When one of my favorite blogs, House on Hill Road, posted a picture of the adorable Sunny Day Dress and wanted to know if we wanted a tutorial, the answer was a resounding yes! I wanted to learn the technique for something for me, but then it dawned on me that I have two adorable nieces whom I have never made a thing for, and this would be perfect. Bad Crafty Aunt! So I ran to the fabric store and hoped to find time to try out the Sunny Day Dress tutorial.
First let me say that I’m a beginning sewer at best. I’ve been sewing for about 15 years, but never anything very complicated. I’m not a perfectionist about the art either — good enough was always, well, good enough!
I’ve been trying to do better lately; to make quality things that might actually last. So the best thing this tutorial taught me? Ironing makes all the difference in the world. I’m sure many of you are chuckling right now, but seriously. I always knew you were supposed to iron, I just never did. I have officially moved my (previously rarely used) iron to my craft room because it is now my new best friend. I also officially need some real fabric scissors and those pinking shears.
Now, onto the tutorial itself! I loved how well everything was laid out. I had no problems getting myself organized. I chose to do an 80cm size (which is not specified), because I know my nieces are only just barely into size 80 clothes. I deduced what size to cut out the fabric by the differences between higher sizes. Unfortunately for me, my nieces live on an entirely different continent (I’m in the US, they’re in the UK), so I didn’t have any measurements to go by.
Everything was going smoothly until it came time to wind the elastic thread on the bobbin. This is tricky. In retrospect, I think I pulled mine too tight. In the end I had such a hard time getting it on there at all, I eventually didn’t care that it wasn’t spaced evenly or was too tight or too loose. It was on there! Next! (For what it’s worth, one spool on my Bernina did the one dress.)
My first real problem came on the 7th slide — sewing up the side seams. I didn’t know which side was the side seam. Should the tube be taller than wide, or wider than tall? Because the wider than tall scenario doesn’t look like it could possibly become a dress, even though the slide before that does call them wide and tall correctly. My brain didn’t want to believe it. I did it the incorrect way the first time, decided that couldn’t possibly be right, and sent an email to the author. Fortunately she was very nice and answered my questions pronto! Wider than tall it is.
Next problem came on slide 009. Pinking shears.. don’t have any of those. Zig zag I could do.. but I couldn’t fathom how to do it once the side seams were sewn. So on version two, I zigzagged around both dress pieces before doing the side seams. This worked a charm!
Everything else was incredibly straight forward, with excellent pictures. The one thing I learned about working with elastic thread is that if it is wound in your bobbin too tightly, pulling it out even more than 2 or 3 inches before you cut is an excellent idea. I had to go fishing a few times to get all of the elastic where it needed to be upon finishing.
I also had some problems distributing the gathers around the tube, but that’s not a problem with the tutorial. It’s a problem for me because I don’t have anyone to try it out on! I feel like they might be too tight, but then it does stretch. I really don’t know. I have a son so I’ve never even felt these types of dresses before. I have no idea what I’m aiming for! In any case my shirring does resemble the pictures in the tutorial, so I can only hope it will be okay.
On page 025, I ended up sewing down the ends three times because I was not consistent about where I stopped and started each new line of shirring. Good thing my nieces are twins and I get to try it all over again so the next one will be even better 🙂
One last note: I think the ties are too wide for this size dress, so I’m going to redo those. Otherwise, I’m very pleased! This dress is adorable, it stretches nicely, and I hope it will fit! I learned a lot, and was very pleased with this tutorial.