Saturday, November 26, 2022

Button-up Dress, Peppermint Magazine

When I ordered the linen doggie bag cut I used for my Sorbetto top, I also purchased another cut from The Fabrics Store. This one was DB IL019, softened linen in Graphite, a dull dark gray. It was 1.5 yards long, 59" wide, and weighed 5.3 oz/sq. yd. The total paid was $13.78. Inspired by a dress I saw on Net-a-Porter, I was hoping I could get a simple sleeveless dress from this lovely linen. These are my inspiration photos:
The front is busy, with the contrasting buttons and scalloped asymmetric closing, but the back is simpler.
Once I found the Button-up dress pattern (a free download from Peppermint Magazine), I hoped 1 1/2 yards of this wide fabric would be sufficient. To work around the short yardage, I cut the facings from black Sheermist Batiste (45" wide, 65% poly/35% cotton from Hobby Lobby). This lining fabric was on sale for about $4/yard, but since it did not take a yard for the facings, the cost was less than $3. Even without the facings, I was short on fabric and had to cut one of the pieces. Rather than have a seam across a pattern piece, I cut the side front panels and added a pocket, lined in the batiste, at the seam. There will be lots of deets here because it looks so good that I may make this pattern again.

For the pocket modification, I first cut out the fronts, back and the side back. With the remaining fabric, I marked a line on the front side panel at the height for the pocket, (meaning my hand would easily reach the pocket and my fingers would just touch the bottom of the pocket when my arm was fully extended. I used the "lenthen or shorten here" line, measuring 5" above it.) Placing the marked pattern piece on the remaining fabric at the shorter section of what remained after I cut out the back, putting it at the fold, but not on the fold put the pattern piece over the end of the remaining fabric with my pocket mark on the fabric, within 1/4" of the edge. I cut out that piece, then placed that piece and the attached fabric (still pinned to it) on the longest part of the remaining fabric, the part that remained in the center after cutting out the shorter back side panel, lining up the bottom hemline to the end of the fabric. That allowed me to cut another piece of the front side panel that extended well above the marked pocket line. I folded down the extra fabric to make the front of the pocket bag. Then I cut a portion of the pattern, from 1" above the marked line to 8" below it from the Sheermist Batiste, following the pattern piece. This was attached to the top piece of the side front panel to serve as the pocket bag back. After sewing the Batiste to the top piece, I folded the bottom piece and topstitched it in place, keeping everything aligned with the pattern piece. To further secure it, I basted the bottom piece together an inch down from the topstitching. Then I marked the pocket bag in a tapering line that began 3" off center of the bottom of the bag and ended at the joining of the bag to the pattern piece on each side. Then I sewed the bag together, down one side, across the bottom and up the other side. After trimming and finishing the seams, I was on to the facing.

After prepping the facing according to instructions, I just turned the bottom up 1/4" and top stitched. There's not much fraying in the lining fabric. Then I forgot to stay stitch back neck and armholes, which made it hard to attach facing due to stretched out linen. Except for that, attaching the lining per instructions for front and neckline, pinking the seam allowance and clipping curves, and understitching were all simple. However, it isn't clear that the edge of the lining lines up with the edge of the placket that is then folded over after attachment, making the facing edge sit between the placket and the front of the body. There's no other way to do it, but the difference in the sizing of the facing and the body are not addressed in the instructions.

After I puzzled through the neckline facing attachment instructions, THEN they wanted me to use the burrito method for the armhole facing attachment. Wait, that is not necessary. I watched 3 or 4 you tube videos and the last one said that no is burrito needed if there is a back opening. Obviviously, that works same for garments with a front opening. Just for fun, I tried their burrito method. I didn't do it right and somehow pulled the dress through the shoulder to end up with the facing and dress wrong side out. No problem--I just pulled the front through the shoulder with my skinny little fingers. Since it worked once, I sewed the second side with the right sides together and the pieces flat. I found it much easier to sew without the burritoed fabric in the way. Then I repeated the trick I did on the first side to just pull the front through the shoulder.

While it was easy to understitch the armhole almost to the shoulder in the back, it was not so easy in front. The understitching there just goes to the princess seam. Sewing the side seam was easy except for changing back and forth between black thread for facing and gray for dress. I decided to use hem tape to make the dress as long as possible. I sewed the black hem tape on with gray thread in zigzag stitch. Black thread would have been better. However, since I used the gray thread to hand sew the hem down, there is gray thread visible at the top and bottom of the hem tape. I found the hem tape helpful as far as extending the narrow hem. However, the poly hem tape has no stretch and sticks out as the hem curves. A final note on construction: the interfacing covers the entire placket, resulting in two layers of interfacing when the plackets are folded over and stitched down. Cutting it and fusing it to the front half of the placket should be sufficient.
The buttonholes and buttons were done by my newer machine (Janome Skyline S3). The only problem occurred when the thread broke, stopping the sewing but not the machine, midway through the first half of the third buttonhole. I had to finish that one with manual zig zag and made notes in case it happens again. I think the thread broke because I had the machine speed set too fast. However, regarding thread, in my determination to find a better color match in the limited thread available locally, I noticed too late that I had sewn the dress in 100% cotton thread but purchased a better matching 100% polyester thread for the buttons and buttonholes. Three things to remember: sew buttonholes on slow speed, raise the needle between sewing each button (or set of eyes if you have a 4-eyed button) to reset the zig zag stitch, and check the thread content before you buy. On that last one, though, I don't have a preference on thread content. I realize 100% cotton may shrink, but I don't worry about that if I am sewing a fabric that will shrink along with it. Hopefully, they will shrink at similar rates! The buttons came from Hobby Lobby, gray plastic, $9.10 for 10 buttons.
Finally, here's the dress with my hands in the pockets so you can see them! This is also full disclosure that there is a good bit of width in this dress. I can go down a size in the next version. I am sorry about all the picky comments on the pattern. It is a great pattern. In my view, if the pattern is free, the company should not stress about the instructions. The instructions are very helpful. My comments are just for my own clarification when I use the pattern again.

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