State of Flux: Two between-season dresses with IndieSew

The projects that follow were made in collaboration with Indiesew.  The fabric was provided by Indiesew, however all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Figuring out when to stop sewing for one season to start on the next can be tricky, can't it?  My determination to get to the end of my to-sew list sometimes blinds me as to when that time has come.  Fortunately in January when it came time to choose my first quarter projects,  Indiesew had some fantastic fabric options for both cold and warm weather.  The result is two great dresses that have me ready for whatever climate change has in store!  

First up is a modified Sew Over It Edie dress in this super unique wool blend double knit for which I envisioned a casual daytime dress.  You start making Edie with a really unique neckline construction and once you tackle that, the rest of the project is a breeze on your serger. That meant that it wasn't long before I realized what I had on my machine was really more of an evening appropriate bodycon dress.  I guess I underestimated the cling of my double knit combined with negative pattern ease and my own dangerous curves.  (My bust and hip measurements put me at sizes 10 and 12 respectively, which is what I cut.  There are 2 inches of negative ease at the bust and 3 at the hip.)  The snug fit also made the length a bit risqué for my conservative taste.  Not to fear, just a bit of improvisation and not all was not lost!  I had a decent strip of fabric left and quickly trimmed it into a 2 inch hem band and 4 inch wide cuffs for the sleeves.   The extra coverage means a much classier look and let's be real- who wants to deal with knit hems anyway?  The other change I made to the pattern before cutting was to shorten it at the waist by one inch. I find this helps a little with pooling at the back and since I’m short-waisted, makes the hip curve match up more with my own.  I added that inch back at the hemline.

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I made my Edie with 1 1/2 yards of 60" fabric and after my mods had next to no scraps.  The fabric took well to prewashing which gave it a slightly fuzzy nap and it zipped through the serger with ease.  This Edie is super warm & cozy and will be a great option for dressing up when it's cold out.

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Now then, what's a girl to do once she's whipped up a simple knit dress in one day, cutting out and all?  Why she starts a super complex lined woven dress with the strangest pattern pieces she’s ever seen, of course!  In my defense, how could I not dream up a gorgeous spring/summer dress once I saw this amaaaaaazing rayon crepe?  My reaction to it was visceral and since I had no choice in the matter I impulsively decided on Vogue 1350 by Rachel Comey. 

As soon as I saw the pattern pieces my mind turned to mush and got progressively mushier as I muddled through the instructions.  I wasn't expecting any hand-holding from a Vogue pattern and wouldn't have had such a hard time if the construction method was more familiar.  Not only were the instructions involving the angles that create the shaping of the front yoke and back bodice confusing but they were hard to execute.  I found myself staring blindly at the page as the clock ticked and I accomplished next to nothing. Nevertheless, determination prevailed and after daily sessions for nearly a week and some shamefully late nights I had that dress that I envisioned.  Despite the moments of severe frustration during this project, it was an excellent exercise in concentration and patience that I’m grateful to have experienced.

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How about some details?  First off, this rayon crepe has not only one of the most beautiful color schemes and floral prints that I've ever seen, it sews like a dream.  My top tips would be to cut on a healing mat with rotary cutter, use tailor's tacks for marking and sew with a new size 70 needle.  Avoid backstitching when possible or use tear away stabilizer on your feed dogs when you must backstitch.  With this fabric there was hardly any fraying, I found it much less shifty than other rayons (like challis) and the pattern pieces held their shape well. 

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Size-wise I went with a 12 on top and a 14 on bottom, based on the finished garment measurements.  This is a great rule of thumb to get a pattern to fit how you want it to.  As usual, I shortened the bodice by 1 inch. I think that on a dress that has no waistband it’s especially important for the seam to hit at the smallest part of the waist.   In the end I think it would have been perfect shortened 3/4 but since I was too lazy to do a muslin I'm pretty pleased with the result.  The dress is fully lined and closes down the front with hammer-in snaps hidden in the placket.  That worked out okay, but I think it'll feel more secure to wear and sit if I sew the lower skirt portion shut at the hipline.  I'm so excited for some warm spring weather so I can show off this beauty! Speaking of beauty…I couldn’t resist a few photobombed shots with the most gorgeous girl I know. Special thanks goes to Mr. Old Bones who offered his services for this photo shoot. Enjoy!

xo April

p.s. if you find yourself stumped working on V1350, feel free to reach out. I’ll do my best to help you work through it.

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