The first dress I ever bought fabric and notions for was this fantastic retro green dress, Simplicity 1609. Gertie had sewn several and they were to die for. I’m not saying that I want to be like Gertie (and of course it’s pure coincidence that I dyed my hair back to crazy red shortly after I discovered Gertie’s blog), but I definitely wanted some dresses like Gertie’s. I waited anxiously for my lime green linen fabric to arrive, and once it did, I let it sit for months… because I wanted to lose 10 more pounds before I sewed this dress. I finally knocked some sense into myself (see my body double post) and took a shot at my own 1609.
This was my first time working with a linen fabric, and I had a tough time with it. The fabric didn’t want to walk smoothly under the presser foot, and I’m not yet savvy enough to troubleshoot such things. I eventually got the hang of helping it through, but I’m sure there was a better fix (presser foot pressure, maybe?). The pattern itself was a bit misleading as well. The front cover touts how simple construction is, with just 2 main pieces – but I had never dealt with facings or darts before, so I found myself googling quite a bit. All said and done, it took about a week of working on the dress a couple hours a night to finish.
I knew as I was working on this dress that I wasn’t doing the collar quite right, but I couldn’t figure out what was wrong. I did not figure it out until it was too late, and I ended up with a collar that looked like this:
Ahhh, right. I was supposed to sew the collar fronts and backs together and then turn them inside out. Yep. That would be where I went wrong. Of course, after the fact, I discovered Gertie’s excellent tutorial on how to assemble the Peter Pan collar. Oh well. You win some, you lose some.
Another bit of fail on this project was that I did not make a muslin. I also didn’t attempt any pattern modifications, so indeed, the dress is a bit snug and requires that I lose 10 pounds before wearing it.
Don’t mind the big wet spot on the dress. I sewed this before I replaced my leaky 90’s-era iron.
In an effort to at least make this dress somewhat wearable, I attempted to sew under the edges of the collar. This photo shows quite clearly how much practice I need on sewing curves!
While the end result is a bit disappointing, I’ve learned a few lessons during this project:
I think that once I get this fitted properly, it will actually be a cute pattern. I’ve decided to try again. I’ve purchased some muslin fabric, and will be attempting the view without a collar for the second go-around. Check out this Alexander Henry fabric:
Oh, yes. It will be fabulous. Simplicity 1609 will rise again!
This will be the first time I make a muslin, but as quirky as my fittings are, I probably should get in the habit of it – because really, all of my first attempts have turned out to be not-so-wearable. Save the good fabrics for the real thing, and get the fitting done with cheap muslin. I’m learning that you can’t really skip steps in sewing and expect a good finished product. Like my grandpa used to say, “If you’re going to do something anyway, you might as well do it right.”
What are your thoughts on making muslins?
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