Hello folks! I am BACK! I mentioned in my last post, which was way back in February (gulp), that I was going to write a big update post, but things suddenly got crazy busy – the reason being that I am now back home in Scotland! Yes, after almost 15 years away, my family and I have relocated back home to the bonnie banks of my homeland. I want to apologise to anyone who’s commented or asked a question in the last few months as I haven’t been online much at all, but I promise to reply in the next week or so now that we’ve settled in somewhat and I can get back online regularly.
I will also deliver on my big update post, but in the meantime I want to share with you the first thing I’ve sewn in months – the Seamwork Luxsy dress. My sewing equipment got packed in January and is still in transit (yes STILL), but I managed to steal my mum’s machine for a couple of weeks. Living out of one suitcase for five months is getting OLD, I can tell you.
Thank goodness, then, that the Luxsy is 100% going to be a workhorse staple in my wardrobe. It’s a knit dress with princess seams and a fit and flare silhouette, which is always a favourite of mine. There’s both a sleeveless and sleeved version (as you can see, I made the former) and the neckline has a lovely almost-square scoop to it. The waist falls at the natural waistline and the length is right around knee-length as drafted.
Sizing and Fabric
As always with Seamwork patterns, there are two size ranges to choose from: a C cup 00-16 range and a DD cup 12-30 range. I’m a D cup bust, so could theoretically use either, but find that the shoulders and armholes on the smaller range match my frame better. In this case I actually used the 14, which corresponds to my high bust measurement, and then added extra to allow for my fuller bust and waist.
Since this is a knit garment, there’s a bit of leeway when it comes to sizing and you don’t always want to add as much as you might do in a woven if you want to retain a fitted look. There’s quite a bit of negative ease built into this pattern and so it’s recommended you use a 4-way stretch fabric – this definitely helps! I used a french terry from See You at Six. As terrys go, it’s fairly lightweight and of a lovely quality, which was what I was after. I was aiming for a dress that was “sturdy” but not constrictive. I have a RTW dress just like this, which is made from a ponte or double-knit (not 100% sure) and it’s lovely to wear as it’s quite light, but supportive enough to keep my bits from wobbling everywhere – always a bonus in life!
Another factor to take into account is that the bodice is designed to be lined. That is, you cut two bodices, with one acting as the outer bodice and the other, the inner bodice. I had to think about this with french terry as I didn’t want the dress to be bulky. Some of my fellow ambassadors solved this by using the double layer for the front only, or simply a single layer and finishing the edges differently. I went back and forth on the issue, but decided to go for the double layer in the end, intending to test the fit and feel at an early stage of construction. This proved to be the right decision for me, as I ended up with just the right amount of support and I don’t feel it’s particularly bulky either.
As mentioned, I added to my size 14 pattern to bring it closer to my full body measurements. To do this, I used a kind of “cheat’s FBA” for knit fabrics. Since there is room to manoeuvre, thanks to the stretch factor, I slashed the side bodice at the apex point (marked by the notch) and created a hinge at the seam allowance. I then opened the piece up by about 3/4″ to allow more room for my bust. If it were a woven, I would have added 1 to 1.5″, so it was around half the normal amount.
I then added the same 3/4″ length adjustment to the front bodice section. A regular FBA will add width at the waist as well, which I tend to leave in as I need some extra. This version of an FBA does not do that, so I also added 1/2″ to the side bodice pieces and the side skirt pieces at the waist. Finally, I would normally lower the bust point in a woven pattern, but I left this one as I figured the knit fabric would probably stretch in the right places – and, luckily, it did. I was feeling a bit lazy I guess! Ha.
Construction is very straightforward for this dress – the whole thing is designed to be made on the serger, although you can, of course, use a zigzag stitch on a sewing machine if you prefer. My only gripe was the method for finishing the armholes on the sleeveless version using the “burrito” method. It’s a really cool way of doing it, but I have to confess I found the instructions confusing for this part. Seamwork’s Chelsea made an instructional video some time ago showing how to do this and I highly recommend using this method. So easy, so fast, so satisfying!
A couple of small tweaks I’d make another time would be to take just a touch out of the back – it’s slightly too long for me. Also, I think I’d remove a few slivers of fabric from the neckline of the inner bodice. You understitch the lining to stop it from rolling out, but I find in knits a lining can have its own free will, and mine is trying to peek out even with the understitching. Taking just a hair off the fabric will help that and I may even topstitch next time just to be sure. Overall though, the Luxsy has a very nice finish to it and it feels solid and professional.
God, I’ve really missed sewing and I’m so happy to be able to get back to it. It’s a stress reliever, allows me to unleash my “creative” energy and this was a perfect way to get back into it. The Luxsy is well drafted and fast to sew. I can imagine a sleeved version as the perfect autumn/winter dress and expect I will rustle one or two up for that very purpose. Even the sleeveless version is easy to layer though and I wore it on a cool spring day with my denim Stevie jacket and boots and it worked wonderfully.
It’s good to be sewing again!!