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Made By A Fabricista: Everything Can't Be a Winner


Hi All-

I hope you are well.  For this month's post, I decided to make something out of linen.  When I saw this shade of green linen online, I thought it would be a perfect choice for the summer. I must admit that I wasn't 100% confident with my choice of fabric, because I was super concerned about the wrinkle factor and how my ultimate garment would look.  I wanted to do a really classic button down dress and thought McCall's M7623, View A would accomplish the look I had in mind.


Prior to cutting my fabric, I read an article on Craftsy related to how to pre-treat your fabric. For linen, it said to wash the fabric and finished garment in hot water and dry it in a hot dryer.  It said that it would soften the garment up.  After washing the fabric, I did notice that it softened up a lot and completely lost the stiff feeling.  I have a habit of emptying out the lint trap in my dryer very often and had done so prior to placing my fabric in.  After the fabric was dry, I was super surprised at the amount of lint that accumulated in the lint trap afterwards.  However, I did not find this fabric linty to work with at all.


So let's talk about the pattern.  Usually, I look beyond the pattern cover and look at the potential for what the pattern could be.  Besides the sleeves on the pattern, I really thought M7623 would accomplish the classic button down dress I was going for, something similar to dresses my mom wore back in the day.  Unfortunately, this combo of pattern, fabric mixes, and fit missed the mark completely.  Instead I feel that I achieved more of an old school airline stewardess look, LOL.


I modified the sleeves to create more of a puff sleeve, by cutting the short sleeve pattern piece in the largest size and gathering it around the cap and lower half of the sleeve.  I used the cuff for the long sleeve and copied the split from the long sleeve pattern piece onto the shorter sleeve.  I considered using grommets and faux leather strips to lace up the side of the sleeve, but since I saw the dress going in the wrong direction I made buttonholes instead of investing the time in installing the grommets.  I laced the faux leather strip along the buttonholes.


I made the waistband with faux leather and used black 3/4 inch buttons to add contrast.

Since there was not more I could do to improve my dress, I decided not to take it any further and left off the collar.


I know that linen is a great fabric to wear in the summer, but I felt extremely stressed out by the wrinkles, like seriously!  I do not even buy ready-to-wear 100% linen clothing, linen blends yes, especially linen blend tee shirts from Gap (a little less wrinkling).  However, I really wanted to see what it was like to sew with 100% linen.  I don't have a steamer, but I found starch to be my friend when pressing this fabric.  I also learned that you have to be very mindful of the fraying factor with linen.  As a matter of fact, I serged the cut edges of the fabric, before I placed it into the washing machine.

So everything is not always going to be a winner, and this look was not.  In retrospect, I would have selected a completely different pattern, something more casual to use this fabric for, however, that is what sewing is about trial and error.  Nevertheless, I will still proudly wear my dress to work!

Yours Truly,
Tee

Comments

  1. I love sewing with linen and my standard procedure is to wash and dry it 3x to minimize the wrinkling, though you will never lose the wrinkle factor entirely. I like the dress and where you were going with it. However, you're the one wearing it and need to love it!

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    1. Thanks! Yes, definitely. My friend loves linen for traveling because there are no expectations for it to look pressed, lol. I think I will stick with linen blends.

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  2. I think it would be a sensational summer coat over frayed jeans and a white shirt.....

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    1. I really like that idea and can totally see the styling in my head! I wore my dress to work on Monday and it is incredibly comfortable to wear. Based on your suggestion, I am going to remix this and the styling. Thanks!

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  3. you did a good jod but i use cotton to sew tht pattern i like too but had not use it for awhile

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! Yes I think cotton would have been better for this pattern and I have so many other thoughts on what I would have use the linen for instead. Great lessons!

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  4. Replies
    1. Thank you! I really love the color of the fabric.

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  5. I think your dress is really cute and fits you very well, but I do hear you on the wrinkling issue. I thought I had achieved Linen Wrinkles acceptance, but I've lately been concluding that for my personal style the "wrinkled" look comes across more as "crumpled" (read: frumpy). I'm going to try the underlining technique with a lightweight but stable weave fabric (voile, organza, etc), but if that doesn't help I'm afraid I will sadly move on from linen.

    P.S. Like Carolyn, I wash my linen several times. In fact, as an experiment, I washed and dried my last piece until it stopped* throwing off lint - it took eight (!) trips through the laundry. (*To be honest, it never actually stopped linting...it just finally slowed down.) I wanted to show-and-tell about the linting for my ASG group so I saved the lint - a tightly packed gallon-sized plastic bag of it! (BTW, it was FM's designer linen, i.e., the good stuff - purchased on sale, of course.)

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    1. Thank you! Lol at "I thought I achieved Linen Wrinkles acceptance", that made me giggle. Interesting, so I wonder when I wash this dress, will I still see lint. Now I am super curious. I only washed once, but on the longest cycle and longest dry cycle. Great thoughts on some of the things you are going to try.

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  6. I like your dress and think it is very attractive on you but I know we all have our personal preferences.

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  7. That amount of lint is typical, in my opinion. It won't be like that in future washings. My personal choice is to use linen for looser and more casual styles. Then the wrinkles annoy me less.

    That is a lot of a really bold color. One possible rescue would be to open the neckline so there's less of that color near your face, and more of your skin.

    Some of my favorite garments are ones I kept working until I was satisfied. Sometimes a lot of the original fabric hits the floor... but if it rescues a wadder, so be it.

    Kudos for posting a less-than-favorite. We all learn from each other, and from discussions like this.

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    1. Yes, I agree. In retrospect, I would have chosen a looser easy breezy style. Thank you!

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  8. I like the dress a lot. I do see the vague stewardess resemblance, but moving past that trivial detail, this works on you. Just for your emotional side, I'd like to say that a thrifty acquaintance buys retro dresses, stockings and shoes for her own unique style. Literally anything goes, except maybe those 80s shoulders!

    The color is great on you. Above all, enjoy how cool you are on a hot day, since no one is marking you down for wrinkles. Those who know and approve that you're wearing real linen are the ones whose opinions count.

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    1. Thanks Hilary! I definitely felt cool and comfy when I wore this dress in this hot Vegas heat this week!

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  9. Winner, winner, chicken dinner! I love your dress. Perhaps linen is not your thing, but be certain you killed it! It's gorgeous. Give it to a friend and let them show it the love it deserves. Your are so funny.

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    1. Lol, at "winner winner chicken dinner". Thank you! Yes, I think you are right, it definitely boils down to preferences.

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  10. I like this dress a lot! Such a pretty color on you, and the shoes that match are the icing on the cake! I wish I had a solution on the wrinkling issue for you, but I would just bet that the comfort and breathability of linen will eventually win you over.

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    1. Thanks Ann! That is the first time I got to "wear" my shoes, although it was just for pictures this day, lol. Yes, I would say comfort and breathability are winners for me.

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  11. This dress adorable I like the leather accents! Good job!

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