The Sun Dress of Great Inspiration

I am quite fallible, therefore I always usually make a muslin, at least of dress bodices and blouses, before I make the first snip in my fabric. However, I never really sat down and tried different methods to solve the myriad of fitting problems I always encounter. That is, until I began work on Simplicity 2209. I was determined to get it right in the muslin because I was using a really adorable red and white striped seersucker with just a hint of a silver sparkle.

I already detailed all the adjustments I had to make, and let me tell you–that work paid off. When I did get around to putting the bodice together, I had zero issues. Everything came together like a dream. Definitely a first for me. Plus, I do not own any other dress that fits better than this one. I will say, though, that the one thing I would change the next time round is that I would lower the armscye just a tad. When I raised the back up like I did, it pulled the arm up just a bit tight. It’s not uncomfortable, I’m just aware of it.

Since construction was so painless, I thought I would try adding things I never had before. I put seam binding all around the waistline. I did not know what I was doing, however, because I did not want to take the time to look it up. Sometimes I get on a roll and I don’t want to break my stride. I’m pretty sure I did it wrong.

Sorry the pic is a little dizzying.

Also, I decided to use some green bias tape around the inside of the armscye. I chose to do a blindstitch from the inside because I didn’t want a visible seam, as the pattern suggested.

I used the technique I learned from my Iris shorts to attach the facing to the zipper.

It. Looks. Beautiful.

The one part of the construction that gave me pause was cutting out the skirt. I decided to add a seam in the front and back of the skirt (and I moved the zipper from the side to the back) so that I could have a nice little chevron effect. This meant I had to cut the skirt out on the bias and then line up all the stripes. I was all in a tizzy trying to find the true bias and following tutorials and whatnot, until I remembered that I had a gridded ruler with a 45 degree angle. All I had to do was line that angle up with any of the stripes. Then, I just had to figure out how to line everything up and not cut something out upside-down or backwards accidentally.

Also, a dizzying pic. So sorry.

It was an interesting challenge.

In the end, I spent so much time on the front and back seams that I didn’t pay much attention to the side seams. But, miraculously, they all look fine. Not exactly perfect, but fine.

And blue pockets. You know how I do.

Also, for the second time ever, I hand stitched my hem. I am not opposed to machine stitching my hem as some people are, but I find that hand stitching, when done correctly, can be quite lovely. And by lovely, I mean invisible. Also, it’s very methodical and soothing. It seems that the more I sew, the more I love sewing by hand.

The one thing about the dress that I’m not fond of is the pleats on the back of the skirt. They’re not very deep, so they don’t lie down properly. I think a little baby box pleat would have been a better option for me. Maybe next time I’ll try that. Since I spent so much time working out the kinks, I definitely will make this dress again. I already have a potential fabric in mind.

More Whipstitch fabric!

There is one more part of this project that went seriously awry. . .

As soon as I laid my little eyes on that striped seersucker, I knew I was going to make a belt. I was going to follow Tilly’s lovely bow belt tutorial. I was going to use this fantastically blue twill that I had ordered out of curiosity. I was curious because the twill was way cheaper than all the other twill I had seen online (this should have been my first clue). Then I found out that it was “sport twill.” It was 100% polyester (this should have been my next clue). But, I ordered a couple of yards because I wanted to know what it was like (this is my method of learning about fabrics. My local Jo-Ann’s is not well-stocked with fabrics) and it was in such a lovely color.

Then it arrived.

Ew. Ew. And gross. Ew.

Have you ever experienced sport twill? I would only put an athlete in this stuff if I really, really hated him. It’s thick. It’s. . . polyester. I should have known. I knew I would never make any sort of wearable garment out of it.

But, an accessory, like a bow tie belt, is a different story, right?

Let me just make the story short: the thickness of the twill made it absolutely impossible to work with on this project. It was really sad because it was such a great color. I plan to fiddle with it a little more and see if I can make a workable version. I will also try ordering some broadcloth in the same color to make a decent belt.

In the end, I feel really accomplished after this dress. It’s the most well-constructed dress I’ve made so far. It’s not perfect, but I didn’t cut any corners and I put a lot of time and thought into it. So. . .yeah. I’m pretty pleased!

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