My first woven dress with sleeves! My first invisible zipper! My first go at gathering! And, a wearable muslin!
Lots of exclamation points today, folks. After much hemming and hawing (not at all literally), I finally sat down to my sewing machine today. May was a crazy month, and June kicked off with another trip (this time, up to Boston to meet friends for a road trip to Maine and a lovely Dave Matthews Band concert). All of these fun things have left me feeling a bit scattered and unable to focus, but today I remedied that with a new dress.
Rewind to last week, when I traced out the Megan dress pattern from Tilly’s new book, Love at First Stitch. (Yes, I ordered one straight from Tilly so that I could have a signed copy, and yes, I paid nearly double what I would have paid if I waited for its release on Amazon in the US [dang crappy value of the US dollar!], but I just could not wait, and it was totally worth it).
My Chicago Blackhawks were battling through a heart-stopping Game 7 of the Conference Finals, and I needed something to distract me from heart failure. During the intermissions, I traced off the Megan Dress pattern, then graded it up to size 9. I used a fairly unscientific process of lining up the size 7 lines with my traced 8 lines, and tracing one more size. I almost always end up crying, “Why, oh pattern drafters, why can’t you just go up one more size?” though I should probably use that energy to kick my butt to the gym and shrink my body down a size. Tomato, tomahto.
The Blackhawks lost, so this would not become my Lucky Megan Dress, but I forged ahead anyway. I figured I would make a wearable muslin using some quilting cotton that I bought at Walmart the day I bought my first sewing machine, before I learned that all those lovely prints are not meant for apparel. I think I paid $3/yard for it, so it would be fine for a muslin – and since this pattern calls for fabrics with some structure, it might even work out alright. I just so happened to have a fabric that reminded me of Tilly’s example – a bit retro, in muted shades.
The fabric waited patiently on my cutting table for a few days while I galavanted about, and tonight was its lucky night.
I did not look at the clock before starting this project, but I don’t think it took more than 2 hours to put together. I took my time, as I’m not at all used to sewing with wovens, but it sewed up quite easily and was a fun make. Dart tucks were new to me, and I’m still not entirely sure I did them correctly (as they’ve resulted in a sort of “tune in, Tokyo” effect in the under-bust area), but that shouldn’t be too tough to remedy next time around.
This dress required my first ever invisible zipper, for which I ordered an invisible zipper foot. I was mildly terrified about this zipper, as the entire sewing planet seems to think invisible zippers are the work of the devil. Now that I’ve inserted one myself, I don’t get what all the fuss is about. I thought it was much easier than sewing a regular zipper. Maybe it’s just that the Colette tutorial I used is THAT good. Just in case, you should check out the Colette tutorial on how to install an invisible zipper.
This was my first attempt at setting in sleeves on a woven fabric, and my first time gathering fabric. I found it easier than setting sleeves for knits, if a little more complex. And the end result is so adorable! This dress has the cutest sleeve caps without being overly cutesie. I love them.
The only fitting problem I’ve got is at the top back of the neckline, where there’s some gaping. I probably traced something off of the pattern incorrectly when I sized up, as I definitely don’t need any more room at the upper back. It probably wouldn’t hurt to add a full bust adjustment, but that always seems to ruin the shapes of these shift dress styles, so maybe I will just live and let live.
While Tilly has definitely got the better body for this dress, I am happy with how it sized up. Now I just need to figure out how to fix that neck gaping problem (which I think is worth fixing, as this muslin will definitely be wearable) and give it a good press.
Behold: my wearable muslin of the Megan Dress:
It totally looks like a modernized version of something my grandmother might wear – and that’s totally what I wanted! (OK, it sounds weird when I put it that way. Oh well). Coming soon: the real thing!
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