It's time to sew pretty little spring outfits, I do say... but naked legs and open-toed sandals aren't quite an option yet. This dress is from the latest issue of My Image magazine, the Spring/Summer 2014 edition. I coincidentally had this lovely purple bamboo rayon knit in my stash for about 4 years that reminded me a bit of Pantone's color of the year, Radiant Orchid. It was destined to be!!I must confess I did a little late night sewing with this dress, so there are some things I'm not 100% happy with. But I am not going to point them out. Really, this is a freakishly comfortable dress I could do back flips in (that is, if I could do back flips...)
I cut my standard My Image size-- a 42 and graded to a 46 at the hip/bum. What's nice is that this pattern goes up to 48, so gals with a fuller figure can use this one. I love the asymmetrical front skirt panel with the draping. That draping on the side seam is actually a series of carefully planned pleats. The cowl doesn't dip to low on the chest and the sleeves openings don't either. I now realize after taking these photos I need to take in the underbust a little bit, it's gaping more then I thought.
This rayon knit is super duper stretchy. I cut a 4" square scrap and measured... it stretched to about 8", that's about a 100% stretch! It does have good recovery and keeps it's shape. Working with this slinky material can be tricky. I used my serger for all the seams and very narrow zig zag stitch with a walking foot on my regular sewing machine for the darts. I set my machine for the nearly straight zig zag at 1.5 width and a 2.5 length. The darts are located where stretch and movement will occur-- a small zig zag will allow the stitches to move and stretch with the material but still appear like a straight stitch.
I stabilized my shoulders and the front asymmetrical hem with a product called Easy Knit Tape. I've talked about this stuff before here, here, here and used it on this dress here, too... plus some others I can't recall at the moment. It does almost the same thing as Vilene Bias Tape that Europeans have easy access to... it's the U.S.'s answer to their fancy stay tape for knits! Americans-- you can get Vilene Bias Tape here on Etsy, but it's not cheap. I buy my Easy Knit Tape for about $5 for 10 yard box at the local big box chain fabric store in the quilting department. I cut mine in half, so it's really 20 yards. Here is how I use this stuff, it can't be any easier!
First, cut a length of the Easy Knit Tape the length of the seam to be stabilized-- it's my shoulder seam here. The tape is pretty wide so cut it down the center to make two strips, one for each shoulder. Iron on a medium setting, making sure the scratchy, adhesive side is facing the fabric. This stuff is plenty wide to catch perfectly into my serger as I sew the seam together. Done!
And like I said I used it on my asymmetrical front hem. This stuff keeps the fabric in place while I top stitch with my regular sewing machine. I ironed on length of the tape to the inside of the hem edge. I then folded it over and top stitched. Done!
But what about my bottom hem?! I left it raw. This fabric never unravels, I've made a number of things with it before. This dress is meant to be casual so I don't mind it un-hemmed! Plus, I officially ran out of my stay tape after sewing the shoulders.
Check out all that draping! I wish the back of the dress isn't as plain as it is. I feel like it could use some draping action, too.
I brought one of my favorite My Image makes to try some accessorizing. This is a white cropped jacket I made last year. It's actually from their envelope patterns, ImageWear. It shrunk some in the wash but I think I can still rock it.
I actually was out at the park with my son for all of these photos. This fabric is so freaking easy to move in, I could climb all over the playground-- but kept it pretty modest and didn't really climb up any ladders with a dress.
UPDATE 3/12/2014: Not tons of folks are familiar with My Image Patterns. Linda's comment helped remind me to share what I know about them! I've had a number of questions before about them so here is my run down of them. I am in no way affiliated and have not been paid by them at all... I just sew their patterns a lot!
My Image is an independent pattern company in the Netherlands who publish My Image Magazine 2x's a year. The patterns in this magazine are for women. Sizing goes from 34-46 (4-18 U.S.) and in the past couple issues they have really cute designs for plus sizes in 46-56 (16-26 U.S.) The directions are in Dutch, German, French and English. Their websites are all available in these languages as well.
They have a couple handfuls of individual printed envelope patterns available under the name ImageWear (here you can see one of my ImageWear makes, and another one here). The same group of folks also publish Young Image-- patterns for babies to teens-- and they also put out a new one called B-Inspired-- also patterns for babies to teens, both girls and boys as well. I have one of these and plan to sew up something for my son sometime soon.
You can purchase any of these directly from them at their Webshop, Made By Oranges. From my experience, it takes about 1.5-2 weeks for anything to be shipped from Europe to me here in Baltimore, Maryland in the U.S. Shipping is about $4 USD for most purchases, occasionally they run really good deals on back issues and their patterns for a song and a few bucks shipping.
If you live in U.S... I was told last year that they sell My Image magazines at both Barnes and Noble and Books-A-Million. I've not been to either places in forever so I can't say if they are actually on the shelves, so call your local store if it's a pain to get there for you.
If you ever have questions about their patterns, there is a really nice and super helpful person named Martin always responds to me within about a day or so.
Now go sew something, ya'll.
**These photos were taken at my absolute favorite park here in the city of Baltimore, Druid Hill Park.