One thought kept running through my mind while I was making Sewaholic Patterns’ Harwood dress:
This dress is going to be so good for summer.
It’s been so bitterly cold in Chicago lately that it’s hard to think that warm weather will ever arrive and it almost feels like planning a summer wardrobe is just wishful thinking. But Chicago weather is brutal – the winters are biting and the summers are humid and hot, and it changes almost overnight. So, I’m preparing now.
I’ve been wanting to make a shirt dress (or five) ever since I saw them everywhere in Colorado last fall. My wardrobe is drape city, but since I started sewing more I’ve been interested in bringing in more structured pieces. Harwood is a nice mix between the two – the bodice is flowing and loose, but it still looks like a proper shirt dress.
I had two yards of some rayon challis from Jo-Ann’s Wandering Spirit line (surprisingly good) Two yards is less than called for in the fabric suggestions, but I love my miniskirts so I knew I’d be shortening it. After making the muslin, I ended up taking a whole six inches off. I’m convinced that everyone else in the sewing world is a glorious Amazon, because whenever I make a pattern I always seem to end up taking a half foot off of the hem.
Since I only had two yards, I wasn’t sure if I’d have enough fabric for the interlining, even after taking off part of the skirt. My plan was to start sewing the exterior of the dress and just buy some black challis for the interlining if it came down to it. That didn’t end up being necessary, but I did forget to sew the interfacing until after the yoke and front facings were already stitched together. Since normally the edge of the interfacing would have been bound in the stitch finishes, the interfacing began to peel at the edges. Whoops! Totally my fault for not planning ahead.
But my new machine came with over a dozen embroidery stitches, so I decided to experiment with those as a way of keeping the interfacing from shifting:
As for fit, I pretty much followed this one by the book. Based on bust sizing, I sewed a size 10. Sewaholic’s patterns are designed for the pear shapes among us, of which I am not. Like most pattern companies, Sewaholic drafts for a B cup. Since the bodice is designed for a lot of ease, I wasn’t too worried about the fit, but if I made this again, I’d go down a size. It’s comfortable, but the bodice is just a bit too loose, and I was hoping for something with a slightly tighter fit.
It was an easy-to-follow and well-written pattern, with one exception: the instructions for making the elastic casing were a little unclear. My favorite method for casings (and the one I usually use) is from Fashion Incubator, and the first step is to sew the elastic ends together to prevent them from twisting. Since Harwood has an open front, the closed elastic loop was out. Elastic casings count among my least favorite sewing activities, and after sewing on the buttons, there was a small gap to where the casing joined. I wanted to install a hidden hook and eye that couldn’t be seen from the front of the dress.