For my make for early Summer (which I am publishing now in late summer!), I decided that I really liked the looks of some of the beautiful Hawaiian designer lawns that Fabric Mart carries.
I saw florals and lines and quirky prints, but eventually I decided to go with an abstract print (dotted to look like landscapes--here is another color still available) in blues and aquas.
I also wanted to use a bit of the leftover to make my daughter something so we could do a somewhat matchy-match on our Epcot Day in Florida in August.
I was stuck on what to make. I love lawn dresses for summer, and knew it would be a dress, but had no idea what pattern. I didn't want it too loose so it looked like a sack, but too tight and it would have been MISERABLE in the humid hot sun of central Florida in August. Eventually I decided on McCall"s 7712, a pretty little frock with ease and kangaroo pockets (I had plans to do it earlier this summer and it wasn't a perfect fit for the project, so it worked here). It also looked fairly easy to make, which is a plus! The seaming also meant I had room to grade out from a small in the bust and shoulders to a medium/large in the waist and hips. The end product fit very well because I had so many seams to play with.
This pattern has four variations, and I decided to keep it simple and went with view B. No need for flounce and ruffle at an amusement park. (Plus, I had already done a dress with ruffles earlier this summer!)
From the side you can see that with the grading out from shoulder and bust (small) to the waist and hips (medium and large), I get a dress that skims my curves fairly well. I will say that I would have preferred a bit more of an a-line naturally built into the skirt, but I understand not all body types need that, so I just have to make my shift/sheath dresses work for me better by doing my own shaping.
I do admit to some annoyance with the pockets. I feel that they feature too long of an opening and sort of flop around. The pockets also flop a bit on the inside, too. I think I need to close up the openings a bit, and use a few small stitches to attach the pockets together on the inside. I have another one of these dresses cut out (also in an Hawaiian lawn) and I am going to forego the pockets altogether, even though I cut them out.
The back fits fairly well, especially around the bottom and upper thighs, but there is a bit of pulling on the waist. I think I need to do a swayback adjustment, but to be clear, I wasn't disappointed in the fit, and it isn't like people (even sewers) notice if the back in one place doesn't fit perfectly. ;-)
CW's skirt took me exactly one hour to make, and that was me putzing around a bit. It's so easy to do...
1. Cut a bit of fabric to the length you want the skirt to be (I did 22" so it would have an inch for the hem and an inch for the elastic waistband). You don't need to cut the width. This fabric was 44" wide, and it was perfect as it gathered very nicely with the elastic waistband. If you want to do this and your hips are bigger than say 34", use fabric that is between 54" and 60".
2. Once cut, sew the back seam up (I just use the selvedges and serge it up exactly that width, which is typically 5/8"). Press.
3. Hem to an inch. I use hem tape (the SewkeysE - Clear Double Sided Fusible Stay Tape is my favorite for this) and it makes the process so easy. I use a dry iron to apply the hem tape and then peel off the backing. I then fold the hem up an inch over the tape and then dry iron that, as well. It is then super easy to sew an inch hem on the machine (I typically will go to 3/4", though, with the machine).
4. Fold over the waistband an inch (I use the paper left over from the tape used on the hem as my measuring tape). I press as I fold, and then pin. After pressing the whole waistband, ensure you have pinned all the waistband except for three inches or so (I usually leave opening towards the back). Sew the whole waistband with a 3/4" seam allowance (if using a 1/2" elastic). Start where the opening is and end where the other side of the opening is, as well.
5. Measure the waist and adjust elastic length to the wearer's desired preference. Some people prefer a tighter fit, while someone with the same size waist will prefer a looser fit. My daughter has about a 22" waist and I believe I used a 18.5" waist elastic measurement, so enough to cinch in and stay put, but not super tight, either. (I added a 1/2" seam allowance to allow for the closing of the waistband detailed in the next step.)
6. Place a large safety pin at end of elastic and thread it through the waistband casing you just made. Pull elastic through, ensuring that the elastic doesn't twist as it is thread through. When you have reached the other opening, test again to make sure the elastic is in flat. I then attach the two ends with the safety pin. I then pin with a regular pin the ends together, and sew the two ends of the elastic shut. After that, the elastic is in place and you have a nearly complete skirt. I always stretch it out here a few times to adjust gathers, etc.
7. At this point all that is needed it to close the opening. I recommend pulling the elastic and trying to follow your previous stitching line as closely as possible. I don't recommend sewing over the elastic, so try very hard to stay close to your original stitching line. When done, you should have a wearable skirt!
(I recognize that some of you like visuals, so here is a great tutorial on how to make the skirt I described above.)
Okay, now for some obligatory photos of us wearing our cute outfits at Disney!
|CW and I at the pier at Disney's Beach Club/Yacht Club resorts. We stayed there but never took the boat (I am a walker and we walked everywhere).|
|CW and I enjoying a Norwegian feast at Norway. She met a lot of princesses. At the beginning she deemed she was too old, but as soon as they started parading about, her elder status went away. Ha. ;-)|
Okay, that's it for now. I hope you all enjoyed wearing your summer makes this summer.
I have some back to school sewing now, and I am pretty sure you'll see it here! So be on the lookout!
Dina, My Superfluities.