Saturday, September 29, 2018

Taking Flight

I may have a slight addiction to Birch Organic fabrics. This time it's "Flight" in the colorway Peachy. It's close to coral (on the "orange side")  

This project was a bit terrifying for a while. I used McCalls 7350, and I made a few changes even before I sewed the pattern up -- I wanted a high-low hem in the front instead of a wrap, so I folded the pattern piece on the "center front" mark and placed it on the fold. I also reduced the size of the waistband and opted not to ruche it; my fabric was thick enough that I thought this would be frumpy rather than flattering. And I'm pretty sure I reduced the amount of gathering in the back skirt, but I can't quite remember!

Construction was not difficult, though the rather unusual bodice construction required a bit of extra attention. The real tragedy was when I had it all together and tried it on. Perhaps my cotton jersey was just too much for it, but I think even in a thinner knit it would be too much. Even cutting it out a size smaller than my measurements (which I've found I always need to do with "Big 4" patterns made for knits), there was just so much fabric. I ought to have known by the hefty fabric requirements and the size of the pieces. Reluctantly, I began disassembling it and trying to figure out how to save it -- I didn't have enough fabric to remake the bodice entirely.

Hack off the unique yoke assembly, a seam pinched in here, a neckline binding added there, and pretty soon I had a "new" dress. Even then, I ended up taking the back apart a bit after I'd worn it one time so that I could reduce the length of the back bodice. The dress was dragging on the floor, anyway! 

In the end, I'm quite happy with this dress! I'd been wanting a maxi dress for a while, and this fit the bill. It's also maternity and nursing friendly, so it will be versatile. It's still quite "ample," but I think it's more flattering than it was, and it's certainly comfortable.

For this project, I also stitched up a quick "demi cami" -- it's a tank top that cuts off at the midriff, and it's the perfect accessory for low-cut v-necks. Together they make a great nursing-friendly combo (v-neck goes down, cami comes up), and they're less bulky than a full tank top even when I'm not nursing. In the past, I've just cut the bottoms off of existing tank tops, but I traced a tank to make this one:

Nothing fancy, as you can see! The neck and armhole hems are turned down once and the bottom is not even hemmed (knit doesn't ravel!). The center front neckline is really all that will ever be seen, anyway. I've discovered that I like homemade demi-camis better than modified tanks, because to get the neckline to a level I consider modest, I usually have the tank armholes riding up too high under my arms. Not particularly comfortable! And now that I have a "pattern" that works and goes together easily, I'll probably make more of my own in the future.

By the way, to see pictures of how this pattern actually looks, check out Becky's version on her blog. She managed to pull it off beautifully in a fabric better suited to the pattern. I made mine just days before she posted hers (I'm a bit late putting it on my blog!), and I was nodding along as I read every frustration she mentioned. Honestly, I'd stay away from this pattern unless you're willing to put in some serious fitting work.

But all's well that ends well! Another dress for the wardrobe (which is more and more "me-made" these days), and a successful "rescue" to boost sewing confidence and motivation. At the end of the day, I can't ask for more than that.


  1. Thanks for the shoutout! Your dress turned out lovely, so the changes you made worked out well. I actually wish mine had more of the high low like the sketch on the pattern envelope had, but it didn't quite come through. And not ruching the middle was probably a good call. My fabric was pretty light, but I can see how that would be bulky and irritating in a thicker cotton jersey.

    1. Becky,

      I was just so impressed you actually made the pattern work! :-) Thanks for the encouragement -- it means a lot coming from someone who made it through the same frustrations! I'm still critical of certain things with my dress -- but then I think, I'd definitely buy it off the rack if I found it in a shop. So I guess that's a win!



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