Thursday, July 8, 2010
Swirl-tastic Yellow Pinnafore
This pattern was listed on EBay as "40s maternity dress". No one bid on it, except for me, so I got it for a song. I was so thrilled to have won it as it reminds me of the Swirl dresses that everyone is so crazy about.
My original plan was to make View 1 with the red/white/blue rayon my aunt sent me a while back. The rayon is intimidating because its a LOT wigglier than what I'm used to working with. Rather than plunge right in with the rayon, I decided to make a test version in cotton, a fabric I'm a lot more comfortable with. The stash yielded a sunny yellow broadcloth that would be just right.
With so many pieces, I was sure this pattern would be a bust but it actually went together well. There were a few new techniques in this dress that I hadn't tried yet, so I learned a lot. Here are the new things I learned:
Underlining - I thought I knew what to do so I just cut out each panel twice (once in the main fabric once in the lining) and stitched them together before assembling the pieces. After the dress was finished I Googled this technique and discovered that I should have turned the panels inside out before assembly. If I had, I'd have ended up with perfect finished seams on the inside. Oh well. I'm still happy with the way it worked out.
Ruffles - It turns out that sleeve ruffles like these aren't difficult, you just have to gather a LOT of fabric. Instead of gathering by hand, which is what I usually do, I used the zig-zag technique. It was SO much easier! Basically, you sew a wide zig-zag stitch over a piece of string (see below) being careful not to catch the string in your stitches. Then you just pin your pieces together, at the ends and center, and pull the free ends of the center string. The gathers magically appear and are ready to be pinned down and stitched.
Seam Binding (around the arm holes) - I'd never made my own seam binding before but it ended up being pretty easy. I cut out my strips and then made a guide on my ironing board using two pins. All I had to do was pull the strips through the guide and press the folded fabric flat. Then I folded the strips in half and pressed again to make it double-fold.
Aside from the challenge of learning new techniques, this dress went together really well. The only major issue was that, for some reason, the neck facing was an inch too short in the back. Weird, but an easy fix. I simply patched the center with a bit of scrap.
I normally detest making muslins or doing test runs of patterns but this was a big success! And cheap!! I purchased nothing new except for an extra spool of thread, which I didn't actually end up using. The rick-rack was left over from the belt I made for McCalls 5490. The trim (ruffle/pocket/ties/binding) was left over from Simplicity 1657. The main body (yellow broadcloth) was purchased, but not used, as lining for Simplicity 1657. The underling is a floaty white muslin (voile?) that I'd originally bought to line the living room curtains.
I just adore the Swirl-tastic style of this little housedress. The back is a little poofier than I'd like, but I think I just need to come to terms with the size of my caboose. This test run went so well that I think I am actually brave enough to try making this dress up in rayon.