Floaty dress complete with ruffles, what’s not to love?
Autumn is my favourite season and while my wardrobe is usually punctuated by dark, earthy tones at this time of year I really wanted to incorporate some brighter colours into my handmade pieces this season. I had mulled over pattern and fabric combinations before finally settling on the McCall’s 8032 in this soft satin fabric. If you’ve had a scroll through my blog (firstly, thank you) you may have noticed a reoccurring trend in the garments I’ve been making of late. Frills and gathers. It’s funny really because although I love the extra detail and movement you can achieve with gathered seams, sometimes the process of achieving this desired effect can feel quite laborious! A lot of the time, patterns will ask you to do two or three lines of gathering stitches before pulling the threads at each side of the garment to achieve the gathers, stitching to secure and then unpicking all your gathering stitches. To save time, I’ve learnt to take some shortcuts. Where possible, I will only do one line of gathering stitches, for instance on small sections like sleeves. I guess this will depend on how defined you want the gathers to be but I’m a slow sewist (in the literal sense here) so any time-saving techniques I can accommodate, I will. Additionally, on larger garment pieces I will create gathers in sections, as opposed to running the gathering stitch along the full width of the piece. In the past, threads have been prone to snap if not pulled gently enough so doing smaller sections at a time means you don’t have to re-stitch the whole section if the thread breaks.
Generally speaking, the M8032 came together pretty quickly. I sewed a size 10 throughout and was happy with the fit. One thing to note is that the pattern doesn’t tell you to finish/neaten the seams so you’ll need to do this as you go along. I also had a bit of trouble with the ruffle collar, making it stand up. I ended up adding a line of topstitching to catch the seam allowance to see if this would help and it did a little, but it’s not as structured as I would like. Another option might have been to add a facing to the inside of the collar and then stitch in the ditch at the shoulder seams to get the collar to stand upright. Perhaps it was just the nature of the fabric, being lightweight and delicate, that meant it couldn’t hold its structure as easily. You may find something like a cotton lawn would help the pleated collar to hold its shape.
The pattern also calls for a regular zip. I don’t mind doing zips but I do always follow a YouTube video to make sure I’m positioning the zip the right way around, this tutorial by Sew Over It is a good one to refer to.
So let’s talk about this oh so dreamy fabric. This is a sumptuous satin called Kerry Satin from Fabric Godmother. I think I searched through the majority of online fabric shops before finally settling on this one. It feels so soft and has a lovely drape so works well with the gathers on this dress. You can also find other shades on the website. I bought 2 metres which was just enough for the size 10 dress I made. I wouldn’t say it was the easiest to sew with as it’s quite slippery but it’s comfortable to wear and doesn’t crease (yay!)
So, while I may not be donning this floaty dress to a Christmas party this year I will definitely be taking it for spin around the house. Have you started sewing garments for Christmas?