I love a good striped fabric, and this narrow navy and white knit with tiny silvery mylar strands woven into it has been waiting in my stash for three years. I originally purchased it with View E of McCall's 6559 in mind, but then I saw McCall's 7121 and, in the words of Barney Stinson, "newer is always better!" It seemed like a good way to make a maxi dress that would make the most of the stripes, while using less fussy cutting than my original idea. Besides, I like the idea of making a Harley Quinn sundress at some point...
|It's a little looser at the waist than I'm used to for this kind of dress, and that neckline is weird, but I don't care enough to troubleshoot it.|
|There's a teeny bit of swayback going on that I should probably fix in my next version.|
I constructed the dress almost entirely using my serger, with the exception of the hem and the neck and armholes, where the instructions simply said to fold over and stitch. This worked okay, but still slightly sloppy, on the neckline...but looked just pathetically Becky Home-Ecky on the armholes. Maybe it's that my jersey had less stretch to it than necessary for that finish, but I'm inclined to say that anytime you're asked to fold over a smaller circumference and then stitch to a larger circumference, you're going to end up with some amount of weird pulling and messy stitching. I'm kind of sad that I "wasted" this fabric on a dress I don't absolutely love, but I've still got enough fabric left for one of my dolman sleeve tops, and I know I love those.
|Hyeeernghhh that armhole stitching. Ugh. And the mess at the V-neck.|
|Quick, distract them with chevrons! Okay, never mind, even those aren't perfect.|
|At least my knit hems have come a long way, though! Ever since StephC posted about hemming knits with fusible webbing to stabilize them, I've used that method to avoid wavy bumpy bunchy hems like the one on the left.|
Pattern: McCall's 7121
Fabric: Mystery blend (suspected rayon/poly, with some silvery mylar strands in there) jersey knit from Michael Levine Loft, at least three years old. Because of how dense the stripes are, they play all sorts of tricks with the camera (and the naked eye...enough that when I was cutting out the pattern pieces, Mr. Cation said that the fabric hurt his eyes).
Notions: Steam-A-Seam for the hem
Hours: 3...the part that took the longest was cutting (no handy stripe guide like the Tiramisu pattern) and the neckline/armhole. I hate that the instructions just have you fold it over to hem, which doesn't work for the curves of the armholes, and it looks unprofessional.
Total cost: $2
Will you make it again? It's a good pattern for showing off stripes, but I won't make it again unless I have a fabric with bigger stripes. It's just too much trouble trying to line up these tiny 1/8" stripes! I'm also keen on giving that Harley Quinn dress on the pattern envelope a try!
Final thoughts: I was excited about this pattern when I got it, but went through a period of frustration and I'm-sure-this-is-going-to-be-terrible when I was trying to put it together. I should really stop following the directions on a pattern when I know I'm not going to like the finished look! I should've just done my regular binding, but it had been so long since I did this kind of finish that I thought I'd give it a try because yes, it is faster, and maybe I was exaggerating in my head how awful it was? No, no I wasn't. Although the finished dress is fine and I'll certainly wear it, I'll feel more comfortable with a cardigan on to hide the awful armhole stitching! Still, it's a nice enough overall effect.
Speaking of the cardigan, it's the one that comes with McCall's 7135, a Khaliah Ali jumpsuit pattern (and the original reason why I bought it). It's the first time I've ever sewn a shawl collar, and it was a lot easier than I expected, although invisibly hand-stitching down the collar seams like more work than warranted for an "easy" knit pattern. The cardigan definitely runs big in the arm and armscye, but since it's a very basic navy blue, I'm sure I'll wear it a lot anyway.
|You can see here how thin this fabric is, as the stripes of the dress are faintly visible.|
Pattern: McCall's 7135
Fabric: Rayon tissue knit, leftover from this dress
Hours: 1.5, with most of the time spent trying to fiddle the slippery fabric into place at the collar while stitching it down
Total cost: $1
Will you make it again? I'd like to try it again with a modified sleeve and a thicker, more stable knit...maybe a sweater knit?
Final thoughts: A cardigan in a tissue knit seems silly, but it works perfectly for school, where my lab classroom doesn't have functional air conditioning but my lecture classroom does, so I can layer and transition appropriately. I just wish the sleeves were tight enough to roll up, since having SHB = always having to roll up my sleeves to deal with messes.
|I'm pretty sure I could fit two of my spindly arms into the sleeve, it's so Saggy Baggy Elephant!|
Mediocre projects like these make me feel a little off my game with sewing. Maybe it's that I took such a long break from it because of SHB, or that mommy brain means I'm not as sharp as I was, but I really feel like I need a project that I can sink my teeth into. Only problem is, I'm usually too mentally tired to think about anything that difficult or long-term, so then I just spend my sewing time on silly little knit projects that turn out serviceable but not at all exciting (okay, the cat sweatshirt was exciting, but not technically difficult at all!). In some ways, it's not dissimilar to those articles about people living in poverty experiencing decision fatigue, but way less serious, of course.
Does anyone else ever go through this? i.e. real life (in my case, still adjusting to being a mother while working, which I know millions of people do all the time, so maybe I'm just a wuss who can't get it together) is so tiring that they just do second-rate things that aren't what they really want to be doing with their little spare time? How do you deal with it? Other working moms, how do you find time to have a life? Where do you get the mental reserves to sew Chanel jackets and tailor blazers and fit historical gowns and research new costumes? Actually no, scratch that last one -- I am so good at research -- because it's taking the research and actually putting it to use that's the difficult part for me!
|From (the sadly long dead) Fyeah Seamstress Tiger tumblr.|