The Triple Digit Dress

I’m still sewing my summer reconstruction makes like crazy. Click here for explanation. We’ve got two, if not three, more months of HOT weather. With this being the case, I haven’t come close to maxing out on sewing for this season. However, I’m happy to take time away from my machine to share with you reconstruction make #3, a comfortable, cool summer dress.

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To belt or not to belt, that is the question.

The pattern I used is Simplicity 1668 which I got on sale at JoAnn’s for $1.99. I snatched this pattern up as soon as I stumbled upon it as it fit my reconstruction criteria perfectly – loose and gathered at the chest.

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The fabric is Tulip Rayon in Poppy by Joel Dewberry which I purchased once again from my favorite online store Hawthorne Threads. (I know I sound like a broken record always mentioning Hawthrone Threads, but I haven’t managed to get to Los Angeles for fabric shopping in several months. I am thankful for their great selection and great customer service.) I got 1.75 yards at a cost of $9.70 per yard. I love this fabric. I prewashed it in a cold machine cycle, and hung to dry. It’s soft, lightweight and drapey, yet not too delicate for everyday wear.

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An elastic casing forms the gathers at the middle front.

The gathers near the shoulder are sewn to a facing. The armholes are finished with purchased bias tape.

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There is a box pleat with top stitching at the back neckline.

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Curved hem is finished with a facing. Not the easiest thing in the world to do perfectly on a rayon. Mine is passable.

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LET’S BE HONEST:

1. I cut a size Small (10-12) at the top and graded a Medium (14-16) at the bottom. I also added 1″ in length by slashing the pattern pieces where indicated. The photo on the envelope showed the dress several inches above the knee on the model. I’m not tall, so I figured adding 1″ would fall at the knee on me. I’m happy with the overall fit and did not have to make any adjustments while sewing.

2. The pattern is labeled as “easy-to-sew.” I think that this can apply to the other views-elastic pants and shorts, and jacket. For the dress, I have to say the neckline with the elastic casing, shoulder gathers, and facings is a little fiddle-some, especially in a rayon. I wouldn’t recommend this dress for a beginner.

3. I interfaced the belt even though the directions did not call for it.

4. Now I’m going to talk the nitty gritty of practicality. I LOVE this dress. I think the pattern and fabric are a perfect match. And it couldn’t be more comforable to wear. However, I still find myself grabbing the same old shorts and sleeveless tops over this cute dress on a daily basis. Is it too “nice” to just wear around the house or a trip to the grocery store? I think the real reason I don’t throw it on more often is the fact that it’s care is “high maintainence.” First I have to accumulate a load of delicate wash cycle items to wash with it, then I will need hang it dry, and then I will need to iron it. This means it will be a long time before I wear it again once I throw it in the laundry pile.

What about you, do you avoid wearing some garments you love just because of their care requirements?

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Happy Coverall Dress

Except for some last minutes sewing details for my sister-in-law‘s wedding next weekend, I am madly focused on my summer “reconstruction” makes. Click here for explanation. I’m sewing much faster than I’m blogging. I’ve got lots to share. Stay tuned. Reconstruction make #2 is a simple grab-n-go dress that’s nonrevealing and has pleats in all the right places. It’s a great alternative to shorts and a T-shirt.

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This dress has been through the washer and dryer twice already.

The pattern I used is Simplicity 2147.  I bought it on sale at JoAnn’s for about $1. I was attracted to this pattern because of the loose fit and bodice yoke with pleats and ample chest coverage. I was not attracted to it because it says “Learn to Sew”, although that signals quick and easy – a good thing when your whipping out summer clothes. I made view B.

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The fabric I used is Robert Kaufman, Double Gauze Chambray in Indigo. I purchased it from my favorite online fabric store Hawthorne Threads. I ordered 2 yards at a cost of $11.70 per yard. This is my first double gauze experience. I have seen many makes with double gauze floating around the online sewing community and had been curious about it for some time. I love the characteristics of this fabric, it’s soft and lightweight while having a similar fashion aesthetic of a regular chambray. However, I don’t think it was the perfect choice for this pattern. I’ll explain below.

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Because of the loose weave of the gauze, the fabric sort of stretches over the shoulder and creates a wing effect on the edge of the sleeves. Not a big deal, but something I wasn’t jazzed about the first time I tried it on. Can I live with it? Yes!

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The side view is a bit unflatteringly “full.” I don’t know if it’s because there are also pleats in the back or it’s the nature of the fabric. What I do know, however, is that as the day wears on, you get a rear end sag from the double gauze stretching out while sitting. The dress appears freshly washed in the photo.

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The neckline is finished with purchased bias tape. The sleeves have a narrow machine hem.

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I like how the wrong side of the fabric is the “negative” of the right side.

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I did a machine blind hem for the bottom hem. The stitches are hiddened well in the crinkly, double gauze!

LETS BE HONEST:

1. I made a size 12 and graded out to a size 14 on the bottom half. I did not do this out of concern for my hips. I did this because I added 5″ to the hem. (View B is described as a mini-dress, which I don’t do.) I noticed that the body of the dress narrows slightly towards the bottom and I thought if I continued the inward angle following the size 12 line, it might feel a little narrow at the hem.

2. Hmm…what else can I say. Despite the winged sleeves and saggy rear end, I really love this dress and will continue to reach for it often this summer.

What about you…can you overlook disppointing details when the garment perfectly fills a need in your wardrobe?