Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Wiksten Shift Dress
with my Doc Marten shoes!
I have been following #wikstenshift on IG for a long time now and finally decided to buy the pattern and make the dress!  Last summer I bought 6 yards of Essex Linen to make a couple of Farrow dresses.  I like that pattern a lot, but the Essex is a bit too heavy, maybe not for the pattern, but for Central Texas.  The Farrow dress has a double layer of fabric on the front skirt to make the pockets.  It is an amazing and intriguing design, but once again, Texas.  Too hot! I probably need to find a source of linen that isn't quite as heavy as the Essex. On to the Wiksten Shift Dress!

Back in my studio, it was time to get busy! It feels weird putting in this much effort to make a garment without knowing if it will fit or if I will like it.  After thinking for a while, I opted to make a few alterations. It was tempting to put some bright yellow or bright pink for the pockets on my simple grey dress.  However, I decided to keep it simple. First up, cutting out the pieces:
I have long arms. So, I decided to pin the pattern to the shoulder seam of a dress I love, and check the pocket placement.  It was a bit too high, so I plan to lower it, not by a lot, but 1/2" will be perfect!
I also read the pattern before starting, which is pretty standard for me.  The finishing instructions for the pocket are pretty standard, but I wanted to try a lined pocket, using the same fabric that I would be using on the neck facing, a light grey dot print.

I cut out 2 pockets, and 2 pocket linings.  Because of the change, the process for sewing makes the pocket pattern a bit too big, so I altered it slightly.  With right sides together, I stitched along 3 sides, trimmed the corners, and then turned inside out.  After pressing, I zigzagged the bottom edge, and put two rows of topstitching along the top of the pocket.  Then I placed the pocket with the solid grey sides together sort of upside down on the placement dots:
I will stitch 1/2" from the bottom edge of the lined pocket (where the yellow, green, and blue pins are), and then flip the pockets up and pin in place.  
Next is to topstitch around the sides and the bottom edges. I wanted to be careful with the topstitching along the bottom edge because I didn't want the bottom seam to stick out and show.  So, as I approached each bottom corner, I used some forceps to sort of tuck it in and then proceeded to stitch slowly. It worked!

Once the pockets are complete, you proceed with sewing the rest of the dress.  I am going to add just a few more notes where I deviated from the pattern.

Neck facing:
I hate finishing the edge of a neck facing, especially when it says to turn under 1/4".  That is hard to do on a curve and have it look good.  For this dress it will be more important because that edge will be stitched to the dress front and the line of stitching will show, so the curve needs to be done well.  I opted to use a technique for appliqueing circles.  It requires hand stitching with small stitches a scant 1/4", then use a plastic ring, pull the threads to gather in the excess fabric on the folds, use some starch (applied with a cotton swab), and the iron.  It makes a beautiful edge!  Only, I didn't have a template for the shape of the facing.  I opted to just cut some freezer paper from the facing pattern piece, iron it to the back side of the fabric.  I used the hand stitching, the starch and the iron, and it is a really nice smooth curve!  Sweeeeeeeet!
Then I can peel off the freezer paper and use it again, if I make this dress again.  And I am thinking I might because I really love the pattern. I also like to finish the facing early on, so that it will be ready when I need it. 

I also like this photo of the process because it looks so scary! I call it the ring of a million stabby pins. 

Last step, the hem.  I was worried because this is called a short dress in the pattern, that it would be too short.  So, I did the hem slightly differently to allow the dress to be 1 1/4" longer.  I shouldn't have worried though, it would have been the perfect length for me just following the original instructions.  Next time I will know! (Also, in case I forget, I put a pencil note on the pattern!)
I wore my new dress all day, and it lived up to my unreasonably high expectations! The pockets are roomy! And, they do not sag or gap, perfect! I like the fit! It is roomy and a bit loose which makes it easy to move.  My fierce warrior stance: (ha ha!)

Well, that's it for my month of catching up on sewing chores.  Next week I will return to posting about the quilts I am working on.  I am not sure all these projects have been fun, but they have definitely been useful and worthwhile. I am glad to have them completed, vs. sitting in a pile! Cheers!

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