How’s your Make Nine -challenge proceeding? Finished some garments, yet? I’ve now done two, a faux fur hat and a checked dress. The last post was all about the process of drafting the said dress pattern, making a toile and correcting the pattern. After that it was time to sew the actual dress! Here’s the story.
Getting the fabric
My original plan was to make a checked dress using a heavier weight wool fabric. Just like in the picture I found on Pinterest. But as it happens, it’s not winter anymore and I kind of wanted to use the dress now. So I figured I’d pick a lighter weight wool. I was still going to find a checked black and white fabric. I mean, how hard can it be… right?
Famous last words and of course I wasn’t able to find exactly what I was looking for! I didn’t like any of the checked black and white fabrics I found. It was either too small- or otherwise wrong kind of squares or too heavy weight fabric.
However there was one dark blue fabric I liked. It was quite subtle. But it stretched both ways…
I ended up choosing that one, not too keen on the stretch though. And a lining with a bit of stretch to go with it.
Because of the bias-cut hem, I needed a whopping 3,6m (3,9yd) of fabric!
I pre-washed both fabrics in case they would shrink and to get rid of any possible dirt and chemicals. Wool always shrinks a bit.
Cutting the pieces
Once I started cutting the fabric I noticed what a bad choice I had made! The horizontal lines were distorted and the stretch wasn’t helping. I was actually going to match the stripes in both ways, so I really needed symmetrical pieces on both sides.
Normally you would just happily fold the fabric in half and pin your pattern pieces on it, all at once. But that was not going to happen with this one! Instead I cut one piece at a time, trying to match the stripes on both sides.
In other words, if you can avoid it, don’t try to make a checked dress with stretch fabrics…
Sewing the dress
First I sewed all the different sections: the bodice, the sleeves, the skirt and the bias-cut bit. Both main fabric and lining.
I had absolutely no intention to go straight to the serger after my previous cutting experience. So instead I first matched all the horizontal stripes I could by pinning and then sewed them with a long stitch using the normal sewing machine.
Here you can see the sleeve with the stripes matching before serger.
Then I just serged the same seams right next to the previous stitch and pulled out the initial stitches afterwards. I know, it’s an extra step to do, but my plan worked!
So at this point I did the neckline simply by sewing the lining to it. I trimmed off extra seam allowance, clipped and understitched the seam-allowance to the lining.
Here I’m doing finishing touches with an iron:
And here you can see the finished neckline:
I could’ve done a facing, too, but I don’t like when a silhouette of the facing shows on the right side, if you know what I mean.? Lining is completely flat.
Next I attached the sleeves. I don’t know if this is something you do, but as I didn’t line the sleeves, I just united the top- and lining layers of the bodice and attached the sleeve normally (instead of sandwiching the sleeve between main fabric and lining). I only do this with stretch fabrics as I have to deal with the serger! Is it quite obvious yet that I’m not a fan of stretch fabrics??
In any case I basted the sleeves first.
Here’s the final result as seen from the inside:
What next? I attached the bias-section to the skirt. Previously I had already sewn the two layers together and flattened the seam with the iron.
Finally I united the skirt to the bodice and hand-stitched the sleeve hems.
Only thing missing was the zipper. I measured it on top of the pattern pieces. That way I was certain to get the original measurements.
Invisible zippers are my favorites. I have the invisible zipper foot, too, so it’s really easy to attach them.
This was the last tricky part: more stripes to match! I always baste zippers anyways, so nothing different there, but it took more time and fiddling in any case.
I attached the lining with the normal zipper foot.
Then I did a couple of hand stitches to attach the hem of the lining to the main layer. And finally my checked dress was ready!
I might make another version of it later, if I manage to find that perfect black and white fabric. Maybe even a winter dress.