Sunday, 18 May 2014

Last of my sewing for a week; last winter street dress for a while (now remodelled for summer!)

It's Sunday today and I'm busy trying to get things ready to go to a 4 day golf championship tomorrow in a Hartlepool. I'm not playing golf - I'm there because of my committee role in my local Northumberland County. I basically have to wear a kind of 'uniform' by day but there is a more dressy meal on Tuesday night. I still haven't decided what to wear. I'm actually coming back early from the championship, after my input is finished, because I am needed to play golf for my handicap division for my club - we are very short of players. Again, for golf, I will have a 'team uniform'. Then on Thursday, I am playing a friendly golf match - no uniform required. On Friday, I am going to visit my mother for a few days to help her sort out paperwork and her wardrobe. I should be able to return home on Monday next week. So no sewing during that period, though when I visit my mum I might manage a trip to a fabric shop.

The weather is much warmer now, and I'm busy looking out some suitable more summery clothes and sandals. My wardrobe really needs a complete overhaul! I have resolved that if I take something out, it only goes back in if it fits and looks nice.

Today, David took some photos of me in the garden, wearing my latest, and last for a while, version of the PR winter street dress.

These first three are worn with a narrow belt

The next few show the dress without a belt.

The waistline of the dress is in the right position. I didn't modify the waistline from my last version as this fabric is much stretchier and I thought, correctly as it turned out, that the bodice would stretch down further. I hadn't anticipated, for some reason, that the dress skirt would hang lower - I think this could be doing with being a little touch shorter though it's okay and I won't change it. The fabric is a much thinner and drapier jersey as well as having more stretch (4-way) and I chose to make this version with half sleeves - basically the pattern sleeve cut off where the sleeve flounce was to be added. I was going to add a contrast plain band to sleeve and neckline, but I found that the shade of blue was just not quite right, even though they are from the same range. I eventually treated the sleeve hem in exactly the same way as the dress hem, by folding up and topstitching with a twin needle.

I should say that I cut out and started the dress at home but serged most of it in my sewing class - my serger is in for repair (hopefully that rather than being condemned!). I hadn't finished it when my class ended but I was allowed to borrow it to finish dress at home. That was nice.

For my previous versions, I attached the band to the neck using the full circle method, then turned to the inside with a hem and finished by stitching in the ditch. This worked out very well and the stitching was invisible. I had a number of problems with this dress neckline. I actually had to re-do the band 3 times. I had to make it longer than originally planned for as the bodice fabric was puckered. Not a good look! I got plenty of practice unpicking! Then, I finished my second version with stitch in a ditch, but the stitches were visible, maybe because I was now using a thread (white) which would contrast against the blue patterns, whereas previous version were in identically matching thread against plain fabric. In addition, there was still a little bit of puckering. My sewing teacher recommends that bands or elastic be cut 1/8" per 4" shorter than fabric they are to be attached to. My band, cut as per patter, was still far short of that. So I unpicked the whole thing and made a new band another little bit longer. That was better. Deepika suggests finishing the neckline with coverstitch or twin needle topstitching. This time, I elected to finish with the twin needle, to match the other hems. It looks fine, but personally I would rather not see my stitches!

I do like this dress now that I have modified it to fit. This floral version is fine for our relatively cool UK summers. Yesterday was around 22 degrees C (72 - 73 deg F). I was playing golf in full sun, in polo shirt and crops; wearing tan lotion.  The warm weather makes my aches and pains a lot less troublesome, long may it continue! Today is a little cooler and more cloudy. Since the photo session, I have continued to wear the dress and feel quite cool and comfortable in it. I have decided that I quite like knit material and will do some more.

I tried to change my photos on PR but something has gone wrong. Oh well.  I'm now going to look out some sandals and summer tops and get my bag packed. Plus I'll lay out my golf stuff for our team match as I'll be in a bit of a hurry when I get back from Hartlepool. I'm staying on Hartlepool Marina, BTW - I haven't seen that before so am looking forward to seeing it.


  1. I empathise with those aches and pains :). Still keeping busy and involved is a good way to occupy the mind, which, as you know, helps with pain. You certainly are busy with golf!

    Now, the dress - it's so pretty and looks so lovely and fresh on. Those colours really do suit you - they are just the right shades, don't drain you, are nice and cool, but soft and lighter too. And only a narrow belt for you, I agree. Many of us don't have defined waists and a wide belt does not work. This does. Knit neckbands are tricky - this was my first foray this year into knits, and I haven't got the hang of them yet. And when you get the formula right for a neckband in one sort of stretch fabric, it will be quite different for another. And finishing is difficult. So I think you have done very well. I think sewing is a process of feel your way,sometimes, with stitch picker in hand.

    1. Thank you. Golf on Saturday in pretty warm weather, first golf for ages, on a hilly course, took its toll on me next day! Still sunny and nice today but fortunately I'm not playing golf just spectating and going to committee meetings and meals!


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