Friday, 5 February 2016

Black Viscose Seda Dress

 Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Black Viscose Pauline Alice Seda Dress

So this dress is actually a muslin...and a pretty poorly fitting muslin at that! But I LOVE it. And I have worn it out more than once, admittedly largely because I was determined to have a dress like this to wear to Christmas parties but ran out of time to make the sequin/velvet/other-extravagant-festive-fabric version. Luckily the black is pretty forgiving when it comes to poor fit/poor construction, especially in photos! It's highly probable that this will be worn again too (as I most likely am not going to get around to making that glamorous version any time soon) and I figured that makes it worthy of being shared with you guys.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Black Viscose Pauline Alice Seda Dress

It's the Seda Dress from Pauline Alice which was released towards the end of last year. I wanted it as soon as I saw a sneak peak she posted on Instagram before the patterns' release! I just love the design, it's definitely got a vintage glamour to it but yet feels so modern in a contemporary fabric. It feels wonderfully feminine and classy to wear and is a different kind of dressed up altogether than a lot of the RTW body-con party dresses that are everywhere nowadays. In general I'm a big fan of Pauline's design choices, drafting and construction. She often includes elements that push the skill level of a pattern slightly and make her designs unique. There's usually an aspect involved that I haven't tried sewing before and the techniques are always well explained. This dress is no exception.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Black Viscose Pauline Alice Seda Dress

I cut the size 38 as my measurements fell between that and the 36 and I thought it best to err on the side of caution. I definitely should have started with a 36 and done an FBA if necessary though. This has ended up a little roomy all over for my preferences but actually has a similar fit to Pauline's samples so I'd say the grading runs pretty true to size. As there are A LOT of fit changes I'd make next time I'll probably whip up another quick muslin of the bodice starting with the 36. I'd like the bodice to fit much more snuggly in general and would like to try giving it some structure with some boning to add to the 1950s glamour! I can understand why it is drafted with more ease though as it is marketed more as a daywear design. Luckily making it in solid black is pretty forgiving but the poor fit shows best in the side on picture above. It gapes at the back neckline. I've got way too much excess fabric under the bust and the sleeves slip down too low, which may have something to do with my elastic application.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Black Viscose Pauline Alice Seda Dress

The fabric is a super fine viscose that I picked up in Shepherd's Bush at least a couple of years ago when I found the plaid double gauze I used for my Zeena Dress. At the time I was intending on using the black to line the gauze but it found a better purpose being used as a muslin for this. It was mega cheap so actually has a few flaws and snags in the weave which I didn't notice until I got sewing. It's a shame as the dress has turned out to be wearable, but again the black is pretty forgiving and the dress is generally only going to be seem in dim party lighting! Despite being just what I had to had the fabric is actually a great match for this design as it's lightweight but has great movement and bounce which makes that skirt super frothy.

It was much too lightweight for the bodice though. That fitted shape and those sleeves need a little bit of structure so I underlined all these pieces in silk organza. I know, I know... silk organza for a muslin?! I had high hopes that this would end up wearable and it's one of my favourite sewing techniques/tricks so any excuse to get that in and I do! I really enjoy the hand basting and seeing the difference that the organza makes to the shape of the garment.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Black Viscose Pauline Alice Seda Dress

I'm generally not a fan of a gathered skirt as I don't like all that bulk around my waist so I adore that this skirt has a yoke that sits snuggly around the upper hips before the gathering starts around your bum. Ot means the skirt still has an amazing fifties style fluffy fullness but still has a slimming effect. It's hard to see in the photos but in the flat picture of the zip above you can see the bodice, yoke and gathered skirt portions clearly. The fine viscose I used helps with the bulk of the gathering along that seam line too.

As well as not being a fan of wearing a gathered waist I'm also not a fan of the process of gathering! Has anyone got any tips for making this quicker/more enjoyable? I've done the quick trick of gathering under the machine by pushing the fabric under the foot with the end of your seam ripper when gathering meters and meters of tulle on my tutu course...but that method doesn't work when you're trying to make even gathers a particular length on something like this.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Black Viscose Pauline Alice Seda Dress

The pattern only calls for the bodice and yoke sections to be lined but as this viscose is so lightweight it's practically sheer I opted to line the skirt too. I used the viscose to line the bodice and yoke as it's lovely and soft against the skin, but I didn't have enough to get those big skirt pieces out too (I think I had about 2m in total). Instead I used a cotton lawn which despite being a lightweight soft cotton, actually has a much crisper hand than my outer fabric. The addition of this really gave some oomph to the skirt shape which I'm delighted with. I hemmed the lining using my rolled hem foot; this usually gives a slightly fluted edge which adds to the bounce and fullness! The skirt itself I hemmed using my usual method for a long curved edge, which is to stitch a line 5/8" (the depth of the finished hem) away from the raw edge to begin with. This gives you a handy guide to press up along and the tight stitches also help to ease the long hem edge into the slightly smaller curve above.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Black Viscose Pauline Alice Seda Dress
Sleeve construction and under-stitching

I was really intrigued by the construction of the sleeves when I first saw the design but they are actually very straightforward to attach, just like you would any other sleeve. There is a small piece of elastic attached to the seam allowance across the of the sleeves to hold them in place which would work well if I had got the tension right when sewing it on! I found it tricky to tell how tight to pull it and should have gone tighter but I didn't want it to end up looking bunched up. However, the fact that it is attached to the seam allowance rather than the lining or fashion fabric itself really helps to keep a smooth finish on the outside.

Having the elastic there does make the under-stitching along the neckline tricky as you don't want to catch the elastic in the straight stitching and prevent it from doing it's job. The under-stitching is absolutely essential for this style though, the lining would definitely keep making it's way out of the neckline if you skipped this step. I also under-stitched my pocket openings to keep those pocket bags in place and it also adds a bit of extra strength to a seam which sees a lots of wear.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Black Viscose Pauline Alice Seda Dress
(Yes I have just discovered the burst function on my camera...)

There is so much to love about this dress, I'll definitely be making another and attempting the nail the fit. I love how it flares out from below the hips when dancing and did I mention that there's in-seam pockets too! The design does also include a simple gathered skirt and also a version which includes a shoulder yoke and optional long sleeves for those of you who don't want to/can't go strapless. I absolutely love Pauline's velvet version with the dotted tulle yoke! I've got my eye out for fabric like that now.


Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Black Viscose Pauline Alice Seda Dress

Sunday, 31 January 2016

January Indie Pattern Update!


I feel like I say this every month but err... where did January go?! We're one twelfth of the way through 2016 already and I feel like we can't possibly be more than a week in. I haven't had time to get on my sewing machine since before Christmas guys and I'm getting some serious withdrawal symptoms! I'm hoping to rectify that later today as I've woken up feeling exceedingly creative this morning. I'm fairly sure that looking back through all the gorgeous releases this month is going to leave me even more inspired!

New Patterns

  • Anneka Couture released the Manhattan Skirt which is available as a free PDF download. It's a simple to sew design for knits and has options for a scalloped hem and two lengths.
  • I'm yet to try a Kommatia pattern but so many of the designs appeal to me, has anyone given them a whirl? They released a flurry of designs this month including skinny stretch jeans, a beautiful pair of draped trousers, a body con dress and batwing turtleneck top.
  • By Hand London treated us to a new dress pattern this month. Named Charlie, it's currently only available through the UK Sewing Made Simple magazine but will eventually be available in their store. The bodice looks very similar to the original design for the Holly Jumpsuit which I tested and a lot of you seemed interested in!
  • Style Arc's January releases include the Taylor Knit Skirt, Kylie Knit Top, Crystal Over-shirt and Maddison Top. The freebie with any purchase for the month is the Kendall Knit Top and there has been an additional January offer running of buy two get one free of any of the new patterns. If you're reading this early enough today there might still be time to snap that up!
  • Technically not a new pattern per-se but I thought this was the best slot for it; Closet Case Files released a flared leg PDF expansion pack for the ever popular Ginger Jeans. I've said before how much I love the idea of designers expanding on the variations of their patterns with add ons so I'm delighted to see it cropping up more often.
  • The two patterns released with this month's Seamwork Magazine are the Aires Exercise Tights and Rio Tee; good timing for all those new year's resolutions don't you think?! I'm still working on my activewear sewing ambitions.
  • Fabrics for Sale released a new pattern bundle for a Velvet Scarf. I think this is a wonderful kit idea and the selection of velvets and linings you can choose from is stunning. Devore (burnout velvet) is one of my all time favourite fabrics to drool over, it's high time I got to grips with it.
  • The Maker's Atelier released the Big Easy Top which has two quite different variations. It's got the clean lines and distinctive cutting which I really love about all of their designs.
  • The Montlake Tee is the latest release from Straight Stitch Designs (currently on sale!). I never think there can be enough tee patterns; I feel like I'm on a continuous quest to find the perfect design/cut for me and every designer should have one that suits the style of their range. Kimberley's has flattering loose lines and a skinny neckband.
  • Marilla Walker has treated us to a free pattern to perk up our January! It's the Rose Jacket which features a unique petal shaped overlapped back. Brief yet clear instructions to accompany the download are available on her blog.
  • Sew Over It's Tulip Skirt pattern was originally released through Simply Sewing magazine last year but is now available in PDF form from their shop. I remember I had a navy wool tulip skirt from Topshop years ago which I wore to death, maybe I should recreate it!
  • The latest pattern from Melissa at Fehr Trade is the Tessellate Tee which is available in print with the latest issue of Love Sewing magazine. She has also released a PDF expansion pack which is downloadable from her website. It includes a hood, zipped back pocket and thumb cuffs which I am really interested in as I love this feature of my current favourite running top.

Sew-alongs


Upcoming!

  • Couture Nomad announced that they will soon be releasing patterns for a men's shirt and trousers. I'm delighted to see an increase in companies expanding into menswear patterns of late.
  • Pearl Red Moon's next pattern is going to be the Wave Dress. It features various panels which are perfect for showcasing fabric manipulation and decoration techniques.
  • There's a new collection from Papercut Patterns coming soon! I'm always really excited about this and have been enjoying the glimpse of an odd detail that's been shared on Instagram.
  • Pauline Alice gave us a sneaky peak at a couple of designs she's got lined up to release this year in her post about her sewing plans for this year. There's a chic wrap skirt and classic blazer.

Other Exciting News

  • Copy shop size files are now available for all the By Hand London patterns with the exception of the Victoria Blazer, Holly Jumpsuit, free Polly Top and Elisalex Dress which is currently being updated and improved.
  • Ralph Pink relaunched his Audrey Skirt with a larger size range (UK4-22). I'm still drooling over his updated website btw but have still found myself paralysed with indecision over which pattern to try first!
  • Jeans making bundles are now available to buy in the Closet Case Files online shop. The bundles are various combinations of the Ginger Jeans pattern, Sew Your Own Jeans ebook and the new Ginger Flares expansion pack.
  • Ohhh Lulu's gorgeous lingerie patterns are now being sold through the Girl Charlee website as well as her Etsy store.
  • Using a free pattern is a great way to give a company a try to see if you like their instructions and if their drafting suits your body shape. Couture Nomad are now offering their Istambul Top pattern as a free PDF download. Follow the link in this post to get yours.

It feels like it's been a fairly quiet month this month compared to those previous; I'm sure as designers ramp up their plans to stun us with releases later in the year. But I may well have missed a lot so be sure to check out the comments and add your own gems. Here's a little bit of indie sewing inspiration to kickstart your Sunday. 


  • Karen's version of the Sew Over It Vintage Shirt Dress may be my favourite one I've seen yet. That vintage-yet-modern print was made for that style of dress! 
  • I hadn't really been drawn to the Papercut Waver Jacket pattern but then I saw Katie's and suddenly absolutely HAVE to make one just like it! I love the length she made it and that gorgeous lining peeking out of the cuffs is perfection!
  • I don't really wear full sets of button up pyjamas but I keep seeing versions of the Carolyn Pyjamas which make me want to make some! Michelle's are awesome. That white piping really makes the most of that print.
  • I made the Seda Dress for the Christmas party season and will hopefully find time with daylight soon to get some pics for you. But Pauline's own version outdoes it anyway. I mean...velvet and a tulle yoke...yum!
  • Lizzie's Sutton Blouse is such a great version of this pattern. The scale of the bird print really suits the design and I love how she's highlighted the style lines with the use of bias trim.

Well that's got me feeling like I want to sew ALL the things. If anyone needs me I'll be at my machine! 

Thursday, 14 January 2016

A Look Back at 2015

I have just spent a wonderful couple of hours catching up on my blog reading and devouring the sewing community's' reflections 2015 and creative plans for the coming year. It's so interesting to see what garments were a huge success after they were finished, blogged and worn and which were not and to see what direction you all want to take your sewing in in 2015. Plus it's just fun to look back and be reminded of some of the jaw droppingly amazing things you've made and inspired me with this year! I'm a little late off the mark but I thought it was about time I wrote my own!

I'm very loosely basing this post on Gillian from Crafting a Rainbow's Sewing Top 5 series which she runs every year and I always enjoy. Picking your Top 5 Hits, Misses, Highlights, Reflections and Goals is a great way to summarise your year of sewing without it getting overwhelming and to help you decide on some goals for the year ahead. I'm not going to stick to the categories religiously but let's kick off with my favourite things I made during the last year:

Hits



My unquestionable triumph of the year was my Denim McCalls 6696 Shirtdress. I have worn this thing to death and the more I wear it and wash it the better it looks. I think the things that made this such a success are the practicality of the design (big pockets!), a good fabric choice and taking the time to make a quick bodice muslin and work on the fit. That needs to be a lesson I take forward into 2015.


Another garment that I have had an absolute tonne of wear out of despite thinking I would very rarely wear it because of the physical nature of my job is my Tartan Ultimate Pencil Skirt. I just LOVE this pattern. It fits me like a dream and I've sewn it no less than four times. This is my favourite version as that tartan seems to work as part of any outfit, for any occasion.


If I were making my choices based on success of my sewing techniques rather than anything else my Embroidered Vogue 1247 Skirt would top the list. How the pattern matching on this turned out had me jumping around the room with delight. Also I haven't been ablate resist wearing this at least once a week since it was finished, pretty good going for something which was supposed to be a special occasion skirt.


Something which has come as a bit of a surprise to me is how much I've worn my Plaid Double Gauze Zeena Dress. Don't get me wrong I loved it when I finished it but I thought it was perhaps a tiny bit too short and I didn't do too well with the pattern matching because of a lack of fabric. But I wore this plenty in the summer and even more once the temperature dropped as it is so great layered with tights and a sweater. Total wardrobe win.


Next we have my White Cotton Fifi Pyjamas. I wear these as soon as they come out of the wash every time. This pattern was so much fun to sew, I'm constantly planning future versions in my head so expect to see more of these from me this year!


I know it's number 6 but couldn't leave out my Electric Blue Crepe Quart Jacket. I am so so proud of how this turned out after all the effort I put into learning about the new techniques I encountered like the sleeve heads and shoulder pads. The fabric is dreamy and I had so much fun making this. Plus...silk charmeuse lining...

There are also a couple of Christmas presents I made which would have been real contenders for this list but I haven't blogged about them yet so I'll leave them to share with you later this month! 

Misses


And now for the really interesting bit the projects which didn't turn out quite as I had hoped in 2015. I actually found these really hard to pick as there are only a couple of things I've made this year which haven't been won out at least once; I'm taking that to be a good sign that my sewing and ability to chose fabrics and patterns which will work in my wardrobe is improving!


Despite the first knit version of the Scout Tee I made from a cotton jersey being a roaring success this Striped Cotton Jersey Scout was never worn. It's amazing what a difference fabric choice can make. I love the fit of the burnout version and sewed this one up in exactly the same way but feel completely overwhelmed by it. There's a lot more stretch in the striped jersey and it's heavier in weight too which combined with the loose fit makes for an unflattering look.


I love this outfit but it's never been worn out as a Two Piece Set as intended as I'm just not quite happy with the fit of the top. The spongy nature of this unusual viscose is too thick for the self lined sleeves and the shoulders feel too bulky. I don't think it's very noticeable to look at but I feel aware of it when it's on. This is definitely a project which could have benefited from not ploughing straight on through to finish but a bit of a rethink midway through construction. The skirt has been worn a tonne though!


It's such a shame that I am not as in love with my Geometric Moss Mini Skirt as I hoped I would be! i adored this fabric when I saw it online then even more when it arrived but the stretch recovery isn't all that great so it starts to look really shapeless throughout the day. Plus I can't help being bugged by the stretched out hemline which no amount of washing or steam will ping back into shape.


I still kind of love how this Striped Laurel Dress looks in the photos but I just don't feel quite right in it. It hasn't been sent to the charity shop quite yet though; the loose fit around the waist is such a departure from my normal style that it might take a bit of getting used to so maybe I should persevere. I do feel very conscious of the badly set in sleeves though which I'm partly blaming on the slightly odd drafting which I discussed in my post about it.

Reflections & Goals


I am in general really pleased with the sewing I did do in 2015 but I feel like a lot of improvements could be made in the next. I don't think I pushed myself to learn as many new techniques or try as many new garments as I could have done this year. I was quite short on sewing time for a number of reasons and I think I fell back on familiar projects and techniques, making multiples of many items as I felt I'd get more satisfaction out of my sewing time that way. But what I've realised is I actually get the most satisfaction out of learning, trying new things and accomplishing something different. I had big sewing plans for 2015; bra making (didn't happen), jeans making (cut out but didn't happen) and tailoring/coat making (semi-happened with my Quart Jacket). I think I didn't really get started on any of these things because I felt that something so new to me required a lot of time, or a least a big block of time to concentrate on it. I could have broken it down into small chunks and accomplished something that way instead of waiting for a couple of days of uninterrupted sewing time to come along. That's just not going to happen any time soon!

It's become really clear to me over the past year that the process of sewing is probably what I enjoy the most. Not the wearing of the clothes or even completing a garment but using my hands to create something and seeing it come together. Sometimes I pick projects based on wanting to wear that garment, sometimes I pick a project just because I want to sew it. I don't really sew to fill gaps in my wardrobe and I'm not going to change that. It's my hobby and I want to enjoy it! 


With that in mind and coming back to my first point I don't want to pressure myself to sew dozens of things this year. Sure I'll make some simple tops and skirts because like most of us I get enjoyment out of a quick project, but I'd like to tackle some big, complicated projects by taking them one small step at a time and also taking the time beforehand to research the techniques involved. If I don't think I've got enough time to get all my sewing kit out and make some progress with a project I could settle down with a sewing book and brush up on my skills that way; God knows I've got enough books! I'd like to carry forward my big goals of last year and get those jeans, bras and coat made, try out new patterns and construction methods. The challenge is what I enjoy the most, especially if I don't set myself silly, self-imposed deadlines. Quality over quantity of garments is my motto as I venture forward into 2016!

What are your sewing resolutions and goals for the coming year?

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Merino Wool Ultimate Wrap Dress

The first garment I have to share with you this year is actually one of the last things I made in 2015. I've been speeding through all the delicious fabric I picked up during my trip to California in September and I couldn't wait to sew up my gorgeous merino wool any longer! I arranged a meet up with Christine, Cathy and Pam while I was in LA and we visited Mood Fabrics and The Fabric Store, both on La Brea Avenue. I fell in love with The Fabric Store at first sight. It's a beautiful spacious, bright and clean space with a well curated collection of quality fabrics at very reasonable prices; there were so many unique and wearable prints my mind boggled. I wish there was somewhere like it in London. Thank you ladies for showing me around and introducing me to such a wonderful store, you're so lucky to have it on your doorstep. Some of you are lucky too as just this week they have launched an online store but they currently only ship to NZ, AUS and the USA.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Black Merino Wool Sew Over It Ultimate Wrap Dress

The Fabric Store originated in New Zealand (and now has stores in Australia as well as the LA branch) and as well as their beautiful range of dress fabrics specialises in New Zealand merino knits. I've read a lot about it online and seen other sewing bloggers sing it's praises but never thought I'd be able to get my hands on some; The Fabric Store is one of very few places that supply it to home sewers. Therefore some merino yardage was top of my US fabric shopping list. The LA branch has an amazing range of colours and weights, plus a few in stripes and patterns. I thought it was going to take me all day to decide but fairly quickly decided I was going to make something classic that I could get a tonne of wear out of and settled on a colour that never goes out of style...black!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Black Merino Wool Sew Over It Ultimate Wrap Dress

The piece I picked is mid weight with a decent stretch; any weight it going to be super warm anyway so it's ideal for the bleak UK winter. It's not cheap but it's totally worth it. Due to the expense I wanted to find the perfect pattern for it. I wanted something simple and timeless and settled on a wrap dress when I realised that all I wanted to do was literally wrap myself up in this soft, snuggly fabric! I looked at an absolute tonne of wrap dress patterns and even considered adapting the Coppelia Cardigan from Papercut Patterns as I love the fit of that but then saw the Ultimate Wrap Dress from Sew Over It and my mind was made up. It was just what I wanted; simple clean lines, slim long sleeves and a skirt with a bit of flare. Plus I've used their patterns a lot so should have been a safe bet. It was absolutely the right choice style-wise but although I'm really pleased with how this dress finally turned out it did give me a bit of trouble!


I usually adore Sew Over It patterns but have to say I'm a little on the fence about this one. I think it's partly due to the fact that I still feel quite inexperienced handling knits and lack a bit of confidence, if I'd known better I would have tackled this project a little differently. It took me so long to decide on a pattern that once I was sure I'd found the perfect thing I launched full steam ahead into cutting and sewing and I perhaps should have given my construction methods a little more thought. I've sewn a lot of Sew Over It patterns (see here, here, here and here) and always find the fit to be great for me when I cut between the size 8 and 10 so that's what I did. The fit is great apart from some odd length things going on which may have had something to do with how I handled the fabric. I lost track of what was my error and what might have been poor fit so I'll make sure to sew up a practice in some cheap jersey to check my changes before snipping into anything special next time!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Black Merino Wool Sew Over It Ultimate Wrap Dress

I was really happy with how this was sewing up (they don't lie when they say Merino sews beautifully, the stitches sink in and it presses and shapes like a dream) but encountered my main issue when I first put it on after attaching the facing to the neckline. Major gapeage. On reflection I wish I'd had the foresight to apply some clear elastic along the front wrap edges to stop things stretching out as I sewed. I usually go google crazy reading blog posts about a pattern before I get started and if I had I might have done this! However part of the gaping issue was definitely to do with the length of the pattern in this area. I'm quite short in the body plus narrow through the shoulders and upper chest so next time I'll fold some length out of the pattern pieces to combat the gape. On this occasion it was too late for this though and I don't want to waste my precious merino!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Black Merino Wool Sew Over It Ultimate Wrap Dress

I put the dress on and pinched and pulled to see what changes I could make to get things to sit flat. The only viable option seemed to be taking it up through the shoulder which I did but then of course ran into all sorts of problems with the sleeve head as I was changing the size of the armhole slightly. I'm no expert on fitting or inserting sleeves (come to think of it that's one thing I would like to try and understand more this year) so I just fiddled about until something looked right. It's not perfect and the process was all a bit of a mess but at least it fits properly now! There is a bit too much bulk in the sleeve head for a jersey dress still but I quite like how they sit a little proud. I rejigged those shoulders multiple times and and let me tell you, unpicking black thread out of black spongy merino in winter light is not fun! If this hadn't been such a special piece of fabric I doubt I would have stuck with it but in the words of Tim Gunn I was determined to make it work.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Black Merino Wool Sew Over It Ultimate Wrap Dress

However much of the construction process I did enjoy and the pattern is what I wanted, it just needs a little tweaking to make it perfect for me. I love the facing finish of the neckline and am really pleased with my even topstitching in this area. I will make my facing either wider or narrower next time though as I think one or the other will help keep it tucked away; mine has a tendency to escape to outside when I first put it on at the moment. I think the area where the ties join the bodice has the potential to get a little messy with some wrap patterns but you get a really clean finish here. The ties do seem unnecessarily long though; I like that they wrap around your waist once rather than just tying at the back but bow is too big for me personally. I do love how neat my slot for the tie at the side seam ended up by following the simple method explained in the instructions. no seam allowances peeking through here!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Black Merino Wool Sew Over It Ultimate Wrap Dress

The wrap neckline sits fairly low; not so low that I feel self conscious about the amount of cleavage on display but I am wearing it with a little black cami here. I'm used to everything turning out too long so was supersede when I didn't take any length off the hem and it still turned out shorter than I expected. This may have something to do with how much I took it up through the shoulder but the waist ties still sit at the right point. The skirt has a lovely flip and bounce to it because of the spring in the merino and I think this probably effected length.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Black Merino Wool Sew Over It Ultimate Wrap Dress

I used my usual method for knits of constructing the garment with a narrow zig zag stitch on the machine and then finishing seam allowances on my overlocker. You need to do this on the side seam with the slot for the tie at least as this seam allowance is best pressed open. I applied twill tape to the shoulder seam for strength and used a straight stitch for the hem as that area doesn't need to stretch. The hem was really straightforward as it's just turned up and stitched and the merino presses well. I'm not sure about how this looks though as you are left with a visible raw edge. I like the professional look of having them all concealed. I'll give this some thought next time, it's a little tricky as the two front edges curve at the hem but maybe I could simply overlock the edge before I turn it in?

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Black Merino Wool Sew Over It Ultimate Wrap Dress

Big thanks to my brilliant sister for taking some great pictures for me over Christmas! It was such a treat not to have to use the self timer! I'll definitely make this again, but will have a good sit down and a think about the pattern and construction techniques in combination with the fabric I choose before delving in next time. In a more stable knit (the merino is very stretchy) I think this would be a lot easier to put together. Anyway I finally triumphed with my precious merino wool but it looks like the Colette Guide to Sewing Knits is going to be my bedtime reading for the foreseeable future!