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Last month I made a new year’s resolution to sew one item of clothing for myself each month of 2012. I aim to make some garments that I will cherish for years to come, that will reflect my style and taste and that will also give me the opportunity to learn new skills as I make them.
For February, I chose to make the Miz Mozelle dress from Jamie Christina. I was very taken with the summery dress on the cover, but I decided to give my version a more winter appropriate feel, by using a knit fabric. After failing to find a fabric that seemed worthy enough, I turned to Spoonflower.com who gave me the opportunity to design my own fabric for my dress. I’m no fabric designer but I knew I needed to come up with something extra special that would give this dress a permanent place in my closet for years to come – and I think I did it!
I took my children’s fingerprints by having them press a finger into an ink pad and stamping a piece of paper. Next, I photographed the fingerprints, transferred the images to my computer and played around with the positioning, size and clarity. Then I uploaded them to the Spoonflower website and I was able to edit the design of the fabric to my liking. Spoonflower sent me fabric swatches and color charts, and with these in hand I spent a fun evening playing around with various possibilities. When I was happy with the results, I saved my design and a few days later I had several yards of my children’s fingerprint fabric on my cutting table!
I like to use Swedish tracing paper to trace off my pattern and make sizing adjustments. It can be sewn together with basting stitches which I love because it cuts out the need for making a muslin. I added a couple of inches to the bodice of the dress, but I made no other adjustments.
Once I was happy with the sizing and after prewashing the fabric, I got to work on pinning the pattern and cutting it out. As I mentioned, my fabric is a knit, so I made sure that the direction of the stretch lay across the body as I laid out the pattern pieces.
Before I began sewing, I switched out the needle in my sewing machine for a ball-point needle, which is the recommended needle to use when sewing knits. Ball-point needles have a rounder tip than regular needles and they are designed to push apart the threads of the fabric to either side, rather than piercing through them.
Following the clear and well written instructions in the pattern packet, I first pieced together the bodice of the dress. I used my trusty Fiskars MicroTip Scissors No. 5 to clip the silver/grey binding I used around the keyhole detail at the neck. Since knit fabrics don’t unravel or fray, I could have left my seam allowances unfinished but I decided to finish them off with my serger for aesthetic purposes.
Next I moved on to constructing the sleeves. After sewing the bias tape to the sleeve edges, I made 2 rows of long basting stitches between the pattern markings so that the sleeves could be gathered up into the bodice.
Piecing together the collar and sewing it to the bodice was very straightforward and I liked how quickly this dress was starting to come together
Bias tape is used at the neck/collar seam and cleverly hides all stitching.
The next few steps involved attaching the skirt to the bodice and creating the casing for the elastic waistband. I like to use the large safety pin in my Fiskar’s Sew Taxi to thread elastics through their casings.
Finally, I hemmed the skirt using the method outlined in the packet, made the waist tie belt and sewed on the button at the keyhole.
At the end of this project I treated my machines to a good brush out because knits drop a lot of lint and fibers into their workings.
The finished dress now has a permanent and very special place in my closet. Not only is the pattern very straightforward, quick to make up and comfortable to wear, the fabric is obviously what makes the dress so special to me. And for once I can be happy to say ‘I have my kid’s fingerprints all over my dress!’
Miz Mozelle dress pattern by Jamie Christina
Fabric (see fabric requirements on pattern packet)