Starting 2017 off with 2 new sewing toys and 3 new garment creations! In 2016, while working on my sister’s wedding dress, I broke my dress form. I purchased a new one in October but didn’t get a chance to pull it out of the box. The latest version of the Singer dress form uses a turnkey to adjust the chest, waist and hips in 4 spots. In my initial attempts to adjust the chest I could not get the adjustments to hold, they would continually bounce out creating a loud punch sound. I set the dress form aside and tried again this morning. If I made small adjustments throughout, instead of focusing on one specific area, the adjustments would hold. In my old dress form, there was a dial in each area that listed the measurement. Now I need to use my measuring tape in order to determine the size.
My other new sewing toy is a serger! My parents got it for me for Christmas. I was a little nervous to start using it because I thought it would be complicated to thread. But with the manual and the easy to follow guide printed on the machine, I was able to figure it out quickly. The use of the serger is really going to take my sewing to the next level! With a 50% off coupon on thread purchases from JoAnn, I stocked up on black, chrome, navy, and brown interlocking thread. The machine came with white.
Project 1: 3D fabric skirt using Simplicity Cynthia Rowley Pattern 2305
Nicole Miller created a line of fabric for JoAnn’s and a week before Christmas I bought several different prints. When I saw this 3D looking print, I had to buy a yard of it. Being a graphic designer I was intrigued by the effect and love that it’s achieved by printing the same pattern on a heavy fabric and a sheer fabric. The sheer fabric is placed on top of the heavy fabric just slightly off to create dimensionality. So that the 2 layers stay together at store level, it’s heat sealed in small little areas throughout. This allows for the fabric to be trimmed but always remain together.
Since the fabric is so bold, I decided a simpler silhouette would be better. I used the skirt from the Simplicity Cynthia Rowley Pattern 2305 . I’ve made this skirt in the past and the fit is slightly tighter than I would like. To create interest and to add a little extra room, I added deep orange zippers on both sides. Only the left side is functional.
Project 2: Dress using Simplicity Project Runway Pattern 2725
I like wearing dresses made out of stretch jersey because they are typically very comfortable and have minimal wrinkles. I was excited to find at JoAnn’s a stretch jersey with a ruffle in a silvery grey.
Since the ruffles in the wrong silhouette can easily create extra volume, I decided that a simple silhouette would be best. In the past I’ve used Simplicity Project Runway Pattern 2725 to make dresses out of printed crepe fabric. That fabric in combination with side darts was very constrictive. I was pleased to find that using the stretch jersey with ruffles and omitting the side darts created a very comfortable dress. After I got the fit perfect, I used my new serger to cleanly secure the seam allowance edges. What’s exciting about a serger is that as it creates the interlock stitch it also trims off the excess to create a very clean edge.
The pattern typically calls for a zipper in the back. But since I was using a stretch jersey, I decided to omit a zipper and sew the seam together. Instead of using the sleeves that come with the pattern, I found sleeves in a different sewing pattern that were less bulky. I finished the neck, sleeves, and hem edges using bias tape.
Project 3: Second Dress using Simplicity Project Runway Pattern 2725
With the success of the stretch jersey ruffle dress, I decided to use the same sewing pattern for a sheer shimmery black and grey stripe stretch jersey dress. I did my best to line up the stripes at each of the seams.
This time as a design feature, I included an exposed zipper in the back and re-used an iron-on zipper pattern I purchased for another dress. These 2 elements help to elevate the simple sheer stretch jersey dress. I used a narrow bias tape to finish the neck, sleeves, and hem edges. Using 3 of 4 threads on my new serger I was able to create a narrow serge to finish the seam allowances.