a viscose jersey, in emerald green. My favouritest of colours. It was super stretchy and fine and the weight of it stretched the panels of the dress down meaning that the armholes were gaping below my bra, the waistline sat near my hips and dont even get me started on the indecency of the keyhole detail at the top! Sigh. It was supposed to be a quick an easy sew! I did however have an inkling that this may happen as I had noticed that this dress seemed to have split opinion on the blogosphere, with some bloggers being able to make it straight, no alterations, while others, like me, had to do fairly sizeable changes to get the thing to fit. Again I think its all to do with fabric choice. Lauren suggested resewing the shoulder seams to lift the whole dress up (I took off over 2 inches from both front and back!!). This solved the problem but it now required a new neckline to be cut and to move the keyhole.
It should have been plain sailing from then on to finish the dress as all that was left to do was topstitch and hem. However this was no to be… topstitching turned out to be a complete and total nightmare. Sigh. This dress is made up of panels and so has lovely princess seams running vertically all the way down into the skirt. Each of these seams needed topstitching on either side of the seam.
My biggest problem here was the tension on my machine. I should point out there that my machine is very basic. It has pretty unenthuasiatic reviews BUT it has served me well, I know it’s little habits and annoyances now and can get it to do pretty much what I want without sacrificing too much quality. It may be that I was missing something and not wanting to sit here and blame my tools but I think it just did not like this fabric! Eventually I managed to find a happy medium which avoided puckered seams / loose stitching. I even ended up playing about with the bobbin tension (not something I’ve had to do much before) until I was happy.
The final nail in the coffin for this make was the keyhole at the top. I think because I was faffing around with the tension so much I wasn’t as careful as I should have been and I must have stretched the fabric as I sewed around the opening. The result was an unattractive baggy keyhole, allowing anyone standing to my left or right a pretty unobstructed view of my bra and boobage. Not really the look I was going for. Sigh. Again. I unpicked this more times than I care to count. Eventually I used a combination of knit fusible interfacing (purchased from eBay) which stabilised the seam (a tip I picked up from this Craftsy class ‘Sewing with knits’ – great class, to be shared soon!) and handsewing the very top bit of the seam.
Bleugh – even reading all that I ended up doing makes me want to bang my head on the table. But I was determined to make it work. And it did. I have worn this dress a lot and I do love the colour and the feel – silky soft. Would I make this pattern again? Hmmm. Yes I think so. But obviously lesson learned – I’d pick the right fabric.
I’ve been sewing a lot with knit fabrics this month (much more successfully than this episode) and I really do love them. I’ll be writing soon about all the things I’ve learned and what I’m still learning when using this wonderful, versatile fabric. Hope to see you then!