Sew together for Summer #stfs strikes again. I had every intention of entering this challenge as it is my favourite. It was my first challenge that I entered not long after starting my Instagram page back in 2017. I saw this challenge but didn’t really understand the whole challenge scene.
I entered a shirt dress and even won a gift. I was so happy. The best thing about the challenge though, was the new connections to online sewists that has given #stfs a special status in my heart. Of course I knew there were other sewing people out there but I never imagined the Instagrammers and the bloggers that shared my passion. Joining this challenge was my ‘In’ to the online sewing community.
Every year I always create a mini drama for myself and there is always a moment when I’m saying to myself “This isn’t going to work, don’t bother.” and this year was no different. I almost didn’t submit anything but finally ended up with two offerings and this is one of them.
Sew Together for Summer always have a theme and this year it was sundress. We were having a very cold and prolonged spring and that combined with the ongoing lack of any prospect of travel to sunny climes, had dulled my enthusiasm a bit and it was in the last knockings that I got my act together and tried to get this dress into the world.
This McCall’s pattern M7119 has been in my stash a few years and I even have a piece of fabric which is similar to the modelled version on the packet, but it got overlooked for a few summers. I remembered it this year and was pleased to not have to buy a pattern to participate. I later found out that this is a VERY popular pattern and several of my sewing faves including @sewsarahsmith, one of the organisers of this challenge, have made versions in the past.
I was using this animal print viscose challis that I got from @minervadotcom in exchange for a blog on their website. I’m not usually a fan of animal print but I got out of my comfort zone for this one. The fabric itself is really fun, it feels great and I thought it was perfect for a dramatic summer sundress and even though it may be a while until I can swan along a Riviera, Costa or Corniche, I thought it would be a super summer holiday staple.
As is routine now for my older patterns, I had to do a bit of grading up. I picked this pattern up free at a an open evening at Ditto Fabrics. It comes in two size bands and I was probably at the top of the Band A when I got it but should have got Band B. Ah Vanity! I decided to try a new technique for upsizing my pattern pieces. I put the Bodice pieces into my scanner and scanned them into Affinity Designer and then I increased the size of the pattern in the programme before printing out my new pattern pieces. Before you scoff I know this is not going to save me any time but it’s helping me learn how to create my own patterns.
I’m making View B which is maxi length but with a ‘hi-lo’ wrap front, very summer-glam. It says on the packet EASY and it was until it came to the shoulder and band construction. It took me several goes before I got my head around how this worked. I’ve since seen others point out an error in the instructions.
Then came the “Trash it” moment. After battling with the shoulder/band and finally understanding it, when I tried on the dress the fit was horrible. I should have remembered from the occasions I’ve made sleeveless items especially racer back styles that I have what I have designated High Boob. This dress has a kind of halter neck construction although the back is covered. There are slim straps over the shoulder which join the front and back. When I put this dress on, the strap seemed excessively long and meant that the armscye came very low, closer to my waist than my armpit for sure and leaving nothing and I mean nothing to the imagination for someone endowed with ample side boob. I cursed – a lot – I was not going to deconstruct that shoulder/band nonsense and I had made my mind up to scrap this job, however I was committed to delivering on this fabric. In the end, I did a bit of a Heath-Robinson job; shortening the shoulder straps taking 2-3 inches out of each. If I make this dress again, I will have to examine this – maybe raising the armscye and shortening the shoulder a bit less.
It turned out to be a great save. The adjusted strap worked and the animal print carried the look well. Another spare room photoshoot was in order as at the time we were still ‘enjoying’ some kind of eternal cold spring. When I am allowed to travel to hotter climes I will be channeling ‘Hot Girl’ all summer long.
How’s your summer wardrobe coming along?
Thanks for dropping by,