I have a new dress! [Sewing]

I *finally* finished a long-term sewing project! I’ve been working on sewing a t-shirt-style maxi dress since this past summer but ran into some problems with finishing the neck seams – ancient sewing machine = having no ability to do zig-zag stitch = occasional problems when sewing knits.

Dress3

No zigzag, so tragic 😦

So, how did I solve this dilemma? Wooly nylon thread! Here’s a great post on how this thread solves the issue: Introducing Stretch Thread, my new BFF (on Made by Rae). Long story short, the thread is a bit stretchy and adds some ‘give’ to the seam.

Anyhow, I based the front and back shirt pieces on my favorite T-shirt (i.e. laid the shirt over some thin paper and traced out a pattern + seam allowance). I did the sleeves in one piece based on the sleeve piece of the same shirt, though shortened them a bit by accidentally leaving off the hem allowance. Oops.

To extend the T-shirt shaped pattern pieces into dress pieces, I first figured out the desired skirt length and then did a straight line extension from just below where the base of my ribcage hits in the T-shirt down to where I wanted the hem of the skirt. I cut the pieces out of some lovely grey burnout jersey fabric, and sewed it up with a bit of on-the-fly tailoring around the sleeve/torso area. The biggest post-sewing modification was to add a second layer of fabric to the dress front to make up for the slight translucency/clingy-ness of the thin fabric.

The end result is both flattering and *insanely* comfy. I’ve worn it twice to work and it’s like sneakily working in pajamas all day. May even be more comfy than my standard grad student uniform of t-shirts and jeans! Best of all, with the long stretchy skirt I can twist, bend, walk, kneel, and jump without worrying about the limitations imposed by a short skirt.

Dress2

Success!

Next project: A hunting vest for MountainMan. His current one is about 10 sizes too large so I’m tracing a starting pattern off of it and will then get to wrap MM in pattern paper tonight and poke near him with pins and scissors! I’m sure he’ll be overjoyed 😉

Dress4

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