Striped French Dress
Added Nov 15, 2010
San Francisco Ba...
Check it out at: MadeByMeg
There are usually two ways that I go about designing a garment. One is that I’ll find a pattern that I absolutely love and get to work. Unfortunately, I am completely incapable of following a pattern and immediately start in on my own alterations—either making it fit better or shaping something to be a little more my style. This, of course, brings me to my second way of designing a garment: think up something that I want to make, inspired by an outfit I saw or a fabric I have bought (I have this bad habit lately of buying fabric just because) and then try to figure out how the hell I’m going to make it. At this point I’m not knowledgeable enough about pattern-making or draping to completely craft my own designs (although Lord knows I’ve tried), so the best, surest way to get the garment I want is to combine various pattern pieces in a sort of Frankenstein fashion. And this is exactly what I did with my casual striped dress.
For the general shape, I used my trusty McCall’s tunic pattern, which I normally lengthen in to a dress (as I did here, 36"). I knew I wanted sleeves, probably 3/4 ones, so I borrowed the pattern piece from my Burda jacket pattern. To give them a little something extra, I used the sleeve caps and armholes from my Colette macaron dress, which puff slightly at the shoulders. With a few nips and tucks along the way, the resulting creation turned out quite lovely—and exactly what I wanted.
This was also my first chance to use my new Serger. Because I was a little hesitant to start cutting and sewing with it right away, I basted my seams with my regular machine and took them in until they were how I wanted them. Up until this point, my main experience with a Serger was on my mom’s machine with the Summer Dress. And while I absolutely love that creation, at some point during the whole sewing process I was about ready to throw it all away. Between the light blue Serger thread I was using and the way I couldn’t get the tension right to hold two pieces of fabric together, I had about had it. Luckily that piece (unlike this one) is fully lined, and once it came together all my Serger flaws were hidden. This time around I took 20 min beforehand to get the tension just right, which basically involved me turning a tension knob a little, sewing a line, lather, rinse, repeat. You can see the pile of stitches in the picture.
After I sewed (and serged) the dress together at the side and top seams, I basted the arms, gathering slightly around the shoulder and then serged it in place. I then readjusted my tension (the second time around took a little less effort) and serged the neckline, hem and arm openings. Then I hemmed each opening at 5/8". The whole project can be completed in a day.
For more seam techniques (for regular machines), check out my new techniques section. The skillz all come from my sewing class, which I’m taking with my mom at Stone Mountain and Daughter.