I also hit a bit of a low energy patch which even affected my desire to sew. What I do in those patches is make wearable muslins. That way, I can keep in practice, try a new pattern and maybe get a decent garment to wear or at the very least find a pattern that is worth revisiting.
I try and find bits of fabric that are very cheap at Spotlight in order to make wearable muslins. This was one such piece - backing cotton for quilt making. It was very wide (about 260 cms) and as it was only $3.00 per metre, I purchased three metres. My original intent was to use it instead of muslin or calico for unwearable muslins (toiles) but I liked the fabric enough that I decided to risk garments. Although I have to say it is a little thick and cardboard like.
For this dress, I used a McCall's pattern (M7466):
This is a princess seamed dress - as you can see, the seams run vertically all the way down the dress, and I thought this would be a good line for my straighter body. There is a waist seam as well, which I was not sure about as I don't have a waist, but I thought it would just go into the line of the garment.
The pattern suggests some quite thick materials -faux suede, corduroy, cotton blends, so I thought my thick cardboard like fabric might work.
I did a quick test of the bodice and it seemed to fit reasonably well. I cut a 14 front, a 12 back, and added a little to the sides at the waist. I added small patch pockets to the front of the dress. And the neckline was far too high, so I had to lower it. I did this by trimming the garment's neck directly after I had sewn the bodice up. - not my favourite way of doing things, but needs must. If you look at the pattern picture, you can see the neckline is running right across the models neck - how uncomfortable. I also lowered the front waist a little as I knew it would ride up on me. The pattern also uses yoke facings and a front facing. I thought this was going to be a little thick given the fabric I was working with, and I chose to use a lawn lining in the bodice instead. I also added 4 inches in length.
I did not like the large pockets shown on version D, nor do I like breast pockets. I decided to do a small patch pockets on the skirt.
All the seams are topstitched, which took up considerable time. Just as well I like topstitching. I did not like the way the pattern suggested double seaming and trimming next to the second line of stitching, then fold over and top stitch, so I flat felled the seams instead.
The hemline was very deep - two inches. This on an A-line shape. I could see potential hemming problems here, and hemmed at 1.25 inches. I also altered the shape of the seam at the hemline so that it did not flare out - I tapered it in slightly to get rid of some of the fullness normally pinched in.
The zipper insertion recommended by the pattern was a lapped zip. The seam allowance for this was 5/8 inch. Now, if you ever do a lapped zip, do yourself a favour and add a 1 inch seam allowance. You will need this for and effective lap, and also to have enough allowance to stitch the zip in.
I think mastering a lapped zip is one of the best things I ever did - they are still really useful if you can't get an invisible zip that matches your fabric.
I have to admit that the cotton was absolutely horrible to work with, and my overlocker refused to do a good job with the armhole seams. I looked at the mess, and covered it with binding:
Well, enough of the details, it's time for the pictures:
There is a little bit of fullness at the back, and generally, I have allowed a lot of ease with this garment. That is because I like to be able to move, and really don't like fitted garments at all unless they have stretch in them. And when I bend over, I do need quite a bit of ease:
As far as the fabric is concerned, I think this will work for Autumn, but I would like a nice, lightweight one next summer. The fabric is a bit thick and bulky, but when you think about it, so were the fabrics recommended by the pattern - faux suede and corduroy. Scuba was also on the list.
I can't help but think this dress would actually work better in a lighter weight fabric. So next summer, I shall find out. I am putting the altered pattern to one side so that it can be remade in something a little softer.
That's it for now, my Fit and Finish dress for the Make a Garment a Month group's February theme:
Next week I will show you the Lisette trousers:
Now, these really are a fun pair of pants and the firmer fabric works well. But I will tell you all these next week.
For now, wishing you all the best, wherever you are,