considered closet 2022: buttonholes and perfectionism
My old sewing machine did amazing buttonholes. While my new (vintage Singer) sewing machine is better at many things, its buttonholes are rubbish, and I don't love making them by hand. I think that's what was preventing me from diving into making the dress above: the two buttonholes-as-drawstring-openings right in the center front of the dress. That and doubting I could get the drawstring channel to look good on the right side. Silly me. Neither the buttonholes nor the drawstring channel are perfect, but they look just fine and were far easier to sew than I expected. I will definitely be making this dress again, but I need to save my pennies for something like this or this or even this.
The dress pattern is 3c. Drawstring Dress from Simple Modern Sewing in Robert Kaufman Essex Yarn Dyed Linen in the color Spice. It's a heavier weight fabric, so this dress will be perfect for late fall and spring when the temperatures hover around 50-60 degrees. While the fit and fabric work, they are slightly too heavy for the pattern. I'm also a little concerned about how the dress will wash and dry; my other items in Essex Yarn Dyed Linen have shrunk just a little. So why did I use this particular fabric? Well, it's basically a muslin because of the color, which is fine from a distance, but up close it's--I hesitate to use this word, but--awful. Something about the bright creamsicle orange warp and the coffee brown weft is an assault on the eyes, which the above pictures aren't able to capture. Z bursts out laughing every time she sees the dress and comments on the awfulness of the fabric. My plan (so many plans!) is to dye the whole thing with blue dye, hoping to achieve a different, more muted brown. I'll dye a swatch first, just to be sure I like what I'm getting.
It's an intermediate pattern, as most of the patterns in the book: a cinch for someone who's made many garments, but not ideal for someone's first experience with sleeves or garment construction. I used thread again to mark the darts and other important bits of the pattern, which worked really well. The buttonholes at the front drawstring opening took very little time and look neater than I'd hoped. My only struggle was where the back and front shoulder/neckline overlapped. One side looked perfect, but I had to rip out and tweak the second side a few times to get it to match. A future iteration would be easier to execute with a traditional shoulder seam, rather than the lapped version. I top stitched the facing at the neckline right after attaching it, but it still wants to flip up. The pattern recommends whipstitching it to the wrong side of the garment, but I may just tack it down in a few places. I've not shared this before, but I invested in a decent rotary cutter and clear ruler earlier in the year, which has been a game-changer for cutting long, even strips of fabric (like the drawstring). Another new-to-me (and why-did-I-just-start-using-this!?!) tool is a hem gauge, which made the the sleeve and skirt hems tidy and even.