The Stasia Dress, 2nd attempt

Well hello there, I bet you were starting to winder if all I was ever going to talk about again was my own mental health?Well, not that I'm not allowed to talk about whatever I want on my own platform, but I am finally back with another sewing review.

So, so, so, sew... I had previously made a toile of the Stasia Dress by Sew Liberated (I love love love their patterns!). I made it out of what I thought was stretchy enough fabric, but it turns out that rayon double gauze is definitely NOT the right fabric to make this dress out of. It turned out great on the first day. And then I let it hang on my dress form, and it started to grow, and stretch, and stretch. How freaking much was this thing going to stretch? It ended up about 4 inches longer and wider than I had originally made it. It grew and stretched to the point where it was falling off of my dress form anytime there was a breeze in the room. I was so unhappy and frustrated with the stupid thing. I ended up finally taking it off the form because all it was doing was reminding me of what a terrible sewist I am (although that is emphatically not true, I am just a beginner, and all beginners make mistakes.) So I threw the lie away and moved on to other challenging, creative pursuits.

A couple weeks ago I decided I was going to take a very rare day off for myself (kids went to daycare for a day so I could have a mental health day). I knew exactly how I was going to spend my day, too. What I wanted to do, and actually ended up doing, was to spend the day cutting out some projects that I want to sew in the near future. I cut out three more camisado camis by Rad patterns, I cut out the Stasia dress in the proper (good) fabric, and then I also cut out a linen shift and a bedgown, using patterns from Burnley and Trowbridge.

As I have mentioned in my last few posts, I have been dealing with an ADHD diagnosis and trying to figure out medication for myself and help my daughter manage her (also newly diagnosed) ADHD. So I haven't been sewing much, but I did manage to sew up my Stasia Dress in just 2 days. Here are my thoughts as I remember them (why didn't I take notes?).

The finished dress is very comfortable, the pattern is very well written and the drafting made sense. I ended up making the shorter dress with the 3/4 length sleeves. I made a straight size 8 with no adjustments to the pattern on the first go-around (even though my waist and hips measured larger than a size 8). When it came to hemming the pattern, I did deviate slightly. I used 1/4" steam a seam on the hem, stuck it on, ironed it into place and then gave the hem its first turn, before even sewing the skirt pieces onto anything. This stabilized the hem, and gave me a nice flat edge to finish hemming once my skirt panels were attached to the bodice. Oh, the other slight modification that I initially made was to cut my skirt panels on the fold since I had roughly 5 yards of the fabric. I didn't want the extra seam down the middle front and back skirt pieces.

Everything went together very nicely on my new Juki HZL-F300 sewing machine. I used a zigzag stitch to piece everything together, and then used a straight stitch with a little bit of tension on it between the zigzag and the cut edge of the fabric. For my pockets, I went with a quilting cotton instead of the jersey cotton.

Once the dress was on and I had worn it around for a day, and then let it hang in my closet for a couple more days, I made a couple adjustments both to the finished garment, and to the pattern pieces for future dresses.

First modification: I stitched closed the top 3 inches of the pocket. I really didn't care for how gigantic the pocket opening on the dress are, and felt like they could be a little smaller. So I measured down 3 inches from where the skirt meets the bodice, morked with d ouble pins, and then pinned the rest of the gap closed and stitched it shut. Then I modified the pocket pattern piece so future dresses have smaller pockets. Wait, did I really just say my pocket was too big? Wow.

My second/third adjustment was for my shoulders. Apparently I need a forward shoulder adjustment. There was nothing I could do about this in the finished garment, as the fabric is already cut, but I did take the top inch off the bodice pattern piece and add an inch to the top of back bodice piece. I knew I need to move the shoulder seam by 1 inch because I measured where the shoulder seam on the finished garment sat on my shoulder in relation to my little knobby shoulder bone that we use as a marker. I also wanted the fabric at my shoulder to be a little bit wider so it covers my bra straps, so I added a 1/2 inch to the inside shoulders of both bodice pieces and just tapered them down into the neckline.

The fourth adjustment I made only to my right sleeve, so I did not make any changes to the pattern, although if I was smarter I would make a second sleeve pattern piece and label them for my right and left shoulders. My right shoulder slopes quite a bit compared to my left shoulder, so I had a lot of excess fabric the the top of the sleeve cap, causing a wrinkly bulge. What I did here was put the dress on, pin the top of the sleeve where the excess farbic started and stopped, and then carefully removed the dress without dislodging the pins. Then I used my seam ripper to pick that section of stitching apart, trim off about 1/4 of an inch, and then reassemble the sleeve. I only basted it in place because I wanted to make sure I had removed the right amount of fabric. I didn't. I had to pick the basting apart an remove another 1/4 inch, and then tried the dress on again. At this point I kind of called it good enough, because I realized that as long as the shoulder seam was in the wrong spot it was never going to be 100% perfect. and I finished stitching the seam back together.

My fifth and final adjustment was only to the pattern pieces, again. I wanted a deeper point on the center bottom of the bodice piece. I really like how this looks on my dress, but I want it to be more dramatic in future garments. So I added some depth there, and then removed an equal amount from the matching skirt piece so that I don't get weird little fabric bubbles when I sew those pieces together.

I am happy with my first iteration of the Stasia Dress by Sew Liberated. I am happy with the adjustments that I made, and I am looking forward to making more of the dresses. The next one will be the same style as the first, but out of a linen jersey in a grass green color. And then for winter, I really want to make a tea length, long sleeved version out of this amazing wool knit fabric that has a navy blue background with dove grey pinstripes that I bought just for this dress.

For now though, I have a linen shift, a bedgown, and 3 camisoles that need to be made, and then the girls are waiting for their woolen capes and Halloween costumes. Stay tuned.

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