We left off in the last post with the prospect of two long-ass seams staring us in the face. Let’s pick up from there!

Step 7: Assemble the garment, continued

First things first, I pinned the side seam I was about to sew, like so:

See how long it is? Bloody long! Taking it to my machine, I hunkered down and got’er done.

The only thing I’d recommend paying attention to is stopping at the sleeve seam, pivoting by lifting up the foot with the needle in the fabric, then putting the foot down and continuing. This creates a neat and consistent seam allowance, since this is where the fabric edge angle changes.

Other than that, just keep. On. Sewing.

Now is as good a time as any to show you how to wind a bobbin. As you probably know, there are two threads in a sewing machine that bind fabric together – the top thread coming from the spool, and the bottom thread coming from a bobbin. In order to have thread on a bobbin, you need to wind it yourself, and you will occasionally run out mid-stitch, as I did.

Back on track, I finished up one of the side seams, pinned the other, and whipped it off as well. Done did!

Oh, and remember those tailor’s tacks we marked off? Time to sew those up – they’re actually extensions of the side seams into where the pockets are. Sewing them up keeps said pockets inside the dress neatly, while still leaving you much glorious finger-warming, iPhone-stashing room.

Now for a quick press…

And it’s time for ribbing! I know you’ve all been waiting for this moment with baited breath. Just a quick note to say that instead of following the pattern instructions to sew up the neck band, then attach it, then sew up the sleeves, then attach them, then sew the hem, then attach it, I chose to sew up all the ribbing first then attach all the pieces to the dress. My reasoning? As per usual, laziness. Remember the thread / spool / bobbin discussion above? Because my ribbing is in a contrasting colour, I had to change both the spool and the bobbin to navy blue.

So, to save myself the hassle of changing them over back and forth, I batched all the ribbing processing, then switched back to grey thread and did all the attaching.

I pressed all the ribbing seams open, unlike the dress body’s to-one-side methodology. I then folded them in half as per instructions.

Now came the tricky business of attaching the trims, and frankly, I don’t know how one’s meant to do this alone, especially for the neck band. You see, the problem is that the neckband’s circumference is quite a bit smaller than the neck opening on the dress. This is to ensure that the neckband lies flat instead of sort of sitting there, gaping like an idiot.

This poses a challenge: you must first match center front, back, and two sides of the neckband to the corresponding parts of the neck opening. If you employ some strategic folding (by bringing center front and center back folds together, you create the folds marking exactly the middle of the two sides), this part is tedious, but not difficult.

However, you end up with a bunch of bunching of the dress shell material, which you then must match up to the neckband by stretching them together appropriately. Not too much, and not too little. Juuuuuust right.

If you manage to do this correctly (I used Alex to hold the layers of material stretched out while I pinned), you then end up with a reasonably stable sewing sandwich. You’ll only need to stretch it a little from pin to pin as you sew, which is then easily achieved as the machine needle and foot hold down one side of the fabric.

Here’s what the neckband looks like once finished. It’ll take a few presses and wears for the fabric to stop puckering and lie really flat, but this is satisfactory from my perspective.

Now to attach the hem (leveling up sister wife status!).

And finally the sleeves. While more finicky in terms of alignment than the hem, it’s doable without help from extra hands. Mark off the center of the sleeve opposite the seam by folding the sleeve on the seam. Then bring that mark to the seam, aligning them, and thereby creating the two equidistant side folds.

Do the same for the ribbing tube.

Now stuff one inside the other, align the pins, and sew!

You’ll notice my ribbing tubes are wider than recommended – this is on purpose, to up the comfort factor of stuffing my hands inside them. Plus, folding them back onto themselves achieves the look recommended by the pattern anyway.

And that’s pretty much it!

Oh, I couldn’t resist sharing an easy-peasy trick that prevented thread remnants from going literally everywhere as they normally do when I’m sewing. Just grab a few post-its, put’em face down, and slap threads onto the sticky parts as you go.


Step 8: Wear it!

So here it is, my completed wintery duvet-y jersey dress in all its Mormonesque glory:

Just kidding, that picture is terribly difficult to make out, I just liked all the shadow play.

Here are a bunch of views that show this dress’s magically stretchy and cozy qualities:

And then I found a brick wall that I tried to climb. In a dress. Like an asshole.

That’s all, folks! What do you think of this project? Have you made a warm, winter-weather-friendly dress? Would love to hear your take! Shoot me a note at sabbatical@mashakrol.com, or leave a comment below.

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