I left off earlier this week having attached the waistband to both the outside and the lining of my summer dress project.
It was time to work on the skirt. This pattern has a flap that overlaps the front of the skirt, so I had to work on that piece first. The instructions did not include a lining for the skirt. But I needed one so as not to share too much of myself with the world, so I decided to fumble my way through creating some semblance of a lining. I basted the satin lining fabric to the sheer jersey knit print prior to piecing any of the skirt together. So the skirt does not have a true lining in that you can see the seams, but it works to prevent the x-ray vision. Or normal vision.
Anyway, I hemmed the overlap part of the skirt and basted it to the skirt front. Then I pinned the skirt front to the two skirt back pieces. I stitched the center back up to the blue dot that you see in the picture. The blue dot is where the bottom of the zipper will go eventually. I stitched the sides of the skirt together, and after that I was ready for the fun connecting of the top and skirt.
To do this, I pinned the right side of the top piece to the right side of the skirt and stitched. At this point, the fabric along this seam was fairly thick, but I remembered to adjust my needle size up a bit (unlike that OTHER time …) to compensate for the unruly fabric. No major issues here, but the next step was to pull down the waistband on the lining side so that it covered all the waistband seams, like in the image below.
And … SLIPSTITCH. I have done this once before, on my Steampunk coat. I disliked the immense size of the coat opening that I had to slipstitch shut. This particular instance of slipstitching was no better, size wise. Well, anything wise. I was confused on how to properly slip the needle through the skirt fabric, as it didn’t have a nicely folded over pressed seam allowance like the lining waistband. And when I did the coat, both the lining and the outer fabric were pressed over. The skirt had multiple layers and so on the bottom half of the dress, I slipped the needle through the lining layer, without poking the needle through the outer fabric. No idea if this was the right choice, but it is the one I made!
I did revisit my favorite online slipstitching tutorial for a refresher. Below are some pictures of my long slipstitching adventure. At least an hour long. Ugh. And I decided to not be completely perfectionist – I did not smooth it out by continuing to slipstitch back and forth so that the space between each stitch decreased.
The worst part? After all that time and effort, when I was done, I wound up having to work on the fit of the dress bodice. That in and of itself is not so horrible, but we’ll get there. The picture below demonstrates what the waistband looked like post-slipstitching. It also shows how much I had to adjust the fit of the dress near the top. I had to get a bit of help from my hubby to pin things the way I wanted them here, since Elizabeth wasn’t there.
This is where the worst part happened. I decided to trim the extra fabric off the back closure area of the dress. This was a little nerve wracking as I would not be able to later get this fabric back if it didn’t fit. I probably should have stitched and not cut it in hindsight. Anyway, the crappier part of cutting the fabric here is that I cut through the slipstitch thread on both sides … so all the hard hand stitching work I did is now unraveling slowly. I keep telling myself at least this is only on the lining, but somehow it doesn’t make me feel completely better. Oh well. I have said before that sewing is all about learning to live with your mistakes, and it remains true.
The final steps included pinning the zipper to the back openings in such a way that the top of the zipper was even (who sews an uneven zipper you say? That would be ME.). I did iron the zipper prior to pinning, and I made sure to stitch with the zipper closed. Below is the zipper in progress. I love the purple contrast thread, since it is gonna be seen on the outside, might as well make it fun. I had started this dress with matching pink thread, but ran out mid project. Ooops. At least I had matching purple thread laying around. And both contrast threads matched the fabric print, even if it is not consistent across the garment.
Once the zipper was installed, I hemmed the bottom edge of the dress, and tried it on. I still struggled with some fit issues – the understitching around the v-neck collar was doing a strange wavey thing, where it did not sit nicely against my body. I wound up tugging up the shoulders a bit and stitching. This time I did NOT trim the seam, in case I wanted to go back. Below is the final result, from multiple views (can you tell I am digging the montage pictures?!?).
Overall I am pleased with the dress, and strangely, the pattern instructions. I didn’t experience any supremely awful moments of confusion when reading them. I wore the dress to work on Monday this week, and decided I might need to let out the shoulder adjustment a tad, as the armholes were digging into my armpits a bit uncomfortably by the end of the day. You will notice that I met my goal of a proper bust fit and no awkward seam lines. All in all, I would say this project is one of my favorites thus far!
Well, excluding the Steampunk costume. Even though I haven’t worn it yet. I have to say, I am beginning to get the itch to work on another costume. Tonight I cut the fabric for a maxi dress pattern that I will be working on next, but I think after that my next costume adventure will begin. I must have a problem. Who is more interested in sewing costumes (which they don’t wear around more than once or twice a year) over normal clothes?