Friday, August 22, 2014

Alder Sew Along: Week 1

It's been a sewing-obsessed week for me. The Adler Shirtdress Sew Along is in full swing and it looks like Katie and Allyson are off to a great start!

I've had this project rolling around in my head for a good month now, so I took the time to print the 55 page  (!!) pattern and assemble it last week. Based on my measurements, I selected the Size 10 of the B version and cut out the various pattern pieces.

From there, it's hard to fight the urge to just start sewing, but the fact is: I want to wear this dress, so it makes sense to do what I can to ensure my hard work lasts. That means I washed my fabric in advance, something I do maaaaybe every other project. I was proud of myself, until I realized just how long 4 yards of fabric is and how much ironing it takes to get 100% cotton in reasonable shape.

O, the Ironing
Laying out the pattern pieces was another small challenge. The only space large enough to lay everything nice and flat was the floor. The only other individual who spends time on the floor in this house is my dog Droopy. He remains, as always, as cute as he is unhelpful. 

Hit the bricks, Droopy! We've got a pattern to cut!
Laying out went mostly without incident, although I did find that I needed to flip Pattern Pieces 6 and 13 upside-down to match the layout in the pattern booklet. This felt a little funny, but I trusted the pattern and started cutting.

Tracing Pattern Piece 7 - The Yolk 
Cutting all of the pattern pieces in both fabric and interfacing took a bit longer than I thought it would. There are a lot of components to this dress and it can feel a little overwhelming when you look at them all piled together. You try not to think about the fact that your last project was a baby bonnet for a 1-year-old and that you might be majorly out of your depth and you deploy that time honored strategy: fake it 'til you make it!

In other words: time to dive on in. Remarkably, the actual sewing goes by at quite the rapid pace. You begin with the button bands. I have a weird love of fusible interfacing. It's just so satisfying to iron it into place... PERMANENTLY. 
Buttoned Up

Fun with Fusible Interfacing - working title of my worst selling craft book
And then, it was time for pockets! I've never made visible pockets before, let alone ones that would sit right on my boobs. If done correctly, they should just blend in nicely to the garment. If done poorly, my chest becomes a focal point and I'm just not prepared to deal with that. I'm 30 years old, after all. I demand respect!

Pockets going solo

It's tricky enough to make sure your pockets are lined up with the marking from the pattern, but there's an added challenge with the Adler pattern. Part of the pocket sits on a bust dart, so you're adding pockets to a rounded surface.

Placin' those pockets
Jen at Grainline recommended using a tailor's ham to ensure that your pocket lies smoothly. While that sounds delicious, I don't have this particular piece of equipment. I was able to make due by using the corner of my ironing board and pulling the darted fabric around the edge, which flattened out the fabric. For the most part, I was able to get reasonable placement (after a ton of ironing and accidentally pinning the fabric to my ironing board cover).

Pockets = Placed
Tune in next week, when we add an actual back side to this puppy. Who knows, it might actually start looking like a dress (fingers crossed)!

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