Sewn: McCalls 6277
On the 27th of last month, my eldest sister and I went to the Helpmann Awards which were held at the Capitol Theatre in the city. According to their website...
The annual Helpmann Awards recognise distinguished artistic achievement and excellence in the many disciplines of Australia's vibrant live performance sectors, including musical theatre, contemporary music, comedy, cabaret, opera, classical music, theatre, dance and physical theatre.
I got a text from my niece who works for the company that runs them a few weeks back to see if I would like to go. Why not I thought; good opportunity to make something.
So I went through my stash, and pulled out a satin that I have been wanting to use for something for ages. I picked this up from Spotlight sometime last year.
Next was to decide which pattern. Again I went through my pattern stash and decided on McCalls 6722. It is a lovely dress with 2 sleeve variations and one with no sleeves. It looked like a simple make and wouldn't take long and as I was going out for the evening, I decided to make the one with the big sleeves!
Whilst going through the instructions I realised that it was lined (missed that bit when picking the pattern), so one Saturday Hubbie and I took a trip down to Pitt Trading and with some help from Susan (Measure Twice Cut Once), I got some lovely off white creamy silk (along with some lovely vintage fabric).
After I had picked out the pattern etc I decided to purchase some Swedish tracing paper from Punch with Judy down near Wagga Wagga. They are a husband and wife team who run an online store. It is not cheap stuff, but I have heard good things about it and as I pretty much have to do a muslin/toile for everything new I do, I got me some to see what all the hooha was about.
So I cut out the size based on the finished measurements and cut out the pieces. Where the pieces were to be cut on the fold, I made one piece so I could lay the fabric out flat. Being satin, the fabric was slippery as hell and thought I would have a better chance with it laid out in one flat piece. I also made the left and right of everything, which made it a lot easier as well.
Once I cut it out, I sewed it all together and tried it on.. It felt like I was making a hospital gown; the "paper" is like a strong version of that stuff. You could use a thick interfacing instead of this stuff, it would be a lot cheaper. It isn't that strong. I did put a finger through it in one spot but that maybe cause I was trying to put head through the armhole at one stage.. oops.
Anyways, the dress fitted pretty much ok, with just a bit of gaping in the neckline. I took about 1.5 cm off in two places and that made it sit front and back much better. That was the only issue I had with it. In hindsight though I could have taken the waist in a bit more as I ended up wearing the dress without a belt so a bit more shape would have looked nicer.
So with the toile being ok I cut the fabric and lining out. I was quite scared to start off as I have never worked with satin before. I remembered reading a post from Grainline about how to work with slippery fabric and a comment from Sunni from A Fashionable Stitch with another tip on cutting it. I went to her site and she actually has a post on it.. basically you lay your fabric on a piece of muslin (I used calico), pin through all the layers and then cut your dress fabric only and it doesn't move.. It worked like a treat. I used the same method for my silk. I have actually kept the calico aside and will use this to cut fabric out on as I don't have a big table and this spreads out on the floor nicely.
Now as I said before I haven't worked with satin before, so there are a few "cough cough" places, where it didn't quite work out for me. I had problems with picking the tension and needles. There are sooooo many suggestions, that I got totally confused as to how I should sew it. Sharp needles, ballpoint needles, short stitch, longer stitch... head hurts. Where I thought I had the fabric right, it kind of moved and is twisted in some places.. and don't look at the zip either... yuck.
My biggest faux pas is with the lining. I sewed it all up beautifully and got it around the right way. It was only when I sewed up the neck, trimmed and understitched it, did I realised I had it inside out ie the seams are facing the wrong way round. At first I thought I had it back to front, but luckily I didn't. But luckily you can't see it but I know....
I also wished I had made it a bit longer. When I tried it on with the belt, it pulled it up a bit too much for me.. let's say I don't have the best legs/knees. My sister said it looked better without the belt anyway.
So this is the dress:
I think I would give this another go.. I would really like to make the sleeveless one.. I have some fabric that I have had in my stash for donkeys that I think would like nice in this..
Oh and the evening was pretty cool.. We saw some "stars" - I got very excited when I saw Benita from Playschool and there were some great acts that we saw through the night as well.