Still “sitting on the fence”!

Last week I came to a grinding halt sewing up my First Vintage Pattern.  You can read about it here, if you like.  It’s a McCall’s 7238 from 1980.

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

I wanted to use a special fabric for this special dress. After all, the last time this pattern was used it was to make my sister’s wedding dress!  I found a beautiful flowered print in my fabric stash – a Misty Stretch ITY Slub Jersey Knit, 96% polyester, 4% Lycra.  Unfortunately, although the fabric drapes well, it is as light as the finest tee shirt material.

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

I ended up having so much difficulty sewing the side seams, I almost gave up.  My serger chewed up the fabric and when I switched to my sewing machine, it skipped stitches.  This lead to seams that were not great at the start and ended up being a puckered mess at the finish.  After all the support and suggestions from my fellow sewing bloggers, I had some great tips to try:

  • change my needles to Jersey 70/10 needles;
  • use my serger with 3 threads, not 4;
  • adjust the thread tension;
  • use a different fabric;
  • adjust the differential feed;
  • use different stitch choices – a stretch stitch;
  • use a stabilizer for the seams.

Using a long narrow zig zag stitch was close, but still pulled a little and left some gaps.  My stretch stitch was close too but the fabric was too slippery.  Then I remembered my chiffon top posted a few weeks ago and dug out my Wonder Tape.  I used a Jersey 70/10 needle and Wonder Tape, zig zagged it first (stretching the fabric as I sewed) and then used my stretch stitch – and a lot of patience!

I then hemmed up my sleeves and my hem with single fold bias tape.


And used double fold bias tape to make a casing for my waist elastic.  Sorry, I pressed the tape flat after taking this shot.


The end result?  Seams with negligible puckering, I think.

… funny shot of me trying to see my side seams!

I fell in love with this fabric because of the flowery print.  With some help and much practice and perseverance, I have a lovely dress.  Unfortunately, I am still sitting on the fence about it – it feels like I am wearing a really light long tee shirt.  I was just talking to Sewing with Scooby Snacks about choosing the right fabric for a project.  I’m not sure I did with this one.  What do you think?  Do you have a summer dress that feels like tee shirt material?


Well my First Vintage sewing pattern is done!  I’m going to keep my eyes open for my next one.

In the meantime, it is Indie Pattern Month at the Monthly Stitch and I have some fabric, notions and patterns I want to sew up – a Sewaholic Hollyburn, a Sewaholic Oakridge, and … I was so excited to get my Islander Sewing Systems MotorCity Express Jacket in the mail.  I am already half way through Janet Pray’s course that accompanies it, Crafty’s Sew Better, Sew Faster:  Smart Construction.  There is no way I am going to get all three finished this month for Indie Pattern Month, and possibly not one of them will be finished in time for the contests, but I do love Indie Pattern Month for introducing me to new pattern makers!

Happy Sewing!


20 thoughts on “Still “sitting on the fence”!

  1. That’s a really pretty dress. Sorry to hear that it was a bear to sew. The tape solution is one that I am going to nick. 🙂 You look very Summery in that floral. X

    1. Thank you! The print is lovely! (The sewing not so…)

  2. Do I have a summer dress that feels like tee shirt material? Hmmm. No. I really don’t like wearing dresses. I hate wearing sausage casings, sorry “nylons” in the summer (or any other time). I read a quote from millionaire gently-worn-clothing entrepreneur, who wrote “Girl Boss,” she said (paraphrasing) why wear fashion if you don’t feel good? You have to feel good in what you wear. I have a lot of summer Capri pants which I will dress with light or knitted blouses. It has to be a very special occasion–birthday, anniversary, wedding etc. then I’ll wear a dress.

    Again, you have an eye for beautiful fabrics. If you don’t feel comfortable with the dress because it’s light-weight could you make it into a blouse? I want to know the size of your closet. It must be huge? 😊 Looking forward to next week’s post.

    1. Well since we are being honest here. I don’t like nylons neither, nor pale legs, nor tanning. I hunt down fake tan cream in the drug store and put just a bit on. I agree with the Girl Boss author, you have to feel good. You might just see this dress as a top next Me Made May. I can’t part with the print but I am not fond of the weight of the fabric… Which btw was an on line purchase which I saw and bought, without touching first. 😐 Thank you for your compliments!

  3. I think you look great in that dress but if it doesn’t feel right you may have to give it away. Otherwise you’ll be forever creeping around with that “something is wrong” look on your face. Life is full of enough things to make us crazy, our clothes shouldn’t be one of them! 😉

    1. Well put! You should have SEEN the number of photos I took with my tripod trying to get a good shot! There always seemed to be something wrong. Perhaps that is why! It’s like when people wear a certain fashion because everyone is and they spend their time hiking at it and grimacing! Thanks for your thoughts!

  4. Ah, I’ve a few of those on-line purchases, too. I do have a too-light summer shift which got immediately transitioned to bed wear, and I now have a matching pair of pants. Unexpectedly, the pants have been great at-home wear during this transitional hot-cool weather. All summer dresses are shifts, as I abhor anything tight when that heat/humidity arrives.
    Love your print… could you squeeze shorts out of that skirt, just for relaxing at home? The finished dress does look marvellous, but understand if you’re not comfy wearing it. Think you’re wonderful to have stuck with this difficult fabric for so long! 💕💕

    1. I probably could get shorts out of the skirt part too. It’s a lot of fabric. I’d be afraid to leave the house due to the fabric’s lightness, but we have been getting high humidity and the temperature was 27 C yesterday, more expected for the week. (I have been known for my stubbornness – that’s probably why I love to sew!)

      1. Wouldn’t dare wear my outfit out of the house either, but it’s super for inside.

  5. I like your solution to the puckered seams I do think it is lying a lot flatter and I think the finished dress is pretty on you.
    I just took a chance and ordered a bunch of fabric online at the prices were great but hopefully I am not disappointed in the weight, feel and drape etc

    1. Thanks, there were a lot of last week’s tips that were put to good use! Good luck with your purchases. I like when they say “suitable for…”.

  6. Lovely! 🙂

  7. Gorgeous fabric! Well done for persevering!

  8. I’m liking the fabric, and well done for your perseverance! It’s really paid off😀

    1. Thank you! (Is it perseverance or stubbornness?)

  9. It’s lovely on you, and I’m excited to see your new jacket soon! 😀

    1. Thank you, the jacket is going to be slow going, but I’ll get there!

  10. Glad you found a way to finish your dress, but it’s too bad you don’t love it. When I made a dress with that fabric i underlined it with a similar weight, but softer fabric. I wanted something softer next to my skin and didn’t want to wear a slip. It turned out ok, but I swear the dress grows longer every time I wear it. 🙂

    1. Darn, I was afraid of that! Sometimes you just can’t win!

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