I have started doing too many things this weekend. I began work on two dresses and a jacket. Naturally, none of those projects were finished, but this dress is the one where I got the furthest. I only have to hem it and add the sleeves.
After making a few dresses out of cotton jersey and realising that I quite like the material, I decided to move on to the next challenge. Ultimately, I always want to make more complicated things and design lots of elements as I go along. I really enjoy changing patterns to add something a little bit extra or to make it more diverse.
This time, I decided to use two colours, purple and black, and divide the bodice to make a panel jersey dress. I made the panels up as I went along, so I didn’t think too much about it, but once I sewed them together, I realised they look quite a lot like a fox. 🙂
I used a jersey dress bodice pattern like this and cut where I thought would look good:
I also shortened the sides by cutting off a triangle at the bottom.
These are all the panels for the front (the back is identical):
For the skirt, it was just a question of adding the required length on the side panels, so it would still meet the bodice where I shortened it.
And this is what the bodice looks like, once sewn up:
I lined the neckline, as I wanted it to be quite smooth. Also, I didn’t want to ruin it with my coverlocker by stretching it out… There are fabrics that it doesn’t hate, but cotton jerseys sadly don’t belong to that category.
Here is the lining from the outside:
and from the inside:
Originally, I wanted to line the armholes as well and make it a sleeveless dress, but then realised that I should have left the shoulder seams unsewn. It wouldn’t have been difficult to rip them out again, but I generally don’t like the bulkiness I get when I sew shoulder seams after lining. My other option would have been to have an open back, which would have been a whole lot of work and it probably wouldn’t have lined up properly in the end. Well, there’s always next time…
Here is the dress, as yet unhemmed…
On the subject of next time though, I am definitely planning on making more panel dresses with more panels. 😉 It is definitely a part of sewing I enjoy immensely and it doesn’t appear to be too difficult.
So in the meantime, I did get a bit of time to hem the dress, and even got my husband to take pictures of me in the finished version:
When I got all my new fabrics, I knew which one I wanted to work on first. Even though my husband said I would look like a blue lizard in an item made of this, it just had to be the ridiculous snakefoil jersey, didn’t it?
It’s a pretty lightweight fabric with plenty of stretch, so I knew a summer dress would be possible. Where I would wear such a thing, is still a mystery to me, but I somehow couldn’t keep away from the fabric. Maybe it was because it is so shiny, or maybe I have a yearning for outrageous dance clothing to an extent that even I didn’t realise. Somewhere in my mind, it says that it would be perfectly ok to wear a dress made of blue lizard fabric to a summer festival.
In any case, making the pattern was really easy. I simply used the pattern I made from taking apart my old dress in this post and changed the neckline so it wouldn’t be as low as it was before. I basically just cut the whole top of the bodice as a square to adjust later.
The neckline I had in mind, would be gathered at the top and end in a collar around the neck. I actually ended up pleating it, cause I felt too lazy to gather.
I also attempted to make more of a molded shape for me, not by adding darts but by cutting out and reshaping a whole section of the bust:
I forgot to line up the seams with the skirt seams, so I need to remember to redo that for future dresses. I added a waistband to “hide” that fact a bit, or at least in my mind, make it look a bit less obvious.
This is the dress:
The back of the skirt is slightly longer, although I realise now that to really get the effect I wanted, the difference in length between front and back should have been larger. Since I only had about 1.5 metres of fabric, that was not an option though.
The waist sits a bit lower than I wanted and the bust seams sit just a bit under the bust, so I will redo the collar and shorten the bodice a touch. The whole dress was sewn with my overlock machine.
To finish the edges, I used the rolled-hem foot of my overlocker. This is the second time I have used it, and while the hems are not as rolled as they could be, I really like the finish.
Here is the finish on the arm:
And here it is on the skirt:
Unfortunately, the fabric has a tendency to lose it’s colour. While trying it on, I suddenly saw lots of white specks all over the front of the dress. When I tried to brush them away (don’t know what I was thinking), more appeared! It seems the blue “varnish” comes off the edges of the little metal plates that the coating is made of. I wonder how that would fare in a washing machine. I probably have to hand wash it, and even then I’d be worried about the loss of colour.
I am very tempted to do this again and improve on it, but since the quality of the fabric makes it so hard to rework it or even wear it more than once, I think I might have to find a better fabric first.
This is more of a preview than anything, but I am just so excited!
After waiting for what felt like forever, I finally got all the fabrics I ordered in the last month. I can’t wait to sew them all up!
I stacked them up in a nice pile and took a picture for you to see:
From top to bottom, I have got:
– a digitally printed jersey (it is much steadier than I imagined and is only stretchy one way, so it will be great for constructing a party dress)
– a turquoise lining fabric (for a jacket)
– a turquoise gabardine (for that same jacket)
– some black scuba jersey (for a dress and a tracksuit jacket)
– a shiny snake foil jersey (for a dress, what else could be made out of such an outrageous fabric?)
– a purple, a black and a blue cotton jersey (to make some t-shirts)
We have had some issues with DHL lately due to strikes, so both parcels came to me on the same day after waiting 4 weeks for the one and one week for the other. I know, one week doesn’t sound very long, but if you’re used to next-day shipping, it seems almost unbearable. 😉
Also, the 4-week wait for the Calico Laine order was partially due to them not having certain fabrics on site, so altogether, it probably took about 2 weeks to get to me once they sent it. However, I reordered from them since and the shipment was sent within a day.
I plan on making some t-shirts with the cotton jerseys and dresses with the scuba and print jersey. Maybe I will finally get onto sewing up that short tracksuit jacket too.
So far, I have no idea what I will wear the shirts with, as I have not yet made a single skirt or pair of trousers. To be fair, I probably only wear trousers once or twice a year. Since I like making t-shirts, I might have to get into the habit though.
The turquoise gabardine and lining fabric will be made into a summer jacket. I have had great success constructing a coat out of Burda 6921 and will attempt to make the short version for the warmer weather.
There are two reasons why I made a t-shirt over the weekend:
1. I like winging it when it comes to sewing. This often leads to failure, but I somehow cannot help thinking “What if I change this detail?” when I’m in the middle of a project. Maybe it’s my strong desire for variety, maybe I just love to see myself make mistakes, but there is something rewarding about deviating from the well-known path. So despite not having a t-shirt pattern, I decided I could create one from a pattern I own by adapting it.
2. DHL is on strike… While I sympathise with the delivery guys, I am desperately waiting for some fabric which was meant to come on Friday. So while trying not to go crazy over all the things I want to make with those new fabrics I don’t have yet, I decided to make something simple with some leftovers.
So, here is what I did:
I used the fabric and pattern that I made this dress from. The dress bodice pattern would serve as my t-shirt template. Similarly, if you have a T-Shirt that fits you well, you can use that as a template. I didn’t have a huge amount of fabric, so unfortunately the shirt had to be a bit shorter than I would like.
Here is the pattern on the fabric, while I started cutting it. I cut the bottom pretty free-hand, but cut outwards from the bottom of the pattern, which sits at my waist, to make sure it’s not too tight around my stomach.
I also cut the neckline a bit higher, so it wouldn’t be as low as it is on the dress.
I cut to about halfway, then folded the pattern in the middle, so I could cut the rest out along the lines that I had already cut.
Then I cut along the hemline to straighten it out:
I thought it might look interesting with a perfectly straight hem, not a curved one, as usual. It turned out that wasn’t the greatest idea…
One of the bodice pieces got a V-neckline, just for a change.
I also used the sleeves I made for the dress before. Here are all the pattern pieces cut out:
The neckband of this one is probably the most interesting part. I cut it as a triangle made of three pieces:
Here they are sewn together (with my overlocker):
and pinned on:
You can see how it pulls the neckline in, since it is smaller.
And here is the result of my neckband-creation:
After sewing the t-shirt together with the overlocker, I finished it off with the Merrylock 3040, which I am still trying to get to know. I am starting to wonder if there is a way to change the height of the position of the presser foot , as it just hates anything above two layers of fabric even at the loosest setting.
In any case, here is the finished product:
It looks a bit crooked, which is ok with me, as it’s stretchy, so it won’t be noticeable when I wear it. However, you can also see the warped hemlines, which I blame the Merrylock for. Admittedly, it might be slightly my fault too, as I am not the most precise seamstress yet. Nevertheless, I feel like the coverlocker doesn’t exactly make things easy for me, which is ironic, really, as I bought it for exactly that reason.
The whole thing probably took me about two hours. Next time, I will sacrifice an old t-shirt, so I have a pattern that I know will work.