Summer Dressing

I’ve been rewatching all of Peggy’s video broadcasts. In case you didn’t know it, I’m really a fan. I know I let go of some snark sometimes. I had a hard time understanding Peggy’s process and it’s not easy for me to implement.  Sizing is still a big problem for me.  I don’t think I’m measuring my clothes accurately. I do get excited when get something right. Like when I found my sleeveless template and sleeveless armscye measurement.  I have to remember that I’m fitting patterns with Peggy’s instructions but they aren’t Peggy’s patterns. Even Peggy says she won’t drape someone else’s patterns. That’s because she doesn’t know what they’ve done and so she is guessing at to fix.  My experience with the 906’s supports her statement. Point is, I’m coming around to being a big supporter and eve trying her method where perhaps I shouldn’t.  Anyway the recent videos I’m watching have been showing how easy it is to take a one of Peggy’s  top patterns which you’ve fit and make it into a dress.  I don’t wear a lot of dresses. My uniform is pants (long or short), plus a top (blouse, knit top) and a wrap (something to add when I too cold). But when the summer temps start hitting 98, 99 and +,  I want a dress. A dress can cover everything up while still being cool. With an open neckline, the air circulates through the hem all the way up to the neck.  Choose a cotton or rayon and the air can circulate right though the fabric. Dresses are my goto for really hot weather.

I’ve come to accept that I will not be making garments with only shoulder and side seams. Not if I want them to look nicely on me. Even with that limitation,  I’ve got 3 top patterns I’m in love with, the Tabula Rasa Jacket/Blouse, the Tabula Rasa Tee and princess seamed  B6299.  I just used the B6299 for a summer blouse and think it would be perfect for a summer dress.  This is a variation I will use sparingly but often enough I prefer to have a pattern.  First I trace  my 4 piece variation  front, back, side front, side back. I make a rough guess and add  20″ length to each piece.  It’s a guess because while I like a Maxi dress, I’ve discovered they are a hazard to me on stairs. What I make is between maxi and midi.  I measure a dress in the closet to find the hem circumference. Measure my pattern hem and subtract the seam allowances.  I decide I need to about 2″ with 6 seams that’s about 1/4″ so I add that to each piece.  I take a long ruler and draw a line from the 1/4″ just added at the hem up to the hip. Do that once for front and back, twice on each side piece.

Then I start the process of pulling fabrics off the shelf; and putting them back up. I have several prints I bought thinking of summer dresses. The first ones I pull down are knits. I’m not entirely satisfied with my knit version of B6299 so I put all them away. Plus I wonder if ITY will be all that cool. I don’t think the air penetrates and ITY the way it does a woven cotton or rayon.  I pull down a couple of prints and actually get one ironed when I realized it is a stripe. I don’t want to mess with stripes. Or plaids. My patience has been worn down working with 906. I want easy. I’m willing to work on the length and hem circumference issues nothing more challenging.  I pull out a butterfly print on a woven rayon. Press and lay out pattern pieces. I’m short by about 12″. 2 yards of 56″ wide fabric is not enough for B6299 dress. I find a crepe de shine press and lay out the fabrics. Before cutting, I wonder about its temperature factor. Will it be as warm as an ITY?  It seems to me that crepe de shines are not all that breathable. This is an elderly fabric. I’m sure it would be better as a long sleeve, winter blouse. I put it away and go back to my butterfly print.  I’ll have to piece. Will the print disguise the piecing? Can I piece artistically?

I’ve made this pattern (b6299) numerous times; the 4 piece version the most often. It is an easy sew, just takes a little longer for the extended seams.   I stitch together with confidence from having made it so many times before. The one thing I was concerned with was sufficient walking room and that turns out to be totally unimportant. This pattern may in fact be just a little big on me.  Initially it looked rather like a large sack.  I cut the neckline a little lower and added 10″ of elastic across the back.

No quite so sack like, but I’m not sure the back was significantly improved. I did like the front and side views (above).  Did you notice the piecing at all?

I pieced the center back. I drew a diagonal line on the center back pattern piece

Laid out my fabric and pattern piece, then placed my ruler so it extended 1/4″ past the diagonal line

folded my pattern up and out-of-the-way

Before carefully trimming away

It’s sort of a repeat for the bottom half except placing the ruler on the other side of the line and folding the top part down and out-of-the-way. I end up with 2 pieces (4 total)

Where are serged together with 1/4″ seams. I didn’t make or have to keep extra pieces, yet I still have an easy pattern if I want to piece the back again. I can see doing that for a vent and using a contrasting fabric. Eyelet springs to mind. Can you imagine how beautiful this would have been if I had a cream colored eyelet on hand?

 

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