Saturday 28 September 2013

Fall for Cotton Challenge - completed!

Finally after a whole month (!), I finished the Fall for Cotton Challenge just in time!

If you wonder why it took me so long, here are the reasons:

(1) I sewed only on the weekend, because I was knitting during the week.
(2) I had to finish my mums quilt - still not full done. I just have to quilt the sashing and then bind it. It has to be done by 8th of October - manageable!
(3) I got a serger and had to try it out - so made a jersey dress instead.
(4) I was in Brighton one weekend (and used the opportunity to buy more fabric) to enjoy the seaside.
(5) I was down with a cold for a few days.

Now that you had to read my excuses, ahm, let's move on to my new and only vintage dress!

Pattern and fabric: please see this post. But definitively 100% cotton!

Lovely vintage buttons.
Construction: You might notice, that it looks a bit different than the one on the pattern envelope. This is not only because I followed the tutorial by Katrina of Edelweiss Pattern to fit the dress, but also because I had to add mock princess seams. On the muslin, I noticed already, that the neckline was too wide for me (I hadn't stay-stitched it and thought that's the reason) and there was too much fabric over the bust. I had made a small bust adjustment and the bust itself fits fine. When comparing my tissue pattern and the muslin, I noticed that the muslin was indeed 1" bigger at the center front than the tissue paper (I still have no idea how this could happen - it can't have stretched that much?). So, I thought it will be alright to make the real dress with my tissue because it is smaller. But for whatever reason there was still loads of excess fabric over the bust.

mock princess seams

The little lazy me found the excuse that the dress is a wrap dress and it has to fit like this. So I proceeded with attaching the bias tape to the neckline. I even embroidered it with a little cross-stitch using my sewing machine. I have to admit I shamelessly copied Katrina here. I only stopped when the only task left was to finish the hem.

Front bodice
So, I left the dress hanging for three days. And you know, after a little break you look (with open eyes) at your project and suddenly realize actually there is far too much fabric over the bust! There was no way I would leave it like this. Sorry, that I didn't take any pics but it was dark and late at night and I just wanted to finish the dress. So, what did I do? In front of the mirror I pinched out the excess fabric - about half an inch each side -  starting at the start of the dart and stopping at the neckline. I then sewed my mock princess seams trying to taper to nothing at the neckline.

rolled hem
As for the hemming, I managed to sew a rolled hem with my serger. I even had to re-thread it, which was not as difficult as anticipated. I just did a few test runs and then serged along. You can't imagine my joy when serging the hem of the back bodice - I think the hem is at least 3 meters long and I was flying :) along full speed. So fast and out came a perfectly rolled hem!

One more thing about the fit: As I have sloping shoulders, I did an adjustment by adding 5/8" to the back shoulder seam and removing 5/8" from the front shoulder seam. When tissue fitting, the seams sit perfectly on my shoulder. But on the dress the seams slip almost 1" towards the back. Because of that my bust darts also sit 1" too high. I think what happens is that the heavy skirt drags on the front bodice causing the front to slip backwards.

The seam should be where my finger points.
Have I worn it yet? I wanted to last Friday because it was my last day at work before starting to write up my PhD thesis. But the problem was, that the front bodice (red poplin) was clinging like crazy to my tights and after only 3 steps my underwear would be exposed. So, no thank you. That means I have to make a slip before I can go out into public, buh...

Will I make it again? Probably not because I do not have that many opportunities to wear such a lovely dress :)


  1. Oh my goodness, this dress is beautiful. The mock princess seam is a great fix, and it looks lovely. I absolutely adore the cross-stitch on the edges, what a great idea! I am slightly jealous that my machine doesn't have that stitch! Your rolled hem looks fantastic - something else I haven't tried yet on my overlocker, and both fabrics are lovely together. I think I might have the same flowery fabric, but with a red background.

    1. Thanks, Lynne! But I have to admit the cross-stitch idea was not my own but Katrinas from edelweiss pattern, lol. You really have to try the rolled hem with your serger, it is a breeze! You are missing out ;)

  2. Gorgeous! You've done really well! One suggestion I have, you may be able to fix the shoulder seam falling to the back by adding a waist stay to your waistline seam. It's really simple, and stops the weight of the skirt dragging on the bodice. I now add a waist stay in all dresses that have a full skirt, and especially anything strapless. Sewaholic does a good tutorial here:, but there are plenty others available.


    1. Thank you. And thanks for the link, I will definitively try out the waist stay! Hopefully it will help keeping the dress in place :)

  3. You're catching on to your overlock very quickly! I've had mine for a very long time and have never tried the rolled hem - now you've got me thinking. And I agree about the waist stay. You look so lovely in red - I'm hoping you'll find some fun places to wear your new dress for the holidays!

    1. Yes, I love my overlocker :) And the rolled hem was not too difficult, Just give it a go! It will save you a lot of time. I am going home to Germany in a weeks time, so hopefully I can wear it then, yeah. I just ordered a half slip yesterday, so hopefully that will help with the clinging.

  4. This is really lovely! Good work on figuring out the overlocker :) The buttons you used are really cute, and I love the decorative top stitching!

    1. Thank you :) The buttons I used in the end were actually not the ones I bought for the dress. But I just love how they go with the dress and they are vintage - so perfect match!

  5. it is absolutely stunning!! I love the pattern and , oh my, the colours of your fabric are perfect together! You should wear this everyday :) I look forward to trying out this pattern!!

    1. Thank you! The only problem with wearing it every day is that I will spend the next 6 month at home on my desk writing my thesis, buh.


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