Sometimes your relationship with a sewing project is simple and easy:
Great idea! — Smooth execution! — Lovely result!
And sometimes it gets a little more complicated:
Possibly great idea + risk + worry — Massive fustercluck! — Kinda love, kinda not
This is the latter kind of project.
I loved the idea of a Greenstyle Laurel dress in some sort of weighty knit; I mean, a dress like that with leggings underneath is maximum cozy for fall, right? But I haven’t sewn much with knits and don’t feel super-confident about doing so. Plus I haven’t made a Greenstyle pattern before, so I don’t how they fit, and reviews online are not very enlightening on that issue.
So I decided to make a muslin using this tee shirt knit that my mother gave me. The whole “huge florid swirly cabbage rose print” thing is so very much my mother and so very much NOT me, but it’s a nice quality knit and I thought I might get some wear out of it.
First big problem: not enough fabric. The pattern is vague on this, but says you may need up to 3 yards depending on what options you choose. I had 2 1/2, but probably needed 3 1/2. After MUCH angst, I decided to be cautious and cut a 2XL, even though my measurements would suggest an XL (and I chose the long torso option). I also added 3″ to the length of the skirt, a pretty unusual circumstance for stubby little me. Is that why I was so short on fabric? I don’t know, but I didn’t have enough to cut the front OR back bodice on the fold, I didn’t have enough for the full cowl, and I had to cut the sleeves crosswise. And then I discovered that the fabric has such a huge repeat–and I had so little left of it–that pattern matching of the bodice was not anywhere near possible. OH JOY.
There were several points at which the only thing that kept me working on this project was the thought this was a muslin, and this was the first of those points.
So I took a few days’ break from the dress, then came back and started sewing, using the sewing order from the CSC review of the pattern (LOVE inserting sleeves before sewing side seams!) I hadn’t realized I was out of ballpoint needles, though, so I had all kinds of problems with skipped stitches, broken thread, thread nests, you name it. Of course I should have stopped right there and gone out and bought a ballpoint needle, and of course I did not. Sigh.
But I finally got it all together and tried it on.
SO. MUCH. WIN.
I thought I was going to have to hem this by hand, but I finally got lucky–it felt way overdue!–and found a “reinforced straight stitch” option on my sewing machine that actually worked on the knit without any drama.
Then, just because I like the contrast of leggings with lace, I slip stitched some lace to the hem.
I wound up using this mauve-y thread because my sewing machine decided it hated my black thread.
And then, because I wanted to do SOMETHING to that front bodice seam to make it look more intentional and less half-assed, I added some buttons.
Boy, they’re hard to see here, but all three are on there.
So, final verdict on the dress: feels SO SUPER LOVELY OMG WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL MY LIFE to wear, but oy those cabbage roses. I do have an off-white fleece cardigan I can wear over it to cover some of them up, though, so that may help. I have some days when I haven’t slept well and every joint aches, and all I want is to be comfortable and not have to think–this is the dress for those days. Sizing is right on, though I might raise the neckline just a bit next time and make the pockets out of lining fabric to reduce bulk.
I’m also thinking about a good-sized piece of purple knit fabric that I saw at SCRAP last week, and about how I need to make another one of these dresses immediately.
I am feeling so very ready for fall.
ETA: Forgot to mention in the post, but this is my entry for Fabulous Fall week at the Sew Long Summer Sew-Along.