Stretchy Fabric Strikes Again!

Well, I’m still continuing on my journey to learn about stretch fabrics. My latest project is a testament to why I need to slow down and think a little more. Probably a reoccurring theme on this blog. I’m not a process sewer. I want a finished item and I want it NOW! So sometimes (most of the time) I forge ahead even when things don’t seem quite right.

So here is another one of my Washington Dress Hacks.

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Oh hey! That doesn’t seem too bad. And really the dress looks pretty good in the photos. So why am I unhappy? Well this fabric is SO STRETCHY. The first time I used this fabric I made a Moneta (post here) and it stretched all crazy out of shape. I thought it was the pattern. Now I’m thinking it was the fabric choice.

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This is some crazy cheap fabric I found at M&L Fabrics in the $3/yard section. It’s a Robert Kaufman interlock as part of a Valori Wells collection. I love the print. I’ve been hoarding it for a year deciding what to make. But it is also totally different from the Valori Wells interlock knit I bought that was from Free Spirit. So confused!  I’m guessing she switched companies between collections and suddenly I’m shopping the discount bin and finding things from a long while ago. Whoops!

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Anyways, to make matter worse this fabric is also 100% cotton and has zero recovery. So while it drapes beautifully it wouldn’t be so great for something that needs to snap back throughout the day. I’d contemplated making a wrap dress, but I’m glad I went with something simple. Even sewing this fabric was a total pain. I had to wash and dry it just to make it wearable post stitching.

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Regardless I will keeping wearing the dress. Probably only over the weekends. It is really comfy even if I’m not in love. It makes my bust look down right saggy as shown in this photo my mom snapped while we were miniature golfing.

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Plus the weight of the fabric pulls it all forward. Not a huge deal on the putt putt course, but not exactly appropriate for the office!

I’m pretty certain I’m going to take it in at the side seams a touch. The fabric has the stretch and I lowered the arm hole depth on this version so the space is there. Maybe it will help anchor the dress to my body. Worth a try?

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Making a Muslin – Liberty Edition

After feeling frustrated by my recent attempts at making woven dresses, I took a step back. What pattern has fit me the best? Could I work with it? Well I thought on it for a while and determined the Gertie dress I made a few months back is still my favorite. Light as air to wear and with a good fit. It only needed a few tweaks. So I’m saying goodbye to the Upton pattern for now. Maybe, just maybe I need to stick with misses patterns and grade out rather than starting with plus patterns. Worth trying!

So I put on my Gertie dress to access the fit. Lots of little tweaks, but nothing huge.

  1. Take out 1/2 inch the front neckline
  2. Increase the waist front darts 1/2 inch
  3. Lower the bust darts
  4. Make back darts end higher
  5. Make sway back adjustment less severe

Looks like a lot, but most of these were easy to accomplish when re-tracing the pattern. Then I conquered an adjustment I’d been mulling over for a while. A narrow back adjustment as outlined in this Threads Magazine article.

Now, one would normally use something like muslin fabric or something purchased cheaply, but I’m running low on wadder fabric. I used my Liberty!

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It worked! Well, not quite! The finished dress is beautiful, but it turned out I’d over done lowering the bust darts! I had to rip it all apart to redo them. In the end that worked out well because now I have custom fit darts.

I’m thinking I might take that approach more often. These are some of my most successful darts and it wouldn’t be terrible hard to do. I could just sew the top and bottom of the side seam then try on my dress and pinch out the darts as I wanted them.

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This was supposed to be a muslin to test my newly re-drafted bodice, but then when the darts were all wrong I couldn’t bear to fix the darts and then rip this all apart to trace off the pieces. I guess that’s what happens when one decides to test new ideas with Liberty of London lawn. This stuff is too expensive and dear to rip apart, but I love all my stash fabrics too much to make a wadder.

I ended up picking this yardage piece because it had been sitting unloved for too long. It was only 2 yards of Penrose Rose (color D) I purchase on an Massdrop a while back. Part of me wanted to see if I could get a whole dress out of such a small piece and I’m thrilled that I could!

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One of the other issues I encountered was a lack of lining fabric in my stash. I seriously need to pick up some nice lawn to have on hand! I dug around a found a few scraps of ivory lawn left over from my 1912 dress. It wasn’t enough to make the all in one facing I’d planned. It wasn’t even enough for bias tape! But the awkwardly shaped scraps were just enough to make some very narrow facings.

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These worked perfectly and do not flip out the way full sized facing usually do.

The other issue I encountered was when I finished the dress it looked too plain. It was just a simple thing with a whole lot of patterned fabric. I dug around through my lace scraps and found a length of antique cotton lace that was leftover from a 1930s dress I made years ago. It definitely made this dress look less homemade.

Lastly for the skirt I took the leftover yardage after cutting out the bodice pieces and determined I could just eek out a skirt that came to the top of my knees while still being able to line up the subtle striping pattern at the side seams. it also means the skirt is a full 100 inches wide! So wide! To keep the width from becoming overwhelming without a petticoat I pleated the fabric using my own fingertip as a guide on how large to make each pleat.

I’d thought about making a less wide skirt, but I didn’t want to have an awkward piece of fabric leftover. In retrospect I could have used the leftovers to make bias tape, but now that the dress is done I am so glad I went for the super pleated skirt.

Since I finally have a dress I love I’m trying to decide what to make next. I wanted to make a shirt dress this summer, so maybe that should be next. While I ponder I have a couple quick knit things to make. What do you all think I should tackle next?

Month in the Making

Getting the fit right on a woven dress continues to allude me. While my husband was away last month I spend a lot of time daydreaming about how I was going to get a better fit on my woven dresses, but I think you’ll see it is not quite there yet.

Here my my 3rd attempt at the Cashmerette Upton Dress and I still don’t feel like I’ve been able to get something that looks like the pattern envelope.

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This is a mishmash of sizes now. The back is a 12 to a 14 at the waist. The front is a 12 to a 16 at the waist. I squared off the shoulders which helped some with the gaping neckline, but oh those bust darts. Bad. Not happy.

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And in the back I feel like the shoulders are still wide and this is the smallest size in the pattern. It is too long in the back as well yet too tight at the waist. But when I did a larger size the waist was too large. Sigh.

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The one detail I really love about this dress is the binding along the arms. It was sent to me in a knitters swap a lot time ago. I have tried pairing it will so many projects and it never quite worked. But I thought is was quite lovely paired with the loominous fabric of this particular dress.

The skirt is actually from this Lisette dress failure from earlier this year. I’m happy to give at least half the fabric a second life in something I will actually wear regularly even if the fit isn’t perfect!

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I also wanted to acknowledge I am probably being hard on myself. I’ve said it before, but I need to repeat it for my own benefit. This dress, even with all its issues is nicer and better fitting than anything I could buy in a store. When it comes to light as air summer dresses the loominous fabric is amazing, but I still hold out hope that I can nail down a summer dress fit before I need to switch into winter sewing mode.

Taming the Sailors Shawl

Well hello there! I’m back and feeling rested and ready to tackle some new projects again! My husband has been in Argentina for the last month and when combined with solo parenting and Stepbet I have been one exhausted lady! But now my husband is home again. I got two consecutive full nights of sleep and I’m a whole new woman.

So today I’m here to share a shawl I knit earlier this summer. I’m not much of a shawl wearer, but about once a year I get a hankering to knit lace just because I want to. Shawls are the best projects for random lace knitting!

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This is the gorgeous Sandpiper Shawl from Laura Aylor. I’ve had my eye on this design for the last year, but I just couldn’t decide on what yarn to use. Then as the warm weather set in I found myself in need of a small project I could knit on my lunch breaks.

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Plus I had a gorgeous single skein of Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in Jacaranda Bloom. This is a color Madelinetosh created at my recommendation and this skein was sent to me as a gift from a fellow knitter. How did I leave it sitting unloved for almost 3 years?!?!

The main body of the shawl is Astral Bath Spectra in the delightfully titled color Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash while the eyelet row is Spectra in Naked. Hmmm, this is starting to sound like an R rated shawl. Ha!

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And because my husband wasn’t home you all get to experience more photos from a 4 year old photographer. Lu took great joy in making me do all kinds of poses to show off the size of the shawl.

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As you can see it is quite generously sized. I used about 700 yards of yarn all together and this nicely covers my shoulders. It only took about 6 weeks worth of lunch time knitting to complete! Highly recommended pattern!!!


And now I’ll also talk a little bit about fitness and Stepbet. I have no intention of making this a fitness blog, but I thought it may prove useful for others to hear a review.

One of the groups where I hang out on Ravelry has been on a huge fitness kick in recent years, but generally I don’t participate in their contests because it is so hard to balance my personal life and finding the time to work out can be tough. However someone brought up the idea of all joining a Stepbet contest and I jumped at the chance to take part in something where I felt I could succeed.

The idea behind the app is everyone puts the same amount of money into the pot and all the people who make their own personal goal for all 5 weeks gets to split the pot.

Pros

  • Everyone gets their own personal goal. The goals are set by the game, but most people had achievable numbers. Mine were roughly 9,300 for active days and 12,000 for stretch days.
  • It got me moving! I did not realize quite how sedentary I’d become until I had to walk several miles each day, 6 days a week.
  • I won cash! I don’t know the final amount yet, but it is probably about $10.
  • It was fun to do with a group of other people and we all cheered each other on.

Cons

  • The biggest negative is that you are basically rooting for people to fail if you want to win any more money than what you put in. You need more than 25% of people to lose. Kind of sad.
  • 5 weeks of having no free time got me a whole $10.
  • There is no room for bad days. Like when my younger daughter decided to wake up for the day at 3am and I was a total wreck I still had to walk my ass off. 100F heat and extremely poor air quality from a wildfire? Still had to figure out a way to walk miles and miles.
  • When it started I didn’t own a Fitbit or other step tracking device so I had to carry my phone. At first it wasn’t so bad, but I quickly got really tired of carrying my phone every single place I went. It got even more annoying when I got a Fitbit and saw I was walking on average 1,000 steps more than my phone registered.

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But I won and it feels great! I plan to keep up walking, but maybe not quite to the same level. I’m still sorting out what I want my plan to be, but I’m thinking a goal of 10,000 steps 4-5 days a week. I’d also like to add more stretching to my day as my muscles feel really tight.

I think my Ravelry group is going to work on a new contest. Something where its a good thing if everyone wins, because who wants their friend to fail? Not me!