It might still be spring by the calendar, but in Oakland, it feels like glorious summer. It’s been a stunning week here, and my latest sewing project was completed just in time. This dress took a bit longer than I anticipated. I hit a few snags, and it turned out a little, um, asymmetrical. But it works, and I learned a heck of a lot in the making.
I used Simplicity 2886 for this dress, and some navy cotton embroidered fabric I picked up in LA’s Garment District, at some random little hole in the wall shop. The cotton is super light, which makes for a very floaty, very comfortable summery sundress. Also, it has pockets! Well, it has pocket, thanks to a fitting error and a rank amateur’s sewing mistake.
I actually made a muslin for the bodice of this dress, and when I was fitting it, I realized it was going to be too tight. Evidence of my lack of attention to detail and lack of facility with numbers shows in the fact the finished dress was HUGE. I suspect that I meant to add a mere quarter inch to each side seam on the front only, but instead I added a half inch to each side seam on both the front and back bodice pieces. So what should have been only half an inch larger became two inches. Yeah. I don’t know what I was thinking.
The bodice of this dress is fully lined, and this was the first time I’ve done that. It took me a few hours of puzzling over the pattern instructions and flipping my bodice pieces back and forth and inside out to figure it out. Then, the front has that lovely embroidered panel sewn in, and the pockets are stitched into the skirt and the skirt is stitched to the bodice, all before sewing in the side zipper. I finished my waist seams with bias tape, and had the whole thing constructed before I realized how big it was.
Annnnd the idea of taking the whole thing apart to take the extra inches out of the back seam or both side seams just seemed exhausting. So I did something kinda dumb. I took all the extra inch and a half out of the right side seam, where the zipper is. Little did I know, oh newbie that I am, that this would NOT WORK, and would result in the dress pulling very weirdly to the right. You can kind of see that here:
I had to do some weird finagling to make this even slightly manageable. The zipper was way too high up into my armpit after those extra inches where removed, so I cut off the top of the zipper about an inch and sewed in some makeshift bars to act as zipper stops at the top. The right side pocket is pretty much sewn closed because I didn’t want to take the pocket out and move it further into the skirt (again, LAZY). The neckline is still shifted a little bit over to the right, but not as badly as it was at first.
Despite these…deficiencies, this dress is super comfortable. And I almost always wear cardigans with anything sleeveless, so the asymmetry is really hardly noticeable. Durh. I am thinking of this as a major learning experience.
Up next? Several months ago I bought a few yards of a very loosely knit sweater knit fabric, with the hope of re-creating a sweater that I wore in my twenties and LOVED to pieces, literally. I found this knit pullover pattern at Burda and am in the midst of cutting and prepping the fabric for sewing. This feels like a crazy project. The fabric is tricky to work with, and Burda patterns are notoriously lacking in instructions. For example, the pattern instructions quite simply say “set in sleeve” to, you know, add the sleeves. I have never done this before, so I’ll be scouring the internet for tutorials. But if all goes well…
It’s Me Made May, by the way. I didn’t officially sign up because, well, we’ve talked about my trouble with challenges and resolutions before. I don’t even know if I have enough me-made garments to make it through a whole month. I’m wearing this dress today, so I’m off to a good start. We shall see.
I’m hoping to update more often. There’s been a lot going on lately, and a lot of my mental space has been taken up with library-related work, so some of the crafting and cooking and homemaking has been on the back burner. But wedding crafting will be starting up in earnest soon, so expect to see more of those projects!
What summery garments are you making? Is it summery yet where you live? Yay for May!