Monday, March 21, 2016

A Dress of Many Colors

This is another new dress for Mehetabel.  It is New Look 6301 which I've made quite a few times, but always sleeveless and with the straight skirt.  I blogged about two of these dresses, here and here. I also made this dress for the officiant at Mehetabel and Aloysius's wedding, as well as versions for the bridesmaids (but we wound up going with a more formal style).

This iteration has 3/4 length sleeves, the length Mehetabel prefers for a sleeved dress or top.  Like the previous versions, I added 10 inches to the belt pieces.  I also lengthened the skirt by 10 inches to make it more of a midi length.  And, I decided to try something that Andrea of Sew to Fit did on her version--I used the right front piece for both sides of the bodice instead of the pattern piece provided for the left front which just has a tuck in it.  I was curious to see how this would affect the bodice's fit.  Okay, really, I just liked the idea of cutting out one less piece. 

And while I like the look of using the same front bodice pieces, this bodice is a bit too loose and the neckline is too low for Mehetabel to wear to work without a camisole underneath.  But other than that, the dress fits well, it's comfortable, she loves the colorful fabric and the length of the skirt (swishy!), and it works perfectly with her boots.

Before starting this blog, I had made several McCall's 5974s for Mehetabel and she loves them. However, the length of the skirt didn't work well with her boots, so she wears the dresses in warmer weather with other shoes.  The proportions just weren't right with her boots.  So with this pattern, I thought it would be fun to see if we could come up with a faux-wrap style with a length she'd like with her boots.  This does the trick!  

I have a couple fabrics in my stash that I think Mehetabel would love in this style, but they're precious and no longer available for purchase so I don't want to make any mistakes with them.  To make sure everything was copacetic with the sleeve length, the skirt shape and style, and the experiment with the bodice front pieces, I whipped up this version in a fabric that I bought at a deep discount and is still available.

The polyester/spandex ITY knit is from Joann which I purchased last summer at a 60% discount. The fabric has almost all the colors of the rainbow, and I dithered about which color to use for the coverstitch, finally deciding on purple.  My Babylock coverstitch machine sailed through like a champ, but my computerized Janome sewing machine had fits with this fabric.  I can't begin to tell you how many needle changes I made, how many times I re-threaded the machine and the bobbin, how many times I fooled with the tension, etc.  Eventually, I gave up and switched to my 33-year-old mechanical Bernina which handled the fabric perfectly.   All seams were finished with the serger.
The neckline was finished on with the coverstitch, as were the sleeve and dress hems which were sewn at 5/8".  The shoulder seams were stabilized with twill tape.  The sleeves were sewn in flat, and the skirt pieces were sewn to the bodice pieces and then the side seams were sewn.  The fabric is fairly heavy, and after finishing the dress--but before Mehetabel tried it on--I was worried that the heaviness of the fabric combined with the extra 10 inches of skirt length was just too, too much for the dress to keep its shape.  

Coverstitched neckline
The instructions call for elastic at the waist--in a casing made from the seam allowances.  I'm not a big fan of this method.  I hadn't added the elastic to my earlier versions, but after I'd finished constructing this dress, I added clear elastic to the front and back waist sections (sewn onto the seam allowances).  This gives the skirt a little more support.   

Mr. Arbuthnot, the Bespokeability studio supervisor and design assistant, approved of this dress. He found the leftover fabric soft and silky--ideal for a nap, rendering him unavailable for today's photography session.  However, his assistant and good friend, Björn,  took his new duties quite seriously.

Björn lives with Mehetabel and Aloysius.  He is almost six-months-old and a sweetie-pie.

1 comment:

  1. Just considering buying this pattern and your various versions of it have convinced me. I'll be coming back to read over all your hints and tips. Your daughter looks lovely in each variation.
    (p.s. I adore your dog and his handsome assistant)