Quilters take on clothes, Part II
We made it! And I have a dress! And it fits! It’s not going to win any awards for finishing, and I may have broken my main sewing machine trying to figure out the g*#!%m button holer, but hey, that’s how we learn, right? (and I’m also taking recommendations for sewing machine repair places…)
For my month, we were focusing on dresses, and I picked the fab Alder Shirtdress from Grainline Studio and made it in AGF rayon!
I think it went pretty well, all things considered. At some point I want to go back and mess with the button placement- I wasn’t super meticulous and now there’s a little bit of a wave down the front of the dress between a few of the button holes. But, all in all, I’m super happy with it, and I even styled it with three outfits that I hoped would span the wild temperature swings we experience in Minnesota autumn.
First, to reflect the last two weeks of 80 degree temps, I styled it pretty simply. I’m thinking about making a little belt out of leftover fabric because it feels a little loose around the waist when I don’t pair it with anything, but I do think it’s a casual but still work-appropriate look.
Second, I wanted something that would work for the idyllic fall days with cold mornings and warm afternoons. I just pulled on the Magnolia sweater (pattern by Camilla Vad) that I finished while we were in Finland this spring and threw on a pair of flats. I also think I’d really like this with the boots/tights in the third picture, and am actually planning on wearing that combo this week!
Finally, for the full-on 50-degree fall days we hit this weekend, I pulled in boots, tights (fall staples, of course) and my favorite cardigan of all time. Throw on a long necklace or great scarf and you’ve got a late-season farmers market or early-season pumpkin patch look!
Now that I’m on this side of it, and with full acknowledgement that I still have a LOT to learn, I wanted to summarize a few areas where I really felt the quilter/sewist divide in hopes that they don’t also trip you up!
Five ways apparel sewing is different than quilting:
WIDTHS: Apparel fabric comes in multiple widths- not just 44” like quilting fabric. Make sure you take that into consideration when deciding how much to buy, and when laying out the pattern pieces before cutting!
SEAM ALLOWANCES: SEAM ALLOWANCES ARE 1/2” NOT 1/4”. At least for this pattern, but I’ve seen others with similar seam allowances. Make sure at the very least to read the pattern closely so you don’t inadvertently jump up a pattern size.
TEMPLATES: Pay close attention to your pattern templates. Many sewing patterns have multiple versions, or “views” that may require different templates, so you might not need all of the pattern pieces that are included in the cut file. Some pattern pieces also have instructions and markings- it is important to pay attention to those and transfer them as appropriate to your fabric! I almost missed an instruction that would have changed the width of the dress by like, three inches (and I have a weird-looking muslin to prove it)!
FEET: Gone are the days where you can get by with a quarter-inch foot, a walking foot, and a straight stitch. This dress introduced me to the buttonhole foot and the button sewing foot (both of which are genius, but RIP my machine!). If your pattern has zippers, you’ll be using zipper feet too! Keep your manual close and boldly go.
BACKSTITCHING: I’m not sure if this is a controversial one, but I rarely to NEVER backstitch at any point during a quilt. It all get sewn over and tucked in and I haven’t had a quilt fall apart on me yet. The same is not true for sewing- you don’t have layers upon layers to tuck knots into and there is far less holding it all together, so get used to your backstitch button, and think about where you’re starting so the backstitching falls somewhere un-prominent.
Still hesitant about jumping over to the apparel side? Let me know what your burning questions are! Also, check out my instagram for a fun giveaway that just might help you get started on your own project!