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.
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.
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.
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!