If you’ve been following me on FB or IG, you’ll know that I haven’t blogged about three patterns I tested, but I shall skip to this first. Before Miss A’s birthday, I planned to make a Pearlie dress with a unicorn print from Sew Good Knits for the skirt and a solid white knit for the bodice. I imagined a unicorn head would be on the pocket. However, I ran out of time while participating in two pattern tests concurrently.
Later, I was thrilled to find out that SGK was hosting a Pearlie contest. At the same time, I was involved in another pattern test so I put it off again.
One advantage of the Pearlie pattern is that there are so few pages to print, even with all the sizes (1-12) nested. I decided to trace off what I needed so that I could use the printout again in future. I had to blend sizes — size 3 width with size 6 height, which is slightly bigger than Miss A’s measurements but would give the dress more mileage. That’s something I can do only if I’m not involved in a pattern test.
I finally decided to use this dusty pink floral fabric by Elvelyckan Design, which I bought 2 years ago from SGK and couldn’t bear to use. (I have it in the mint colourway too.) The unicorns turned out a bit too big for this, so I’ll keep that for another project.
Being out of practice, especially when it comes to sewing with knits, makes me take a lot longer. I always envy those who say they can finish a project in under 3 hours. I’m pretty sure I take many times longer, though I’m not sure exactly how long because I do it in quite a few sittings, interrupted by feeding and playing with the baby or talking to the older child, among other things. Besides that, I have a perfectionist streak that I struggle to snuff out (I’m trying to ignore the little pucker on the seam of the neckband), and I often overthink. This includes whether/when to serge my seams or to use knit stay tape (I did both wherever possible in most cases).
That is not to say I don’t also have “beginner’s struggles”. I often make mistakes and spend too much time unpicking. Also, I tried the shirring method with elastic in the bobbin but it didn’t work for me. A couple of sewists in TSN kindly shared related links to help me make it work on my Brother machine (here and here), and I shall explore and experiment further when I’ve more time. For now, I’m pleased with the even gathers made after sewing two rows of basting thread. I used a ridiculous number of pins. 😅
There are 5 things I shall do differently next time:
1) I will widen the neckband as I had to stretch this one too much, resulting in some tightly pulled areas under the neckline. There are no puckers now but I did unpick and re-stitch 2 areas. Reminder to self: When it’s difficult to stretch to fit at the pinning stage, that already means the neckband piece needs to change.
2) I will serge the neckband seams after attaching it. I’ve no idea why I was afraid of doing it this time when I was so “confident” when I first got my serger (it may partly have to do with the narrow seam allowance of 1/4” and the fact it was difficult to stretch). I used to serge everything together directly but this time I used a stretch stitch on my sewing machine first.
3) I should topstitch the neckline a little further away from the neckband.
4) Due to the construction of the hem, I was unable to serge the side seams. I shall have to serge the sides individually if I want a better finish in future (even though knits don’t fray — I told you I’m a bit of a perfectionist).
5) I think the armscye needs to be trued so that I can fold it in and hem it without stretching the fabric. That could mean extending the straight edge to 2 cm.
Since I’ve quite a few fabrics from ED, I think it’s helpful for me to note that I used a tension of 4.8 and stitch length of 3 when topstitching with my twin needle. This way, I won’t have to experiment so many times with scraps again. I usually use a stitch length of 4 but I thought it looked neat enough even with a shorter stitch length. The knit stay tape plus serging beforehand reduces or removes the tunnelling effect, together with pressing with a steam iron afterwards.
I finished this dress a day after the contest ended, but I’m still glad it gave me an impetus to make it. It’s a simple casual dress or peplum top that is fairly easy to sew and comfortable to wear, so I’ll probably make more. I would probably make the women’s version for myself to match with Miss A too (there’s also a bundle for both patterns). If you like, you could check out One Thimble issue 16, which is where I got my pattern from. Finally, for those who would like a full circle skirt, long sleeves and/or waistband, check out the add-on here.
Hope you liked reading my review and happy sewing!
Edited to add modelled pictures of the dress (one month after making it)!