Lyocell Grainline Adler Dress

Lyocell Alder Dress

Lyocell Grainline Alder Dress

Although I’ve taught the Grainline Alder Dress in a class setting a few times, this is only the second version I’ve sewn for myself! Which is surprising because I absolutely love this pattern.

Alder Line Drawing

This dress ticks off one of my summer sewing goals (I’ve finished another top, just need to take pics, so that makes 4 completed).

Summer 2018 Wardrobe Mood Board

I bought this slinky lyocell (which is a type of rayon) from Joann fabrics. I’ve been impressed with some of their fabrics lately. Every once in a while you find a gem like this. Unfortunately, everyone else loved it too and they didn’t have enough on one bolt to make this dress. Luckily, they had about a yard left on another bolt – but the color was slightly darker.

IMG_8581

You can barely tell, but I used the darker fabric on the collar, button plackets, and pockets. For the pockets, I turned the top part to the outside, exposing the lighter wrong side of the fabric as a contrast.

At first, I wanted to sew the straight, non-gathered version of the dress but when I realized how slippery this lyocell would be, I determined it would be too difficult to keep the grain straight on such long pattern pieces.

IMG_8587

I knew better than to try to cut and sew lyocell without some kind of stabilizer (like spray starch) but I was feeling daring. I paid the price by having to re-sew the collar pieces because they were off kilter.

The only other problem I had with this dress was a mishap involving the serger. But I easily fixed that by trimming the front body pieces and extending the gathered section toward the center front by about half an inch. Dress saved!

IMG_8567

The buttons came from a friend (thanks Roseanna!). I asked for advice on Instagram to choose between three types of fasteners. I think the snaps won but when I tested one on a scrap, the pressure of the snap points caused the threads in the fabric to pull, making nasty runs. I went with clear buttons instead and I think they’re a good size and work well with the blue fabric.

I topstitched as many of the seams as possible.

This fabric is very drapey and soft but it also slides around on my shoulders and it wrinkles easily. And it tends to pull against the more structured, interfaced button band. So while this fabric is quite nice, it may not have been the best choice for this pattern. But that doesn’t really matter because I love this dress and I’m going to keep wearing it all summer!

IMG_8583

McCall’s 7431

McCalls 7431

McCalls 7431

I had such high hopes for this dress because I LOVED this border print black and white fabric, but after completing the project, the dress feels too bold for my taste.

McCalls 7431

Maybe it’s the bell sleeves or the front lacing or the piping or dizzying stripe? Maybe it’s all of it combined. Some aspect of this design pushed it over the edge into crazyville and now I’m having second thoughts.

Let’s back up…

McCalls 7431

This incredible geometric border print is a semi-sheer poly-blend from Lockstitch & Lustre here in Austin.

Mccalls 7431

I had McCall’s 7431 in my stash and I thought the skirt, sleeves, and lacing band in front offered a good opportunity to highlight the border on the fabric.

McCalls 7431

The pattern itself was fine and the dress came together without any real problems, although the sleeves are a tad tight. I enjoyed adding eyelets/grommets to a modern garment rather than a historical costume.

McCalls 7431

The only change I made was to line the skirt with beige Bemberg rayon.

McCalls 7431

I spent so much time fussy cutting the pieces, sewing perfect piping and hammering eyelets that it seems a shame to waste this dress.

McCalls 7431

Perhaps I’ll try the pattern again in a tamer print. Or with a different sleeve option. As cool as the bell sleeves look, they tend to get in the way whenever I try to use my hands to do normal things like eating food or picking stuff up.

McCalls 7431

My plan now is to lop off the sleeves. I can only hope that losing the bells will help ground this design. But I’ve yet to take the plunge… What do you think I should do? Is the dress fine as is? Am I being overly critical? Should I just embrace the crazy? Or is there some other change I haven’t thought to do?
McCalls 7431

Sewaholic Harwood Dress

Sewaholic Harwood Dress

So I have mixed feelings about this dress. It’s the Sewaholic Harwood Dress that was released a few years ago, View A.

The fabric is a rayon from Joann and the orange piping comes from silk crepe scraps. The colors and flowers feel a little 1930s/40s to me and combined with this style it has a kind of vague 40’s housedress feel. But that’s not my issue, I actually really like the print.

Sewaholic Harwood Dress

But the fabric, combined with the pattern design caused some construction issues. Even though I starched the heck out of this rayon, it was still difficult to cut the center front on the straight of grain. I think it’s a little wobbly.

Sewaholic Harwood Dress

I did a full bust adjustment to the gathered bodice pieces, leaving the yokes intact. I added width but actually shortened the front bodice pieces at center front for a specific reason. I’ve tried sewing styles like this with elastic that doesn’t cross the center front at the waist. I’ve noticed that that design causes the center front to droop because it isn’t supported by the stretch of elastic. I think this pattern is designed to have the elastic sit right at the waistline but I worried it would be too low. In the end, I’m glad I made that adjustment because I think it compensated for that inherent “drooping.”

Sewaholic Harwood Dress

Even though I did that wonky FBA, the front gathered bodice sections still need more width – like at least an inch on either side in the front. That, combined with the fact that the elastic does not extend entirely around the front of the dress, means there is constant strain on the buttons causing gaping in front.

Sewaholic Harwood Dress

I had to sew in three sets of hidden snaps. One below the waistline button and one on either side of the button just below the yoke. I also had to move the button just below the yoke further to the edge to lessen the straining across the bust.

Style-wise, I don’t love the slightly wide shoulder line. If the shoulders extended out any further they’d be cap sleeves. I definitely would prefer it if the fabric ended at my shoulder point or further in. They’re just at a weird location and I think they make my shoulders seem wider than they ought to be. It’s just… odd looking.

Sewaholic Harwood Dress

On the plus side, the dress looks is a lot cuter in these pictures than how I felt wearing it in real life. This dress is growing on me but I doubt I’ll sew it again. If I want this type of style (sleeveless, button front, gathered waist), there are similar patterns that I’d rather make.

Grainline Farrow Dress v2.0

Grainline Farrow Dress v2

This is my second Grainline Farrow Dress and it might be my favorite make so far this year!

I sewed View B this time, except I shortened the sleeves.Grainline Farrow Dress v2

I bought this gorgeous Japanese double-gauze from The Cloth Pocket (it’s sadly sold out now).
Grainline Farrow Dress v2

To best utilize this fantastic print I had to fussy cut all the pieces which meant I didn’t have enough room for the full-length sleeves.

Grainline Farrow Dress v2That’s fine because the shorter sleeves make this dress more versatile for Texas weather.

Grainline Farrow Dress v2

I didn’t make any changes to the body of the dress (I even kept the original hem length. In my previous version, I shortened the hem). But I did alter the sleeve.Grainline Farrow Dress v2

I could tell by holding the paper sleeve piece to my arm that it would be way too small. So I drafted an alteration that widens the bicep while lowering the sleeve cap a bit at the same time.
Grainline Farrow Dress v2

This method adds slightly more range of movement in the arm while also keeping the original length of the sleeve cap intact so you don’t have to alter the armhole on the dress. Maybe I’ll do a quick tutorial on that technique in the future.

Grainline Farrow Dress v2I hemmed everything by hand which was easy with double gauze since I only had to stitch through one layer of the fabric. That makes for a perfectly invisible hem.

Grainline Farrow Dress v2

I love how soft and flowy this dress is – as you can tell from these pics taken on a windy day.

Grainline Farrow Dress v2
Happy sewing, y’all!