Something for summer: Dune top and briefs

I’m okay with the fact that my makes are never 100% perfect but equally, I strive for them to be as neat and robust as possible. When I received my first instalment of the Fabric Godmother Dream Wardrobe, I was so excited to start sewing. The Dune set by Christine Haynes isn’t a pattern I would have typically picked for myself but then I wondered why on earth not since I knew the tank top and briefs would be ideal to wear as both underwear and subsequently pjs during the -hopefully – warmer summer months.

The garments are relatively simple to construct, if your machine is okay sewing stretchy fabric. However, my ‘Made with Love and Swear Words’ labels could not have been more apt for this make. The main quagmire stemmed from my machine not being able to feed the fabric through smoothly. Both my domestic sewing machine, and at times my overlocker, struggled, so much so that I was holding my breath every time I had to sew each section. The fabric itself is a really soft Tencel modal jersey, such a lovely and comfortable material to wear and perfect for a loungewear set like this.

Having spent hours reading troubleshooting posts and watching YouTube videos to see how I could fix the problem I decided to take the machine to my local sewing shop and was told it was working fine, just not quite up to the task of sewing super stretchy jerseys! Some relief I guess, but equally I love this pattern and fabric combo and want to sew similar sets in the future. I would have thought basic sewing machines like mine could handle this type of fabric but it might be worth investing in a walking foot to help avoid the situation I had. I would also recommend testing your chosen stitch length and width on scrap fabric before you start sewing your make.

Preparing your make

Are you someone who always reads the preliminary information pages in the supporting pattern booklet before you start sewing, or do you skip straight ahead to the construction? I am definitely guilty of diving right in to the making process but with this make I am so glad that I took my time to watch the supporting videos before I started sewing. Christine Haynes’ YouTube channel includes a really useful series for the Dune pattern where she covers a range of topics from setting up your machine to alterations. Rarely do I make a toile but I had some stretchy fabric of a similar weight in my stash so I did this first and actually ended up tweaking the sizes slightly for the final garment.

Constructing the garments

As I mentioned at the top of this post, the construction process was tricky due to my machine not being able to feed the fabric through smoothly, had it done so the set would have been sewn relatively quickly. Again, I would recommend you test your stitches before you start; configuring the topstitch length and width is really important, make a note of this when you have found the right settings so you can amend your stitches to match every time you topstitch. Sewing the straps can be a little fiddly and I was glad I had really taken my time on the previous steps so everything matched up as it should.  

The briefs are undoubtedly the quicker of the two garments to sew. I kept the high-waist fit but you could alter the length of the briefs to suit. I also sized down to ensure these sat smoothly on my body, and I would certainly recommend sewing a practice version of the briefs to check you’re happy with the fit.

While this make was massively frustrating to make at times, it hasn’t put me off sewing with stretchy fabric. I did purchase a walking foot so hopefully using this fabric again will be a little easier. I have worn the set as underwear but think it will work equally well in the summer months as pjs. This pattern lends itself well to alterations and I would definitely recommend you check out Christine Haynes’ supporting YouTube videos for Dune for some useful hints and tips.

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