Thursday, June 07, 2018

First new dress

I made two dresses (and a set of pajamas) over break. This is the first of the two, and I'm quite proud of it - it was "salvage fabric" (in the sense that it was something from deep in my mom's stash, probably originally bought for t-shirts - there was just about 1 1/2 yards of a 60" wide fabric). The pattern is McCall's 6886. I made View A and of course I'm fatter than the model on the envelope so it looks a little different on me, but I also made two modifications.

(The other dress, since I have the McCall's website up right now, was 7348, view A - but I had to REALLY lengthen that one)

The first modification was to lengthen the hem:

new dress 1

I'm old, and my legs aren't the best, and having something fall mid-thigh is an uncomfortable length for me (it was even when I was 14 and the fittest I ever was). But this length - just the top of the kneecap - is okay, and especially will be okay with stockings. (I didn't put hose on for this photo; I wore capris and a t-shirt over to work and changed for the photo).

I did also have to enlarge the sleeves (despite making the pattern in "my" measurements, which worked out to the 18 - pattern sizes are always less "vain" than off-the-rack sizes and you just have to get over it, that sometimes when you take a 14 off the rack you're better off buying an 18 or even a 20 in a pattern....) Many of these patterns seem to be made for women who don't work out - my arms are usually a little too muscular to comfortably fit the pattern as written.

I really like the fabric:

new dress 2

I think, because of it, the dress came out "dressier" than I was originally envisioning. I planned this as a simple "throw it on because it's a hot day" dress but really this dress is nice enough for teaching in or wearing to church. (No it is not too short for that).

Oh, the other modification?

"Thanks! It has pockets!"

I had to add pockets. The pattern didn't come with them but pockets are a must. I grabbed a pattern from an older skirt (they are the in-seam, bag-type pockets) and just had my mom help me figure out where they would go once I had sewn the shoulder seams. It had been a while since I did this so I got them in backwards - you can see that the wrong side of the fabric is facing "out" on the pocket, but since they're in-seam pockets it does not really matter. (On the other dress I made, I played around until I got it right).

I like this pattern and would probably make it again - it's super simple (maybe TOO simple - my mom helped me draft up a neck facing because on the original you just hemmed the neck, and that NEVER looks as good as a faced edge). The steps (after cutting out*) were

sew shoulder seams
do neck facing (this was an addition)
insert pockets (another addition)
sew side seams
sew sleeve seams
insert sleeves
hem sleeves and bottom of skirt.

(*And I forgot what a PITA it is to lay out and cut a knit fabric; it does not stay put as readily as a woven, and it wrinkles all over the place)

And NO FINISHING OF RAW EDGES on the inside because t-shirt knit doesn't really fray. (The two things I dislike most about most garment sewing - having to go through and zigzag the raw edges (I have never used a serger) and doing buttonholes, and this dress has neither. (I'd even rather hand-pick a zipper than mess with sewn buttonholes).

I also packed back a few "vintagey" things, which I'll dole out as photos over the next week or so. I had a bag of mixed doll clothing - I can't remember if it came from an actual doll show, or if I bought it at an antique shop, or where. But there were a few Barbie pieces in there, and I retrieved them, for the dolls I have now. (Well, for Cinnamon and Gabby; I don't change the clothes on the other ones).

I'm guessing the clothes were made by a mom or a grandma; someone with some sewing skills because seams are finished and things are properly hemmed and the snaps are done right.

I have two pairs of shorts (one almost "business shorts") and a winter coat and a tiny knit sweater with sequins (!) and then pajamas:

old barbie pjs 1

They are a sort of thin plisse fabric with tiny purple flowers, if they don't show up in the photo. The top is kind of too big, but then again: pajamas are better a little loose.

One thing I have noticed about the Barbie clothing (at least the official, Mattel-branded stuff) on offer right now is that there are lots of "formal" or "career" clothes, and no ordinary, everyday-type clothes: no pajamas, no underwear, few simple jeans-and-tops, that kind of thing. The stuff most people wear most of the time. Maybe they figure either kids don't play with Barbie like that any more, or that that's the kind of thing either parents-who-sew will make, or the "knockoff" companies will do? I don't know. I didn't play with dolls a LOT as a kid (I preferred stuffed animals) but when I had a toy with a "wardrobe," I wanted them to have a COMPLETE wardrobe - pajamas and casual clothes and a winter coat and scarf and more formal clothes, everything.  Maybe that was just me, I don't know, but the fact that there's a whole line of 12" doll patterns that feature these things - even, still, with fewer people sewing than once did - it tells me there is demand for that.

(And it will be interesting to see if any of these things fit Cinnamon, with her heavier build. I already tried the winter coat and it fits, but it's bigger and looser cut)



Roger Owen Green said...

NOT in my skill set, unfortunately!

Lynn said...

The dress looks nice. I love the fabric.

Weird thing about the Barbie doll. When I was a kid I had one of the first Barbies with bendable knees and they looked natural, like real knees but all the newer ones I see have the joints like yours in the picture.