“Sheet” Dress

Oops, I mean “shirt” dress. Made with a bedsheet.

In the interest of the Rs – Recycle, Reuse, Refashion and Repurpose, I’ve used a bedsheet for the first time to make a garment.  Hey purists and snobs, it’s okay, it’s a trial muslin but it is a “wearable” muslin.

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One fine day, the nether regions of my linen cupboard divulged this 100% cotton, Nate Berkus king size flat sheet. It was somehow saved from being discarded along with the rest of the set.  Considering that I was out of muslin and all old cheap muslin-worthy material, the sheet was found fabric. It’s old, but this flat sheet is tightly woven cotton, hasn’t faded and is wonderfully soft.  This is my first time using a bedsheet for anything other than dressing the bed. Well,I  once used an old sheet to protect outdoor garden faucets during a winter freeze.

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First task was locating the grainline of the sheet, which I did by undoing the hems just enough to expose the selvage. No need to unravel the hems on all four sides — it’s a king size, remember?  Once the selvage revealed itself, I knew the direction of pattern placement.

Second, I checked the fabric grain to see if the sheet was printed off grain, or stretched out by wear and tear, Tearing a strip revealed that the torn strip was perfectly straight and even – which told me that the sheet had perfect grain alignment.

Third, I lay down the pattern tissue and cut out my trial shirtdress.  Here it is in all it’s unfinished glory.  I did not attach the collar, the pockets and the front band as of this writing; you can see the gap running down the front which will be filled by the front bands with closures.

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This muslin was meant to adjust the pattern to my shape – which I did, and it worked out pretty well. After many years of sewing my own clothes, I know exactly what to adjust where; this comes with doing a lot of garment construction. So, all you new seamstresses, please sew a lot. Sew. A. Lot.  Or, you can follow the extensive fit guidelines printed with the instructions, courtesy of McCalls Pattern Company and Palmer/Pletsch.

A word about “muslins”: its okay to leave out details like topstitching, embellishment, pockets and all that; unless those things are integral to judge the fit and design of the garment.

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About the pattern, I chose this 2016 pattern, McCall’s 7470, View D, because of multiple seams which give me many opportunities for adjusting the fit.  Usually, sewists make a trial muslin straight from the pattern and then make the fit adjustments where necessary, translate the changes back to the paper pattern, all before cutting into the real fashion fabric – too many steps, unless it’s necessary. But, BUT, I made my own adjustments “blindly”, straight on the paper pattern. I made the trial dress as a confirmation, before I cut into the “good” fabric.  Palmer/Pletsch fitting instructions ask you to pin the pattern tissue together and wear it to judge the fit — and they are the fit experts so I will tend to believe them.

Starting from the top (sorry, no pictures of the following steps):

I cut the neck, shoulders and halfway down the armhole in size 16, gradually swung into 18 at the underarm point and up to the notch, then slowly but surely went over to 20 over the hips and all the way down.

In addition, the bust point was lowered by cutting across the provided line above the bust curve, and an inch was added to the side front and center front pattern tissue (yep, I’m that much lower than the pattern. What ya gonna do…).  However, by doing that I’ve added unwanted length to the front! To get rid of that length (but still keep the lowered bustline) I folded a tuck at the waist line on each vertical pattern tissue. Does that sound clear as mud?

Important step on the side front only:  I re-drew the curve of the bust point to look like the original shape!  But I snuck an additional ¼” at the bust point in the princess seam. To re-draw the curve, you can use a French curve ruler if you have one.

Such a dull post for those not into this kind of information…  is it a little more exciting by showing you why my wearable muslin sheet dress is unfinished?

Because I’m itching to do this….

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….. to knock off this.

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Excuse me while I go cut out the blue shirt.  Remember, sew a lot.

Samina

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