As I mentioned in my last post, I made seven dresses in like two weeks. Today I’m going to talk about the second dress, or what is chronologically the first dress I completed. This one is my second version of McCall’s 6696. When I made my wearable muslin, I knew I wanted to make two more versions of this dress; one is the one below, out of Art Gallery voile, and the second is a recently completed version with sleeves made from Cotton and Steel tiger print canvas (you can sort of see it behind me in the photos below). I began this dress in late April at a Chicago-area sewing event, but then I didn’t get to work on it again for a while because I was busy sewing nine gazillion things for my niece.
I’ve gained some weight since my wearable muslin, so I very unscientifically added some extra fabric to all the seam allowances below the bust (my bust size has remained the same). The dress turned out a bit too big, but I decided I actually liked it that way. It was very breezy and perfect for summer weather. The first day I wore it I had several revelations: 1. dresses that are slightly too big are pretty comfy, so maybe I should cool it on the fitting quests; 2. Art Gallery voile is amazingly soft and cool in the heat; 3. allover printed voile on a dark base is the perfect summer fabric because it makes it possible to not need a lining or slip with this very lightweight fabric. I took action on these revelations by buying a pile of allover printed voiles on dark bases and proceeding to sew them up into breezy summer dresses (see: seven dresses in a few weeks). Unfortunately the universe has not shared in my awe at these revelations and has not sent me much summery weather in which to enjoy my new breezy dresses. I’ve been wearing cardigans with them most days.
This particular voile is from Katarina Roccella’s Indelible line, and the color is Floret Stains in Mulberry. I love it so much! I seem to have a lot of fabrics in my stash in prints that I only sort of like, so I’ve been sewing up new prints almost immediately after I get them. I’ve been trying to buy with a plan in mind rather than stashing in mind, which I guess is what I was doing for a while after I began sewing. I have a few silks that I’m not sure I’ll ever sew up, so perhaps I should try to get rid of them somehow. I wish my stash was smaller, but since I can’t seem to stop buying fabric, I’m at least trying to sew up more of it when I get it.
I tried a new technique on the collar, and it turned out to be a fail. I usually use the ubiquitous method from Four Square Walls, but I read about a different collar method from Beth at Sunny Gal Studio that is supposed to solve the problem of the bulky seam allowance at the bottom of the collar stand. I hate dealing with that seam allowance, so this seemed like a good method to try, but something about it just didn’t work with my brain. I couldn’t get the curve of the collar stand or the part of the button band that meets the collar stand to look good no matter what I did. What you see below is the best I could muster, so I’ve gone back to Andrea’s trusty method. I don’t know why my topstitching doesn’t meet up in the photo below; I was probably fatigued and just gave up, but I should probably go back and fix that.
My buttons are vintage glass from Soutache in Chicago, which has quickly become my favorite place for buttons after my first visit this past spring. The buttons are more expensive than those at Joann’s, but they’re so worth it for the beauty and selection. I love these buttons, which pick up on the coral flowers in the print.
As you can see in the photo below, I remembered the pockets on this version of the dress! I forgot them on the wearable muslin and I vowed to remember them for future versions. I never used to like pockets because they add bulk in a place where I’d prefer not to have it, but I’ve become a fan because they are a great place to put your hands when you’re feeling awkward, which is 90% of the time for me. I don’t like to carry things in dress pockets because they tend to distort the way dresses hang, but it does come in handy to have a pocket to throw something into when you need your hands free. Last weekend we had a picnic for the fourth of July and it was great to have a place to put my phone and keys while I ran in and out of our apartment carrying food and everything else we needed.
You can see some pulling above the bust and I’ve tried to fix that in later versions but I’m not sure I succeeded. I think it’s caused by excess fabric above the bust due to me not doing an FBA. For subsequent versions I muslined a new bodice using a smaller size and doing an FBA, and it turned out much worse, which is generally what happens when I do FBAs. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong, but FBAs seem to hate me. I know I said I’d cool it on the fitting quests, but I would like to take care of that issue, so I’ll keep trying!