As the Fabric Ravels

I started off the year promising myself I would sew wardrobe-building pieces from patterns I’ve already developed. For some variety, I’d change one or two design details and not attempt any quantum leaps. So in January I took a fabulous cotton tweed (yes, cotton tweed!) fabric that I bought from Sawyer Brook a few years ago and a dress pattern I’ve used before.  It’s the pattern I developed for my ASG Neighborhood Group’s Spoonflower fabric challenge.

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I also used the pattern for last year’s bias challenge.

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Those two dresses are sleeveless and the first one has a collar, so the only changes I made to this dress were to add ¾ length sleeves and omit the collar. I planned to make it an easy, casual dress with no lining. What could go wrong?

Two months, later, I can give you an answer to that question.

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This fabric raveled so much the serging fell off in places and threatened to fall off everywhere else. And, the problem might not have been quite so bad if it weren’t for the fact that I use ⅜” seam allowances. The lesson for future projects: test the fabric before cutting and if it looks like raveling might be a problem, add wider seam allowances to the pattern and clean finish all edges immediately after cutting the pattern pieces.

So, what to do for this dress? (Besides abandon it, which I seriously considered doing, along with abandoning sewing altogether and taking photography lessons.) I turned to fusible bias tape to literally glue the cut edges.

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I then serged and, in some places, serged for a second time.

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Then I decided that the seam allowances might hold up through a few more wearings if I cut down on the friction by installing a lining. So, I cut Bemberg Ambiance and my quick and easy dress became a bigger deal than I had anticipated.

I also had to deal with the fact that the worst fraying was in the Empire seam in the back, which meant that my hemline was way off. I’d lost so much length in the back that I had to opt for a hem faced with stretch lace and trimmed the excess in the front and at the sides. The overall length is ¾” shorter than I usually wear my skirts and dresses, but I figured with opaque tights it would be fine.

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I really like the shape of the dress and the the way the fabric looks and feels when I’m wearing it. I’m glad I finished it. I’m just hoping my next project is less of a challenge.