Adventures with muslins
Instead of sewing Vogue 8468 as planned, I got hold of McCall 5620 during a wonderful 99cent sale at Joanns. They're the same basic shape except the McCall pattern uses pleats instead of gathers. Besides, those pockets on the Vogue pattern aren't even functional. I swear, why bother faking it if it's not functional? I don't get these patterns sometimes. Aside from the point, I decided to make a muslin because the ease on this dress is insane. I'm taking like 18 inches of ease. I decided to make a wearable muslin out of some seersucker in my stash.
I went down south this weekend for a race and decided it would be a great opportunity for a fun photo shoot "on location." On the way back home, we decided to make our way up Highway 1. The weather was most uncooperative as it was mostly overcast and cold. We were running out of beach and coast fast but luck was partially on our side as the sun was blazing in Santa Cruz. Unfortunately, the wind was in full force as well. So it made for nicely styled photos with proper drape and detail absolutely impossible.
Yes, please plaster the dress all up on my body.
Yes, the wind was most uncooperative. I kept telling B to wait til the wind stopped blowing to take a shot. But the wind never seemed to stop blowing. So after a while, I decided to screw around. It made for a fun time though, channeling being an airplane and all.
But at the end of the day, all you will get are stand still like a manequin shots on the dress form.
Pattern: McCall 5620
Fabric: Some Synthetic Seersucker (true content unknown -- more detail on this in the notes)
Notes: The cut of this dress was inspired by Christina's fabulous Patrones shift dress. I decided to experiment and cut the front and back on the bias to make a chevron effect.
Generally speaking, I'm not super happy with this dress for many reasons. But in considering that it's a muslin, it is what it is. So here goes my laundry list of unhappy thoughts, many of which I have learned from and hope to remember in the future.
This was in no a small way 'cause of your goodwill and energetic support on my behalf.
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- Get to know your fabric well before pattern placement and cutting: While I was able to get my chevrons to line up on both the front and the back. I neglected to see that the seersucker stripe pattern consisted more than just one light stripe sequence and one dark sequence. There are actually two different dark stripe sequences offset by one light stripe sequence. Fortunately it lined up perfectly on one side, which happened to be the back.
Hi, we're fraternal chevrons.
- Take notes while fabric shopping and label all your fabric: This was my second time working with seersucker and I assumed that it was the same as the cotton seersucker I used to make B's shirt last summer. Yes, don't ever assume. As I was pressing the garment during construction, I noticed the seam edges doing funny things, like shrink and distort. Hello yaiAnn, we're not made from cotton. Down went the temperature setting on the iron. It's a good thing I realized this early in the sewing process. I should have listened to myself earlier, however, when I noticed that the fabric started puckering more in places as I was pressing the fabric before cutting.
- Bias is fun. Bias is frustrating: Cutting the dress on the bias made such a cute effect on the finished product. However, it made it so much harder to handle because I didn't want to distort or stretch the fabric. What should have ended up as a dress with a very smooth silhouette, turned out to be very balloony, not to mention, it didn't make hemming very fun either.
Puff in the front and puff in the back tapers down to the hem.
Don't look at me, I suck!
- Lining and underlining can be your friend: I think the balloon issue could have been solved by either lining or underlining. The seersucker is pretty light and sheer and I was just really eager to sew to be bothered to find fabric for lining or underlining. Cidell is currently working on a seersucker vest and is underlining it instead of interfacing it to give it the structure that it needs. This dress definitely needs a tad of structure. I'm opposed to garments with drape or that are "loosey goosey," but balloon action is not what I'm looking for here. But structure aside, there's no way I should be leaving the house without a slip on underneath this dress (FYI, I had shorts on underneath -- hence the odd lines).
So despite my problems, the dress is done and is wearable. And at the end of the day, my muslin question has been answered. The dress fits and no modifications are necessary. But the one burning question I have is, will this dress, once made from the actual fashion fabric, look maternity? You've all seen this swatch.
This fabric is a polyester/lycra blend with a lot more weight that the seersucker so it definitely won't poof out. The black border on the bottom of that photo is column that runs down the length of the fabric with a coordinating motif that runs along one of the selvedges. I plan on having that black column run down the center front of the dress with the black border as the hem all the way around. (I'm sorry I don't have a photo of the entire pattern repeat of the fabric to show). Should I move ahead and cut into this or save myself the trouble?