Tuesday, May 9, 2017
you can't choose who plays the fool
This was my first make of 2017, which was inspired by a need for a looser dress with a front opening. I hadn't quite seen a pattern that was exactly what I wanted so I was debating between making a Green Bee Pearl Shift (view B with buttons) or extending the placket and adding buttons to either a Wiksten Tova dress or a Liesl and Co Gallery dress.
However, I then saw a flannel Helmi dress by Randomly Happy and my plans changed. I'd seen the Helmi pattern on the Named Patterns site, but had disregarded it. I think this was a case of not being able to picture the pattern in a different fabric choice than the sample. The flannel Helmi, though, was right up my alley. As the pattern had all the features that I needed, I switched course and plunged in.
I'd been watching a lot of the Great British Sewing Bee so was really excited to try my darndest at pattern matching, to beautifully place the pattern on my lovely Nani Iro brushed cotton, and to use quality seam finishes. Unfortunately, I was also very sleep deprived and working with a deadline. So here's how those goals turned out:
1/ Pattern matching: I did a great job at matching most of the back waist seam.
The other seams: not so much. I recut the left front bodice in an attempt to get a better pattern match once I realized that I'd matched the front bodice pieces along the wrong line. It was indeed better the second time around but is now just off enough to be really noticeable. The long repeat on this fabric meant that I ended up using about 5 yards in my failed efforts to pattern match.
2/ Pattern placement: I repeatedly decided that I wanted to avoid having the largest floral cluster down the middle of the dress and... ended up cutting the front pieces with the largest floral cluster smack in the middle of the dress. I can only blame this on sleep deprivation.
3/ Quality seam finishes: I bias bound or Hong Kong finished all the seams which added dramatically to the time needed to make this dress.
It also meant that, when I realized that I had positioned added in-seam pockets way too low, the amount of unpicking required was insurmountable and I left them as-is. Who cares that I effectively have to stretch to get my hand in my pocket? Had I unpicked all that bias binding, I certainly would not have made deadline.
As it was I barely made deadline, and only did so because I wore it without having finished the top button (on the band collar) or some hand-sewing.
Nonetheless, I'm delighted with this dress. Maybe it was partially because it felt so good to carve out time to do something creative, but I also learned how to do a type of collar and overcame my nerves about button holes. (I had no time to be nervous about them and it turned out that they weren't that hard.)
Pattern: Helmi Tunic Dress by Named Patterns
Fabric: Nani Iro Brushed Cotton Little Letter from Red Beauty Textiles (now sold out)
Buttons: purchased at Stonemountain and Daughter Fabrics
Needles: Universal 80/12
Modifications: Added in-seam pockets (using tutorial from By Hand London); bias bound/ Hong Kong finished seams throughout (using this tutorial from JuJu Vail for the Hong Kong finishes).
Things I'll change next time: Higher pockets! And maybe a longer skirt. Use wider bias tape for shoulder seam allowances. Wash off button hole placement marks before using fray check.