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Made by a Fabricista: Striped Shirtdress


I'd be willing to generalize that it's been a rough month for most of us, especially black people in America. All of our lives were already disrupted by COVID-19 and the threat of murder hornets loomed then the murder of George Floyd (closely following the murders of Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery) brought police brutality and this country's history of race relations to the forefront. I'd be lying if I said that all of this didn't have an effect on my sewjo. Sewing is usually something that I can enjoy and use to bring me up when I'm down, but honestly I was so overwhelmed with a variety of emotion that I had to take break from sewing for a few weeks.

Several (non-poc) sewists reached out to me during this time and I truly appreciated it. Almost all wanted to let me know that they acknowledged and agreed with IG posts and stories I'd shared (@TipStitched). Some just wanted to see if I was ok considering "everything that was going on". This was something I found hard to respond to because I believed they were genuinely concerned. I wasn't ok, but honestly I'm never 100% ok because I face racism (and sexism) most days I leave my house whether they are microaggressions or overt statements or actions. Sadly it's a fact that I, like many people of color, accept and adapt to. So for me the only difference was the amount of attention and the public conversation surround racism due to the recent events. I'd say most comments that I came across on social media were positive in my circle, but there were so many hateful and ignorant statements made on larger national accounts that I became disheartened.

Balancing when to keep scrolling and when to speak out is tiring, even here in this post I feel I need to wrap up and get to the sewing because someone may be offended by my words or feel that I'm overreacting or spending to much time talking about race because after all this is a sewing blog. So I'll end this portion by saying I can't separate being a black woman from being a sewist, an engineer,a wife or a mom. For better or worse being black has shaped my life experiences from school to my career, from how I wear my hair to how I speak and from where I vacation to what I wear.


Lastly I'd like to share a few IG accounts that I think are great to follow because of their work in calling for equality in the sewing/maker community @Blkmakersmatter, @meetmakersofcolor, @bipocsewcialists, @bipocmakers. We all need to work towards and call for equality in our beloved sewing community and make all feel welcome.



On to my latest make...In my March post I talk about my love of shirtdresses and the lack of them in my wardrobe so I'm back with another one. This more classic shirtdress is Simplicity 8830, a Mimi G for Simplicity pattern that came out last year. The box pleat pockets, the epaulets and the narrow cuffs all really stood out to me.


I chose this striped, cotton shirting which is similar to the fabric used on the pattern envelope - something I usually don't do, but it's such a classic look. This shirting has a crisp hand and is opaque. It was a pleasure to sew, even the buttonholes! Unfortunately this particular fabric is sold out, but there are several other shirtings (some striped) here. I also used these gold metal buttons by Milly. You can grab some here for just $1 for a dozen 5/8" buttons.



I'm often drawn to striped fabrics and I've used it in a variety of ways (vertical, horizontal and on the bias). Sewing striped pieces can be a pain if you care about your stripes matching, but as long as you follow the four P's you'll be fine...plan, place, pin and patience.


Plan your overall look. What direction are the stripes on your fabric and which direction do you want the on your garment? Do you want to play with the orientation?  With this dress I knew I wanted the stripes to be vertical like the fabric. I wanted the pockets to stand out so I considered cutting them on the bias, but decided to cut them horizontally. Unfortunately I didn't put much thought in the back so I cut the back yoke wrong, even though the stripes line up well. So don't forget to plan out look and mark your pieces if necessary.


Place your pattern pieces on the fabric carefully. Single layer cutting is best for control because the fabric often shifts when folded over. When cutting vertical stripes be sure to line the grain arrow up with a stripe to ensure you piece isn't skewed and you don't end up looking like the leaning tower of Pisa. In my opinion lining up stripes at the side seams isn't necessary, though you may want to check to see if a if the back or front main seam is centered on a stripe for symmetry sake. For horizontal seams like my back yoke/back seam you can match the notches or the center front or back seam lines to make sure there's not break in the stripes. When cutting horizontal stripes I try to line up the waist line or lengthened/shortened line with a stripe to make sure the stripes are perpendicular to the grainline. Also depending on how picky you want to be about your side seams (or any vertical seams) you want to line the same stripe up with the same line for each piece.



Pin, pin, pin your pieces together when sewing. The more pins the better to keep all your stripes line up. Depending on the width of the stripes I may pin every other or every fourth stripe. If the stripes aren't equal I pin the narrower of the stripes. If it's a knit fabric I've heard a walking foots helps (I don't have one) to keep the tension in both fabrics equal.

Patience is important! I typically don't consider striped projects to be quick turnarounds. I don't pick anything with stripes to make the day before an event. Take your time, take a break, step away if necessary. Rushing typically means you're going to miss something or you will spend a good bit of time with your seam ripper



I hope those tips help you on your next stripe project!

Until next month...

Tiffany
TipStitched



Comments

  1. Love that dress! So classy--and thanks for adding the matching tips.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. I think the gold buttons classed it up a bit.

      Delete
  2. BEAUTIFUL! Thank you for posting!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Tiffany,

    Thank you for sharing your story and the challenges you face daily. You are an inspiration to all women and you have so many gifts to share with the world. Your dress is fantastic and I love the tips you shared.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thank you for your opening comments. Please keep doing you. I am so sorry all of this is exhausting. I feel so fortunate to be in your audience.

    That dress is the bees knees. It really says summer, but is so professional, it would work everywhere. The mini tutorial on stripes is MUCH appreciated. And a perfect button choice, yes!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! It really is very exhausting.

      I love how versatile this turned out to be. Good luck on your future stripe projects.

      Delete
  5. Hi Tiffany,
    Words cannot express the disappointment and anxiousness I feel for our nation and especially people of color. When will this nonsense end? Thank you for sharing your thoughts!
    Also, the dress is stunning and you look gorgeous in it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I certainly hope it ends in my lifetime, but I'm pretty sure that was the wish of my parents and their parents.

      Thank you!

      Delete
  6. Thanks for sharing your personal experiences during this difficult time. I sincerely hope that we will see a huge shift in our society towards true equality and that every citizen can feel safe. Your dress is amazing! I love every aspect of it. You did a fantastic job with those stripes!

    ReplyDelete

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