A finished object of a different kind

Last year I bought some fabric and a pattern with the idea of making a dress. I don’t know why, since although I used to make some of my clothes when I was in Jr. High and High School, I never enjoyed it. It was probably Sil’s fault, since I kept seeing such cute things on her blog.

I was hoping to make something similar to a store-bought dress I really like. I found a similar pattern, but then had a terrible time finding some fabric for it. Here in the city of salt, we have lots of fabric stores for quilt fabrics and craft fabrics, but there’s not much choice for nice clothing fabric any more. I finally bought some fabric at Jo-Ann’s that seemed like it would work.

But I couldn’t motivate myself to start, so I just left it on the table by my sewing machine.

And there it sat. And sat. And sat.

I even got a new sewing machine, since my old one was so crummy. But the poor new sewing machine just sat there too.

Finally, with the hubby being gone for a week, I decided it was time to give it a try.

New Look Dress 6643

It’s a pretty simple pattern, but sewing it gave me terrible fits. The fabric wrinkled badly at some of the seams, especially the lower few inches of the side seams and the princess darts in the back. I would have suspected a tension problem, especially since it’s a new machine. But some of the seams are perfectly fine, and I had tested the stitching and tension on some scraps of the material before starting – and those were OK. It’s a fairly thick fabric, so perhaps it’s the needle or thread I used, or just my lack of expertise.

I don’t know what the fabric is, since I’m totally uneducated in that area. I’m pretty sure it’s 100% polyester, woven (and frays easily), and on the heavy side. It kind of reminds me of the heavy tights I wore for exercising in the ’80s – or bike shorts, except that there’s no stretch.

Pressing the seams out afterward helped a little, but there are still a lot of puckers. And I won’t tell you how many times I seamed part of the back to the front when I was trying to sew on the pockets (not part of the pattern, and I was sewing them on after I was all done with the dress). Let’s just say that the seam ripper got a good workout.

In the end, it turned out OK, I guess. The fabric design helps disguise the wrinkly seams. I didn’t expect the top to be so tank-top-like – I thought the neckline would be higher based on the pattern drawing. I took in the shoulder seams a little, but I didn’t want to make the armholes too small. If I made it again, I’d definitely raise the neckline (or more likely, make view A of the pattern instead). But it’s OK for casual wear. I did wear it to the office, but put a white cardigan over it.

The pattern I used is New Look #6643, view C. I modified it by eliminating the front waist darts so it would be looser in the front across the midsection, shortening it about 1 1/2 inches, and adding patch pockets. I also was able to skip putting a zipper in the back, since I can pull it over my head – but I’m sure that’s only because I didn’t put in the front waist darts.

New Look Dress 6643

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8 Responses to A finished object of a different kind

  1. Chris says:

    It’s really, really cute – and flattering! I haven’t sewn since junior high, either. I think if I took it up again, all I would make would be lounging/pajama pants. 🙂

  2. Anna says:

    I love it!! You really have done a great job!! Fabulous fabric!! Fabulous dress!! Very talented!!

  3. Kitten says:

    Nice! I have never learned to make clothes but every so often i threaten to.

  4. margene says:

    The dress looks great and is very flattering on you. You tackled a great project and did a fabulous job. I’d call that a win!

  5. jill says:

    Very flattering, indeed. And your courage to make modifications in an arena where you have a perceived skill deficient is astounding. Boise email forthcoming.

  6. Marianne says:

    I LOVE it! It looks fabulous on you, and good for you!
    I need to take my machine in and have it tuned up… my daughter used it last years ago and it just hasn’t been the same since. lol.

  7. silvia says:

    It looks cute! I don’t see the problems you mentioned, but sometimes the type of fabric does mess with tension. I used a rayon/cotton voile that gave my machine fits and the machine was just serviced. Maybe a smaller needle was needed or maybe they just didn’t get along.

    The Colette patterns may be a good series for you to try. They have tons of instructions and you can use a cotton that’s easier to work with. They’ve even got a free tank top pattern you download and print to try out. So try the tank with an easy to sew cotton lawn to get a better idea about sewing with your new machine. Check out the Colette blog for customization ideas too.


  8. Cookie says:

    Blame Sil. She deserves it. She’s always inspiring me and that’s just wrong. ;^)

    I think it’s adorable. When you buy your fabric, you’ll see a label on the end of the bolt with the fiber content info. Ya know, for next time.


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