Are you ever paralysed by a fabric? You buy it with love in your eyes and can’t wait to sew the perfect garment with it… then can’t make up your mind about what to sew!! So it sits in your stash haunting you.
That’s what happened with this luscious Carmel twill from Patterns and Plains. It’s a soft drapey opaque twill with midcentury architecture print that came in black and cream. I bought 2m of the black because cream really doesn’t suit my complexion. It’s an easy choice for a day dress but still I couldn’t decide.
Flash forward and I’ve made a New Year Resolution to sew my loveliest fabrics! So I forced myself to think what kind of dress would get the most wear. Because I’m trying to lose some weight I settled on a drawstring waist so I could adjust to fit and still feel cute wearing it.
This is Butterick 6806 which has a lovely notch neckline, tiered skirt and curved hem option and nice chest patch pockets. I made a few small adjustments to view A: First the neckline was rounded off to lose the notch. Then the skirt hem was levelled off. I also cropped the sleeves to 3/4 length. And I used bias to finish the neckline instead of facings.
My last change was to the “drawstring”! So the naughty secret of B6806 is that it’s an elastic waist with a tie sewn to the front to give the illusion of a drawstring. I prefer a real drawstring as elastic wiggles and rides up. So I created a tie piece 2m long. Then sewed two very small square buttonholes either side of the centre front wide enough for my tie. I created the channel as per the instruction, with the buttonholes perfectly inside the channel stitching line. Easy peasy. Once threaded through, the dress cinches easily and looks cute!
I recently took up ballroom lessons with my husband and we like to dress up when we dance rather than wearing gym gear… so I’ll be wearing this dress to our next lesson! Now you’re picturing me doing quickstep right?
My 5 top tips for sewing lightweight twill like this are:
- Prewash! And don’t tumble dry. Twill is prone to shrinkage. Even after its first wash! Don’t let your garment end up too small because of this.
- Use very sharp pins and needle. I like microtex needles as they’re the best. Twill is prone to snagging because of it’s weave pattern and although I’ve shared a method for getting out snags, it’s better not to need it!
- This super drapey fluid fabric will benefit from a large cutting area to keep it flat and on grain, stay stitching on areas prone to stretching and even a good work table while sewing so your garment doesn’t hang off the edge and stretch out.
- If you’re inserting a zip, apply stay tape or a thin strip of fusible interfacing to the zipper area so it doesn’t stretch out of shape.
- Finish your edges! Twill is really prone to fraying, due to the weave pattern so I recommend using your overlocker on every raw edge. It’s a bit too thick for french seams sadly, but an overlocker will do the job perfectly.