Tag Archives: Summer Essentials Sewalong

California dreaming…

New tunic!

… on such a winter’s day…

Ok, not really winter. It was raining (again), which in these parts denotes NOT winter about as strongly as anything. Yay, liquid water!

But definitely not as summery as I’d like.

Still, I continue to sew hopefully, so today I plugged away with my gauze 70s tunic, trying not to mutter about how much I prefer nice, heavy coating fabrics. Cotton gauze and voile don’t rate too high on the scale of difficult fabrics, but you have to be so careful about the finishing, especially in white. Things I usually ignore, like how evenly I grade my seam allowances or whether my tail threads are getting eaten by the feed-dogs, stick out like a sore thumb.

McCall's 3838

Now, I was aiming for view C, the left-most on the pattern envelope. Since it was a sleeveless (essentially), un-fitted pattern (and I don’t know how McCall’s patterns fit me yet anyway), I omitted my usual swayback and petiting alterations. Instead, I opted for a square shoulder alteration, which I’ve been pondering on my last few tops.

Front view

And I’m quite happy with the results, although I should probably have lowered the neckline the same 1.5 cm I lowered the centre edge of the shoulders. I did that for the back neckline, but didn’t think to do it for the front. If I make this view again (which isn’t certain, as there’s lots of options) I’ll lower the whole neckline at least an inch, anyway.

After some consultation with mommy dearest, I did some seam-finishing experimentation and settled on the lazy stitcher’s French seams, which is where you serge the edge on your first pass, then press and encase the serged edge within the French seam for the second pass. Basically it adds the serger thread, but saves you the trimming stage. I pretty much blow at trimming seams evenly, so this let me get a much narrower French seam than otherwise, so despite the extra thread I end up with less bulk. Although my serger, despite being serviced just at Christmas, has tension issues when dealing with light-weight fabrics; there doesn’t seem to be any middle ground between ultra-loose and loopy and too-tight-and-ruffling. I’ve discovered that if I leave extra-long tails I can usually work the thread in so the thing lies evenly afterwards, but it’s a bit of a pain nonetheless.

Back view

Yes, it’s time for a new serger. One with all the bells and whistles.

Anyway.

I was really, really scared of the sweetheart neckline. Mostly because I felt the fabrics were too light to interface or reinforce, other than stay-stitching. So I stay-stitched, and handled as little (and as carefully) as I could. It did wind out a smidge stretched out, but… decent. And mostly symmetrical, my other fear. Although I used the lining as my facing for the neckline, for the armscyes I bound with bias-tape made out of the voile, and pressed to the inside. I used my machine’s lone decorative topstitch (OK, the only one I like) to topstitch around the neck and the armscyes. Patty is making me very jealous with her decorative topstitching.

Aside from the shoulder alteration, the only other change I made was to add 13 cm (aka 5 inches, but I’m trying to be a good metric girl these days. The search for a metric gridded ruler continues, and I am consciously teaching my kids to sew in metric.), to the hem, bringing it from a blouse length to a tunic length. Somehow when I was thinking about this pattern, the outfit I conceived of was this tunic-almost-dress worn over cutoffs you almost can’t see are there. Voila. Although maybe for the full illusion I should’ve made the top a couple of inches longer still.

Side view

I’m quite satisfied with the fit—none of that bunching up behind my neck that I often get, so I presume the square-shoulder thing did its work. Other than that there’s not much to fit or not fit ;). Side-bust darts might improve the shape a bit, but aren’t actually necessary.

View C has a self-sash stitched in place at the centre front, and I even cut one out, but then I couldn’t resist trying it with my Japonesque fabric sash, and I love it, so I’m going to leave it changeable for now. We’ll see how it stays in place when I ever get a chance to actually wear it.

But all in all, super happy fun!

There’s a bit of the inevitable pregnant pouf that is going to accompany pretty much any take on this style, but this is a look I’m resigned to, as it’s pretty much my natural figure anyway.

This is “officially” my second piece for the Summer Essentials Sewalong. Now, excuse me while I go fantasize about hot, hot sun…*

*I think I should apologize about the amount I whine about the weather. I’m not sure if it’s human nature or a Canadian specialty, or just that I’m a wimp (I am a major weather wimp, especially about the cold). The weather we are getting right now is a kajillion times better than what I was complaining about in, say, March. So really I should STFU.

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Summer Essentials Sewalong—The Sundress

Those Summer Essentials

My bro and his GF are here, so computer time is at a minimum and sewing time is nonexistent, but here’s a quick attempt to post something.

I’ve been trying to collect my thoughts for a post about Ali’s Summer Essential Sewalong challenge, which I watched interestedly last year and have decided to actually participate in this time ’round. But I’m afraid I’ve felt a bit boggled, unable to really wrap my mind around the range of suggestions. So I’m going to cheat and tackle them one class (she helpfully divided the summer possibilities into six) at a time. And I’m going to start in the middle, because, well, I feel like it.

Ali wrote:

The Sundress: Need I say more? To me, the perfect sun dress strikes that chord between casual and elegant—arms and collarbones, looking good barefoot or high-heeled. It’s something you can wear to both a barbecue and a summer wedding.

Ok, so I’ve already made one contribution to this category, the Grecian Goddess dress. But I’ve got at least two more possibilities on the brain-pan, so hear me out.

A dress I don't need.

McCall’s 3415, of course, is still on the menu. I’ll get to it one of these days, probably when the temperature creeps above 20C for more than a day at a time.

Dotty Sundress

Then there’s that red polkadot voile from the thrift store that’s taunting me. I think it needs to be a retro, full-skirted, spaghetti-strapped sundress. I’m thinking along the lines of Katjusha, with the back of the bodice shirred for ease of fit and wearing, but the bodice would need to be modified, so the waist is slightly dropped. I’m generally wary of dirndl skirts, but if the waist is dropped it should be ok.

I just can’t be bothered with doing all the links for MMJ posts right now, but I’ve still been managing daily photos in the Flickr group, so check them out there if you like. (For today, I did my contribution to the “ugly background” challenge, with a photo of my once-and-future sewing room. It doesn’t look quite as disastrous in the photo as it does in real life, for some reason.) Maybe I’ll do a week-retrospective when my company moves on after the weekend.

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