Hellooooo friends!! Please excuse my frizzy hair and general unkempt-ness in these photos. The week I took these photos the weather was truly the worst - mild, but sticky, overcast, and permanently threatening rain, but never delivering – like living inside a cloud. Good for the plants, but not so great for looking polished and put-together! Of course since then the sun has decided to come back out and I feel like all is right with the world again! I don't know how you northeners do it, my tolerance for lack of sunshine has definitely gotten worse since living in Texas! A few weeks of cloudy weather and I'm alternately whining and throwing a tantrum, shaking my fists at the sky, or else despondent and unable to move, because what's the point of moving if you can't see your own shadow?
I was actually half tempted to re-shoot these photos in this glorious, sparkly sunshine, but then I figured I'd probably never get this post up and you'd all think I had abandoned this space, and no one wants that! So you'll have to deal with Soggy Sallie. And anyway, frizzy hair and melting makeup can’t put a damper on my enthusiasm for this new dress! Those of you that follow me on Instagram have probably seen sneak peeks of this buddy coming slowly together this past month. March is my birthday month and I always like to work on something a little extra special as a bit of a gift to myself. So this month for the Mood Sewing Network I put together this little puzzle of a dress in Mood Fabric’s Famous Designer Yellow/Green Kitty Cat Border Printed Bamboo Twill Panel. That’s right, there are fat little kitty cats marching all over this dress!
For the pattern I used McCall’s 6696 – a most beloved pattern among the sewing community. I’ve had this in my stash for awhile and was glad to have a reason to finally pull it out and give it a go. I ended up cutting my size based on the finished garment measurements rather than the size chart, because as we all know, Big 4 patterns loooove their excess ease! So I cut a 10 (with a B cup) at the shoulders and bust, tapering to an 8 at the waist, and a 12 at the hips. Having sewn my fair number of shirts, and, for that matter, dresses, I didn’t really follow the instructions, but rather used my own method of construction. I’m very happy with how the dress fits, however if I do make the dress again I might make a few small adjustments. The biggest thing I would change is how full the back is. I’ve read this about this pattern before, but thought I’d try sewing it up as is to see the results, and, sure enough, the back is indeed poofy! So I’d probably try to either reduce the gathering at the waist or convert it to darts.
It was pretty much inevitable that I would need to do some creative piecing somewhere on this dress, and the back of the skirt ended up getting the treatment, but more as the result of a mistake than actual planning and consideration! See the back skirt is supposed to be cut on the fold, but the print panels are much too narrow to allow for that, so I intended to add a center back seam. Of course once it came time to cut the back I completely forgot to add a seam allowance and decided to make up for it by sewing a strip of plain yellow down the center to make up for the missing width. The sad thing is, I actually made this mistake twice! I cut one skirt panel, realized I forgot to add a seam allowance, then proceeded to cut another skirt panel, and promptly forgot again to add the seam allowance! *head slap* Such a waste of good fabric! But of course, it all worked out in the end.
Another change I made was to round the collar, simply because I thought these kitties suited a rounded collar more than a pointed one!
Apologies for the bad indoor lighting (my apartment has the worst light for photos!) but I had to get a shot of the innards because I lined the bodice and skirt in ivory silk habotai which is, in my opinion, one of the loveliest fabrics to wear next to the skin. It’s truly like having an air conditioner installed inside your dress! Which is important when your climate is akin to a damp dishrag. This was also necessary for modesty, as the kitty cat print was a bit on the sheer side.
Because this fabric is so lightweight and shifty I made sure to interface areas that I felt would need a little help in order to hold their shape, like the pocket openings. This really helps them from stretching out and looking droopy.
I’m really happy with my new shirtdress! The kitty cats are such a cute surprise when you notice what they are, and I’m really happy with the way I used all areas of this tricky border print panel throughout the dress to enhance the design elements. Do you guys have any tips for working with border prints?