Week Two is complete and on schedule, now that I've shifted completion day to Monday. My usual photographer is out of town, so I don't have a finished picture yet, but I am amazed at how beautifully the fabric drapes. I will add the picture as soon as I have it.
I checked out the reviews from Pattern Review
before starting the dress. There didn't appear to be too many that used the cap sleeve view, so I forged ahead. My one grumble is that the patten description should have mentioned that this view has forward shoulder seams. I caught that in the illustration long after my alterations had been completed. Marking the natural waist on the pattern would also have helped. C'mon, Simplicity! Get with the program!
What changes did I make? According to my moulange, I needed to lengthen the back and the front by 1 1/2 inches; and the front by another 2 inches! That should have alerted me to the forward shoulder seam in the design, but it didn't.
I decided to split the first set of adjustments (the 1 1/2 inches) between the bodice top and the midriff piece. I redrew the back shoulder slope to match my moulange, but I was hesitant with the front as it would have taken about 2 inches out of the armhole. I made a muslin of the bodice, tried it on and decided to split the difference on the front shoulder slope, changing the angle by 1 inch instead of 2.
I changed the location of the center back so I would get more overlap for a bit better coverage. I want to be able to wear a normal bra with this dress! When I tried on the muslin, I discovered I also had to take about 2 inches out of the back midriff piece. I transferred the alterations to my pattern and started the layout and cutting process.
I did some test seam finishes with both my regular machine and my serger and I tried out my Vilene stay tape
on a bias edge to see how it would feel when finished. Once I was familiar with my fabric, I was ready to go. I can't emphasize enough how important it is to know how your fabric is going to behave under the needle and under the iron before you begin. You will save yourself a ton of frustration if you play with the fabric ahead of time. Also try out buttonholes, zipper installation, and any new techniques.
This was my first experience with a single knit jersey and you can color me impressed. What a beautiful drape! It all comes from buying quality fabric. On to construction - as Sarah Veblen
said, it did take just as much time to grain the fabric as it did to sew. Her Slippery & Drapey Fabric class
on Pattern Review was a lifesaver. I never would have thought of patting the fabric into place rather than scooting it!
I added a couple of tweaks during construction that you don't find in most commercial patterns. I stabilized the neckline edges with Vilene bias stay tape cut slightly shorter than the edge and I added a strip of clear elastic to the shouder seams, also cut a smidge shorter than the actual seam. I used my serger to apply the elastic strip. I think a tutorial on that process is in my future. Tricky, but really helpful! I'm also leaving the hem unfinished. I like the way the dress hangs without the added weight of a hem.
What would I do differently? In addition to the Vilene, I would add a piece of clear elastic to the neck edge to snug it up against my chest even more. I would not serge the shoulder seams. The tight gathering wants to creep away from the needle and I haven't mastered the technique for keeping it in place yet.
All in all, a great experience!