Saturday, May 15, 2021

Sundress No. 2

 I tend to sew faster than I post on my blog.  Which means some of my sews never make it to the blog. I wanted to put out a quick post on the 2nd sundress I made for the #joyvivsundress challenge because I think it is a great summer dress style, and my current sewing project is almost done. The pattern is  See &Sew B5734.

The pattern fabric recommendations are "faille, crepe and stable knit". Faille and crepe are weaves. Faille is typically woven. There are both woven and knit crepe fabrics.  Too confusing. So I focused on the stable knits recommendation.  I immediately thought of ponte knit or cotton T shirt knit, neither one of which I felt was appropriate for this dress. I did some research to see if there was any other kinds of stable knits. According to the internet, stable knits have a stretch factor of about 15%-20% in the width, and little stretch in the length. Because they have little stretch, they can often be treated like a woven fabric.  Supposedly the pattern for a stable knit would have extra ease added to ensure ease of movement when the garment is worn. 

 Before the summer heat comes and  makes being in the attic unbearable, I have been up there culling  fabric from  my stash. Unfortunately "First In, Last Out" is how I manage my fabric inventory and the oldest is in the attic. The attic is not a friendly place. I have to climb a ladder to get there, and fumble in the dark for the light switch.  And during a previous roof replacement the roofers tore the shingles off, but pounded the nails through the roof. So between the rafters it looks like a medieval torture device. Yes,  I have raised my head and hit those nails. You only do it once. 

There was a huge quantity of print knits from the 1990’s. The fabric content was poly/cotton. It was soft, but had no real stretch. Not compared to the lycra blend knits available today.  Most of it was either children’s prints or prints that were obviously dated.  But a few were ‘timeless”, not affected by the passage of time or changes in fashion. I chose a bright blue, irregular dot print.

This dress was an easy sew. The top is supposed to be lined in the fashion fabric. Instead, I used the fabric from a grey cotton t shirt  (stable knit) that was headed to trash. Worked great. I added 2.5 inches to the length of the dress. l love the big, easy to access, pockets.  They are part of the side panels in the lower front and easy to construct.

See&Sew B5734

This dress is a bit more casual that the first one.  Perfect to put on in the evening at the end of  a day of gardening or beach bumming, after a shower of course.  

And I felt so virtuous using up old stash fabric.

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Seersucker Sundress

 Inspired by the sundress challenge #joyvivsundress  on Instagram, sponsored by youtubers Joy and Viv, I spent hours looking through my Burda magazine archives.    I picked out  a dress from the June 2006 issue of Burda. Number 113.  Thanks, goodness, for the Russian Burda website. Not only does it have the pictures and line drawings from all issues back to 2003, but also the pictures of this particular dress made by  Russian sewists. These pictures showed  many variations of fabric choice and model body shape, for  both dress 113, and it non ruffle version, 114.

 In the magazine, the dress is shown made of seersucker fabric.  From the  Fabric File:  Seersucker is described as a  light and airy cotton with crinkled stripes that is ideal for wearing in summer as the undulating surface doesn’t come into constant contact with your skin. This fabric is easy care as it rarely creases and doesn’t need ironing.  The typical textured surface of authentic seersucker is due to the weaving method: some longways warp yarns tight and the others slack. In cheaper version soaking some threads in sodium bicarbonate swells them to produce a similar effect.  The seersucker name derives from Persian “shir o shekar” meaning “milk and sugar” a suitable sweet description for a fabulous fabric.

I had some seersucker in my stash and decided, based on the description above, it would be perfect for a unlined dress that would be worn in the sun. I picked out a turquoise/white 1/16" striped seersucker. The crinkled aspect of the fabric made it a bit problematic to mark with my favorite method, tracing wheel and tracing paper.  The dots were hard to see on the striped fabric and it was difficult to choose the color of the paper to use. If the color showed up on the dark stripes, then it showed through on the lighter stripes.  I ended up used hand tacking to mark the multiple  flounce attachment lines. The crinkled texture does reduce wearing creases and is also a bit stretchy, a nice feature as this dress is close fitting. The style was an easy sew. I finished the edges of the flounces using this technique.


 I  taper the skirt from waist to hem a total of  2 inches, to give a more flattering  look.  The deep squared off neckline is a bit unusual. But as the magazine photo shows, it a great place to hang your sunnies.

While I don’t have anywhere to wear the dress currently, what with the Covid situation and the unusually cool temps we are having at the moment, I am planning a few summer trips and have booked a cruise in 2022 (fingers crossed).