Lady (Skater) in Red

As promised, Lady Skater #2!

After I finished my first Lady Skater dress, I planned a few modifications:

1. Shorten the shoulder height.
2. Do a narrow shoulder adjustment.
3. Shorten the bodice.
4. Lengthen the skirt.
5. Add pockets.

So, that’s what I did! Well, first, I traced my bodice pieces just in case I screwed everything up, so at least I could go back to where I was after dress #1, which was not in too bad of shape.

I followed the Kitschy Coo adjustment instructions to shorten the shoulder height. I went down one size in the shoulders, from 8 to 7, keeping the size  8 width at the underarm. I cut out the size 7 sleeve top but kept the size 8 width.

Then, I used the Curvy Sewing Collective Narrow Shoulder Adjustment tutorial to do a 1/2″ narrow shoulder adjustment. Mine looked nowhere near as neat as Mary’s, but I went with it!

Narrow shoulder adjustment on Lady Skater dress pattern

Yikes, right?! I think maybe I should’ve cut the right-hand hinge a little farther down on the armscye. Mary’s looks so smooth. Moving on!

I used the lengthen/shorten lines on the bodice pieces to shorten the front and back by 3/4″. Then I used the lengthen/shorten line on the skirt to lengthen it 2″ (one to make up for the bodice shortening, and another to get the length more at my knees.

I chose a cheap red jersey knit from my stash, fearing this would be a disaster, but… it was not a disaster!

Lady Skater dress in red

I swear I pressed this dress before I wore it.

Look! The shoulders are sitting where they’re supposed to! I do believe this is the first thing I’ve ever sewn that wasn’t falling annoyingly off my shoulders. I can’t believe it!

Now, about those pockets… I love the pockets in my Moneta dresses, and wanted pockets for my Lady Skaters, so I refreshed my memory on in-seam pockets with this Craftsy How to Sew a Simple Side Seam Pocket tutorial and their free pocket pattern. I sewed the top of the pockets 7″ from the top of the skirt. (I will raise them up to 6″ next time… they’re just a little low). Everything was going great with the pockets, except that I tried to sew them in using my serger, and quickly learned that no, you cannot do a stop – lift the presser foot – pivot – replace the presser foot move on a serger like you can on a sewing machine. The serger knife cuts the fabric in advance of the needles.

So there I was, with holes the size of my pinky finger at the corners of my first pocket. After staring dumbfoundedly at what I’d done for a few minutes, I switched back to the machine to try and sew up the holes (they’re a mess), and then Googled around to try to figure out how to sew the pockets on the serger. Well, it seems that you can’t, really. You finish the pockets on the serger first, then sew them into the dress with the sewing machine, then serge the dress side seams if so desired. Man. I really messed that up. So now, my dress has little holes in the side seams at the pockets. Good thing I’m not a perfectionist when it comes to my wardrobe!

The pockets added more bulk than I expected. I may in the future just add one pocket (I need someplace to put my cell phone!!).

This fabric has less stretch than my last Skater, and that makes it pretty clear that I do need a full bust adjustment. The pattern is drafted for a B cup, but in a very stretchy knit, a D cup can get away without doing one. But this knit isn’t so stretchy, and now my bust is doing all the stretchy. So I used the cheater-FBA approach described on the Lady Skater fitting and adjustments page (linked above) and will try it out next time. (It’s basically just adding a size to the underarm and tapering down, then adding the same amount to the front/left side of the sleeve).

I considered doing a swayback adjustment, but I’ve read that sometimes the illusion of a swayback is really caused by the need for a full bust adjustment, so I will wait and see if my FBA fixes the little bit of pooling I’m getting in the center back.

My dress construction is currently being tested in the washing machine, because I wore it out to lunch after shooting these photos and promptly spilled salad dressing on my chest. You can dress me up, but ya can’t take me out…

And that has been my Lady Skater adventure thus far!

I have a plaid knit sitting on my cutting table that I would love to turn into a Skater dress, but I have never matched plaids before, and I’ve procrastinated all day in terror… so we will see if my next make is a plaid, or if I chicken out and use the cute little flower fabric instead.



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