Sunday, September 22, 2013

Sew-My-Stash-Away Weekend with Hart's Fabrics

More Victory Patterns can be seen HERE

A few of the ladies in my local sewing group went to Hart's Fabrics in Santa Cruz for a shopping field trip. They had a one-day 20% store-wide sale to kick off their September sewing event. I thought for sure I'd have enough time to get to my Hart's stash...and then September 21st rolled around and I realized I had done nothing all month.  So for the last 24 hours, I've been sewing like mad.

I decided to tackle the Lola dress from Victory Patterns. It took me a total of seven hours to complete from the time I opened the pattern to the photo. I messed around with the pattern for about an hour, and decided to test out my new roll of butcher paper. I think this is going to be one of those patterns that I want to keep and make over and over again. After I shortened the bodice by half an inch and the bottom half of the dress by one inch, I ironed it onto butcher paper. 

This is the first time I sewed something that ended up being nearly two sizes too big. Even though this is my very first Victory pattern, I decided that I am in love with them.  They have real people sizes, and they do give you a generous ease. I'm so used to sewing "big" when it really means "small" from the US pattern companies. They have so many cute designs too...if they weren't $20 each, I would have bought them all.  

I used a thin sweatshirt fabric, that I thought was too thin for this pattern, and had a tendency to sag and pull. I know it's a stretch fabric, but the weave was especially loose. If you decide on making this dress, find something that doesn't stretch as much. I decided to forgo top stitching because I knew it would stretch out the fabric more. Also the large pockets...well, are LARGE. The pattern wants you to make them a little droopy. It's cut wider than the skirt, and you match up the side seams to create a droop. I anticipated that this fabric would not hang well with such droopy pockets so I created flatter pockets. I wished that I had flatten the pockets completely.  Don't blame the pattern. It's just not the best fabric for this dress.  It also shed like a rabbit.

Notice the little decorative black point at the neckline? I originally used a piece of the black ribbing for this, but it got stretched out of shape. I used some leftover pre-washed wool jersey instead. I overlocked the edges, and then attached it using stitch witchery before sewing it onto the bodice neckline.  I wish the whole dress was glued to Stitch Witchery. If I wasn't so lazy, I would have used it on all the edges of the dress before sewing to keep the seams from stretching. (This is a "sewing-with-knits" technique that I did not use.) BTW, Stitch Witchery is my favorite iron-on magic tape. I used the thin rolls cut for hems. I might add it on the seams for my second attempt at this dress.

It really looks better on me than on the dress form. Here is a not-so-great picture of me wearing the dress.  I plan on making it again with some velour fabric, and adjusting the pattern down at least one size first.

Here's the dress turned inside out. It has terry cloth loops on the back side. So it could be a nice reversible piece, but due to its stretch issues, I couldn't do it this time. This dress is meant serger sewing, and there's 1.5 cm seam allowance. I haven't used my serger in a while, so I was a bit rusty. The differential foot probably saved my dress from being completely pulled out of whack.

This is an "intermediate" level pattern. It's really not that difficult to sew.  There are a ton of pieces, and it's always tricky using stretch knits in general. It is not a pattern for the faint of heart, and it will take you more than four hours to complete from start to finish.  Faster of course, if it's not your first time.  I'll update this post with my second version once completed. I'm really excited about making more Fall/Winter/Holiday wear.

I also used another piece of fabric from Hart's to make the KWIK SEW bow-tie blouse I made last week.  I just updated my earlier post. See my final version of the blouse HERE.  Making something twice in the same week can really speed up the repeat version. 

Happy sewing!

UPDATE: I did not pre wash the sweatshirt fabric before cutting and sewing the Lola dress. I took some big chances I know. But the dress turned out almost two sizes too big for me, so I decided I didn't have much to lose by throwing it into the washing machine and then the dryer. It shrunk...luckily down to the perfect size! The dress shrunk in all the right places without any distortion. This was pure dumb luck...and I'm not sure if I would be this lucky next time I decide omit pre washing cotton.