Perfect for a summer’s day

Happy New Year, everyone.

I was surprised the other month when sorting out my stash, that I have quite a collection of blues.  They are in my colours and three pieces have materialised in my wardrobe – the cargo pants and then the navy pants and top during last year.

I then found some navy linen in my stash, Simplicity 2648 and inspiration from DrienPA on Pattern Review, I have completed the 2nd version of this dress.

I remembered seeing an article in Australian Stitches (Vol 19, Issue 7) that Alison, The Sewing Lady had written where she had constructed a Marfy jacket and then hand stitched around the jacket and pockets that looked like pickstitch.  Luckily for me Alison had adjusted this pattern for me, so I was able to contact her to find out a bit more detail on how to do the pickstitch on my dress.

The dress was cut out and the front (princess seams and waist) and back (darts and waist) pieces where sewn together (but not at the shoulders or side seams).   Then I,

  • Set up my Janome sewing machine with the G foot and a 4.0 twin needle.
  • Threaded the machine with a cream Gutterman thread, reduced the tension to 1.5 and the stitch length to 3.5 and needle position at 2.4.
  • Stitched from the armhole, lining the G foot guide along the princess seam and stitched all the way down both front princess seams, making sure that the stitches crossed the waist seam at the same point.  This gave me a good reference point for the pickstitch.
  • Then on Boxing Day, I threaded up a Size 24 Tapestry needle with Gutterman Topstitch thread 722 and proceeded to pickstitch using every 2nd stitch as my guide to bring the needle back up.
  • Carefully removed the Gutterman thread and gave the seams a good press.

    The rest of the dress went together pretty quickly.

      The dress is lined and has a lace hem and the back vent has a hong-kong finish to the edge.

      Then I found this necklace that needed to be reworked.

      After sitting all day

      Here is a close up of the pickstitch after the guide threads have been removed.

      I can see this dress will get a lot of wear.

      Simplicity 2648

      This is the dress I had fitted with Alison Wheeler during my Fitting Weekend.

      I chose to work on this dress with Alison because it had sleeves and as you read here it was the main issue I wanted to work on.

      This is the first time I have used a pattern that has choices for cup sizes and whether you are slim, average or curvy. The decision for the cup size was easy, I used a B cup, Size 10, but it was when I had to work out whether I was slim or average that I got myself in a bit of a dilemma. I ended up using the average pattern size 12 for the skirt which turned out pretty correct.

      Again I had my normal adjustments done:

      * Round shoulder – 1.5cm added
      * High round back – 1cm added

      * Round shoulder – 1.5cm removed
      * 1.5cm gaposis taken from the front neck edge

      The first thing Alison did was check the sleeve cap height and got me to add 1cm to the sleeve and blouse armholes before she looked at any other adjustments.

      Then further adjustments were made which then made my total adjustment list as follows:

      Back Adjustments

      * 1.5cm added back shoulder
      * 1cm gaposis taken from the back neck edge
      * Added 1cm to armhole edge
      * High round back of 1cm”

      Front Adjustments

      * Round shoulder – 1.5cm removed
      * 1cm gaposis taken from the front neck edge
      * Added 1cm to armhole

      Sleeve adjustments

      * Added 1cm to the side seams to match the armholes on the bodice

      I had taken some brown linen that I had purchased from The Fabric Store with me for this dress and DS was rather horrified that I would use this for a toile, however with the adjustments we had done and the other fittings that we would be doing, I convinced her that it would be a very wearable toile.

      DS then proceeded to cut this dress out, whilst Alison and I worked on the Marfy Skirt.

      Between DS and I we got the dress basted together with the sleeves in for Alison to check. It was here that we noticed that the side seams needed to be straightened at the hips (I’m fairly straight there) and there was 2cm of extra fabric at the centre back seam, even though the side seams were falling correctly so this extra fabric was removed and then we played around with the darts and seams to match the bodice and skirt.

      This is where the dress was up to by the time I left Brisbane and I cut out the lining and had the construction finished with the hem being sewn during our 10hr drive to Ballarat for the ASG National Convention so I could wear it to the Gala Dinner.

      Here I am outside our accommodation (jacket off for the photograph, it was too cold to go to dinner without it!)

      Here is the back view (in my backyard a week later)

      and here is how the dress has been worn so far, under my Chanel Jacket. It will be a great dress for Spring.

      I am very pleased with this dress and can see other variations being made. Alison also pointed out that I now have a good fitting skirt and top pattern as well.

      Fitting Weekend

      I’m back home after a fantastic 3 day weekend having patterns fitted by Alison, “The Sewing Lady” in Brisbane.

      This was my birthday present from DS, a full day of fitting on the Saturday with Alison and then a general sewing/fine tune fitting on Monday morning.

      This is how it worked, there were 3 attendees for the fitting day which included both DS and I (this was all day Saturday, a maximum of 4 attendees for these days and they get booked out well in advance) and I managed to get 3 patterns fitted:

      Simplicity dress 2648, View A with sleeves.

      Marfy blouse 2254 and Marfy skirt 2253 (the free patterns included in the Marfy 2010/11 Annual).

      Sunday was sewing at DS’s home in the morning and then we met Alison at Sckafs, Indooroopilly to learn about what to look for when choosing fabrics, trims, interfacings, etc which gave me quite a few light bulb moments.

      Monday was back at Alison’s for the morning session of general sewing with 4 attendees (maximum of 8) so we tweaked the dress, sorted out the blouse and the skirt is underway. I’ve still got a long way to go on the dress and skirt, but the blouse is closer to finishing so you will probably see it soon.

      The reason so much was achieved was I had all the patterns with my normal adjustments done, taped and pinned together when we arrived on Saturday. Luckily only 2 people (me being one) were having patterns fitted that day which was fantastic. Alison fitted the paper patterns on me and I made the additional changes to the paper patterns, then DS (my birthday slave) cut out my fabric, pinned up the fabric toile for the next fit and then she got into the actual sewing of the garments, this was at the classes and at her home. I also managed to contribute to the sewing on Saturday night and Sunday morning.

      This was a fantastic birthday present and one I will remember each time I wear one of the above garments.

      I will share more information on each of the patterns as they are completed so until next time …