Still high from completing my Delphine skirt, I decided to plough on with the next project in the Love At First Stitch book; the Megan dress. A dress I hear you cry, how difficult, how complicated….how on earth is she going to do that? Well I’m happy to report it’s a lot easier than it looks!
Thanks to Tilly’s instructions, it was really simple to follow and I managed to knock up this little beauty in a couple of evenings. I had intended for it to be a wearable toile, but its turned out so wearable I’ve barely taken it off.
– I read all the instructions through at least three times before even starting, I wanted to make sure I understood it all before I attempted actually sewing. Turns out most of it seemed like gobbledygook until I actually got started and put it into context, but at least I had an idea of what came next.
– Learning from my past mistake, I washed and ironed my fabric before cutting it – totally obvious to anyone sensible, but I missed this step before and it was a tear-jerking moment when my PJ bottoms shrunk!
– I adapted the pattern slightly, grading between sizes and lowering the waist line. As I’ve got a bigger bust, empire lines aren’t the most flattering. I also lengthened the sleeves ever so slightly. I just used baking paper to trace off the pattern, so much cheaper than proper pattern paper.
– I used a rotary cutter and cutting board to cut out my fabric. It was so much quicker and more accurate than using my scissors. Plus it made me feel like a pro, whizzing around with my cutter. Although be warned, whizz too quickly and you will cut yourself – I’ve added plasters to my sewing kit!
The Technical Bits
– Darts – my new favourite things! They give great shape and stop the fabric just hanging. I used my chalk, a ruler and put a little stitch in the tip so that I could find it when I’d taken the paper off. I had to make the darts slightly longer than the pattern because of my boobs being bigger.
– A concealed zip – I used my flash new invisible zip foot and it was super easy. I was a bit stooped here, but because I was planning on the dress being just a wear around the house toile, I just stuck a white zip in as it came free with the foot. Clearly this stands out like a sore thumb in the actual dress but I can’t be bothered to change it now.
– Interfacing – this was much easier than I thought, having done it for the waistband of the Delphine skirt. I stitched the interfacing down at the shoulders so it would be extra secure.
– Set in Sleeves – these were the biggest challenge. The first time I set them in they were far too puffy. Think OTT even for 80’s puffball! I should’ve tacked them in first but I was too keen to get them done, which result in my seam-ripper working overtime! I learnt that I don’t need the curve to be quite so big as it’s a bit too much material, and I need to set them back a bit further so they aren’t so pronounced. I’ve made them again since and those tricks made them look a lot better.
For Next Time
I had to take the dress in a lot, so next time I’ll size down. Looking at the pattern, I think it allows for more ease than I’m comfortable with, as I like my clothes fairly fitted. I had to add darts in at the top of the back as well, but I think with the smaller size, that won’t be a problem. I’ll keep the waist lower as I mentioned and make the changes to the sleeves, but other than that it’s easy to make up straight from the pattern.
The only downside to this dress is the fabric I used frays so easily, it is literally coming apart at the seams, which makes me very sad. I finished them with a zig zag stitch, but I think I cut them too close. If anyone has any good tips, do let me know.
I LOVE this dress! It’s comfy and easy to wear but looks good. With different fabric weights you can change how it looks too, the one in Tilly’s book looks more structured than mine. My next version is going to be one I can wear for work and more formal occasions…keep your eyes peeled!