The Trina Dress sent me into a style crisis tailspin. I wanted this dress the moment it hit my Instagram feed, but it completely strays from what I consider to be my personal style.
I can’t believe I’m writing this: I officially love shirtmaking. I love choosing the perfect buttons. I love the careful pressing it takes to make an even button band. I love sewing a symmetrical pocket. I even love the topstitching.
I never thought I’d date a male model.
This dress came together in a very serendipitous way. I didn’t realize that the fabric and pattern would be a perfect match. I had no clue how it would look sans collar and buttons. But daggumit I went for it. And I love it.
I should know better than to sew a dress the day of a party. You could write a mathematical proof showing that impulse sewing directly increases your level of stress. But sometimes (who am I kidding, A LOT of the time) your fabric speaks to you.
You have a serger now it says. I’m a thick, sturdy knit it says. You’ve already sewn this pattern twice it says. And so I listened. I listened and that meant I was sewing on a neckband and finishing sleeves and the hem barely 90 minutes before folks walked through the door for my birthday party.
It wasn’t all so haphazard, though. If I’ve learned anything in three-ish years of sewing, it’s that a little planning goes a long way when it comes to the finished product—and your sanity. Here are some tips for a speedy sew:
Cut out multiple projects at once. I don’t know how I had the patience to cut out several different projects in one evening, but I did and this ponte double-knit floral dress was one of ’em. If only I’d gotten to sewing it before the morning of the party…
Pick a pattern you’ve already used. I knew this dress would fit without much fuss, as I’ve used Marcy Tilton’s Vogue 8904 pattern four times now. A long sleeveless dress with panels, short sleeveless dress with panels, long sleeveless V-neck hack for Cruella, and now the short version with sleeves and no panels. (I’d link to it but the Vogue site gives a 404 error when you click through—it might be out of print…?!?!)
Choose a fast sewing method. Sorry French seams and Hong Kong finishes! We’ll meet again some leisurely day. I used my SUPER FAST WONDERFUL serger for most of the construction of this dress and used the sewing machine to anchor the neckband and sew the hems.
Don’t rush the finishing touches. Listen, I know that my hems look better when I use a walking foot. I know it. But I let my pre-hosting jitters cloud my brain into 1). using a regular foot and 2). not busting out the twin needle. I used a ballpoint needle (I’m not INSANE, y’alls) and a zigzag stitch, and my bottom hem turned out a wee bit wavy for my liking. Note to self: Take the extra 3 minutes to attach the walking foot and thread the twin needle. Le sigh.
Do you have any tips for speedy sewing? I’m all ears. And happy SPRING everybody! I’m embracing it with plenty of pretty florals and rosé wine. Actually, I drank rosé most of the winter, too. The gods of booze snobbery will have to pry my rosé out of my cold, dead hands.
When it ain’t broke, why not color block it?!
When it ain’t broke, why not accidentally make a bowling shirt?!
Yes, I think this kind of resembles a bowling shirt. Or something that Zack would wear to seduce Kelly in Saved by the Bell. I did grow up in the ’90s after all.
Inspired by Grainline Studio’s post about color blocking, I sewed this Archer Button Up with some aptly named light blue and deep blue shirting from Denver Fabrics. It’s my third Archer, and I’m officially declaring this a tried-and-true pattern. I love the boyfriend fit and even the butt ruffle on view B, although this time I opted again for the classic view A, as I was already adding some interest with the kooky color blocking. (Check out that second link for my sizing and modifications.)
The side angles don’t match up perfectly, but I didn’t care enough to re-cut the pieces. I’d originally planned to do the whole sleeve in deep blue but ran out of fabric, hence the sleeves that look like they’ve been dip-dyed in bleach. I like ’em.
I finished all the seams with my new serger, which is like a child—one minute it’s acting like an angel and the next it’s throwing a damn hissy fit. I think we just need some more time to bond. I don’t understand its moods or what it likes to eat—yet. (If you’re wondering, I’m having the same problem as the person in this thread, entitled “I’m going to throw my serger out the window.” There are some good tips in there that I haven’t had the time or patience to try yet. I’ll report back on our relationship soon.)
Anywho, the light blue is much lighter weight than the dark blue, so I pressed those seam allowances toward the darker fabric so they wouldn’t show through (a little tip from Grainline’s tutorial).
The only thing I might go back and amend is the pocket. I like having just one instead of two (made using the alternate Archer pocket tutorial because I lurrrrve it). I texted a grainy picture of this shirt to my mom the night I made it and she suggested adding some sort of patch/crest to the pocket.
UPDATE: I just googled my last name and apparently we are all Gryffindors?!?! Obviously I am going to find a family crest patch and iron/sew that on. Problem solved.
Do you ever sew extras/accoutrements onto your stuff?