I was SO happy to have been pushed through onto the second round of the Super Online Sewing Match with Sew Mama Sew! This time around we were given the Marianne Dress by Christine Haynes. It is a casual and comfortable knit dress, which is awesome because I love sewing with knits! I am already a fan of Christine Haynes, two of my favorite dresses are sewn from her Emery pattern, here and here. So I was pretty excited to try another one of her patterns!
The dress comes with a couple different options, short sleeves with a peter pan collar or 3/4 length sleeves with cuffs and a color blocked top. I thought about what do do with the pattern for a while, and decided that I needed to sew the short sleeves because I live in Texas and I can’t even imagine sleeves right now. The problem was, I ADORE the cuffs on the longer sleeved option! I wanted to incorporate that into my dress so I decided to add it at the hem! While peter pan collars are cute on some people, they are not my personal style so I left them off.
Something funny- We went to South Padre for the July 4th weekend. We left on Thursday, but I didn’t find out until Friday whether or not I made it into the second round. I was freaking out that I would lose 4 whole days of the competition while we were there so I brought my computer and printer, along with my paper cutter and tracing paper! I almost brought my machine and some muslin fabric but Jake flat out refused to let me haha! It worked out well that I didn’t bring it though, as this turned out to be a knit challenge and I wouldn’t have been able to really utilize the machine anyway! I was so happy to have brought the printer though, I managed to figure out what I wanted to do, trace it all out and draft the hem pieces all while on vacation. It helped that I’m an early riser and woke up before everyone else in the house every day so I got to work on it without too much interference :)
My measurements threw me between sizes 10 and 12 and since it is a loose fitting dress, I just cut out the 10. When I sewed up the muslin, the dress seemed huge!! I pinched in 1 inch on the waist at each side, which helped define my shape better. The fabric was pooling at my lower back and I realized that if I lifted up the fabric by the shoulders it would relieve the drape. So for the final pattern, I chopped off an entire inch on the shoulders of both front and back. I kept the armholes the same size, just drew a curved line about 2 inches from the sleeve down to the new lower neckline. Speaking of the neckline, I found that again I didn’t like the feeling of the high crew neck, so I lowered it by 4 inches, widened it by 1/2 inch and made it a soft V. I LOVE THE NEW NECKLINE!!!
Fabricworm gave us each a gift certificate this round. I have used them a bunch before, they have a nice variety of knits and especially children’s fabrics. I wasn’t sure if I was actually going to use them or not because of all the kid friendly designs, but I totally fell in love with this Charley Harper print. Anyone who knows me knows I’m not afraid of a ridiculous print on a dress. I’m actually wearing my purple ostrich dress as I’m writing this post. So I went for it :) I bought 3 yards, which at first I was like HOLY MOLY that was so much, why did I buy so much?? (possibly the holiday boozing?) But then as it turns out, I’m SO GLAD I did. As much as I love the print, I don’t know if I’ll be buying any more Birch Fabrics. I love how they are organic and the design was printed on grain, which was great, but the selvage was off grain?? It was so weird, like there wasn’t even a selvage, it was just sloppily cut on the sides, making the width vary from 43-45 inches.. With the large print, as much as it was impossible to match the birds, I did take care to match the stripes on the sides. That made me have to utilize more than I thought. My muslin only needed 1 yard, but this took almost 2.5 yards!
I am confused though, because I bought the coral fabric for the hem and neckband, which was also Birch organics, and it is awesome. Maybe I’ll just stick to 60 inch Birch. I love how the coral perfectly matches the birds :) I wanted to find some buttons that went well with everything and I audibly gasped when I saw these coconut ones :D They are so perfect, they go with the nest so well and I feel like they just tie the whole dress together! I also had fun while sewing them on, I randomly woke up at 5 am and had all this time to myself, so I watched some Downton Abbey and got a little creative with the stitching :)
It was pretty fun trying to figure out the best way to make the button placket on the hem. I tried 2 different ways on the muslin, but then decided to do a completely different thing for the actual garment. I think it came out much cleaner this way :) I kind of did something similar to what we did on the hem of the Sutton blouse.
The instructions were great! And you know what else is awesome? Second round of SOSM and this is the second time I’ve done something new!! I’ve known about reinforcing certain seams with invisible elastic, but I had never actually DONE it before this dress! It really makes a huge difference in stability and I will for sure be adding it to future garments. French seams and now this. What next??
I serged all the seams and when I sewed the hem and sleeves I used a twin needle on my machine. I thought about using thread to match the coral of the dress as well as matching the teal, but then I thought it would look REALLY nice to add the decorative effects of the teal thread on the coral. I am super happy with the results! Something SO simple adds such a nice design element. I decided against top stitching around the neckline and hem band because I prefer the clean look without it.
I contemplated for a long time whether or not I should add pockets. I LOVE pockets and I always figure if I’m making my own clothes, I should incorporate these things. But I only have one other knit dress with pockets and to be truthful, they are a bother. They are flimsy and are always popping out to the front and I hate that aspect of that dress. I end up not wearing it very often because of them, even though there is a convenient place to put my phone/keys. I was also concerned that since this is an a line dress, the outlines might show on the outside of the dress and be an eye sore.. So I decided to just leave them out.
All in all, I am super happy with this dress! I was scared at first because, again, this isn’t my normal silhouette, but after pinching and pulling the fabric in a bit, I love it. It is SO comfortable, like secret pajamas! And it ended up being super flattering (or at least I think so)!
Check out the other girls at Sew Mama Sew and wish us all luck!!