The Perfect Summer Dress

Sometimes you see fabric online and you wait. Wait just a little too long and then it’s sold out. That’s what happened with this squishy linen I saw a while back on Fabric.com. Then a fellow maker posted a photo of her stash and there it was! I commented, she said she’d be up for a trade, it happened. I was happy.

I knew I wanted to make something summery and eventually came around to the idea of mashing up the Willow Tank with a gathered skirt. Even though Me Made May revealed I don’t want any more dresses, I didn’t want to waste any of this fabric by just making a top.

This stripe deserved to be played with so I cut the bodice horizontally and the skirt vertically. When I first planned this in my sketchbook I toyed with the idea of a button placket on the bodice. I’m glad I left it off as it would have detracted from the fun and totally unplanned thing that happened with the bust darts. The fabric is also so squishy a placket would have been a nightmare.

I had two yards to work with and just barely squeaked out the bias binding, two skirt pieces, front and back bodice pieces, and 4 large pocket pieces. I’m quite pleased that the front and back of the skirt are perfectly symmetrical and that the stripes on the side of the tank match up. I’m usually so bad at pattern matching so this win feels great!

I cut a straight size 6 in the Willow. I previously made a size 4 and found that after a day of wear my armpits hurt. I could have just scooped out the shape and recut the bias but it was late and I was determined to have it all cut out. I think the size 6 might actually fit me better than the 4…

I wanted the bodice of the dress to be fairly short so I used the lengthen/shorten line as the bottom edge. To that I added 1/2″ of seam allowance and squared the corners to make it attach to the skirt a little easier.

Determining the skirt shape involved just a little math but was mostly controlled by the amount of fabric I had left after cutting out the top. The skirt ended up being about 20-ish” wider than the bottom edge of the tank and after measuring, I ended up using the stripes as my cut line. The skirt length ended up being half of the fabric width (30″).

The fabric is a fairly loose weave and since I throw everything in the washing machine, I decided French seams were the only way to go. I assembled and finished the tank first, then sewed up the skirt using this tutorial for inseam pockets with French seams. I definitely ran into issues with the pockets, which can happen when you steal a pocket with a different seam allowance from another pattern and cut everything out late at night.

I basted the skirt in a circle and would NOT recommend this strategy. If I were to do it again, I’d baste the front and back portions separately so creating the gathers and matching up the side seams is easier. Sewing a french seam with gathers was an interesting challenge, but I’m glad I did it. EVERY SINGLE SEAM is a French seam.

I can finally wipe a make off this board. I have two Kalle Shirts that are SO CLOSE to being finished and I’m working through some butt issues with the Persephone Pants too.

Patternmaking Dart Manipulation Exercises

One full week of summer break has passed and I’ve been trying to power through as much of my Patternmaking & Design class as I can. It’s a self-paced program and my pace for the last year has been not much faster than a snail. I’m picking up speed and the program finally feels like I can draft independently without constantly relying on my wonderful teacher. Maybe I’m at a turtle’s pace now?

Above is my moulage or “mold” of my measurements which, once it had a perfect fit, I turned into my bodice sloper. The next section of the program is Dart Manipulation. I was able to draft 12 different exercises with 4 different backs in one week and then sewed all of them the following week. I’m pretty excited that I got through a section with the suggested timeline of 4-8 weeks in 2! Ok, I’m not actually done yet. I have to design, draft, and sew two designs of my own, but I’m feeling pretty confident I can do so this week.

The front sloper has 4 darts that can be manipulated into different designs, the back has two darts. All 12 exercises used this sloper and I’m quite impressed with the variety of styles achieved.

High Neck Point Dart – Slash a line from the high neck point to the high bust point and then fold all other darts into it.

Center Front Neck Dart – Slash a line to the high bust point and fold all other darts into it.

French Dart – Slash a seamline to the low bust point from a position lower than the existing side dart. Fold all other darts into it.

Armhole Dart – Slash a line to the high bust point from any point along the armhole. Fold all other darts into it.

Y Dart – Draw a seamline starting at 3″ – 5″ up along center front to the low bust point. Fold all other darts into it.

Diamond – Draw a line from the center front neck and center front waist to the high bust point. Fold all other darts out.

Bust Gathers with Yoke – In my fittings I learned that a lot of the exercises that used the low bust point need some tweaks. You can see on the muslin that on the bottom yoke I pinned out about an inch that would make this pattern more fitted. Gathers also tended to add more volume than anticipated.

Curved Shoulder Darts – Low bust point used.

Horizontal Gathers at Waist Dart – Low bust point used.

Neckline Gathers – High bust point used. Helpful to add finished neck length on to the pattern for gathers.

Rusched Front Panel – High bust point used, move toward center front until directly under the high next point.

Cowl – This one was the most confusing as far as construction went. It also required its own back to be drafted along with it.

Backs – The Shaved Darts back (left) was used for most of the exercises because they were the easiest to knock out. I paired the Transferred Darts back (middle) with the Curved Should Darts front and I honestly can’t remember which exercise I paired the Ignored Darts back (right) with. The Ignored Darts back has a looser fit and requires easing the back shoulder with the front.

#MMMay18 Week 4

Oh man. the tail end of Me Made Made was made extra special with a week-long head cold. Oh, and end of school year craziness. Hence this post being a week late ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

Day 23 – Yummy Colors

Me Mades: Mitchell Dress, porcelain necklace and earrings, Wiksten Oversized Kimono Jacket.

Other: Thrifted Frye boots, thrifted sweater because it’s cold.

Day 24 – Need more sweaters

Me Mades: Woven Hudson Pants, Shirt No. 1, WAK Classic Sweater.

Other: Vans, Shape Shape Shape Shape necklace.

Day 25 – A New Garment!

Me Mades: Hacked Wiksten Kimono, Emerson Crop Pants, silk noil Willow Tank.

Other: Dansko boots, vintage necklace.

Day 26 – It’s Finally Warming Up! (and I’m about to get sick)

Me Mades: Woven Hudson Pants, silk noil Hemlock Tee.

Other: Vans, Block Shop Scarf.

Day 27 – Cheater Day

Me Mades: Hand Block Printed Scarf, Purl Soho apron.

Other: Vans, thrifted jeans, thrifted t-shirt. I was working with dye today and didn’t want to risk getting in on any me-mades. The rest of the day was spent on the couch nursing a cold.

Day 28 – I FEEL TERRIBLE.

Me Mades: Linden Sweatshirt, self drafted culottes.

Other: Lots of Kleenex (not pictured).

Day 29 – BLAH.

Me Mades: Dress No. 1 with inseam pockets.

Other: Vans, thrifted t-shirt, sickness.

Day 30 – still BLAH.

Me Mades: Maya Top, Emerson Crop Pants.

Other: Vans, sickness.

Day 31 – Starting to feel better but then stayed up too late and made it all terrible again.

Me Mades: Roberts Collection Jumpsuit.

 

INSIGHTS

Before May stated, I could already identify the gaping holes in my Me Made wardrobe. I was hoping that the challenge of wearing only me-made garments would light a fire and get those holes at least partially filled in by the end of the month. After all, I made so much during May 2017. None of that happened. My productivity was pretty low and I’m trying not to beat myself up about it.

MAKES I NEED TO PRIORITIZE

Outerwear – It was fricking cold in the Bay Area (okay, cold for CA) this month and I was forced to cheat a few times because of that. My current outerwear selection is mainly oversized kimonos and one Kelly Anorak, which I found didn’t pair well with the loose fitting silhouette of most of my me-made bottoms. It was just too much volume all together. I intend to make the Grainline Tamarack and the Hampton Jean Jacket to remedy this situation.

Jeans – Holy crap did I miss fitted pants. I really need to just go for it. Planning to make Ginger Jeans, Persephone pants, Landers, and Morgans (but with high waisted mom jean goodness).

Knit Tees – My serger is on the struggle bus which makes sewing knits (or anything really) infuriating. I’m starting to save for an upgrade, but until then I’m still going to try to knock out a few knit tops out, mainly Larks and and Hemlocks. I am intrigued by the Nettie Bodysuit too…