This weekend just gone I cracked on with making the lovely (and not very different from a Swirl) apron dress from McCalls vintage pattern number 2440.

Pattern Pieces Teal and Atom

As I couldn’t find any teal fabric in my local shop I ordered online, along with some rather expensive, but very pretty, Michael Miller atomic fabric. It was all medium weight cotton and I matched it with my Gutermann Sew All swatch booklet I’d recently purchased online (something rather handy to have if you’re ordering fabric online because it saved me lugging it to the haberdashery, or cutting a swatch off and taking it with me) and popped into Leon’s to pick up some thread.

 Teal and Atom Gutermann Sew All Swatch Book

It didn’t take me too long to cut the material which was a good job really, as I pretty much took over the dining room, it being the only space in the house that has room enough to cut what turned out to be a rather large skirt piece.

I marked up all of the pattern pieces using a tracing wheel and carbon, which is the first time I’ve used that method. I have used tacks in the past but boy oh boy; was this so much easier, even if it did take an extra bit of time to ensure all pieces were marked up correctly, the time it saved me in the long run was priceless.

I got to sewing and finished the bodice on the Saturday. I have to admit using the new sewing machine is brilliant. I braced myself for the thickness of the fabric about to go through (seam plus binding on the sleeves) and for the needles to refuse the task ahead but it just did what it was meant to do, no fuss no bother. It does make me wonder at how much I used to struggle.

 Teal and Atom Bodice Front Teal and Atom Bodice Back

I confused myself quite a lot when it came to bias binding. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how it worked when you stitched close to the line BUT I did eventually understand. I should say at this point I am mildly dyspraxic and I am dyslexic so sometime instructions don’t work the best for me. I made one mistake of sewing the bias binding to the inside of the sleeve first and had to break out the seam ripper but it was a lesson learnt.

I found these bias binding tutorials to be pricelss though: thank you Colette Patterns and Fashion Sewing Blog!

At that point though I decided to stop sewing for the evening, as mistakes are usually a sign that I’m tried and should start fresh the next day, which I did.

On Sunday I gathered the skirt, pinned the pleats (again brain did not function too well and I only had that eureka moment when I was munching through a sunday roast) then I made and attached the waist stay and attached the skirt to the bodice. I then made a huge amount of bias binding to finish the dress off with and put the machine away until the next day.

Teal and Atom Dress Bias Binding

Monday night after a return from work, I added the binding and a press stud on the back of the dress (it seemed to be gaping somewhat and I may replace with a covered button in the future) then popped it into the washer and waited to see what came out…and guess what did? Only a blummin beauty of a dress!

New to me on this sewing project:

Bias Binding (making and attaching)
Waist Stay
Pleats

All of which I found okay. My bias binding could be better, I did stray from the line a little in certain places and I don’t think anyone would get close enough to tell but it does need improving, mind you by the end of the ridiculous amount of binding I added to this dress I was becoming quite a dab hand!

The finished dress:

McCalls 2440 Finished

The front

McCalls 2440 Finished

The back (the binding does go all the way round by the way but the wind caught the side that was wrapped over!)

So what do you think?

I am, personally, extremely happy with how it’s turned out, I thought it would be a lot trickier than it turned out to be.

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