Fun! These dresses make me happy!

Written in reverse

Sept. 9, 2016

I also considered titling this entry "Next time cut it out right the first time." On each of these dresses, I made a cutting error and had to recut a rather large piece. Good thing I had a little extra of each.

Not that I should start this writing with such negativity! I LOVE LOVE LOVE these dresses. Mikey said they're the best I've made all year. (And I think I've made some pretty fucking awesome clothes this year!)

First up: Deer&Doe's Cardamome. I was so excited when this and the Fumeterre maxi skirt came out that I called Stitchology in Albuquerque to have Melisa send me both. And then promptly got distracted by other projects. The Cardamome has been on top of my sewing pile all year, but I just didn't make it a priority. Silly because I would have worn this dress all summer. It's as comfortable and easy to wear as a knit.

It's so comfy that I wore it the rest of the day after taking these photos. Even though it was only two days after I wore it to a friend's birthday party.

At the party my friend Lynn (who wore a dress her mom made — photo by the birthday boy's wife, Sam) liked it so much she started making it the next day! She had just gotten her sewing machine back out and went fabric shopping the day after the party.

I checked the sizing on previous Deer&Doe makes. My Pavot jacket is a size 38, which I think I graded to 36 at the waist. So I cut size 38 in this dress and ended up grading it to 36 at the bust. Huh.

I learned a new technique! Deer&Doe calls this a smocked waist. Others call the technique shirring. There are five rows (one hidden in the waist seam), and it was way more fun than it should have been.

I thought attaching the unshirred skirt to the shirred bodice was going to be a bit tricky, but it was much easier than I expected. 

Pressing it was a little tricky. I had to hold it tight and not melt the elastic or press the smocking.

Actually, pressing this whole dress was a little rough on the seersucker. Despite using a pressing cloth of scrap fabric, I still lost some texture.

Construction of the bib was a little different. Instead of sewing the two pieces right sides together, the instructions call for pressing the bib under and attaching with topstitching. It was definitely easier than sewing those opposite curves together the normal way.

The pattern calls for buttons, but I didn't have any in my stash that I loved. Because it's not vital to modesty or function, I just omitted them. If I find some I love, I'll add them later.

I've been wanting to do a contrast collar stand. This floral cotton is an Anna Maria Horner print I picked up at Fancy Tiger Crafts in May. The main fabric for this dress is a lightweight seersucker from Fabric Recycles.

I also used it to finish the armholes, where it ever so slightly peaks out. Those armholes are high enough to cover my bra, but I will have to raise them when I make the version with sleeves.

This was a pretty easy make. No darts, no zipper. But Deer&Doe lists it as a Level 4 pattern. Maybe because the instructions are basic? For example, they simply call for using bias tape to finish the armholes. If you've never done this before, you're not going to know what to do. In fact, I couldn't even find anywhere on the package listing bias tape as a needed supply.

And then I stitched up Victory Patterns Chloe.

I bought this pattern two years ago. I thought it looked a lot like Tilly and the Button's Françoise, so I never was inspired to make it. Turns out it looks quite different!

I cut size 4, and that line was invisible to trace again. From the pattern envelope, it looked like a short dress, so I didn't shorten it, even though it is designed for heights 2 to 4 inches taller than me.

You might have noticed these are the same two fabrics as the Cardamome in reverse. I had bought this floral fabric knowing I wanted to use it for Chloe, but I had planned to use leftovers from the Tulip skirt I made this summer for the accents. (I bought them on the same visit to Fancy Tiger.)

But when I was choosing my contrast for the Cardamome, it was too good of a match. I just had to use them together again. 

I needed the bias tape from the floral fabric to finish the Cardamome, but I wanted to be sure I'd have enough for the Chloe dress. So I basically cut out both dresses at once.

I decided early to use the blue seersucker for the welts and sleeves. But I cut binding for the neckline in both fabrics and decided at the end to go with the blue. I actually had expected to like the floral better, but when I held the blue up, Mikey and I agreed we liked it.

Winston isn't impressed by my matching dresses.

At first fitting, the underarm was so low the sleeve would have limited movement, the back neckline was big, and the armhole was big behind my arm. I solved all three problems by — wait for it — taking up the shoulder seam. ;)

This meant I had to adjust the sleeve. Because I removed a half-inch at the shoulder seam (each front and back), I took 1 inch from the center of the sleeve. Because of the order I cut out the two fabrics, I was able to cut the sleeve after making the shoulder adjustment. 

I like the shape of this sleeve. It's unusual.

I didn't have to add pockets to either of these dresses. They both already include them. The pocket bags for Chloe are big! In fact, when I sit, they sometimes peak out the hem. (Cardamome's pockets are a touch small; my phone sticks out slightly.) 

I omitted buttons/snaps on the welts. They seem to lie flat just fine. To stitch the welt down, I topstitched the front seam and made a 90-degree turn to end at the welt. I also interfaced the welts although the instructions do not specify this step.

I used a slightly lighter gray thread for topstitching than I used for construction.

Because of the way the neck binding attaches, I had to use a hook and eye. I sewed it to my dress while it was on my dress form, and it made that hand sewing suck way less.

But I still don't like hook-and-eye closures. Maybe next time I'll attach the neck binding before installing the zip.

I've been making a lot of bias binding lately. It was so much easier with these cottons than the thin, fussy rayon and silk from my Nicolas.

I had to take the princess seam in a quarter-inch under the bust. Princess seams are the easiest to fit! I needed no adjustments in the lumbar area, a happy surprise.

I also didn't need a lining, so I left that out. I couldn't find a good lining fabric in my stash anyway.

Can you tell Mikey took this photo? The camera is up so high.

So that should be it for this year's summer sewing. I'm about to start a muslin for a Papercut Patterns Bellatrix Blazer. I definitely didn't make all the summer clothes I planned, but I'm ready to move on. Who's ready for fall?

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