Friday, 12 February 2016

The Maker's Atelier Drawstring Dress and a nifty jersey hemming technique

Following my Maker's Atelier Drawstring top which was a bit of an experiment in style and aesthetic , I went on to make the dress version.  I had a rare invitation for an evening out, the sort of thing which involves a small bar and dance floor.   My usual vintage style cotton dresses don't really cut the mustard for this sort of sartorial occasion and mild panic usual sets in when I realise that I should really get my legs out and stick a pair of kitten heels on.


 I had some  gorgeous slinky bamboo jersey bought locally which had amazing drape qualities plus a suitable belt bought from a charity shop so I thought this dress option would be the ticket.  As with the top,  stylewise it is outside of my comfort zone.  I usually wear A line skirts and avoid belts but sometimes you need to push your soft edges and try something different and I am happy with how this turned out.  It has a grown up elegance which is a hard look for me to achieve- I'm usually more free flowing and bohemian.



The dress pattern is an extended version of the drawstring top but as this fabric was a little thicker than the viscose jersey I used before, I wanted to reduce some of the fullness at the front (the back piece is flat.  Frances includes hacks and adaptation posts on the Journal section of the website so I  used this post, traced the top section only and took a wedge out of the centre front and then joined it onto the traced lower section of the dress, squaring off the bottom edge on the top whilst I did so.  Another change I made was to omit the buttonhole for the drawstring and just have a casing for the neck elastic.

I sewed this on my vintage Bernina 830 record using a walking foot.  The fabric has a little lycra content and is bouncy and resistant to sew with a  standard foot.  The manual comes with an excellent section on stretch stitches and although the machine dates back to 1974, it would be hard to improve upon it today.   Frances suggests a deep hem  for this dress and my first attempt at this was a little puckered: the width of the hem being turned up is narrower than the dress above so it needs to be eased in which lead to bit of a mess that did not improve with pressing.  I consulted my Bernina manual and found a solution...
  

I left the original hem stitching in place and hand basted the lower edge about ½" from the edge.  I then stitched with a slightly longer stitch and with a top thread (green in the picture below) which is held in gentle tension whilst the zig-zag sews over the top of it.  I had to be careful to lift the fabric so it didn't stretch whilst holding the thread.  When the zig-zag is complete, the hem is pressed with a damp cloth and the top thread is pulled out.  It was a great technique!  I then carefully unpicked the original hem, trimmed the excess fabric on the wrong side and pressed again with a damp cloth.


I cut a size 8 with front modification (as detailed above) and used 2.5m of 150cm wide fabric.  Raystitch sell a similar Bamboo/lycra mix.


I think this will get most wear in the summer with flat Saltwater sandals and a hint of a tan (wishful thinking).  It also looks good for holidays, easy roll-up packing!

sib blog

11 comments:

  1. If it is an absolute knockout on you, I know I am going to read that it is out of your comfort zone, ha! Embrace the slink!

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  2. It's very stylish Kerry! I'm fascinated by the technique you show - sorry to be a dunce but is the green thread just there to kind of press down the fabric as you sew? Or is it actually attached to the fabric in some way? What does it actually do do you think?

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    1. Thankyou! I think the thread creates tension on the surface- the zig zag stitches sew over the thread, encasing it rather stitching it into the fabric and after pressing it is pulled out. It stops the jersey distorting and going wavy.

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    2. I'll have to give it a whirl! Thanks so much :)

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  3. Well you may think it's outside your comfort zone but it still looks fantastic and very "you." The pop of colour from your wee cardie is perfect!

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  4. I think it is lovely! And it still feels like you in that it is comfy as well as being pretty :)

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  5. Ohh that's lovely! Very stylish and looks great :)

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  6. I think this dress suits you to a T! It's the perfect pairing of fabric and pattern, and it's very flattering on you. I hope you had fun dancing in it!

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  7. It might not be your usual style but it's gorgeous on you. It looks so stylish but easy to wear, I'll have to give it a go myself! Jen

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  8. What a great hemming technique! The dress looks fabulous on you, hope you had a good night out!

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