Hi everyone, I’m Holly and this is my first blog post as part of the Sewalicious blogger team! I’ve been really enjoying the blogs so far and hope you have too!
I couldn’t resist using this black diamond flock stretch viscose fabric for my first project. It’s kind of like a ponte roma but with a bit more structure; it's got a bit of stretch to it and it's lovely and soft as the diamonds are raised and made of a velvety type material, making it seem very luxurious and definitely worthy of becoming a dress!
I had also recently acquired the McCall’s 6886 jersey dress pattern and thought that the clean shape of this dress would not only be a straightforward sew - but really show off the fabric with no interruptions.
The pattern itself is quite simple, there are three types of neckline (round, scoop and a v-neck), three different hem lengths (although you could cut it to whatever length you wanted!) and four different sleeve options. There are also no darts, fastenings or facings for this pattern making it a really ideal pattern for a beginner. The only version to be wary of if you are new to sewing jersey is the v-neck; you need to put in a neckband for this one.
I decided for my dress to cut out version A, a round neckline with short sleeves and a short hem length which ended just above the knee, hopefully an ideal dress for a smart/casual xmassy type dinner!
Now onto the fabric, it washed beautifully with minimal shrinkage and barely needed an iron before cutting out (win!). I did however need to use my sharpest pins and scissors when cutting out. The fabric is reasonably thick to cut through and in addition to the raised diamonds, means you have to go slowly with this step! The fabric is wide at 150cm and the pattern depending on the length of your dress doesn't require that much fabric, so I managed to easily fit this into 1.5 metres!
Now, because I didn't think there was enough stretch in this fabric; I decided to add an invisible zip into the back of the dress. The pattern is quite fitted and with no fastenings means it needs to pull on and off easily over your head. On the envelope it suggests using fabrics with a minimum of 20% stretch when folded; this fabric didn't quite do this.
However, I so wanted to use this fabric as it’s completely gorgeous that I got round it by simply adding a zip in.
Here’s a few tips on how to do that:
Because both front and back pattern pieces are cut on the fold I needed to add a 1.5cm seam allowance to the back dress piece to allow addition of a zip. (This will not alter the fit of the dress in any way, as you will be taking out 1.5cm’s of both pieces when you sew the back dress pieces together.)
I then had an altered pattern piece which I could use to cut the fabric on a double layer, ignoring the ‘cut on fold’ markings.
I then constructed the dress as per the instructions but before finishing the neckline, inserted a matching 22 inch invisible zip into the back pieces with my invisible zip foot. I used to be terrified of putting one of these in AND make it look invisible but I can honestly say with the correct machine foot - it’s really simple. In fact, SO simple that I actually enjoy putting these in garments now - it’s so satisfying when you nail it!
Whilst sewing together I used my trusty walking foot on my machine along with a size 70 jersey needle; however, there were a few skipped stitches over the seams. I tried a 90 jersey in these parts but with no improvements so ended up using a jeans needle over the bulkiest seams!
One thing to be careful of when using this fabric is pressing, only iron on the wrong side of the fabric if possible, as I found even on a cool setting it left a mark of the velvet diamonds that can be seen in the light. I think they will fade with washing but luckily it didn't need much pressing anyway!
Overall, I am super pleased with this make, I love the simplicity of it whilst being a really smart dress for a few drinks out! It's very comfortable to wear due to the stretch in it and fits really well. It's perfect for a beginner or if you're new to stretch fabric - you'll have it sewn up in no time!
Keep sewing all,