Michelle, My Belle


It's been two weeks since I last posted.  Here's my biggest question: where's spring?!  Before I get into my new dress's details, I will report that there has been zero progress in the seedling department.  I'm terrified that my seeds rotted or just gave up on me as their mother.  Last weekend my cousin and I planted carrots, radishes, beets, and peas, along with more seeds to become seedlings--nada.  I'm so bummed.  Keep me in your gardening thoughts, everyone.

Okay, moving on to more positive things: I finished a spring dress!  I've missed garment sewing so much with all the quilting I've had on my to-do list.  All my apparel fabrics would sit and stare at me while I was piecing or binding--I know they're sad, and I'm sad, too.  It's March and I've only made two dresses and a shirt this entire year!  That's far too few, if you ask me.

(If you ask me, don't ask about my calligraphy--I've spent exactly two minutes practicing since my class.  Shit.)

But with the completion of a giant, pain in the ass project yesterday, I was able to refocus and cut out a dress just for fun.  Just because I could, and I wasn't on a deadline and I wasn't giving it to anyone.  Just a simple project for me.  I bought a cut of chambray from Denver Fabrics during their free shipping sale in January, and I bought Liberty Love a month or so ago (and reviewed it here)--naturally, I combined the two and decided to make a Michelle, My Belle dress for spring and summer.  I love chambray and the dress is so effortless in its style, which is perfect because I don't have a whole lot of time for more effort.

I cut out the dress last night and sewed it up today.  However, it wasn't all sunshine and flowers--because I'm an idiot.

I sewed all of this within about 90 minutes this morning.  I only stopped to shower and go grocery shopping.  Damn adulthood.


This was the first time I've used my walking foot for something besides quilting!  I used it to sew the skirt to the bodice, on top of the gathers.  It worked wonderfully.

So much Washi.
So my problems started with this zipper.  It was the only long invisible zipper in my stash, and it's black.  Close but no cigar.


After running to Joann's for two different navy invisible zippers (variety, and stash building), I came home and pinned in a 12-14" zipper.  I had to sew it with the Bernina invisible zipper foot twice on each side--no matter what I do, I can't get the needle close enough on the first go-round!  Any advice is much appreciated.

Once that was done, and the skirt was sewn, I tried it on--I have such narrow shoulders that I almost always expect to alter them somehow.  Except the 12-14" zipper wasn't doing it.  It didn't zip down far enough for me to get into the dress.

I now had to rip out all that stitching, plus the rest of the skirt, and repin a 20-22" zipper onto the back bodice.  Here's a question: why aren't there 18" invisible zippers?  That would solve a lot of my problems.

However, I forgot about my invisible zipper foot, and ironed the zipper.  My foot went directly over the teeth and sewed right down the middle of them.  And I didn't notice until I went to zip it up.  So that's awesome.  I ripped some more.  I pinned again.  I stitched, with the regular zipper foot, and did the best I could to get close to the teeth.  I tried it on--the bodice was a bit too tight.  Out came the zipper again, making the seam allowance a bit smaller, and in it went--more pins, more stitching.

It still isn't perfect, but holy hell, was I aggravated.

Who knows which zipper stitching this is?
Being good.
Another problem: I can't make continuous bias binding.  I used the tutorials on the Coletterie and Youtube and still managed to mess it up completely.  I plan on asking my mom for a lesson the next time I see her.  Hopefully she knows!  Until then, regular-ass binding went onto the neckline and armholes.  I didn't think lining was appropriate for my version, but still needed to finish the edges somehow.

Bloomsbury Gardens!
So--it's done.  I thought about making it short and flirty, but because I'm only one of those things, I stuck to the included hem allowance.  It's a very versatile dress and I really liked it!  I'm loving princess seams.  They're such a nice alternative to darts.


So what else is going on?  I can't wait for spring, as I mentioned.  Besides warmer weather, we'll finally have bikes and can ride them.  Winter caught up with me this year and I'm no longer walking a mile back and forth to the train.  Nick claims he hasn't noticed any weight gain, so maybe it's just hormonal, but a bike ride certainly can't hurt.

How was your weekend?  What'd you sew?  Expect a lot more dresses coming up--I've got big plans!