Procrastination. That’s how a lot of my projects start out getting ignored. Fortunately, I couldn’t procrastinate for too long, because the altered muslin was using up so many of my pins, that I was having problems sewing other projects. Also, knowing I needed to make so many pattern changes, I couldn’t make myself anything until I figured out what those changes were. I was having a difficult time translating those changes over to my pattern since I my body had changed dramatically that I really should have cut a smaller pattern.
I started over.
I drew up the size 12 bodice and made a new version of the bodice muslin. I asked my husband to help me out, and while I was having him look at the shoulder seams (since that’s where Lynda starts) he asked, “Is the back suppose to be baggy like that?” Well, I guess I do have a short waist! Based off the new fit and the changes on the original muslin, I altered the new pattern and the existing pattern to reflect the changes.
I was pretty confident at this part, so I remade my muslin and even attached the skirt and bodice together.
Ignore the sagging on the back: my dress form doesn’t accurately represent my body, especially not my back waist length. I tried it on, sat around in it, walked around in it, twisted around in it. It’s a close-fit, but it fit really well! So time to make it into a dress!
Back in July, I met up with another sewing friend and we did some fabric shopping in Seattle. At Nancy’s Sewing Basket , I found a pretty cotton sateen (I’ve been wanting to sew with sateen for a while) and picked up a yard and a half with the idea of making a sheath dress from it. Later, it didn’t really feel right that that fabric should be a sheath dress, but it was enough to make a proof-of-concept dress based on Lynda’s class. For lining, I picked up some China Silk fabric at Pacific Fabrics.
I also decided that this would be a good opportunity to treat this as a couture project and apply some tailoring techniques. Since I’ve been making this pattern over and over, I forewent the instructions this time. This pattern doesn’t contain a facing or lining (well, unless you count an underlining fabric for the lace version of the dress), so I added that myself. I wish I had taken step-by-step pictures while I was sewing the dress, but maybe next time.
First, I drafted a super simple facing and lining pattern from the bodice pattern. I had thought about doing a longer facing, and in hindsight, my facing probably should have gone all the way to the edge of the armscye, but this worked out pretty well, actually. The facing and lining are a copy of the bodice, broken into two pieces. I added 3/8″ seam allowance to the edges and then sewed each piece together and treated it as its whole counterpart.
After referencing my Thread’s Sewing Guide, I figured out how to attach the facing/lining to the shell:
- Sew each layer together at the shoulder seams. Side seams should be left free.
- Right sides together, sew the layers together at the neck seam. Clip the curves on the seam allowance so it’s not all wonky when you turn it inside out.
- Understitch the facing.
- Stitch the armscye. Remember to clip curves on the seam allowances.
- Now turn it inside out!
- Open out the shell fabric on the side seam, and with right sides together and seam line matched up, sew up the side seams.
- Aside from the back, it’s done! It’s magic!
The skirt was a little more trickier. In previous patterns I’ve sew, they have you sew the lining to the skirt, then attach both layers of the skirt to the shell’s waist line, then on the inside, slip stitch the bodice lining onto the seam line. I decided to not do that. I didn’t want to hand sew a single thing this time. Instead, I sewed the skirt pieces together (for both layers), leaving the back open, and then sewed each layer to its respective bodice layer. Lastly, using the free Craftsy class on Mastering Zipper Techniques, I added the invisible zipper in the back. Glad I got that invisible zipper foot.
Before I hemmed up the skirt, I stitched-in-the-ditch along the waistline seam to keep the shell and lining together. I hemmed up both layers independently, using the blind hem foot to do the shell, and that was it! So proud of how nicely and professional this dress looks, and it almost feels like I’ve “leveled” up in a way to be able to make these fitting and tailoring changes on my own.
Lastly, if you’re interested in learning more about finding the perfect fit, please consider taking Lynda’s course. In fact, head over to SewWell, Amy’s blog, where you can find a link for 40% off Sew the Perfect Fit. It’s definitely been the best fitting lesson I’ve received, and I’m glad I took it.