Star Trek Insurrection Captain’s dress uniform

Last night I finished the most involved project I’ve ever made in a short space of time.

About a year ago, my husband and I were watching Star Trek: Insurrection. Occasionally, my husband points out costumes or items of clothing that he wants me to make him. This time, he happened to point out one that I was in love with:

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The dress uniform has quilted panels across the shoulders and in the zippered front panel, extended front tails, a cropped back, gold lame bias tape accents, red and gold piping details, red bias tape in the collar stand, and red bias tape on the deep cuffs. To my husband’s disappointment, I did not make the funky braided ceremonial hat for his head.

I definitely procrastinated on this for a while. I was a bit fearful of fitting another person in such a tailored looking jacket. I assembled the materials for it after we watched the movie, but they sat around until last week.

I was able to find gold lame bias tape from fabric.com. It has a fusible back. While it was thin (1/4 inch), I used two lines of it in most places. I got red bias tape from fabric.com as well, but it is the low quality poly/cotton stuff. I should have bought the good stuff locally, but it is just a costume piece. I also got white poly cotton twill from fabric.com, but the grey stuff to eventually make a lower rank dress uniform for myself with the grey zippered panel. I did not find a good choice for the red and gold piping. Most stuff I found was thicker, upholstery grade and would have been difficult to sew in because of the many many layers of fabric. I decided to leave it off.

I started with M7216 for my pattern. PSA to all, it’s so easy to fit someone else, especially a guy! I started with a tissue fit to see if the pattern out of the envelope would fit him. There were some adjustments to make: full belly adjustment and a narrow shoulder adjustment, but overall it fit him really well. After those adjustments, I modified the pattern to have a front panel, as well as a bit of a curved side panel to make the fit over the stomach a lot cleaner looking. I raised the neckline and then used the collar stand piece from my M6696, because it was the closest pattern with a stand. Collar stands are pretty universal. I also added shoulder pads to give more structure to the shoulders.

Instead of adding panels for the quilting to the shoulders, I just sewed detail lines there and in the front zipper panel, too.

That lovely shoulder V in gold lame! 😍😍😍 #sewing #sewcialists #costuming #cosplay

A photo posted by Andie W. (@sewprettyinpink) on

The sewing process was quite involved with all the lines and bias tape that needed to be matched as well as the cuff and collar.

The construction on the collar was a bit rushed as it was a half hour before we left for Fan Expo to perform, but I am not going to beat myself up on it.

DONE!! Just in time to leave for #fanexpo2016 #sewing #sewcialists #costuming #cosplay

A photo posted by Andie W. (@sewprettyinpink) on

I love the cuffs.

My husband looks absolutely fantastic in it and it showed in his improv last night, because he kicked ass.

We performed last night at Fan Expo with PJ Phil from YTV’s the Zone. He was PJ in the 90s and I came rushing home from high school to watch Sailor Moon during the Zone every day. PJ Phil is a Canadian celebrity, especially for us 90s kids.

It was a lot of fun and Phil was a great Admiral Sulu!

I made the other uniforms excluding the other female performers’ uniforms which they purchased on their own. You can read about the guys uniforms here.

The jacket is my crowning achievement, though, and has given me so much confidence with sewing going forward.

Star Trek Insurrection Captain's dress uniform

Star Trek Insurrection Captain's dress uniform

The back fits incredibly well, but you will have to take my word for it since I didn’t take a picture of it.

Next up is to adapt this pattern into a Captain Kirk uniform from the early Star Trek movies for our performance at C4 in Winnipeg in October opening the Con and for William Shatner:

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My husband is eventually going to have an entire Star Trek cosplay closet along with his TNG uniform. It’s going to be great. I need to get business cards with my blog so when people ask him who made his spiffy costumes, he can pimp my blog.😉

If you are in Toronto, come see the Dandies perform Star Trek improv at Fan Expo again at 5:30pm tonight in 701B. If you can’t make it to that, we also have our regular show Holodeck Follies on Wednesday night at Social Capital Theatre.

In terms of the pattern and giving it proper review, I feel I can’t really rate it fairly since I changed it so much. I do think, though, that the mark of a good pattern is being able to adapt and change it without the fit falling apart.

Live long and prosper or, as we say in the comedy business, Laugh Long and Prosper!

 

Sewing for Accessibility

I have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. It’s a genetic disorder that means I produce defective collagen. Collagen is in every part of the body including skin, muscles, tendons, and cartilage. As a result of my defective collagen, my joints are hypermobile meaning that they bend back far beyond where they should. Think of an elastic that is stretched out and has lost all its ability to snap back into place. That is what is happening with my joints. They bend backwards because there is very little to keep them in place. As a result, I am prone to injuries like dislocations or subluxations (partial dislocations where the joint “slips” out of place but goes back in on its own). I have cartilage breakdown in my knees and my right hip and frequent dislocations in my left shoulder and right hip. Subluxations are everywhere, including really weird places like my fingers, ribs, and toes. I am always in pain. EDS sufferers generally invent a new pain scale so my 5 is probably more like a 15/10 on the pain scale and I never experience less than a 5 on my pain scale.

I was recently diagnosed this year, but have lived with it my whole life and started gaining weight around 12 years old as my injuries got worse and the pain associated with EDS got more difficult. I fought for my diagnosis in a medical world that looked at my body weight and decided the reason for all of it was because of that instead of seeing that as a symptom of a much bigger issue.

This past year, I’ve come to realize how big a part my sewing is playing in my life in terms of making fashion more accessible to me. I can, for instance, change a dress pattern to have a right side zipper because of my left shoulder difficulties. Instead of sewing woven clothes with sleeves that are hard for my shoulder to navigate in a dress without stretch, I can sew a sleeveless dress and a coordinating cardigan or blazer. I can sew fuller sleeves with fun elements like gathering at the top as well to make sure the fit isn’t too tight to prevent my arm from getting out of the blazer or cardigan. Recently, I’ve been having a lot of trouble closing bras in the back and need to make changes to my pattern to accommodate a front closure.

In RTW, accessible clothing in my size is often not fashionable and not made in fabrics I would wear. It’s overly large and shapeless. The shoes I buy are often incredibly ugly (I keep pretty shoes for photoshoots and immediately take them off after the pictures!). I need comfort and functionality before fashion and don’t have the spare cash to buy the premium fashionable shoes that are also comfortable. Front closure bras are often made in RTW without wires in my size or they are nursing bras. Options in that respect are next to impossible to find for my size. Going without a bra is also not an option since I find that places too much strain on my back.

Sewing truly does increase my accessibility to the retro inspired fashion I love. I create the fashion for myself and make changes based on what I need. As I get braces to help my limbs stay in place, that will also evolve my sewing and create interesting details in my garments. If I end up needing a wheelchair, I will be able to make clothes with that in mind. In that case, too, I might be able to wear prettier shoes since I am sitting down.😉

I’m really grateful lately that sewing hasn’t been impeded by my disability, except in terms of energy, but I am trying really hard to not push myself when I am low on energy. Sewing is a lot easier for me than most activities. Except for cutting out patterns, I don’t find it overly physically taxing. I will need to get an adjustable desk for cutting eventually to help me with that plus a real ironing board instead of the desk top one I have so I don’t have to bend over unnecessarily. I tend to cut out patterns all at once and then take the rest of the day off.

As I move reluctantly into fall sewing, I will be choosing patterns with more care due to mobility issues. My mobility issues for the most part will not get better. Once joints begin dislocating there is little that can be done to prevent it entirely. Physiotherapy will help a great deal but some things will lead to surgery or further disability. I’ll share with you my bra refashioning woes. I am not looking forward to the changes I will need to make to my bra pattern for a front closure! Mobility is something that affects my life very deeply and the issues I encounter are so different than an able person. I think very carefully before I do anything and have to consider my energy and pain levels. I’ve been hearing from a lot of other spoonies or people with mobility issues and I think it would be helpful to discuss why I choose certain patterns or how I change certain patterns to adapt to my mobility. Each body is different but sometimes my particular issues match with another person who sews. I’m reluctant to put up a post about wardrobe planning (I never follow my plan!), but this is the type of wardrobe planning I can get behind. In that sense, I will have some planning posts and construction changes and what I have done starting with the front closure for my bra pattern.

Made with Moxie Prefontaine Shorts

Today I share with you my Made with Moxie Prefontaine shorts. I made them before my Upton maxi dress, but they have been constantly worn since. There are a few patterns like this one out there, but for some reason, these struck me as the ones for me. If you are looking for a similar pattern that is free, check out Purl Solo’s City Gym shorts (goes up to 46 inch hip).  The Prefontaine shorts, however, go up to a 55 inch hip and have pockets. I could have graded up the City gym shorts and altered them for a pocket, but I decided to go with the Prefontaine shorts. I’m glad I did.

Shorts are a continuing mission for me. I need to break that scarrier (a barrier you are scared of…lol). This year is all about fashion challenges to myself and conquering fashion scarriers, because of what people and magazines told me growing up.

Shorts are a scarrier for me. I haven’t worn them in public since I was in my teens and the last time I wore them…I had some mean girls at school make fun of my legs for being fat and super duper white and pale. I guess they were making fun of my entire fat body, but I was wearing a flowy peasant top a la mid-90s with cut off jean shorts so that translated to me hating shorts. I immediately went home and tossed the shorts in the garbage and never wore them again. My legs also become a huge object for my hatred after that. I’ve been pretty honest about my struggles with mental health. My legs were a target for self harm for most of my teen years until about 21 when I stopped harming myself for good. YAY ME! Ridiculously proud of myself for how far I have some in uh…almost 15 years.

Shorts are still a scarrier, though. They are a big part of me healing myself and saying “eff you, bullies of the past!” and healing the mental health scars internally. With all my health issues, I can’t change my body very easily so it is important to me that I embrace it and love it and work past these scarriers. 2 weeks ago, I posted this on Facebook and IG:

My body does great things on a daily basis just trying to keep my joints from flying off to Nantucket. I have to appreciate it for that and for how it helped me my whole life. Sure I will still curse every time I have weird things happen like dislocating my shoulder by putting on a bag. But it’s the only body I have. So I embrace its flaws and appreciate its strengths.

Shorts and trying out different dress silhouettes (tent dress, maxi dress) is really important to me. Next one is a two piece swimsuit to get into the pool for exercise.

Back to the Prefontaine shorts.

The thing is that I’ve made them, but there is no way I would or could wear these shorts out in public unless I was at the beach or back from the gym. They are a lot more like pajama shorts than I originally anticipated. That is totally okay, of course, pj shorts with pockets are an amazing thing and I will have tons of these, but I was looking for a nice short to wear around the city and feel confident in. On reflection, maybe a loose-fitting pair of shorts was never destined for that, but I didn’t know unless I tried.

The fit on the Prefontaine shorts isn’t really what I was hoping for. I graded up to a size 28. I could definitely have just done a size 26 or maybe with the ease tried the size 24 since my hips are 56 inches (to 58…depending on the time of the month) and the size 24 is for 55 inch hips. I think the ease might be a little bit more than the pattern suggests. For size 26, it should be only be a couple of inches of ease, but my shorts measure at 62 inches. Edit: the size chart is also not very detailed. It is more detailed with the finished measurements than anything else. So the ease for a 26 could be correct, but it’s hard to know without a complete size chart. It could definitely have been my grading, though. I’ll for sure be making the pattern again, but I will try sizing down next time. The butt fits okay, though, so even if I do size down, I want to keep the crotch curve almost as is on the back with a slightly larger adjustment. I’m not a huge fan of how the front looks. I have a shorter front crotch curve, which I discovered while making my Misty Jeans, so there is fabric pooling and pouching. Not the greatest look at all! Sizing down may help, but I also plan on shortening that curve for a better fit. I love the pockets, though, and the bias tape edges. It makes for a fun around the house short.

My main reason for not wearing them outside of the house is the potential for the crotch to ride up as I walk and for me to get chub rub. The shorts aren’t super functional unless they stop me from chafing. Around the house, they are fine, but I need something functional for walking. If I were to make these for outside shorts, I would have to lengthen them to cover my thighs, but I think I really just want to make a bunch of these for pj shorts for around the house.

I already have the Jennifer City Shorts from StyleArc cut out, but I just got the Itch to Stitch Belize shorts for a shorter short since the Jennifer City Shorts hit about knee level. The other plus of the Belize shorts is they seem to have a higher waist, which I much prefer. I also love the elastic back with the flat front and the skort version, but I don’t think that will be my first version of them. I’d prefer to try to get the fit correct and I think I might be lazy with the skort since that would just cover it up. I will need to grade the shorts up to a size 26.

And now here is a mini-rant. I know that plus sized women often aren’t the market for shorts, but there is a serious lack of patterns for them in bigger sizes. Shorts are becoming more popular in plus size fashion. I wish for two things: 1) that sewing patterns would hurry up and meet fashion trends so I can sew them and 2) that sewing pattern companies were more adventurous with their options. Release all the plus sized crop trops, short shorts, tank dresses, bodycon dresses, swing/tent dresses, sleeveless everything, and lingerie, for god’s sake, give me PLUS SIZED lingerie patterns! I just want more options and to get past more and more scarriers so that other women like me look at how I am rocking it and say, “hey, I can do that too!” or maybe they get past a different scarrier. End rant.

And back to some details on the shorts. They are made with a midweight soft as heck purple cotton that I bought years ago during a Fabricland closing. The hot pink bias tape is from a local shop. I recently learned that I have access to way better bias tape than 90% of the world. The stuff in packages is apparently what most people have, but my local stores actually make bias tape with their cotton fabric so you can match the bias tape perfectly to the cotton solids colours available in their shop. The bias tape isn’t a poly/cotton blend, but a nice cotton. It’s prices comparably to the stuff in packages. So now I get why people say they hate purchased bias tape. Before I was all “this is a good alternative.” But now I realize my privilege in having access to much better bias tape. There are higher qualities and 100% cotton bias tapes in the packages, but they aren’t everywhere like the scratchy poly/cotton stuff.

Even though most edges would be finished in the bias tape, I also finished them with my serger.

Construction went okay. I was watching Stephen King’s The Mist while making them. I’ve seen that movie about 20 times and got reminded of it while recently devouring Stranger Things on Netflix. People who have seen both can understand a bit of the correlation with Stranger Things in my mind. Even though I’ve seen the movie a lot, certain things distracted me. I won’t spoil it, but it’s a really good movie imho. The ending in the movie is controversial for book fans and even for movie fans, but I think it’s a good cinematic ending and it kills me every time. Basically, the movie is emotional, scary, and a great psychological trip.

But….it’s not good watch while you sew material…

I sewed the pockets to the front crotch curve during a particularly tense scene. So that happened. After ripping that out, everything was fine. The instructions are really clear.

I wore the shorts with a new Concord tank top with cotton lycra covered with cats in crowns. How much better can a shirt get?! Here pictures of me without makeup or having done my hair at all and I pretty much don’t care! I kind of love them. You can see the wicked hot pink and purple argyle KT tape on my shoulder that my Physiotherapist put on me. She gets me. She said she would have offered most people the black stuff, but not me.😉

Concord T-shirt and Prefontaine Shorts

Concort T-shirt and Prefontaine Shorts

Concord T-shirt and Prefontaine Shorts

The elastic in the back isn’t twisting or anything, just wasn’t sitting right for the picture. Too lazy to retake it!

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Made with Moxie Prefontaine Shorts
  • Pros: Nice deep pockets (I made them deeper in this version, but I am going back to the original length for the next pair because they are good as is). Bias tape edging is a great design detail. Lots of ease for a casual pattern.
  • Cons: Not wearable in public because of potential for crotch riding up. But that’s a personal thing. Might have more ease than the pattern suggests.
  • Make again?: Yes. I want to size down, decrease the front crotch curve, and leave the back crotch curve as is in this version. If I were to wear these in public, I would lengthen them, too.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdwhite-star-black-md4/5 stars

Upton Maxi dress

Back on my honeymoon, I was 3 weeks away from my sewing machine and I started dreaming of what I would make when I returned. The fabric haul I brought back helped, of course, but I also dreamed about the fabric I already had, including this lovely bright print:

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It’s definitely reminiscent of African wax prints, but I am not 100% sure if it is one. I forgot to ask and, quite frankly, at $5/metre, I doubt it is a wax print. Every wax print I saw while I was in the Netherlands was around 15 euros a metre or more and looking briefly online I see similar prices. I saw so many gorgeous wax prints in the Netherlands:

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I wanted to buy them all. As a result, my mind wandered back to this fabric I already had. I bought 5 metres of it without a clear idea in my head of what I would make, but it was only $25 so I just did it. I was 100% after my trip that it was screaming to become a maxi dress. Then Cashmerette released the Upton dress and Ashley announced the Maxi dress sewalong and I knew: an Upton maxi dress.

I’ve never worn or even tried a maxi dress on before in my life. I had a strange notion that because I was short and fat, it would make me look even shorter and fatter. Now I don’t give a flying beep about that. I just want to try new styles and stretch my fashion wings. So a maxi dress is perfect for getting over that fashion fear.

Usual disclaimer: I didn’t test the Upton pattern, because the timing was off for me, but I did receive it for free.

I’ll go into a more extensive review when I actually sew the entire dress, but for my maxi dress, I only used the bodice, didn’t even line it, completely ignored the instructions, and can only speak to how that worked out. I made two muslins for the bodice. One I tried the 24C/D graded to the 26 at the waist.

Another I made the 22G/H graded to the 24 at the waist (that one wasn’t even IG worthy!). Then I measured myself again and chose to make the 24G/H graded to the 26 at the waist and it was perfect:

Next version, I will narrow the shoulders and maybe do a forward shoulder adjustment, too.

I made extra darts at the armholes to get a good fit. I had this opinion that armhole darts are not ideal for some reason and should be avoided, but unless I am working with princess seams I really need them to get a good fit everywhere. My high bust to full bust to underbust ratio is extreme and my shoulders are narrow. With princess seams, I’m always shaving off a bit where the armhole meets the princess seam. It works well without a dart there for princess seams, but in a darted bodice, that extra dart at the armhole works so much better for me. Any flat pattern adjustments won’t quite get the right shape, because we are 3D beings. In patterns with sleeves, it’s a bit different as the sleeve generally pulls that extra fabric in, but in a sleeveless bodice with darts, I’m all for that armhole dart. It just looks better on me.

Again I had a horrible time with my zipper. I need more practice, but also my machine just does not want to work with zippers. It won’t feed them through for whatever reason. It’s not bulky and there is no thread in the way. It just hates zippers. I’ll figure out what the issue is eventually or get a new machine, but in the meantime I am trying to figure out how to perfect my lapped zippers. I’ve looked up many a tutorial and am ready to get better at it. I changed the zipper from a back zipper to a side lapped zipper. My mobility in my shoulder is pretty limited and I definitely have an easier time with the side zipper.

I’m slightly ashamed of my sewing on this dress. Neither of the waistband seams meet in the right place and the zipper is a bit of a mess. But there is no way I am ripping it out to make it perfect. The print hides everything so I will just wear it as is. I didn’t take any pictures of the mistakes either because they don’t really matter. If you zoom in on some of the pictures, you’ll probably see them anyway. If you really want to be like that.

For the skirt, I just gathered two panels of the fabric from selvage to selvage and attached them. I also added pockets because why wouldn’t you add pockets. I should have checked the skirt pieces on the pattern for pocket placement because they sit just slightly too low. I can still get my hands in, but for getting anything out of the bottom of the pocket, it’s a bit tricky. Trickier when you have mobility issues with your shoulder.

I also made a Muse Patterns Jenna cardi. My many versions of these are worn all the time. I got this pink knit content unknown from the thrift store. It’s a perfect addition to my wardrobe since I have many dresses that would work with it. Pink is totally a neutral for me. I don’t have buttons on it yet and am definitely wearing it around until I find the right ones. The cardigan fits with the stashbusting sewalong theme for the month of seasonal change and will help transition my dresses into the fall nicely. I can’t believe I am actually thinking about fall. I’ve pulled out a bunch more patterns for seasonal change so I am hoping to do some more fabric stashbusting. I’ve got one shelf in my stash almost half gone! It feels great! Almost all the fabric from my honeymoon is sewn up. Knits get sewn really fast for me. I’m trying to focus on wovens more lately, though, so I can stashbust those.

Prepare for a bunch of pictures of my maxi dress!!!

Jenna Cardi and Upton Maxi Dress

Jenna cardi and Upton maxi dress

Upton maxi dress

Upton maxi dress

Upton maxi dress

Upton maxi dress

Upton maxi dress

Upton maxi dress

Upton maxi dress

Upton maxi dress

Excuse the picture dump, but I am stoked about the dress. I made it with v-neck back and front and finished the armholes and neckline with bias tape.

I’ll review the Upton dress properly when I actually make it in full.

 

 

 

Cashmerette Springfield Top (and some Concords)

Earlier this week, Cashmerette released the Springfield top. I was a tester for the pattern. It came at the exact time I needed it. I was on the look out for a tank top pattern for wovens. My issue with most woven tank top patterns is that they don’t go up to my size. The Springfield top goes up to 58″ bust and 58″ hip. It also has a version with really nice back yoke and princess seams. I really love the way the back adds shape. The front has bust darts and can have a bottom band for some interesting colourblocking. It’s also a great way of using a small amount of expensive fabric for a project. Recommended fabric requirements are under 2 yards for 60″ fabric and a little over 2 yards for 45″ fabric. However, if you use bias tape, you can reduce the amount by quite a bit. I was able to use 1.3 yards for the final top and 1 yard for the tester top (both were 60″ wide fabric) with bias tape instead of self-fabric bias tape.

My tester version is made with a colour palette fabric that was the first to make it into my stash with no project in mind. I got it in a swap and have been hoarding it since. It’s a rayon fabric and is quite lovely.

Springfield Top

Springfield Top

Springfield Top

Springfield Top

I really love the top. The tester version was a bit short for my taste, but I also like much longer tops.

We received the final version and I immediately made it up in a green leopard print rayon. It’s even drapier than the above and has an extremely soft texture to it. I’ll be posting a full review of the top over on the CSC in the next little bit. I’ll let you know when, but here is a preview of the final version. You can see the longer length.

Springfield Top

The wonderful thing about have a good fit in a woven tank top is being about to hack the pattern as well. I hacked the pattern into a tent dress and made a mock-up in cream linen with yellow birds stamped on it. Check it out:

Springfield Tent Dress

Springfield Tent Dress

Springfield Tent Dress

Springfield Tent Dress

Springfield Tent Dress

I love it. I used the tester version on this. I will be using the final version for future version because the darts fit me much better in that version. I’m not too happy with how the back fits so I will be making tweaks for my next version. I need more room back there for my butt. Ha!

I also made a few things from the Concord t-shirt pattern:

Concord tank dress in feathers fabric!

Concord Tank Dress

Concord Tank Dress

Concord Tank Dress

A 3/4 sleeve Concord tshirt in bunny fabric!

Concord T-Shirt

 

Concord T-Shirt

Concord T-Shirt

I also made a tank top using kitten fabric, but I need to redo the arm bands:

It’s nice to have my sewjo back. I also got a bunch of other things cut out:

Can’t wait to get those done!😀

Apples to apples: M6887

This dress took me a year to finish.

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Last year, I was shopping with two friends for fabric and splurged on a lovely apple fabric. It was a super soft stretch sateen. I’m not sure of the fiber content, but I would guess cotton. What I adored about the fabric was that the apples were all super bright colours on a white background and included a turquoise apple along with the red and yellow varieties you might see in nature. My plan was to use M6887, which was part of last year’s Outfit Along organized by Andi Satterlund and Lauren from Lladybird. I was also going to knit a mint green wrap cardigan, which was also never made due to fitting issues. I think I will make a different cardigan with that yarn, though. Originally that light blue acetate in the picture above was going to be used to line the dress, but I hate lined dresses and cut the lining off after trying it on.

I started off simply enough with a size 22 and then did a FBA of 1.5 inches giving 3 inches extra in the bust area. I decided not to make the version with the back cutout, but instead used the deeper curve for the back on the full back version. I also changed it from a back zipper to a side zipper, because my mobility issues make it very difficult to close a back zipper. Nothing like dislocating your shoulder to make you never want to have a centre back zipper again

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I also made front pockets and put piping in the princess seams on the back, the waist, and on the diagonal front of the pockets. Then I tried it on…and hated it. I unfortunately have no pictures of that. The main issue was no waist definition and that the skirt was hanging weirdly. I think it was due to the stretch in the material and may have been fine in any other material. Or it may not have been. I tossed the dress aside until I could figure out what needed to be done. And there it sat for a year…

When I returned from our honeymoon in May, I cleaned up my stash and resolved to do a few things:

  1. Join the Stashbusting sewalong and pledge to not add to my stash except when buying thrifted fabric (which really is a grab it when you can or you’ll never have another opportunity) or fabric for a specific project that I will immediately use (like the swimsuit fabric I need or other things).
  2. Not buy new patterns unless I know I need it and will actually sew it up. I recently got the prefontaine shorts to fill a need for weekend summer wear. I also got the Siren swim top and sailor bottoms for swim suits.
  3. Finish all my UFOs. My floral linen M6696 was part of that. I still have three Cake Pavlova skirts and a shirt for my husband in my UFO basket.

The whole idea behind doing this is to sew with what I have first and use up the patterns I have had for years first. I’m excited to get some of that done.😀 So that I can buy new patterns and buy new fabrics!😀😀

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We do things to justify the weirdest things in life like eating a salad for lunch to have a cupcake for dinner or walking 6km to a burger joint or for ice cream. I joined the stashbusting sewalong to justify buying more stash eventually. Ha!

I procrastinated on this dress for a while because of the fit issues. Since my smallest part is under my bust, dresses without waistbands tend to hang oddly and they either ride up or just look odd. I need to define that area and give me shape. Waistbands aren’t going to work for everyone. Some find them to be problematic and make the wearer look shortwaisted. Perhaps I do, but I have a short waist anyway so idgaf. I think they work well on me by emphasizing my smallest area and keep the waistline in place as well as make the skirt flow properly.

I had recently done two muslins for the Upton dress (final version still pending…as in not cut out yet…lol) and knew that the waistband for that in size 26 fit me perfectly. So I used that. It was an almost perfect fit for the M6887! I just had to reduce the size of the gores on the skirt back a bit to make it fit. The front was perfect. I attached the waistband on the front and then the back and then sewed up the side seams and then attached the waistband lining. Originally, I forgot to put on interfacing. SMH! But I snuck it in there before finishing up the waistband lining by hand.

Then I had to do the zipper. It took me three hours to put that thing in! My machine would just stop feeding in the middle of it. Not because of bulk or threads jamming, but it would just stop feeding for no reason. I still need to clean it out and wish for the best. I plan on saving up money for a new one in the new year. I then tried handpicking the zipper and had the worst time getting things right. It was like I couldn’t make my hands work so I went back to the machine and then had to unpick a bunch of stuff after to hide all my mistakes. The zipper is far from perfect, but it got in after three hours.

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Ugh. I’m not a fan of zippers anyway. I very much prefer buttons or a dress that you can put over your head. In terms of sewing, zippers are a huge weakness in my skill set. I need more practice for sure, but, of course, I keep choosing patterns without zippers to avoid it entirely. I can sew up a bra, but a zipper gets me sweating. It’s probably not helping that I need side zippers and prefer lapped zippers…. I’m just making it harder on myself. I know it will get better, but man zippers!

Anyway, I had zipper success and then let my dress hang up for about a week to let the skirt settle. Of course, I could have just left it for a few days or even 48 hours and gone back to it, but I was procrastinating again…

I needed to fix some excess fabric in the princess seam and trim off the armholes and shoulders. I’d already made the length from the bust to the shoulder shorter, but it needed some better shape to it. I fixed the shoulder/armhole shaping first:

What a fix. Then I let it sit for a few more days before I unpicked the princess seams. To be fair, I was really busy last week with the Fringe Festival and my improv show’s fundraiser to get to Winnipeg for C4 and performing for William Shatner! (What!) I also just did not want to sew. I have not wanted to sew all summer. Maybe it’s my recent diagnosis. Maybe it’s my pain levels. It was for sure the horrible allergies I have right now. Nothing like stopping sewing to sneeze ten times in a row. It may have been the heat in Toronto. I think, though, it was that the dress had sucked my soul out and I didn’t want to touch it again for fear of losing my soul completely. HA!

But I returned to it on Friday and finished it on Saturday before another Fringe show and wore it out that night. I got a lot of lovely compliments. Although I was so doped up from allergy medication that I barely responded.

Now that I am done this UFO, I adore the dress, as I knew I would. I mean, come on, that fabric is adorable! Behind all the cuteness of it, is the harrowing story of a seamstressing out.

The pattern itself is actually quite good. It was easy to alter for an FBA and, once I transfer all my changes while sewing it up to paper, should become a favourite of mine. I think it looks incredible on me and I love the changes I made with the front pockets and then lower back, as well as the side zipper. The instructions for the pattern are typical of McCall’s. You need some sewing experience to tackle a pattern like this, but you can also search for tutorials. I tend not to look over sewing instructions anymore unless I am testing the pattern or there is a technique I am unfamiliar with and then I tend to also google tutorials. Thank goodness for google.

I didn’t line the dress as the pattern calls for. Even self-lining drives me nuts when I wear it. I prefer unlined dresses and then I finish the seams. Of course, I didn’t finish the seams in this dress… I would normally serge the edges or using pink sheers. I pinked the front princess seams and the pocket seams, but nowhere else. The neckline and armholes are finished with mint bias tape using the same colour fabric as the pockets. The pocket fabric in the front is a bit sheer for my liking and would have benefited from a double layer or from being underlined in white cotton. It doesn’t really bother me though. There is a bit of an issue with bust pulling due to the differences in the stretch cotton versus the non-stretch cotton and bulk from the piping. Those issues as well as some pulling the armhole would disappear with a more stable fabric. The pains of using a fabric because it’s pretty!

My only annoyance with the dress now is that the hem flips up in the wash and I actually have to *gasp* iron it! I hate ironing. I will press like crazy when I making something but after….ugh. Ironing is so annoying when it isn’t related to sewing. Related, I did not iron this before taking pictures. I wore it at work and was sweaty from hot summer weather!

M6887 Apple dress

M6887 Apple dress

M6887 Apple dress

M6887 Apple dress

M6887 Apple dress

M6887 Apple dress

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: M6887
  • Pros: Lovely fit and flare design. Eat to fit princess seams.
  • Cons: Like with most plus sized patterns in 90% of the patterns out there, the shoulders are ridiculously huge and wide. I know there are people out there with wide shoulders, but I am not one of them and I don’t really know anyone with that wide of shoulders. Somewhere in between would be nice…
  • Make again?: Yes. I would make it again exactly as it without any further alterations. It’s really a gorgeous dress and flatters me quite a bit. I don’t think I will ever try the version with the back cutout as much as I like it.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdwhite-star-black-md4/5 stars