It feels a little odd to be making a summery dress in January, but it’s actually quite a pleasant experience. It’s a bit like walking past a patio heater at a Christmas party – if you close your eyes you can almost believe it’s the middle of June. Although don’t close your eyes while sewing a dress. That’s definitely not advisable.
The Sunny dress from Friday Pattern Company is the first pattern for #sewmystyle2018 and is a fast and simple make, with lots of opportunity for customising. I was excited to make this for two reasons: 1) I’ve been itching to make a t-shirt dress for ages, even though I suspected it wouldn’t suit my midriff too well (I was right – ah well) and 2) I’ve been wanting to try a Friday Pattern Company design for quite some time as well and it was a good little test. They have some really great patterns in their repertoire, possibly aimed at the slightly younger market, and this has given me some warm and fuzzy feelings about trying some of the others.
The main reason is because it’s just drafted so well. Yes, I know it’s “just” a t-shirt dress, but there are good t-shirts and bad t-shirts, good steaks and bad steaks, good 80s bands and bad 80s bands, etc. You get my point – sometimes the simplest-seeming things are the hardest to pull off.
My stomach is not my greatest asset, but I can tell you that if and when I manage to lessen its impact, I will be making many more versions of this dress, because it is GREAT everywhere else. The neckline is the right amount of scoop, the sleeves are a perfect length for me, the scalloped hem is wondrous – it really is great. Just have a look at the IG pics under #sewmystyle2018. Everyone looks fabulous!
Anyway, okay, so I like it. Now moving onto construction: as you would expect with a t-shirt dress, it’s fast. There’s a front, a back and two sleeves. The instructions are thorough, but there are a few things I changed. Firstly, I changed the construction order by sewing the shoulder seams, then adding the sleeves on flat and then sewing up the side seams. I’m not sure why you’re instructed to set the sleeves in: they look symmetrical and it’s much easier flat, like a t-shirt. Maybe there’s a great reason, but I don’t know what it is.
Secondly, the finishing advice seems a little odd. The instructions are to turn the neckline and zigzag or to use knit binding (linked to from the .pdf). I don’t know that I’d want to turn this neckline really and especially not with this thin squeaky rayon knit, so I decided to try out a FOE (fold-over elastic) finish, sewn with a new product – Eloflex thread, from Coats and Clark. This is a new thread that you can use to sew knits with a straight stitch and they say, “Seams and hems will not pop when stretched because Eloflex expands with the fabric.” Sounds like my kind of thread. My twin needle technique is better these days, but I still get the odd popped seam or hem, which is so annoying.
The thread is kind of strange. It feels much like normal thread – I was expecting it to be more elastic somehow – and when you tug it, it does stretch a bit, but not hugely. I sewed the first part of the elastic on with a stretch stitch just to give it some sort of leeway, and then flipped the elastic and straight-stitched it round. For the sleeves and hem, I sewed a very narrow hem, because I quite liked the length of the unhemmed dress and sleeves, and I used a straight stitch with this thread again. The result feels a little stiff and I’m not convinced it won’t pop, to be honest, but I am happy to be proven wrong. I’ve used the Eloflex in some leggings hems as well, so I’ll report back on how they do. It’s definitely a neat finish, at any rate.
Size-wise I made an XL and graded to XXL around the midriff, but actually I should just have left it. There’s enough room and I’ve lost a little of the hourglass shape to the dress, unfortunately. The other thing you may or may not have noticed (please say it’s the latter…) is that my fabric placement wasn’t quite… optimal around the bust area. My fabric is a cheap spongy rayon type affair that I got from Girl Charlee eons ago and well… hello bazongas! Since the pattern is pretty busy, I don’t think it’s that bad though and hopefully if I don’t point it out, nobody will notice. Maybe?
Overall, I like the pattern, and I personally do think a nicely-fitting t-shirt dress pattern in your wardrobe is worth paying for. If you already have a solid favourite in your repertoire, perhaps it won’t be for you. It was a good choice for the first #sewmystyle2018 make – now onto the coat – gulp!