Sewing Vloggers

Thursday, July 15, 2021

The House Dress, ca 2021

 

Redemption! Not the most exciting garment but but this simple dress redeemed me from the sewing debacle I endured with my last sewing excursion. Coming out of Covid had me craving nicer clothing to wear at home. No more fleeces. No more letting comfort reign supreme without the slightest regard to style. No more wearing clothing I wouldn't be caught dead in beyond my front door. I want clothing that is comfortable, feminine, and would look like I gave &*$(#@ if I decided to run to the market or Post Office and bump into friends. I wanted to look pretty at home and pretty going out. I don't want to look like I just came from yoga class. I respect that others may feel differently  but enough  feel like I do that the NY Times did a big article on it in it's fashion section about a month or so ago. I want dresses. 


To honor all those who have gone before, the likes of Lucille Ball and even my own Mom, and all the women who wore cotton "house dresses" with snaps up the front to quickly get in and out of or to whip open on a moment's notice for a nursing babe, and for all the women, again like my Mom,  who surrounded me back in the day, I  wear my best bandana, a la Lucy. While my Mom would have used it to cover up criss crossed bobby pins that secured spirals of thick black Irish tresses, mine is merely hiding a bit of gel and wet, washed locks. But I like my bandanas too and wear them a lot and to honor the "house dress". 



In my opinion, the house dress should:

*  Not be tight around any part of the body, particularly the waist

* Should be easy to get in and out of

* Should be an easy  to maintain fabric

* Should never give off a slovenly vibe and be able to get you from home to public view nicely

* Should be out of natural fabrics and never sweaty or sticky

* Should be very comfortable to wear

* Can be accessorized and "upstyled" if need be. 



Simplicity 8856 fit the bill perfectly for me, but first the fabric!

Fabric:

For fabric I used my most favorite fabric after linen: Kauffman's Essex Linen yarn dyed linen blend. The weft is linen and the warp is cotton and I use this fabric repeatedly. It is linen if it could be perfect and the addition of the cotton makes it so. it reacts like denim in that it does not wrinkle up and if it does any wrinkles just seem to fall away. You can wear it all day and look great for the duration. It is comfortable, breathable, easily washable and easy to sew. I have made more garments out of this fabric and literally have two large stacks of it in my stash. It is my go to. It is perfect for house dresses, washes beautifully and would need very little if any ironing right out of the dryer. If you do iron, it responds beautifully with no fuss as you will see in my photos. 

Pattern:

Simplicity 8856 is one I grabbed off the stand at the store. What you don't get from the picture above is that it is available in this one envelope in sizes for children and women up to size 24 which they call XL. It has deep pockets and is not gathered all around as the front bodice has a flat center panel extending all the way to the hem. I liked how the volume was reduced by this. There is a lot of volume in this skirt. I took two inches from the  side front pieces  each and another two inches out of the back panel. 

I have found that when I do this type of skirt with the raised waist it can very poufy and billowey. I topstitch down my seam allowances toward the bodice which you might be able to pick up in this pic. I also, upon completion, go back and press down the top inch or so of the gathering, otherwise  all that gathering can swallow me right up, petite hint there, sewists.  


Another change I made to this pattern to accomadate fit was to add darts, small ones. In the past two years I've made two garments with raised waists like this one. I have found that they do something interesting that you need to watch for. If you wear a B cup or smaller, the garment  seems to hang from your shoulders, It will look loose and be comfy and that is generally the intended look. If you are larger than the B cup of the pattern, the garment will hang off  the tip off your boobs and is just not that flattering. when I put together the bodice of this dress, I pinched out a couple of small darts under the breasts. That pulled in the bodice enough to look much more flattering and like the dress was hanging from my shoulders more. I decided to put the short darts in and you can see them here before pressing. No regrets and I recommend with these loose bodice dresses which are all over right now. 

Construction:


This was a very easy construction and one beginners could succeed at. I had no issues with the directions and pattern either. All was clear. The closure is simple. All of my seams are stitched together,  serge finished  and pressed open. The directions have you turn them under in the area of the back slit. With serged edges there was no need for that so I just pressed them open. 

I loved the little loop for the button, vintage, which I made from a bias  tube and my fast turn tube set. 


There is so much conflict in the sewing world over bias binding versus facings. There is a lot of  HATE for facings. Personally, I make the judgement on each individual garment and have no quarrel with either. Here, I followed the pattern and did the facing.  Sorry, sewists, but it is hard to complain about a well installed facing. Done right, it stays put and you don't know it's there. Now I had my issues at one  time but with the wisdom of Nancy Zieman pushing me on I think I've mastered this one. If you would like to master your facings evermore, click here for Nancy's method; Here



I didn't want to overload this dress with topstitching. I didn't want it to look like jeans remade so I kept the TSing down to just the pockets and hem. I love my topstitching.  I only say it that way because I am not sure that every one is aware that the heinous "stretch stitch" that jumps over itself three times and should never ever be used on a knit (per experts Linda Lee and Nancy Zieman both) makes the most wonderful, thick topstitching that you can see here on the pockets. This is at a 3.0 length. Use if for TSing, NOT KNITS!


I also veered a bit from the patterns style wise with the sleeves. I sewed in the required hem but folded it up about an inch. I had machine stitched the hem in but then hand tacked the cuff in so it wouldn't turn down, turquoise arrow.  The red arrow points to the small dart which is not in the right spot as I am lifting up the skirt in this cropped pic. The original sleeve hem was not at the best length for me. The pattern also comes 3/4 length which is what I will do if I make another. 


In Conclusion: 

    Find your bandanas. Get out your patterns and make yourself some house dresses! I hope to make more, Let's make Lucy and Ethel proud!!!! ........................Bunny

19 comments:

  1. Hi Bunny, your dress looks great and so comfortable. I, personally, prefer facings to bias bindings. I like the extra structure around the neck edge plus I think it gives a neater finish. I really enjoy your blog & all the tips. Jan

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    Replies
    1. Like Jan, I am happy with the outcome when I take the time to install a facing rather than bias binding. Yes, I grumble while sewing it, LOL, but the garment hangs so much better and the neckline stays looking nice. Liz in Houston

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  2. What a cute, comfy dress! I'm planning on 6 house dresses for myself this summer, as I wear sleeveless for all but deep winter, & even have a few winter dresses planned. Thanks to Helen's Closet, I finally have a dress (top) that fits me well, & I can make them all look different.
    Hooray for cute housedresses!

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    Replies
    1. That's great to hear, Laurinda, and an awesome project. I've been looking at other patterns and will check out Helen's Closet. Thanks for the heads up.

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    2. Lurinda, I checked out Helen's Closet and have added to my blog feed. Which pattern did you use?
      Don't you love how La Sewista shares a positive and inspiring vibe?
      Liz in Houston

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  3. Your sewing is perfection. Whether the project is simple or complicated your projects show your skills. I would have made this up quickly but having read your blog I see how I can make it better. Now I am going to go review Nancy's instructions on facings (miss her). Thank you again for your blog. Jean

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    Replies
    1. You are welcome. The facing/understitching info can be found if you scroll down toward the bottom of the page. It's a long post. I really think this is a super pattern anyone can do well. I will tell you I don't race through any sewing any more, no more "whipping it out" for me. Slow sewing is so much more enjoyable.

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  4. I love your open/honest posts! Your house dress points are relatable, but especially this one for me: Should never give off a slovenly vibe and be able to get you from home to public view nicely.
    Thanks for mentioning the amount you removed from the skirt back and front.
    Liz in Houston

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  5. This is timely and very much appreciated! Now that it's looking like working from home is going to be permanent for me, I've been trying to figure out what I wat my work wardrobe to be. This looks like a great option!

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    Replies
    1. I think it is. I put a nice statement necklace with it and of course, no bandana, and it looked quite "work-able" for zoom and office.

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  6. I have followed your blog by email for some time…I so appreciated this post! I like that style dress but have stayed away from them because of the “larger than a b cup” issue. You gave me so mny reasons to give these comfy dresses a try! Thanks so much!
    I love your make …and the bandana does bring back memories of my mom!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks. Try pinching in a couple of small darts. It might do the trick for you.

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  7. Wonderful! I did think of Lucy when I saw the bandana. I am wearing my version of a house dress today, but mine is rayon knit which I like in the summer, and I never, never use the so called stretch stitches for knits.

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    Replies
    1. Who on earth decided that stitch was a good thing for that?

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  8. You look adorable in your house dress! Living in a hot climate (Austin, TX) I find wearing my house dresses a substantial part of my summer wardrobe. I sew them up in printed rayon challis as I find them quite cool and fun to wear at home, in my yard, or a quite errand. I don't use facings and feel bias binding works best with my fabric choice. Keep blogging as I so enjoy them. Karen

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rayon challis would be very cool and comfy. Great choice.

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  9. I presume you are referring to triple straight stitch, which I use on knits, which made me wonder why it is a no-no. I made a merino-poly bonded knit hoodie recently and the triple stitch helped control the thick SA. I also love it for Tsing on the back shoulder seam to provide reinforcing for the seam. It allows it to stretch and looks good.

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    Replies
    1. The reason this stitch is not great for knits is #1, It puts way to much thread into the seam, #2 There are many other stitches that use less thread and stretch just as well, particularly the simple "wobble" stitch, a zigzag of 2.5 length and.5 width, #3, it is heinous, positively heinous to rip out. Once you have spent time with a seam ripper doing this you will swear not to do it again and find a better way of which there are many. Today most machines have numerous options for stitches that stretch but my fave is the simple wobble stitch which knit expert Linda Lee recommends as well as Zieman.

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