I have fifty million things I’m supposed to be doing (like, um, sewing a wedding dress!). So what did I do when my husband and kids left me behind while they went to the lake for the weekend?
Why, I made something that was barely on the queue!
Butterick 6890 is cute and has been marinating for a while, but there are plenty of patterns ahead of it in the queue. But when I found myself with a house to myself and the itch to sew something selfish, I did something a bit unusual—I started from the fabric.
My typical MO is to move from pattern to fabric to project. This is mostly because I have my patterns catalogued electronically and it’s easy to paw through them and pick one, whereas I’ve been far more lax about my fabric. The problem with this approach, of course, is that it’s not an optimal way to use up stash fabric, and tends to result in me just buying more fabric for the new project. Anyway, this wasn’t an option on a precious solo Saturday night.
I had a lot of constraining criteria. I wanted a pattern that was pre-cut, one I could use with minimal alterations, and not have to trace. It had to be a pattern I could ACTUALLY find in the flesh. Once I pulled out this piece of glorious polkadot stretch denim, which I picked up just after Christmas and thoughtfully pre-washed at some point (thank you, past Tanit!,) I had only just over a metre of my chosen fabric, so it had to be a SMALL pattern.
Butterick 6890 fit the bill in a lot of ways. It was short. It was pre-cut. It’s a Junior Teen size which means I didn’t have to petite the bodice. It was a size 11/12, which has a 32″ bust—a bit small for me, but I was pretty sure the stretch would more than make up for that. I did a small square-shoulders adjustment, and a somewhat bigger swayback adjustment, and got cutting. It became obvious almost immediately that while I can sew up a Junior Petite pattern almost without alterations to the bodice, the Junior Teen size-range is pushing it a bit more. I wound up sewing the shoulder-seams and underbust seam with 1/4″ seam allowances to get as much height as I possibly could. It worked, but barely. I am also, ah, rather bustier than the Junior Teen draft. While this is a nice problem to have for once, I had to add some hasty tucks under the bust (perhaps making proper darts would’ve been better, but I was in a hurry), and correspondingly narrow the front skirt. I also added some more shaping to the back seam, which helped a lot. Oh, and the stretch meant I could leave off the zipper, too!
I still didn’t have enough fabric for the sleeves or facings, and the bodice back includes a good chunk of the selvedge. I considered alternative fabrics for the sleeves, but the only colour I liked enough with the grey, a pale pink, I had barely enough to make the sash ties out of. I really, really wanted to do a piped finish on the neckline and arms anyway. I was SO relieved when a scour of my notions stash turned up the bias tape left over from my Last Sundress of last year (which is totally my fave thing to wear when it’s super hot*, and also the perfect dress to wear to the outdoor pool. ) It was the perfect greyish-pink shade, and even not too different from my sash fabric!
I made one major booboo early on—when trying on the bodice I didn’t stabilize the neckline first—oops! So it’s a bit stretched out and tends to gape if I don’t stand perfectly straight, especially after the disaster that was my first attempt at finishing the edge (which involved attempting to bind it with straight-grain fabric pieces from the scraps from the sash.) But once I found the bias tape and did a REAL piped edge, it worked really well. To get a clean (if not couture) finish, I serged the raw edges of neckline + piping, pressed them to thei nside, and topstitched. Voila!
A topstitched hem would probably have been appropriate for denim, but, well, I was in love with the way the pink bias tape worked with the grey. And I’m kinda in love with bias-faced hems… anyway. this is what my finished hem looks like, with a fun peep of pink on the inside.
I don’t think I can describe how much happier and more relaxed I feel, having accomplished a wee bit of selfish sewing. And I’m so glad I got this finished, even if I did stay up rather past my bedtime to get it done.
*Super hot by Canadian standards. Which is low 30s C, so far this year. I know this falls short of truly brutal tropical heat. It’s scrumptious.