I’m doubling up again in hopes of getting all my summer makes blogged before it gets too cold. It’s been flipping back and forth between chilly and blazing hot here, so I might be safe to keep talking about and wearing summer clothes a little longer!
In that spirit of continued summer, here’s the final dress from the seven-dress frenzy of June 2015. As I’ve been banging on about all summer, I dropped everything else in my life and made seven dresses in like two weeks prior to going to Kansas City to score essays for a week. I regret nothing. I’ve worn all of those dresses tons this summer, and they were a good investment of time.
This one is made of Cotton and Steel double gauze, and you can see right away below that I didn’t adequately prepare for the loose-woven nature of double gauze: I should have interfaced the waistband. I didn’t realize this until the whole dress was together, though, and I abhor seam-ripping serger stitching, so I just have a kind of sloppy dress. I’m going to just plan to interface all my Belladone waistbands from now on. Especially since the esteemed McCall’s 6696 asks you to interface the waistband, and those waistbands always come out looking sharp.
I’m still getting used to my camera settings, so sorry about the darkness. I’ll get it figured out someday! Using the regular settings was resulting in super blown-out photos, though, so darkness it is. They don’t look quite this dark on the camera screen, so I’m going to have to start bumping the f-stop down a few numbers past what looks good on the camera screen.
I never put a hook and eye in this dress, which is quite obvious in the photo below. I hate putting in hooks and eyes, so I often just don’t do it, but the dark color of this dress against my skin makes my laziness a bit too in-your-face. But look at that waistband matching! I used a contrast fabric for the waistband to give myself a little waist definition, which is always welcome in my household. It’s a coordinating double gauze that matches the little asterisks in the print. I really like the effect and I wish I could find coordinating solids like this more easily.
I also used the solid double gauze to make my own bias tape, which I hardly ever do, but I thought it would be senseless to use a soft and cozy fabric like double gauze and then use stiff pre-made bias tape on it. I also thought I’d be a genius and handstitch my bias binding down so the dress would have a clean finish from the outside. But I was too lazy and made my stitches too far apart, so what you see below is what my horrified eyes saw the first time this came out of the washer. I still haven’t fixed it even though I’ve worn the dress again – oops! It’s not causing major problems yet, but I clearly need to fix it before the double-gauze binding shreds and I need to replace it entirely. I’ll probably just machine stitch it this time to avoid having this problem again.
Next up is another Belladone (which, if you couldn’t already tell, is one of my pattern true loves alongside McCall’s 6696). But this time, it’s a knit! As I mentioned a few posts ago, I made a knit Belladone a couple years back but the fabric pilled and looked awful right away. I’d wanted to make another one ever since, and decided against making a Morris blazer with this fabric in favor of making my longed-for knit Belladone. I LOVE this dress, so I’m glad I went for it.
There is one issue, which you can see below in the way the stripes distort at the shoulder – the fabric in that area has some minor wrinkles. For one thing, I should have narrowed the shoulders more. The second thing is that I made my armhole binding slightly too short for this knit, which is very stable. I read somewhere that 85% of the opening is a good length for knit bindings, so that’s what I did. That worked out perfectly for the neckline, which is much more prone to gaping or standing away from the body, but it’s a bit too tight for the armholes. I’d kind of like to cut the shoulders in a little bit and redo the binding, but I’m also kind of lazy. Plus sweater season is almost here, so this will be covered most of the time anyway.
This is a really stable ponte, so I didn’t size down even though this is a knit. I thought I might have to take it in, but it turned out fine. This is definitely a secret pajamas dress, and it makes me want to make a thousand more. You’ll notice that I kept all the darts, even though this is a knit. This may seem reasonable for this dress because it’s made of a pretty stable ponte, but I’m actually planning on making all my knit tops with darts from now on. I get a much better fit, and I’ve noticed that a lot of knit RTW has darts or princess seams. I have a few knit dresses from Target and LOFT with darts and one with princess seams, and they look perfectly fine and fit well. I always wanted to avoid darts in knit garments because I thought they would look Becky Homecky, but an ill-fitting garment looks much worse than a well-fitting darted one, and if it’s good enough for Target and LOFT, it’s good enough for me.
As you can see below, my stripes got really wonky around the waistband and I’m not sure why. I cut the waistband pieces so they’d match, but something went awry. My skirt side seams are still fairly matched because I sacrificed waistband matching to get them to look right. I figured my arms would cover the side seam at the waist a lot of the time, but the skirt side seams will always be visible.
Back of striped dress is striped just like the front: truth in advertising. I accidentally made a cutting mistake right away, so I had to cut my back skirt pieces separately to conserve fabric even though they should have been cut on the fold because there’s no zipper in this dress. I think I did a pretty decent job of lining up the stripes. I can see where the seam is, but I think it’s hidden pretty well for those not in the know.
And here’s my lovely binding, which I painstakingly folded right on the stripe so it could be solid black. You can also see my rear skirt seam. Oh, and my coverstitching. I almost used the sewing machine instead of the coverstitch because this knit is so stable that it really wouldn’t matter. But I went for it because I paid money to own a coverstitch machine, so I should probably use it.
And there you have it: two Belladones. That brings my Belladone count up to six, I believe, but a couple of them are two years old and too small to wear. McCall’s 6696 is currently beating it at seven, but it’s close. I also have a Belladone frankenpattern that I finished a couple of weeks ago, so if we count it, I think my 6696 and Belladone counts might be neck and neck. Plus I’ve used the Belladone skirt on tons of dresses because it’s my perfect dress skirt: slightly a-line, darted in the back, and front pleats for extra belly room without adding bulk.
When I first started sewing, I never wanted to repeat patterns because I thought it would be dumb to have a closet full of the same clothes in different colors/prints. I’ve obviously changed my tune on that one, and it’s a good thing because if it weren’t for repeat patterns that don’t require several rounds of muslining, I wouldn’t have nearly as many clothes!