It's stash busting time! PR's Fabric Stash contest started at midnight on Friday night (so, Saturday, June 1). What better way to stash bust than to sew up double layer projects? I have at least 3 planned. This is the first, using my TNT tee pattern as I did for my striped sweaterdress.
Lace is still hot!hot!hot! for summer. I love that it is sticking around so long. This one is Elie Tahari ($598), showing a contrast color underlayer.
Here's another one from BHLDN ($420), in a swingy A line shape.
I use the stash contest to try to use up older pieces that have survived multiple purges and yet still linger. The lace is the elderly stashbusting here, I got it on the G Street $2.97/yd table over 4 years ago in 2009. The underlayer is a mere two years old, an athletic knit I got from FFC in 2011. It has a waffley texture and is fairly sheer, so it really wasn't good for much. I made a top from it for my bike trip to the Netherlands, with a self-lined upper bodice, but it's just not that good. The fabric doesn't stretch much and is fairly ugly. However, it's the perfect underlayer for a summer dress! It gives a pop of color to the otherwise bland lace, and will be nice and cool for hot days and nights.
I stayed up late and starting laying out my pattern and cutting at midnight. I am more than a little proud of how completely plumb-accurate the motif of the lace falls at center front. Not bad for the witching hour!
The back does not have the satisfying precision of the front with the CB seam, but it sits perfectly over the swayback. I'd rather have the perfect fit than the perfect line, I think. I will go in and try to take out that weird bagginess below the butt, having seen the photo.
I sewed the CB, side, and shoulder seams of both layers, stabilizing the shoulder seams of the lace, and then went to bed. I was beat and in no condition to tackle sleeves! For stabilization I used some stretchy jersey strips kindly sent to me by Yoshimi the Flying Squirrel. I usually use ribbon, but I thought it would be too stiff for my lace.
I added a little width to the side seams of my TNT as I was going for a shift shape rather than a skin-tight fit. The hemline is *key* to wearing a shift. Most of my skirts and dresses hover right around the knee, but this style must be fairly short or it is dowdy city. I wish I'd thought to take a picture before I hemmed the underlayer, but even with just the lace layer you can see that this does my figure no favors at knee length. Take off a few inches, and it becomes a thousand times more flattering.
To trim the lace to the proper length for the hem, I found it easiest to put the dress on the dress form inside out, and then trim the lace as it was hanging down below the hem of the underlayer.
I constructed the two layers separately, treating them as one at the armscye for setting in the sleeve and at the neckline.
To finish the neckline and sleeves I used foldover elastic. I had some beige, but it was too dark, so I tea-dyed some white instead.
I steeped 2 tea bags in 1 cup of boiling water for 5 minutes, then removed the tea bags. The first batch of elastic I dyed for 5 minutes and it came out way too dark! The second batch I did for 1 minute, and it was the perfect match for my lace. My FOE shrank during this, which was good to know because now I will pretreat all of it.
I did my usual method of applying FOE: lay the wrong side of the FOE over the wrong side/inside of your edge, aligning your fabric edge juuuuust below the fold. Zigzag. Moving very quickly, because if your iron lingers it will melt the elastic, and press and steam the elastic at the fold over to the right side. Use the blind hem foot and move the needle one click to the right, and topstitch on the right side. My elastic didn't need to stretch, but if it does, you can stretch while sewing the topstitch, and/or use a slight zigzag to get more thread in there.
I decided against FOE for the hem, thinking that it would be too stiff. When I first sewed elastic the width of the sleeves on the sleeve hems and ended up with sputnik arms, my suspicion was confirmed.
I sampled a couple different methods for finishing and decided to go with washaway stabilizer film, serging, turning under, and zigzagging. Without the stabilizer, I couldn't get a really narrow turn under; I wanted it to be just the width of the serged edge. It also made zigzagging the turned under hem a million times easier (though I still had to use the walking foot). The washaway stabilizer does not like to be pressed, but I was able to use the iron--be sure to turn off the steam or you'll have a gummy mess on your hands!
After I stitched the hem I soaked it for 30 minutes and the stabilizer dissolved. Do not try to skimp on time, because again--gummy mess. I wouldn't do it in the washing machine either, at least not with other items. I don't want the dissolved stabilizer stiffening the other things in the wash.
The only challenging part of this project (other than having to rip the elastic out of one of the sleeves THREE times; there was some bad language coming from the sewing room and this added about two hours to what should have been a fast and easy project), was remembering to change the settings on the serger when switching between the raspberry and lace layers. For the lace, I used a short stitch length as I needed a lot of stitch density to create fabric in the air between motifs. However, that much thread in the underlayer would have made the seams too stiff. I also needed a lot more differential feed for the lace.
I am delighted to have these two pieces out of stash! And I somehow found a project that used up all of each piece. I am always having small amounts left of everything, just enough for a tank top or a pair of underwear or a hat or whatever thing I don't really want to make but "should." The raspberry knit has only shreds remaining, and the lace is not enough for anything, not even a tank top. Two yards down, another thousand or so to go...
All photos are here and the pattern review is here.