My Feathered Frock

I am happy to report I finished my dress at 1pm on Saturday–just in time to clean up and wear it to my friends’ wedding at 3pm.
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This dress was some kind of sewing miracle.  My machine usually jams up frequently, where the bobbin thread creates a giant matted mess of thread on the underside of whatever I’m sewing.  I never understand why this happens, but rethreading the machine usually temporarily fixes things.  It’s very frustrating, and it has me thinking I need to upgrade to a better quality machine (truly anything will be a step up; I’m using the very basic Singer model).  However, on this dress, the machine did not jam once.  That’s right, it was a perfect angel.  I’ve never had a project go more smoothly.  Every seam went down perfectly on the first try.  I attribute this success to the thread I used and all the baste stitching I was instructed to do.

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I’ve used Gutermann thread for a long time.  I thought it was a good thread.  And maybe it is, but I splurged on some Mettler cotton thread with a “silk finish,” and I don’t know if I can ever go back to Gutermann now.  Maybe it’s silly of me to give so much credit to the thread, but truly it is the one major change I made.  What kind of thread is everyone else using??

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I haven’t used a pattern with thorough instructions in a while either.  I’ve been making up my own pattern or using BurdaStyle patterns which often lack instruction.  I think I really benefited from all the instruction to baste stitch wherever there was gathering happening.  I followed the Colette instructions for gathering, creating 3 rows of baste stitches, and I do think the gathers were very even and easy to create this way (I’ve used one or two rows in the past, with less success).  And then Butterick instructed me to baste the pieces together, and then sew the seam line.  I think the baste stitching first really helped in keeping the gathers even and prevented tucks from forming.

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I only deviated from the pattern in a few small ways.  I cut the back skirt piece on the fold instead of cutting two pieces.  I wanted to eliminate the unnecessary seam since the fabric has such a large print.  I used snaps to hold the the dress closed instead of a hook and eye.  And that’s about it.  I really like the pattern and hope to use it again.   I did not have time to make a muslin, and I was confident that the loose fit and wrap around style would give me plenty of room to make adjustments.  The waist line hits a couple inches below my natural waist, which resulted in an extra roomy and drapey bodice when I pulled it up and cinched it in.  I knew this was going to happen, and I’m not sure if I like it or would prefer to raise the waist line.  I guess I’ll just have to make another dress with a raised waist and see if I like it better.

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The wedding was a blast, and I got to spend some time with my twin sister–she took the photos for me :)

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So please tell me, what kind of thread are you using?!  I really would like to know!  :)

Butterick B5152 – 1948

Crepe de Chine fabric form Gorgeous Fabrics (Polyester/Acetate)

Mettler thread

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24 comments

  1. You are amazingly talented and I LOVE the dress. Very flattering! I’m so glad that you got it finished cuz I was afraid that I distracted you too much! hugs!

  2. This is so cute! I love it! You and your sister are both gorgeous! Let’s see, I just use regular Gutermann, which is a step up for me since I had been using Coats & Clark until recently (it kept snapping in my machine). I had the same thread jamming issue with the machine I borrowed from my sister when I first started sewing (an entry-level mechanical Brother). Haven’t had it at all since I got my own machine (a pretty basic mechanical Janome).

      1. Very much so! I really thought I was bad at sewing when I was using the Brother (although I’ve heard that other people like their Brothers). I have the Janome Magnolia 7318, and it’s really easy to use and hasn’t had issues sewing with heavier fabric (I couldn’t get through medium-weight twill on the other machine.

  3. Great dress Jacqui! Well done. Good news about the thread. I’ll test out your theory & let you know if it eliminates bobbin bunching/jamming. I also use Gutermann.

  4. The dress looks awesome. The color is really amazing on you. From what you described, this project was meant to be (no jamming sewing machine). Here’s to many more “seamless” projects!

    P.S. I’m so glad I’m back in the bloggin world too!

  5. Oooh! This is such a lovely dress, I love the 40’s esque design elements to it. Did you mention what pattern you used for it?

    I use gutterman thread… I may try the kind you suggested for kicks. I’ve never sewn with much else.

  6. What a lovely dress and you look really pretty in it!
    About the thread: I use all kinds of brands, because sometimes it is hard to find the exact right colour of thread, and then I prefer the right colour over brand. If I can (colour and price-wise) I use coats and clark.

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