Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Sewing Dresses For the Summer

In the past few years I"d knitted one dress every summer. Well, I'm still not yet in the groove of summer knitting, yet I'm getting impatient of just sitting there and knit wool. I dusted off my sewing machine and made coupla dresses.

First one was inspired by an episode in George Gently that I watched in marathon via Netflix while knitting "Undecided."  If you have not seen the show, it's first off a very good series of British detective show, my favorite, and the setting is in the 60s.  In the episode of Season 4: Goodbye China, I spotted a beautiful dress that is green and silky material, and of course in the 60s style. I really, really wanted that dress. When I was shopping for pattern and fabric, I decided to go with linen/rayon blend.

The pattern I ended  up using was New Look 6824.  I made some modifications.
The pre-planned mods were:

  • changed pencil skirt to A line.
  • changed dart on skirt to pleats on the side. 

The mods after sewn up were:

  • lowering neckline.
  • recut neck band to shorter length.
  • made pleats to the otherwise sticking out too much, space age looking sleeves. 
Of course it's not exactly looking like the one in the show, the one in the show had no neckband nor sleeves, but otherwise, similar 60s style.
Being total self-taught with sewing, I'm not a good seamstress at all, but I did take my time.  The one thing that could be better was hemming the armhole area. I need to learn how to do a better job of hemming there.  But I'm so proud that I did the invisible zipper right.  I did have to rip and redo that part, simply because I mis-judged and placed the zipper too low without extending it onto the neck band. 

I really like this pattern, the only thing that absolutely needed alteration for me were the neck area and the sleeves. The neckline was a bit high for good proportion, and the neckband was too tall, together the dress looked a bit like I'm in a star-trek show or something. This version of sleeves sticked out too much that the dress would fit right in an 80's music video. Otherwise, the fit was perfect.  

I LOVE the fit.  I really do. I cut the body in size 12, and the skirt in size 18.  The reason for larger skirt size was only because the pleats I wanted at the side required more width for folding than the darts in the pattern. Otherwise I think the same size skirt would've been fine. I did not have to alter anything else for fit. The dress turned out fitting but not tight at all, just the way I wanted.


Then I decided to make another dress. This time a quicker sew. I bought this synthetic knit fabric a while back when Joann's had a sale. I couldn't resist the print. And I knew I wanted to make a dress with it some day.

The pattern was Simplicity 3506. Since the fabric was was knit, I didn't use zippers.  I still cut the back into 2 pieces as per pattern, which I could've cut in one, but I didn't have enough fabric for cutting 2 large pieces on fold.  

It was an easy and quick sew. I did it in one evening. Everything was done exactly as the pattern, except for no hemming (gasp!) I shortened the dress pattern by 3" based on reading the finished dress measurements.  It turned out to be not the wisest move. I ended up loving the length of pre-hemming. Fortunately for me, the material was non-fraying at all. I kinda liked it un-hemmed (so scandalous), a lighter swing at the bottom. I had the same problem as previous dress, I did a rather poor job on armhole hemming.  Well, at least it was not really visible.  

When I finished it late at night, I wasn't completely sold on the dress, even with the dart at the back and slight waist shaping at sides, the dress still looked boxy. I added a sash/belt, and liked it better.  But next morning, when I tried it on in much brighter day light, I ended up really liking it a lot, mostly due to the material and the print. I like how light and summery it feels. Even if it's synthetic material.  It's so easy to wear and super comfortable, totally up my alley as far as a dress goes.  

I'm hoping to get more sewing done.  They are like instant gratifications compared to knitting.  

1 comment:

  1. These are beautiful dresses! And this TV show, George Gently, seems right up my alley - I've been needing something new to watch.