I’m working my way up to making a maxi dress from a IMO particularly beautiful knit. I’m anxious about getting it right. So I made a blouse first. Just to make this fun, I’m using a stripe, knit fabric I think from fabricmartfabrics. My fabric is probably 6 years old and has a flaw or two as well as a dirty center fold. I never trust the center fold to come clean; and there have been times the fold remained even though the fabric cleaned up nicely. Even repeated steaming may not remove the fold. If fact I avoid cutting anything on the fold as much as possible. If the pattern calls for ‘cutting on the fold’ I create a new fold on which to cut. Well, moving on, I think this is a cotton blend. Not sure if it has lycra or something else. It does have a 50% stretch- which was a bit worrying- and a curl that won’t quit.
I haven’t worked with stripes in a long time. I pulled out the fabric and tried to line up the stripes. About 15 minutes later, I wadded it up; set aside and pulled out tracing material. I don’t know why I even attempted to fold and align the stripes. Really, once I’ve done the tissue work, it is quick to layout and cut not only stripes, but large prints and plaid. I pulled out the top pieces of the 8-pattern piece version for B6299 and copied the back, side front and side backs. I attached the tracing material along the CF edge and cut a mirror copy.
I took a look at the skirt pieces (a front and back) and realized that since I was cutting the larges size, they didn’t need to be trimmed. Concerned with having enough ease I added a strip of tissue along the side seam and added 1.5″ just as I did for the bodice pieces way back when I started working with this pattern.
So the skirt is for a knee-length dress and I want a hip length blouse. I measured against the blouse skirt pieces (the other half of the 8-piece set for 6299); measured up from the hem of these skirt pieces 12.5″ and marked a line. Then I folded up along that line.
I rather doubt I will ever want to make a knee-length dress. I could. I do; rarely. I do want a maxi dress from this very same pattern. When I’m ready to cut the maxi, I will fold the skirt pieces out flat and add more length.
For now, pattern work done.
I laid out the pieces to cut the skirt with the stripe running vertically; the bodice with the stripe horizontally. As soon as I cut a pattern piece in fabric, I walked to the serger and serged all sides. The knit didn’t need finishing but the curl was beastly. To combat the curl, my construction procedure was cut a piece, attach to previously cut piece; serge finish any raw edges. Repeat until all together. I basted the side seams at 1/2″ and tried it on.
One of the beauties of a TNT, is that even when some pattern changes are needed, the whole process is very quick. I was ready for the first fitting in about 2 hours. I did not take pics of the first fitting. The pattern pieces I’m using were drafted for a woven fabric. Not surprisingly, the top looked too loose, especially at the underarm; and it was just a tiny bit too long. I took up the shoulder seams 1/4″ and increased the side seam allowances to 3/4″. Except at the underarm where they were deepened to 1.25″.
I’ve noticed that the smaller the stripes, the better my stripe matching becomes. However I can’t complain about these. I really did not expect to be able to match the princess seams perfectly. I’m most pleased that the stripes are level. I was afraid that they would be going up down around as they traveled across my curves.
I’m also please that I’ve avoided the ‘preggars’ (the appearance of a developing pregnancy that often occurs when wearing a empire style)
I had stitched the box pleat 2.5″ down from the empire. Later I tried the edge stitch the pleat to keep its crisp edge. I couldn’t stitch a straight line and didn’t want to go to the effort of WSS. I pulled out the stitched and pressed each pleat with max steam for close to a minute apiece. I’m hoping the creases are at least easy to find after my garment is laundered because that’s part of the ‘not preggars’ solution. The stitching and crisply pressed pleat help keep the skirt hugging my body instead of flaring. I suppose it helps that this not a light-weight knit. The heft of the knit helping to drag the skirt down instead of flaring. (I almost didn’t use this fabric thinking it would make a great winter top).
I’m looking forward to another pattern variation because I won’t want the 5″ back box pleat nor the three 4″, front, box pleats unless I’m making another maxi. I will want a 1 piece skirt back and 1 piece skirt front that fit smoothly with the upper bodice. Something that emulates CLD’s Ebb pattern. I think, though, I’m ready for the maxi dress in my dreams.