FO Friday – Candy Plaid Out and About Dress

Pattern: Out and About Dress by Sew Caroline

Fabric: Candy Plaid from Girl Charlee (link is a similar print on same fabric)

I made a sleeveless version of this dress back in May and it is my most-worn handmade FO, so I knew that I needed to make a version with sleeves for colder weather. I started with bracelet length sleeves but found that it made it look a little too prairie dress, so I chopped them to 3/4 length.

The big sewing milestone for me is that this dress is the first garment I made on my serger. Overall, I found it was really straightforward! I was warned to go even extra slow on curves, which was good advice. 

I did run into a few problems. I could not make the transition from my pocket back to my dress without making a huge mess. I think I need to experiment with retracting my knife on that transition. I ended up going back over that section with my sewing machine, which you can see below. The picture above shows the struggles I was having with my double needle on my skirt hem – the thread kept breaking and I can now see that I have a bit of fabric that didn’t make it under. I’ll have to go back and fix that.

I also had a really hard time getting my neckband in smoothly. I had to make a new one 2″ longer than what’s in the pattern to get it reasonable at all. Are there techniques I don’t know about or will this get better with practice?

Overall, I’m really pleased with this dress! I’m looking forward to wearing it a lot!

5 thoughts on “FO Friday – Candy Plaid Out and About Dress

  1. I was just scrolling through your blog as I lie on the couch and mope, and thought I’d comment about the neckband, since this is EXACTLY how my first neckband went and looked. I was confused by the band being so much narrower than the opening, and the first try I actually added gathers in the shirt front to try and compensate (you kind of did the opposite by adding length to the band). And it ended up much like yours, a tad floppy on the inner edge. It turns out, it really does need to be much shorter than the opening to lie flat once it’s attached, and that you have to kind of divide the band and opening both into quarters or even eighths before attaching them together (so that the difference is evenly distributed all around the opening). And then when you sew it on, you have to stretch the two pieces so that the neckband segment (which is smaller) is roughly matching the opening segment (which is bigger) while you sew. I usually do a quick basting straight stitch on my sewing machine just to get it attached, and then serge (and sometimes also twin needle top stitch after that) to finish, fully expecting the original basting to snap eventually – you could even remove the basting if you wanted to afterwards. I’ve had good success with this method, and even on scoopnecks, the band lies flat. 🙂

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    1. I did try first with the pattern neckband and dutifully pinned in quarters but pulling as hard as I could on the band I couldn’t get it to stretch all the way around each quadrant of the neckline. Is it supposed to be that much shorter and I just need more practice at the hand motions?

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      1. How strange…it should definitely not be that difficult! ponders… Wait a minute, I think I have an idea. I was just staring at the photo and I think I can see the tiny knit stitches in the fabric, it looks like the grain of the fabric is going around the circumference… Like, the little ribs (? that’s not the right word since it’s a jersey, but you know what I mean?) are going around parallel to the opening. They should be perpendicular to the opening edge – especially if that fabric is a 2-way stretch fabric, it wouldn’t stretch much along the grain! I totally bet that’s what happened. Typically you want to cut the band perpendicular to the grain/selvedge so that it will stretch adequately. Could that be it?

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      2. Yes, it’s very possible it was a cutting error. I even have direction of stretch marked on that pattern piece, but I know I was hurrying to get this dress finished so I’m guessing I glossed right over it!

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