Monday, June 30, 2014

Mission Not a Maxi

Ok, right off the bat I must come clean and say there’s no maxi in this post.  If that’s cool with you than keep reading, otherwise I suggest you check out one of the hundreds of true maxis out there in the internet.
Moving on!  This is Jamie Christina’s Mission Maxi dress that is much beloved out there in home sewing land. Gillian of Crafting a Rainbow even dedicated an entire week of Me Made May 2014 to it.   I’ve had this in my pattern stash for a while and now that the temperatures are heating up I figured it was a good time to try it out.
I started off with the tank version to check out how it fits.  I used some leftover turquoise wicking mesh thinking it would make a nice running tank.  I made this mostly on my serger except for topstitching the bands on my regular sewing machine with a longer stitch length.  Not my best topstitching, but close enough for a wearable muslin most likely to be regulated to workout gear.  And I couldn’t be bothered to break out my double needle to properly hem it.
Always important to crop booty shorts when Seattle pale!
As is I think it fits pretty well, no obvious pulls, bagginess or tightness.  I wore it around the house to make sure it was comfortable and traced out the maxi length on the pattern.  Someday hopefully soon I’ll actually get around to the maxi length.
I had a yard of this orange printed interlock I got last winter when I bought some jersey online for my Mom’s Christmas gift.  It was one of those times when you love a fabric online but are a bit disappointed when you see it in person.  I knew it didn’t have much stretch (15%) but the printed design was super stiff and cheap feeling – even after prewashing it didn’t feel much different.  I knew it wouldn’t work for the top I intended it for and so it sat in limbo in my stash.  This was a real shame because I really loved the print.  On a whim I pulled it out and decided I’d try it out knowing I wouldn’t be heartbroken if it didn’t work.
Ignore the bra strap - I forgot my convertible
I laid out my pattern pieces and cut them out, preserving as much length as possible.  I moved the pattern piece up and used the curved bottom edge to cut the hem.  The stiffness of the fabric made me doubt it would fold nicely for the binding when I remembered my royal blue Renfrew.  I held the Renfrew next to the orange print and discovered that it matched the blue leaves exactly.  I dug through my knits scrap bag and pulled out what little royal blue interlock I had left.  I just used my rotatory cutter and clear ruler and cut strips as long as I possibly could, counting on the stretch to make up the difference.
Finally!  A good reason to hoard hold onto those little knit scraps that I couldn’t even cut a pair of underwear out of.  Although now that I think of it I could probably cut some Plantain elbow patches out of them too…
This time around I used my sewing machine to sew the shoulder seams instead of my serger.  Last time when topstitching the binding, it got a little fiddly going over that serged seam. By sewing it I was able to press the seam open and that made everything much flatter to sew over.  I also sewed the shoulder and side seams before attaching the binding in the round.  I even went so far as to switch from white to blue serger thread before working on the binding.  I realized I was out of matching blue thread until I pulled out the spools that came with my serger.  Maybe not the strongest thread, but it worked pretty well for topstitching the binding.  Then it was over to the ironing board to blast the binding with steam to tighten everything up.
I did a lot of thinking before deciding on what thread color to hem the dress with.  I tried the blue I used for topstitching and white on a scrap but wasn’t really thrilled with either one.  That’s when I remembered I had a spool of orange thread originally used for topstitching a bag I made years ago.  I recently used it to attach binding to a baby blanket so I had a bobbin filled up and everything.  I used a twin needle for the hem and the thread blended in perfectly with all of the oranges.
I bet you can’t tell which side I redid!
I immediately tried my new finished dress on and discovered that somehow it had magically softened up some more and didn’t seem so stiff anymore.  Maybe it was the steam…  I did notice that it stuck out a bit by the arms which I didn’t notice with my tank.  At first I thought I hadn’t stretched the arm binding enough so took the time and effort to rip out the topstitching and serging.  I took two inches out off, reattached and topstitched it.  After trying it on again, I really didn’t notice much difference so I haven’t bothered to do the other side yet.  I’m blaming the lack of stretch in the knit.
In the end I’m really pleased how this dress turned out, especially since I had low expectations.  I got a lot of comments on it when I wore it on the last day of Me Made May.  As a bonus I have the option of wearing it with the matching Renfrew for a separates look.  Plus the thicker interlock does wonders for avoiding VPL.  I can see making more of these to wear this summer as the go together so quickly and don’t take much fabric at all.  In fact, I’m even planning on conquering my irrational suspicion of maxi dresses and making the pattern as originally intended. I just need to figure out what shoes to wear with it.  My initial thought is platform sandals but maybe flats/sandals would be more practical?  What type of shoes are you supposed to wear with maxis?

1 comment:

  1. LOVE IT! The oranges are so cute and I actually hadn't seen this pattern yet...I love the back. I'm like you, I avoid maxis, but for me it's because I step on them all the time and I'm short. I do like a good midi though.
    Great job!