I’ll be honest. I love wearing stripes. They are the closest you’ll come to a bright pattern in my closet (save for my quite frankly garish taste in pyjamas). They are elegant, sophisticated, but a little eye-catching.
They are also a bugger to sew with. I can’t tell you how much a hate stripe matching. Getting ready to trace and cut takes forever because the stripes just slip ever so slightly out of alignment when you’re not looking, and during sewing every flipping seam requires four times the number of pins to stop the stripeage from going wonky. This gorgeous fabric was no exception. I was wondering around Mood in New York in a daze, wondering how I was ever going to choose just a few fabrics to purchase and take home, when I spotted this nestled among the other knits. Beautiful stripy sweatshirt fabric so thick and heavy that it caused one of my overlocker needles to disintegrate under the stress.
In the end I decided to religiously match the stripes around the body, because otherwise the garment would look very weird, but go for symmetry on the shoulders rather than perfect stripe alignment. The right side of the fabric is so smooth that a lot of pinning was needed, both during the cutting and the sewing to make sure that my token matching effort worked. Look at those side seams! (Just don’t ask me to life my arms.)That is a cheesy grin of stripe matching satisfaction. I actually could not be happier with this dress. The pattern is the short sleeved view B of the Capital Chic White Russian sweatshirt, a pattern that I am very fond of and just love as a quick, easy, rapid gratification project. This time, rather than opting for an unusual fabric like neoprene, I lengthened the body by about 30cm to turn the top into a dress. I think I will class this as my first truly successful pattern hack!
I love how loose the shape is, and how the fabric holds a soft, straight shape without being rigid. And it is beyond comfy to wear. I didn’t bother pressing any of the seams – no amount of steam had any effect – and so they have a lovely squidgy texture to them that I just love.
Ooh, and thank you to commenters on Instagram and Facebook who suggested I should hem this dress above the knee – you were definitely right! I omitted the hem band and stitched all my hems by hand with slip stitch, which with hindsight and shattered overlocker needles was a really good idea. I’m choosing to blame this mechanical malfunction for the slightly jaunty forward angle of the neckband. Something has got a little stretched out of shape there, but I actually like it. I caught myself giving the band a couple of absent-minded squeezes at work earlier in the week, just enjoying how the fabric holds its shape. I actually took several goes to get the neck band completely inserted, and for some of the chunkier bits I had to wind the machine forward by hand in order to save the needles!
Although this dress has leapt to the top of my favourite garments list, sadly the weather has other ideas. Not that I am complaining about an increase in sunshine and temperatures. Actually, I am, because I want to wear my beautiful dress dammit. Sunshine is fine, but a cool breeze would be awesome plz.
But simple dresses are all very well, I hear you cry, but what about your promise, nay pledge, to make ‘bitchin’ button up shirts’ for Me Made May? Never fear sewsketeers, I will be making a start on that project soon. Scout’s honour. I’ve bought the Grainline Studios Archer pattern, and all I need now is a stiff drink and some suitable fabric.
Any tips you may have for this pattern would be very welcome indeed!