Sewing time: Christmas Library Dress

This will likely be the first post on this blog. What? No introduction? No get to know you? The truth is that I created the blog a month or two ago and then felt paralyzed – how do I begin? So I’m just going to jump in with two feet head first with a big ‘ole bellyflop.

I took advantage of an Oliver + S Christmas sale to stock up on the latest patterns. I love these patterns – they are always beautifully designed, expertly drafted, and the instructions are worth every penny because I know I’ll be able to make a great finished product. When the Library Dress pattern arrived, I immediately scraped an elaborate plan to draft a Christmas dress myself and jumped in to making this cute little wrap dress.

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The red satin is from an online sale and I snagged some black fabric at Joann for the waistband. If course when I picked it up I only checked the price and washing instructions (no hand washing for me, thank you very much) so I don’t know what this is-something
velvety and slightly stretchy with a twill-looking back.

I often think I should make goals, generally and for sewing specifically, to learn new things. But then when my spare time is limited I’d much rather do something (or, realistically, take a nap) than think and brainstorm about what I want to accomplish. But, I do know that I want to get over my fear of zippers in 2014. When I saw an excellent tutorial on putting in an invisible zipper, I decided to give it a whirl.

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It’s far from perfect. Shall I name the issues before you do? I used a regular zipper foot and it didn’t seem like a big issue but I think the back width is about 3/8″ too wide because I didn’t get super close to the zipper while sewing it on. When I sewed on the collar, I went way far down, thinking I had to get rid of the gap between the top of the dress and the zipper. I think (not sure) that gap is actually for sewing in a hook & eye. And then either because of that or something else, my back collar pokes up and I’ll have to tack it down.

Lacking patience but knowing I didn’t want a wide hem, I tried an invisible hem with my machine. There’s another imperfection – I’m so inconsistent at barely picking up a thread that sometimes I miss the hem and sometimes there’s a big fat stitch showing through the right side of the dress. My reasoning is that I’m saving a couple hours of hand stitching and avoiding a row of top stitching that would look weird on this satin.

I swear my kids are totally average but Oliver + S patterns make me think they are skinny. So this dress falls perfectly at her knee but is a bit big in the shoulder and the wrap shows a little baby cleavage. Actually, between the cleavage and the red and black collar color scheme, I realize I made my little girl a Hugh Hefner smoking jacket.

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It’s still pretty cute, right?

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A slightly unrelated side note: for all the sewing blogs I have read over the last year or so, I never knew just how much to envy appreciate the well lit, non-blurry, quality pictures. Admittedly I gave this 3 minutes of effort with my iPhone camera, but seriously these “best” pictures would never make the cut on any of the blogs I admire. Sometimes I think, “wouldn’t be awesome to start a blog and get free patterns and fabric?” Now I realize how much work must be involved for that to happen!

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But on a more positive note, finishing this reminds me that last winter I made my then 6-week old a red & white polka dot itty bitty dress. That makes me realize I’ve come a long way in a year. So maybe next year I’ll tackle photography and my kids will tackle standing still.

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