3.01.2016

a perfect dress to wear to a wedding - the classic sheath | Newlook 6261

This dress.  What to say about this dress.  I LOVE it!  Newlook pattern 6261 did not disappoint!  A lovely figure hugging silhouette with plenty of room to move, this classic sheath dress is a star in my book!
The outdoor wedding in sunny Florida was this past weekend and, *gasp*, not one photo was taken at the wedding with the exception of a lone selfie.  I hang my head in shame.  So today, I'm wearing exactly what I wore to the wedding to show you.  Isn't the coral jacket a terrific addition to this dress?!  It was a quick make that I'll talk about it in the next post later this week, because today I want to talk about The Dress.  (You can read about the jacket here)
Pearl earrings, bracelet and necklace add to the formal nature.
The little sleeves were just right.  This was the only design modification I made to the pattern.
Love the colors..... and the birds!  This dress was supposed to be my muslin, but instead became The One.  :)
This terrific pattern was purchased at my local Wal-Mart for $2.97.  A deal!  There are a couple of variations of necklines, length and sleeves.  The banding around the waistline is popular now, but I chose to aim for a 'classic' look.  The 100% cotton Waverly Inspiration Fabric also came from WalMart and cost $3.97/yard.  This dress only needs 1 5/8 yards.  You can read reviews about this pattern on Pattern Review here.
My measurements fall between a 12 bodice and 14 hip, so I cut a straight 14 thinking I was leaning more to that size and in hindsight, think it would've been smarter to cut a 12 in the bodice and grade to a 14 hip because I ended up taking the bodice in under the arms with a slightly wider seam allowance in the shoulders to bring up the bust darts.....
.....and added darts in the back neckline on each side of the invisible zipper because the neckline seemed large on me.  I used an Ottobre sheath dress pattern I had on hand that had back neckline darts to trace.  Oh, and why did I have an Ottobre sheath dress pattern on hand? you may ask.  Because I was fretting big time that this dress would not look right for a formal wedding and spent an entire afternoon tracing the Ottobre pattern, prepping fabric and readying to change gears!!!  I'm glad I didn't now, and settled in to making this dress work.  You can see one of the darts in the photo below.  Come to think of it I also narrowed the center back before inserting the invisible zipper.  The facings are interfaced and stitched and then turned right-side out for a nice clean finish with no raw edges.
I must have a narrow trunk and a narrow back? as the front seemed to almost need a pleat, there was so much fabric floating around.  Asking for help through Instagram, the consensus agreed with the lovely Carolyn to definitely not add a pleat as that would alter the classic sheath look.  Barbara suggested a slight gathering eased into the facing and that is sort of what I did.  I cut the facing a smidgeon (how's that for specifics!) shorter than the neckline and eased it in when stitching. 
The neckline still seems a little wide, but definitely wearable.  Thank you so much to all the sweet ladies who helped me with this!  I appreciate each and everyone who took the time to think about a solution to my problem.  :)
Let's take a look at the short short sleeves.  The pattern's short sleeves still seemed a little longer than what I wanted, even though initially I thought I wanted a sleeveless dress.  It's a woman' perogative to change her mind, right?! 
So I shortened the short sleeves.  You can see, in the photo below, I used the grainline for the new bottom of the sleeve.  The new traced sleeve pattern is to the bottom.  Truth be told, I thought it was going to be more like a cap sleeve than a short, short sleeve, but I like the way it turned out.
Sleeves are also lined with a crepe backed satin fabric that gave them beautiful shape.  You can see better with the dress turned inside out below. 
Little birds were carefully placed on each top edge of the sleeves facing me because I thought it'd be fun to add a whimsical factor to a formal dress. 
Not only have I never made a fitted dress before, but I've never inserted an invisible zipper..... and what in the world has been wrong with me as this was such an easy zipper application compared to a regular zip. 
One thing that has always given me pause, is that I do not have an invisible zipper foot for my machine.
Using these resources below, it was oh-so-easy to put in.  I especially liked the basting first idea from SunnyGal.  That sort of stabilizes everything for the final stitching.

Sew Serendipity:  Don't fear the invisible zipper tutorial

SunnyGal Studio: invisible zipper you don't scare me


Inside out front and back.  Seams were 5/8" and the edges were serged then ironed open.  I wore a slip underneath as there was not enough time for lining.  Added a little hook and eye at the top of the invisible zip.
One last thing, the hem.  The pattern has a shorter and longer length choices for the dress and I wanted the longer version because this was a formal affair and thought it'd give me room to decide on the perfect length for me with a nice deep hem.  Welllllll, for some reason I cut the front for the 'shorter' and the back for the 'longer' length so that messed up that!  So be careful and double check that you are cutting on the right line for the length you want if you make this pattern!  Not wanting to see a serged edge, I encased the fabric in a ribbon for hems and blind-stitched hemmed on the machine.  If you've never tried the blind-stitch setting on your machine, please do as it stitches an almost invisible hem oh-so-fast. 
Knowing we had a 10 hour car trip ahead of us, and wanting everything to be ironed all fresh and neat before wearing..... not only did I not iron my dress and jacket before we left..... but also left Tom's crisp white shirt to be ironed at the hotel.  And this is what I had to work with at the hotel!  We've stayed at Hampton Inns many times, and there's always a full-sized, stand-up ironing board in each room.  Not this time. Surely, oh surely the front desk could provide me with a full-sized ironing board one would think.  But oh no.  I was told this, below, was it.  It is sitting on the bed and I put my shoes on there for a size reference for you.  I thought I was going to cry. 
If that wasn't bad enough..... while I was trying to manipulate the garment around to iron it..... I noticed a long stray thread that kept pulling out.... more and more.... at the bottom of the invisible zipper where there is a lot of (ahem!) pressure!  I'd neglected to lock my seam at the bottom of the invisible zipper and it was continuing to pull out..... and I'd not brought any needle nor thread with me.  This time the front desk came through and provided me with this little sewing kit.  Whew!  Wardrobe malfunction averted!  Note to self, always pack a little sewing kit from now on.  :)
This dress completes my Make a Garment a Month Challenge for February
And the lone selfie taken at the wedding.   :)
I'll be posting information on the jacket next.
UPDATE 3.02.2016:  The jacket post has been published and can be read here.
Happy Sewing Everyone!

15 comments:

  1. Lisa, you look beautiful! The dress is lovely in its simplicity and oh my goodness, so good to have those sewing kits with you :-) thank you so much for sharing ....

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  2. This looks so good on you - the fabric, the colouring, the fit! I can't believe this is the first time you have made a fitted dress. Bravo!

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  3. Loved reading all the details!
    Love how you did the facings - so neat!
    I also like the lined little sleeves. I prefer smallish sleeves too :)

    I sometimes sew invisible zipper with a normal zipper foot too. My invisible zipper foot seems to get too close to the zipper and I end up sewing into the zipper teeth with it!

    Good save on the hem! I sometimes forget to add hem allowance and I have to do add a strip of fabric to hem it on the inside.

    You look so lovely in your fitted dress, I wish I could wear fitted dresses again. Maybe I will try to lose some of my weight in the middle first :)

    Looking forward to reading about your do-ordinating jacket!

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  4. Oh you look stunning in this dress Lisa! You can literally see all the effort you put in this dress and I enjoyed reading all the information on the sewing process! You really did a great job and I hope you two had a wonderful trip!

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  5. You look absolutely lovely.

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  6. It's beautiful, Lisa. Not only do you have a lovely outfit but you learned so much and acquired new skills. I have also never put in an invisible zipper but will use those tutorials. Thanks for the links. So are you going to make another sheath dress from the fabric you had in mind for this one or change gears and use that yardage for something else?

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  7. I would have never guessed that fabric would work out to be absolutely stunning. Pretty yes, it went beyond that. Congratulations. Oh and a great tip about lining the short sleeve. What a difference in the way it looked. Sometimes we find that on children's clothes we sew, but I think it really makes a difference in the quality and look of ladies wear. I'll be doing that from now on.

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  8. I would have never guessed that fabric would work out to be absolutely stunning. Pretty yes, it went beyond that. Congratulations. Oh and a great tip about lining the short sleeve. What a difference in the way it looked. Sometimes we find that on children's clothes we sew, but I think it really makes a difference in the quality and look of ladies wear. I'll be doing that from now on.

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  9. Oh gosh - the ironing board is laughable. But the dress is amazing. It is simple but in that textile and being so well fitted it is such a great outfit. I love you in these light colours.

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  10. Oh gosh - the ironing board is laughable. But the dress is amazing. It is simple but in that textile and being so well fitted it is such a great outfit. I love you in these light colours.

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  12. I think the dress works on you so nicely because the fabric is just so you. Put me in it, and I would twitch and fiddle. Put you in fabrics that look good on me, and you would feel uncomfortable I am sure. What a story - the seam on the jacket, the repairs to the zip, and your ironing success in the end - because somehow you managed:). I'm sure this dress is going to be a favourite to wear this summer, along with the versatile jacket.

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  13. Hello Lisa, your dress is so beautiful. So happy that you solved all the problems, I really love everything about this dress :)

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  14. You look so beautiful in your dress, Lisa! What a story about pressing and missing seams. You saved everything, however. About the invisible zip: I have inserted a lot already. And I have bought the original Bernina foot which makes all the difference. I learned this method at a sewing lesson: I would always press a 2cm strip of fusible interfacing at the edge of the opening, then close the seam until the zip opening. Then I would sew one side of the open zip with the seam taking aim at the first stitch of the closed seam. Then I would close the zip and pin the important points like neckline or waistseams. Then I would reopen the zip, transfer the pins and sew the second half of the zip until the foot stops itself. This way is very successfull to obtain a zip closure without puckers or pleats.:)

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  15. Thank you so much ladies for all the sweet comments! :)

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Thank you for taking the time to leave a note.~Lisa

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