Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Second Blue Dress

I had enough of the blue and white sheet leftover to make a simple dress, and knew I wanted to make it shirred.  I've been wanting to do this for awhile, but it kept getting postponed.  I read tutorials, I wound my elastic thread, and cut a large rectangle from the remaining sheet, using the hem as the dress hem.  I sat down to shir.

I've mentioned before, with machine knitting, how tuck rhymes with *uck....well....ever notice how close shir is to shi* ?  LOL.  The elastic thread in the bobbin was not feeding very well, and was WAY tighter than any of the tutorials showed.  As in, the tutorials showed it would be barely gathered with the first few rows....I had it severely gathered as it was sewing.  I read more tutorials, esp. ones relating to Brother machines as those machines don't seem to like to shir... however, I have a Kenmore.  One tutorial showed a similar drop in style bobbin, and she said she had to tighten the shuttle screw.  Well, I knew I did not need it tighter, so I tried loosening it, bit by bit.  That worked, and finally by about the 4th row, I got a good tension.

I hadn't drawn my guide lines on, and my presser foot is too narrow to use as a guide for 1/2" rows (so many tutorials said they did this!).  I thought I'd be able to use the extended hem guide markings on my machine, but can't see them when you're sewing in the middle of the fabric!  I finally got fed up and drew guide lines on.  I did as many rows as I thought I needed (I wanted it to cover my bust and a bit below), then I went back and redid the first three rows since I still had some elastic left.  I could get about 3-4 rows per bobbin of elastic thread.  I actually did stop mid-row and start a new bobbin, even though the tutorials say not to...I just backstitched really well over the end.  Of course, I was using a patterned fabric; I might not have done this on a solid fabric.

I serged the side seam, wrong sides together, then did a French seam on the regular machine.  I cut two strips for the straps, and tried sewing elastic inside them to make them a little more interesting.  That was a disaster.  Maybe if the fabric was more fluid.

Once I had it on, I could see the front hem was higher than the back, since I had used only one piece, and there was no way to make the front bodice longer than the back bodice to account for the extra length over my chest, LOL.  I also saw some bagginess at the sides which could have been the poor shirring job or a size issue.  I was going to take the sides in, but that would disrupt the stretchiness of the shirring.  Next time, I will use two pieces for the bodice, so that I can taper the sides, and make the front longer.  One thing I did do was to add an extra row of shirring just on the front, to create an optical illusion of the front shirring being the same length as the back.  It could use another row.

I'm actually not fond of the straight line across my upper chest, although I like the height of this one compared to one I bought.  Which is strange because they are both just straight, and the RTW one has adjustable straps, so I don't know why it seems/is lower.  Maybe because it's a knit and slips a bit?  I made the straps wide enough to (mostly) cover bra straps, but found it was actually fairly supportive without a bra on.  The shirring though does trap sweat!

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