achievement unlocked: bacon dress

okay, i said i was going to take a little breather after i finished making the unicorn dress, but i had everything i needed to make this bacon dress, & i just couldn’t stay away from the sewing table.

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i started cutting fabric yesterday during ramona’s nap, & i hemmed it this morning while i drank my morning coffee. it was a pretty fast sew, & would have been even faster for a more experienced seamster.

the pattern is the miz mozelle by jaime christina, which i stumbled across while perusing the hart’s fabric website while i was trolling for pink unicorn & rainbows fabric. apparently hart’s did a sewalong a while back & one of their staff decided to sew herself another miz mozelle recently & blogged about it. it’s specifically a knit pattern. the only shape comes from the elasticized waist & very gently gathered skirt–there are no darts or anything. but i used quilting cotton (the bacon print from the new “farm to fork” collection) & it turned out fine. the instructions said to cut a size up if using a woven, since obviously cotton doesn’t have the kind of stretch a knit would have. but my measurements were already the biggest pattern size. there was no size to cut up to unless i wanted to try grading up the pattern myself.

a quick word about that? i am a pretty average-sized person, i think! my measurements are something like 43-35-42. i can buy clothes in “straight” stores. the big 4 pattern companies usually produce patterns that fit me right out of the envelope, but independent companies have their own unique sizing & it does kind of irritate me to shell out the big bucks for an indie pattern (the big 4 are pretty much constantly on sale, sometimes for as low as 99 cents, while indie patterns are rarely on sale & generally retail for at least $12, plus shipping) & then have to grade them up to fit me. ANYWAY.

the good news is that even though the largest size for this pattern was supposedly smaller than my measurements, i cut it straight out of the envelope & it fits perfectly. even the sleeves! it’s a pattern that has a lot of ease built into it, & is not meant to be fitted, which helps. i did make the keyhole a bit smaller. it’s kind of giant.

for the most part, sewing this up was pretty easy. i didn’t do it exactly the way the direction instructed. i sewed the sleeve seam & the bodice seam & set the sleeve in instead of sewing the sleeve & side seam as one. i hemmed it shorter. (why do i always have to do that? i used to think i had pretty long legs, before i started sewing for myself. but i think i’m just so insanely short-waisted that it has created an optical illusion. i did wonder why i never had to buy extra-long pants.) there’s pretty much no possibility that i constructed the collar properly. i could not make hide nor hair of the instructions for that. well, i constructed the collar just fine. it was the sewing-the-collar-to-the-dress part that i didn’t get. there was all this stuff about single fold bias tape that didn’t make any sense to me, & “matching the center back,” which would have been a lot easier to do if i’d been instructed to mark the center back somehow during the cutting process–maybe a nice notch or something? i wound up just sewing the collar to the front of the dress & covering the raw edge in quarter-inch bias tape. GOOD ENOUGH. i’m pretty sure the collar is supposed to meet in the front at a point, but it does not because i somehow didn’t have enough dress neckline for that. i don’t know! it was baffling! this was my first collar ever. i kept saying, “i don’t know what i’m doing. there has got to be an easier way to do this. i really don’t think i’m doing this right. i guess it looks kind of okay?” WHATEVER.

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if you look closely, you can kind of see the basting stitches along the back of the collar. i’d clip them, but i’m seriously afraid that they are all that is holding the collar to the dress.

i was beyond stoked when i found PIG BUTTONS to go with my bacon fabric! & they’re even red! apparently they’re vintage, i got them off etsy, so really just a lucky break. here’s a close-up:

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on my first try, i cut the cord for the button way too tiny, so i had to pick it out & cut a bigger cord. my second try was way too big, so you can kind of see here how i folded it over on itself a few times & stitched it down under the keyhole. whatever. it’s fine. look at the pig. that’s the part that matters.

the pattern called for but one button, but i had four so i sewed one to each sleeve. it looks cute, but it may have been a tactical error when i have a baby. of course she just wants to grab at all the buttons & make me anxious that she’s going to tear my dress somehow.

one other weird construction note: the bodice gets sewn to the skirt & then the seam allowance is pressed to the bodice & stitched really close to the edge to create a casing for the elastic. & this whole dress is sewn with a half-inch seam allowance. honestly, this dide not leave a lot of room for the elastic. i actually sewed the waist seam with the more traditional 5/8″ seam allowance & it was still tricky to sew down the seam allowance to make a wide enough casing. i managed, but…huh. a weird construction choice, for sure.

oh, & this dress did not originally include pockets. but i did. seriously, what is the use of a cute summer dress with no pockets!

stuff i learned:
* supposedly, how to make a collar. save for the part about how i didn’t do it right.
* that it might be worth using a slightly bigger seam allowance if you’re going to use said seam allowance as an elastic casing for a feature that is crucial to the fit & silhouette of the dress.
* bias tape on the keyhole & sleeve hem. i’ve done this before on sleeves but this time i really nailed it!
* i’m very fast at hemming now.
* apparently having a 35-inch waist means that you are gargantuan. & 42-inch boobs? forget it. get ready to live your life swaddled in a tarp because that is all that will fit you.

stuff i’d do differently:
* make the keyhole even smaller. it’s still kind of huge.
* maybe bind the keyhole in skinnier bias tape.
* really double-down on figuring out how the hell this collar is supposed to attach.
* add some extra seam allowance to the bodice/waist so i have a little extra wiggle room with my elastic casing.
* if i cut some length off the skirt, this would actually make a really cute blouse. i would definitely make this pattern again as a blouse! apart from the stuff i didn’t understand, this thing came together really fast.

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bacon power! okay, now i really am going to take a breather before i make another dress. (because i have yet to choose my next pattern or fabric.) whew! five dresses in the last month!

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Kim says:

    Love the bacon dress! I saw your comment about it and had to see more. I love using unconventional fabrics for clothing cause I’m a total grown up. Ha! Thanks for sharing.

    1. ciara says:

      thanks for taking a look! i too love weird fabrics for clothes. part of the fun of making your own clothes is to make things that you would NEVER be able to find in a store.

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