For some time, I had been wanting a striped cotton dress. It took what felt like forever to find the right one. And then in April, I bought this navy and mint dress followed by this navy and pink dress in May. (I’m done buying striped cotton dress for a while, a long while.) Not only do these lovely and comfortable dresses seem to be everywhere, but I felt they would be perfect for a post-baby body that I knew wouldn’t return to it’s pre-baby body as quickly as I’d like. I know you saw this dress earlier this week, but I wanted to share a few tips about the refashion I did for beginners to the sewing world (like me).
Despite already have two very similar dresses, when Merrick shared her tutorial on this black and white version, I loved the idea. Not only did I want it in my closet, but it seemed like a great beginner level sewing project that tempted me to test my skills.
Generally, when I try to follow a tutorial, I like to read two or three on the topic to get different perspectives. While I’ll let you head on over to Merrick’s tutorial for a quick glance at the original project, I thought it might be helpful to share with those of you who are beginners a few of the stumbling blocks I hit along the way so that you can hopefully avoid them.
The armhole: You will remove the sleeve from the dress. Instead of ripping the seams, I just cut mine. While it seemed fairly simple that the sleeve would fit right back in, such was not the case. I cut the sleeve, cut off the serged seam, and ended up with a sleeve that no longer matched the line on the armhole. So just be cognizant when you’re taking the dress apart, to keep the shape the same so it lines up later.
Resizing: Make note of how much you’re taking in on the sides. In my case, it was an inch and half on each side. You’ll need to take in the same amount on the sleeves, at least near the top, so the sleeve fits back into the armhole, related to the point above.
Stripes: A pattern on the fabric adds a level of complexity to any seam you add because the final product always looks better when the pattern lines up. This can’t always be the case, but I was able to line up the stripes fairly well along the sides due to the existing seam keeping things aligned when I sewed up the new seam. Be sure not to cut the old seam and excess fabric off until after the new seam is complete (it makes it easier to line up the stripes and also gives you room for error if you end up making the dress too tight and need to redo the seam).
Finishing Seams: I don’t have a serger. So after I confirmed that the dress fit as desired with the new seams, I cut off the excess fabric. (This proved MUCH easier with a rotary blade and cutting mat.) I used a small zig zag stitch along the original straight stitch I created to add some durability.
And my finished product ~ Quite comfortable and perfect for leaving a bit of space for a leftover baby bump (hopefully going away soon – though I must admit I haven’t exactly been diligent about making a concerted effort to get rid of it.) In due time…