I’m “sitting on the fence” with this one… (and my #mmmay15 final post)

I’m not sure which way to go.  Do I make this dress out of this fabric, or not?  I’m almost ready to pack up my fabric and wait until something better comes into my life!

I found this remarkably appropriate message on Facebook today.
I found this remarkably appropriate message on Facebook today.

So here’s the dilemma …

I was given this lovely pattern by my sister.  She used it to make her wedding dress.  It is now a vintage pattern.  It deserves some special attention.

Nice dress! Thanks, I made it!!
Nice dress! Thanks, I made it!!

I was sure I found the perfect “summery” fabric!  This fabric is a Misty Stretch ITY Slub Jersey Knit, 96% polyester, 4% Lycra.  It feels very light-weight…almost Tee shirt weight though.

Nice dress! Thanks, I made it!!
Nice dress! Thanks, I made it!!

I cut the fabric pieces out (there are not many – front, back and sleeves) and serged together the side seams for the dress.  But it just didn’t feel right.  So I tried on the sewn together pieces (over my clothes).

It is lovely fabric.  It moves nicely in the breeze.  I love the flower design.


But, as you can see in every photo, the side seams are especially puckered the closer you get to the hem line.  

  • Is the puckering due to my serger tension?  I suppose I could try sewing it carefully on my sewing machine with the proper needle, stitch and tension.  
  • Or perhaps this polyester/lycra is not the right fabric for making this dress?  The suggested fabrics are many, including crepe and synthetic jersey.  Not that I ever follow suggestions. 😉
  • Or maybe this fabric is stretching too much in the length due to its weight and is being held back by the side seams, causing the puckering?  Perhaps sewing in the elastic waist band properly will hold the fabric up.

So what do you think?  Should I keep on with this lovely fabric?  Or should I stop before I am too far committed (and end up wasting it all)?  

I do have other fabrics I can use for this vintage dress pattern – wovens and knits.  I do have other patterns I can use with this flowery fabric too.  Let me know your thoughts!

In the meantime, here is the last of my #mmmay15 posts.  I had a lot of fun organizing and planning my makes this year.  As a bonus this #mmmay15, I have filled some gaps in my wardrobe, and learned how to take photos of myself with my tripod!  I think I do much better if I don’t try to smile at the camera.  (There is no one to smile at!)  Now I know why fashion models gaze off into the distance.  So, Thank you So, Zo…What do you know? for organizing #mmmay15 every year!

I hope you are enjoying #mmmay15 too!  Be sure to give me some input on my dress dilemma!  

Happy Sewing!

39 thoughts on “I’m “sitting on the fence” with this one… (and my #mmmay15 final post)

  1. I think you should sew a test seam in a scrap to check your tension as that’s my guess. If it looks OK, though, perhaps it is the weight/how it’s hanging. You mentioned that it’s lightweight though so I’m not sure that it’s heavy enough to make those puckers. Definitely keep going with it because the fabric is beautiful and seeing as you’ve all already cut it to shape you can’t just leave it! Well done on MMM too! Lovely outfits.

    1. Yes, I will do a test seam with it. This time I will properly set up my sewing machine. My serger is old, it is harder to adjust. Thanks for the input and the compliment!

  2. Since the top half of the side seams looks ok, I’d take out the puckered areas, press them flat and sew them with a regular machine and see if they will hang any straighter. In the olden days, before sergers were available, we stitched seams in knits and then tugged on them to make the cotton thread pop and then went back and stitched the popped/skipped areas. With polyester thread that doesn’t happen but it can stretch due to the speed and then when it relaxes, it puckers. Are you using a 4 thread set-up? Maybe a 3 thread would work better. Make a small sample from the scraps to check to see if there is any difference and slow down and keep even tension on the long runs all the way down to the hem.

    1. I am using polyester thread with a four thread set up on my serger. Sounds like my serger is not the best thing to use right now? I have lots of fabric so I will try the three speed set up too, then the sewing machine. I love it… “Slow down” that is always useful advice! I’m glad I put the brakes on completely before I ruined everything!

  3. I love your MMM makes, you have some amazing outfits there. I have had similar puckering problems over the years, and I always think it’s tension. I’ll bet that someone has the proper solution, but I would suggest that you try it on your sewing machine with a ball point needle and tension adjustment.

    1. Thank you! Gosh, now that you mention it, I don’t think my serger needles have been checked in a while. It is an old machine and quite a work horse. I am leaning towards using my sewing machine to test scraps as I can control the thread, speed, tension, and needles on it better.

  4. Some lovely clothes! Especially the red cardi. Is it the lemoncello?
    Puckering….. it’ll be your differential feed on your serger. I’d cut off the seams, and start again – it looks big enough to loose an inch. 😀

    1. Thank you, Thimberlina! The cardigan is a mix of two views on Butterick B 5789. I posted about it on “I (heart) red”, if you or anyone else would like to see more. My serger is so old the differential feed is probably stuck on “let’s blast through this seam”. That’s the cure, let’s get a new serger!

      1. Can’t beat steam! I got mine for my over locker for my 21st so it’s knocking on a bit too! New ones look a bit fancy these days, and do all sorts! Let’s go shopping!! 😃

        1. Oh man! I only wish! How could I pull that off! Maybe I could sneak it in the house in my purse – like my sister did with our new kitten when I was a youngster… And my husband wouldn’t even notice a new machine. He would notice a new kitten. I have to stop buying fabric, I think, and I could save for a new serger/over locker instead!

          1. Haha, sneaking a kitty in! Me & my big sister once swapped a ride on our bikes for a small grass snake, that didn’t go down too well either! You need a smoke screen, something to distract him from a shiny new serger. I’ve starting trawling ebay for something a bit newer. 😀

              1. It didn’t go down well and we had to re-home it quite quickly!

  5. Hi, Linda! Think you might have it with your last suggestion, about fabric stretch. As I can’t feel that fabric, can’t say for sure. Maybe you can look at your serger stitching to check it. If it looks the right tension at the top, I’d suspect it’s length-pull (just made that up, so don’t try to google it!). Or the grain of the fabric went wonky on that section of the knit. Sorry, don’t mean to toss another problem into the pot. I like your first saying, and might be time to implement for this pattern, along with further investigation. Don’cha hate this sort of interruption? Know I do! Good luck! 😘

    1. Definitely, thanks for the input! I sort of counted my votes and I got lots of ideas to try out. I think I’m sold on what a brat my ancient serger is being with this fabric. Time to properly set up my sewing machine and take it easy with this delicate fabric. Hopefully the grain will be okay going slow with the sewing machine instead.

      1. Can you try a new ballpin needle?

        1. I don’t know if I can on the serger, but I definitely can on the sewing machine!

          1. Am no expert on either sewing this kind of fabric, nor sergers, but you might give it a try! (Should be able to on that serger – mine is aaancient, but the needles change.) Come to think of it, probably don’t have a ballpin for it. Hmmm….. grin-grin!

            1. I think it is about time I took a good look at the condition of my serger too. Just to realize what it can do or not. Thank heavens my sewing machine is top notch for me.

              1. Must confess every time I get out my serger, the manual comes with it, ’cause I know I’m gonna need it! Highly recommend if yours hasn’t been serviced in a bit, consider sending it off “to the spa.” Mine was like a new machine when it came back.

  6. Hi. Well, I’m not a Sewist, so I don’t have any suggestions on how to fix the seams not puckering, my suggestion, the fabric is soooooo beautiful, I would save the fabric for another pattern instead of getting in too deep. Let us know of your decision. Your fellow blogging Sewists may know how to fix the seam issue. You couldn’t put a strip of something along the inside seam???

    1. Thank you for commenting. I would think any level of sewist (don’t you love how spellcheck changed that to sexist) might like to read all the suggestions these helpful people have offered. I have lots of tips now and lots of scrap fabric and yes, I do have a stabilizer I can use, perhaps my Wondertape, if the going gets rough! I think this week is going to be spent practicing seams with my serger and my sewing machine on my scrap fabric, and some cutting out of other projects. I will definitely show my results next weekend!

  7. i’m thinking the fabric might be to heavy? what kind is it…maybe try it in a different fabric before you become too invested, if it works fine in the other fabric then it’s the fabric, if you have the same issues with the other fabric, then keep going and maybe it’ll get better with the belt you’re talking about?!?!?

    1. The fabric certainly does seem heavy, doesn’t it, by the time it gets full length! I am going to try one more time with these tips before I give up (or should I say “change my mind”). I know my serger is old and quite possibly might destroy this fabric, so I will practice this week with both serger and sewing machine, then I will switch to another fabric. (Apparently, I am just as stubborn, as I am too fast, with my projects!). Thanks for reading and commenting! 😄

  8. I see the recommendation often to sew knits with a zig-zag stitch, length about same as regular stitch and very narrow width. I tried it on a knit and it was a pretty nice seam, which I only believed after I saw it. Also keeps seams in stretchy knits from breaking. The fabric is sooo pretty! Don’t make the dress too long. I am short, and when hems are too long I look like a stump! Knee length or shorter seems like it would be good for you, too. I’d keep working on this dress in that fabric. But I especially love blue.

    1. Yes, I thought I could just pop it off on my serger, but I think this time I will have better control if I use my sewing machine with all its needle choices, tension adjustments, and stitch choices. My serger is old and doesn’t have too many options. I do love the fabric! The length shown is the length of the pattern piece! I have to shorten all my tops, pants and skirts. This will definitely be too long as is. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  9. As far as fabric goes, I have always followed the “words of the wise” written on the back of the pattern as my knowledge of fabric was always a little iffy even when my sewing skills were at their best. Now, if memory serves, when I made the wedding dress before putting the elastic waist in it looked like a bag. I made it with the long sleeves but it was not sewn with the use of a serger so I am with those who suggest that the serger may have something to do with the seam pucker. I also agree it is definitely beautiful material though.

    1. You did a lovely job when you made up this dress. And you did use the correct fabric. I, on the other hand, tend NOT to do as I am told and either suffer the consequences or learn something new! 😄. I guess the jury’s out on this one yet! I’m going to see what my sewing machine has to offer me too!

  10. FYI once I am done singing “I’m a little teapot” so I can get those measurements correct. I have finally picked a pattern for my son’s wedding. While I was at it, I also found a couple other patterns that I am going to ask my favourite seamstress sister to sew for me so I can have some new duds.

    1. No problem Sis, bring it on. I will blog about everything, you know, except your Mom of the Groom dress. That will be a secret until after the ceremony. Looking forward to it! And for everyone else… The “I’m a little teapot” comment has such a back story, it should have its own blog post! 😃

  11. Love the fabric!! It is stunning, and so worth the extra effort it requires. I’ve had the pucker problem before and ended up using the stretch stitch on my sewing machine (it’s a combo straight stitch and zigzag mash up) with a ‘jersey’ needle and things improved. I’ve had limited success with my serger (also old)….it was always so hard to adjust! So, i sort of gave up on it and just use my machine now. I love your MM photos. That red cardigan is stunning.

    1. Thank you for the tip! Nice to know I’m not the only one with the “dinosaur”! My sewing machine is much newer and has more choices. I think that cardigan is my favourite. I made another one before that but it didn’t have proper sleeve pieces so it was not as useful.

  12. I agree with the other comments to be very safe about it I would unpick it and use a ballpoint 70/10 needle in your sewing machine to redo the side seams. I also think because of the stretchy nature of this knit that Ali is right and you can probably take in the side seams too. Maybe just cut off the serging and resew both sides without unpicking!! That would be a fast fix;)

    If you have extra fabric to play around with I can tell you that you may need to adjust the tension of your threads as well as maybe the pressor foot tension, definitely need to adjust the differential feed on stretchy fabric, adjust them just a tad bit to the gathered icon(maybe a tiny bit up from your N setting like a 1.25 or 1.5…. pushing the fabric together slightly so it doesn’t stretch) Also besides adjusting all the tensions I just mentioned I would definitely also change your needles to two ballpoints 70/10’s.

    Good luck I love the fabric it is so pretty and worth playing around with 🙂
    Beautiful clothes in your wardrobe. Great Me Made May Challenge 🙂

    1. I might try unpicking the lower portion of the seams first, before cutting it off, as I am just that crazy! I do have lots more of this fabric, even more than scraps so I am going to have to practice with the tension. The needles are going to definitely be changed. Hopefully my serger co-operates or I’m going to start practicing with my sewing machine. I know it can do this job right with all its modern options! Thanks for the help and the compliments!

  13. You and Thimberlina should definitely go shopping together 😉 I like the idea…

    1. I know right, we could be devious together!!

  14. I made a dress from the very same fabric. It has some pulling down along the side seams right at the bottom of the skirt. Although it does not seem like a heavy fabric, it’s structure makes it want to droop. I think the longer the garment, the more the droopy seams with this fabric. I didn’t use a serger and the seams don’t have puckers, but hanging, it’s droopy. Pretty, but droopy.

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