Friday, August 19, 2011

The Making of...the Claire Dress

Well, I'm taking a short break from surgery recovery to present my first big sewing project in about a year!

I originally intended to make a different dress with this material but when I asked Autumn if she liked a particular pattern, she picked this dress instead. It looked simple so I figured what the heck. Most of the dress was easy enough. I had a little trouble assembling the sleeves but if I do this dress again, I think I understand how they are supposed to be constructed. Fortunately, it isn't readily apparent that there's a problem.

The one thing that did concern me going into this project was that it required shirring. The booklet came with a tutorial and another blog I read also has a good tutorial so I thought I could figure it out. And I did but not without some serious trouble. Here are my practice scraps:

I absolutely could not get the fabric to shir. After quite a bit of looking online, I found out that my particular sewing machine doesn't shir. At all. Something about the tension being wrong with this particular drop in bobbin. So I was kind of stuck for a while until I remembered that I still had my grandmother's embroidery machine. The sewing machine part of it is intact (the embroidery unit is missing parts) so I got it out and was able to shir with no trouble! Got it the first try.

You can see the shirring goes around the sleeves and waistline as well as the neckline. I don't exactly know why, but the neckline was too big even after shirring. I'm not sure if it is because Autumn is very thin (I did the size 4 length and size 3 width) or if I simply cut the neckline out wrong but the dress kept slipping off. After some thinking, I decided to go ahead and add another line of shirring and then I folded over the top of the neckline to form a casing for some thin elastic.

The dress has a twirl factor of about 2, haha. But that didn't stop Autumn from trying. I think the next one I make for her will be a twirly dress.

All in all, I am pretty happy with how the project turned out!

Next project: laminated cotton placemats.

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