denim workhorse

December 9, 2011

I have made a lot of these dresses. They are comfortable, easy to wear, and easy to make! (The pattern is a slightly adjusted version of the schoolhouse tunic.)

I usually take over a spot in the house to lay out the fabric. My current favorite is the floor in the bedroom. I place the pattern down and trace it onto the fabric with a chalk spreader tool.

Then cut the fabric…baste, and sew. Below are the sleeves, basted and ready to pin into the bodice.

I really enjoy the process of pinning the sleeves. I have found that fabric is much more malleable than I would think, and pinning the sleeves allows for all kinds of adjustments and refinements.

I started sewing the bodice with blue thread, but it was the wrong color, and so I switched to orange. The contrast was pretty with the dark blue.

I hemmed the bottom of the dress and sleeves by turning the material inside out. I actually have enough fabric to make another dress with the reverse side out, and I might do that. I had a hard time deciding between the dark and light sides of the fabric..

The hem at the bottom of the dress was a little funny, and so I added some tucks around to even out the seam. I guess that they add character..

Today was beautiful. Misty, and almost rainy in the morning, then breezy, cool, and sunny all day. I was working at home, and wearing this dress, which I made a few months ago, but haven’t been able to wear.

This dress makes me feel like baking bread, or picking apples. Or roasting pumpkins. Things to look forward to!

The pattern came from a garage sale, and was a little bit too small. So I added a bit of fabric to different spots, experimenting to increase the size.

┬áThe fabric is cheap flannel. There is something satisfying about making a dress for $12, plus time. I am hoping that the flannel will hold up to a little bit of wear though…you pay for what you get!

The front of the dress is gathered, and I added some fabric there to increase the size. I also changed the placket a little, and had to adjust it quite a bit more when I realized that the lines of the pattern weren’t matching up well…something more to worry about with plaids!

The sleeves are long, but need to be worn pushed up past the elbows. Otherwise there is just too much green going on! I never put buttons on the cuffs, and if I push them past my elbows and then pull some extra fabric down they seem to hold up well enough.

The pockets are awfully handy. They are conveniently located on the front of the dress, and can hold quite a number of things. The only problem is that the fabric isn’t too strong, and I am worried about the corners of the pockets tearing. I suppose I should have put some interfacing on the underside of the dress for reinforcement, but I didn’t think of that while I was making the dress.

The back is simple, with a bit of shaping at the neck. I was hesitant about putting that in, but I did anyways, and it seemed to work out all right. Again, I was having a little trouble adjusting the fabric so that the lines matched. I am going to need to be a little more vigilant about that!

 

another kanga dress

August 17, 2011

Sometimes I am completely surprised by a piece of fabric. When I received the package of kanga fabric from my sister and her mother, there was one piece that I was pretty sure I wouldn’t make something out of…it wasn’t my style, etc, etc. The funny thing is, as I kept on looking at it, and adjusting how it was folded, and washing and drying and ironing it, I was inspired to make a dress that might be one of my favorites. Funny how that works.

When I started thinking about this one, I had an image in my head, with strong borders at both the top and bottom. A loose fit for warm weather, an open neck, and maybe pockets. Simple and comfortable.

I messed up and made the neck to wide, and had to insert strips of fabric to shorten it. The plus side was that the added strips made the neckline more sturdy.

My favorite part might be the border at the bottom. I sewed on an extra layer of fabric, so that it would keep with the heavy feeling of the thick mango border. One of my favorite things to do is hand stitch the hem. It creates a nice finish, and the length of the dress is exactly as it should be!

The sleeves were cuffed by folding back the border and making a little stitch into the layers of fabric to hold them in place. It was a bit makeshift and messy, but in keeping with the simplicity of the dress.