“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,”Charles Dickens
Ok, so maybe this story isn’t quite as life changing as Charles Dickens’, but…it sure has a great opening line… 🙂
Anyway a couple of weeks ago I fell victim to McCalls Pattern Company’s marketing of my e-mail. Normally, I scan through the endless mail in my inbox stopping only to read the things from real people that I know, but for some reason on this particular day my eyes locked on an e-mail from the McCalls Pattern Company with a subject line, “patterns on sale $3.99.” I suppose adding to this temptation of purchasing a new pattern for so little money, was the already existing winter gloom I was having over the clothes hanging in my closet. So many of my things for this season are black and I am feeling the need to brighten my world with a little more color around me and what better way to start than to make a new dress!?! It seemed easy enough, especially when the shopping was just a click away. (Just don’t ask me how much time that “clicking” used up…!) The result of my window shopping was the purchase of 3 new dress patterns, Woo Hoo!
I no sooner made my final pattern purchase click when the question of, “What fabric will I use?” started rolling through my thoughts.(Did I mention not to ask my how much time this unplanned window shopping consumed? But how could I think of anything else when a new dress was waiting to be created???)
A color scheme based on complementary colors
On the back side of this note from Imagine Gnats is a chart that explains a little more about knits and determining their percentage of stretch. For a beginning sewer, knits can seem too daunting a task, but there are plenty of sources for knit construction and help just a click away. With a little bit of practice you will be hooked on the comfort and ease of adding your own knit creations to your clothing wardrobe.
One great things about sewing with knits is that the finished garment fit is usually a little more relaxed. Darts, zippers and other important parts of constructing a garment out of woven fabric are a more rare occurrence in items made from a knit that can drape and stretch.
Sewing with a fabric like this Ponte knit is an especially good beginner fabric choice because of how stable the overall fabric remains.
“Ponte is a double-knit interlock fabric that has stability and firmness in addition to flexibility and softness. This means it can be used in dresses, blazers, and more structured pieces and hold its shape but still maintain comfort and give. Best of both worlds, no?”
Once my fabric arrived, the joy of bringing this imagined dress to life was hard to contain. A clean house would have to wait for this necessary creation to take shape.
Before laying out the pattern to be cut, I took the advice of the pattern directions and did some tissue fitting. This dress is a Palmer and Pletsch design and they have written much about the concept of tissue fitting. I have one of their books on the subject and have used this technique in the past for a few garments. The directions included with this dress pattern give the sewer some abbreviated information about this fitting concept and can help you prevent an unhappy ending to this dress sewing journey. I have found that tissue fitting is much easier done with a partner. It can be difficult to make the necessary observations of the tissue “garment” when you are wearing it. Ask a friend to join you for this part of the project and be prepared to giggle a little, wearing a tissue paper pattern garment can feel a little silly, but the information you gather from this step will be worth the time spent and how can a friend turn down laughter over tea and tissue…
I decided to finish the sleeves with a binding of the contrasting fabric. I liked the idea of carrying the added color to the bottom of the sleeves and was afraid that after hemming them the traditional way they would feel too short.
When I make this dress in the future I will make the sleeve ends a little tighter and longer and I will cut it a little smaller in the hip area. After tissue fitting I was concerned about it being too clingy around my hips so I cut it one size larger than I had pinned. Now after it is finished I think the finished dress could be a little neater looking if it were finished in the smaller size through the hips.
Overall this was an easy dress to put together and it is really comfortable. I highly recommend you give it a try.
When I woke Sunday morning with the intention of wearing my new dress to church with black tights and black ankle boots, I had the funniest realization-Under my bed were a pair of antique shoes that I haven’t worn for a long time. They are antique because I purchased them in 1985 when I was a young single, working girl and had money to spend just on myself. Of course that meant many pairs of cute shoes to go with the outfits I would sew. I have hung on to these shoes because they are very good quality(Nine West), versatile(practical reason) and the feelings of nostalgia that are attached to them(emotional reason). The funny part is the color;
My shoes are a little more taupe than olive, but pretty close, and that beautiful mulberry color inside. It seems amazing to me that while contemplating this dress I thought I was breaking out of my comfort zone a little by picking these color choices and yet, alas, I was just reconnecting with choices that have always encouraged the joy that is in me.
“A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other.”
― Charles Dickens,