Finished projects

A Seamwork Mesa

Happy Friday, y’all! I am enjoying a day off of work by hanging out with the chickies and kitties, then going to get my hair done. This is the day I’ll be going platinum, I think! I guess it all depends how my hair takes the bleach and toner, but I just want it to be less yellow. We’ll see what happens!

As you may have noticed, I’ve been busting out nonstop Colette Monetas lately. I decided to branch out a bit and try another Colette knit pattern, the Mesa shift dress! This was one of the patterns released in their June edition of Seamwork, a new-ish online sewing magazine. The other clothing pattern released in June was the Aurora tank, which I have cut out and ready to sew for tomorrow. ๐Ÿ™‚

IMG_5902My figure isn’t quite suited to shift dresses, but I really wanted to make this work! I love that it’s made for knit fabrics and I like the small split detail at the hem on the sides. My measurements now are roughly 34.5″, 30″, 40″, so I graded from a small on top to a medium at the waist to a large at the booty. There were some issues with the fit, but I’ll touch on that later. For now, let’s enjoy some more “fashion” shots!

IMG_5877This was my “I’m trying to look like a magazine model who DGAF.” I think I failed, but this was my only front view shot of the dress so you’ll have to deal with my mean-mugging and awkward posing.

The fabric came from my local SAS Fabrics mill-end store. It’s super stretchy and somewhat thin although not really breathable. I’m not sure what type of fabric it is, but I couldn’t resist that cool pattern! I think the fabric was about $2 or $3 per yard, so this is a nice, cheap dress!

IMG_5882It’s short but not too short. I don’t think I could pull this off as is at work, but once the weather cools down (so for Tucson, we’re talking the end of November) I’ll probably rock this with some faux leather leggings that are in my sewing queue. RAWK!

In case you’re wondering, the shoes are from and are actually super comfortable! I survived a 9-hour day at work in them this week and I had super minimal pain – and it was only in my right big toe because I guess I have big freak toes.

The lipstick is from my free Sephora birthday gift – a NARS mini lip crayon in the color “Cruella.” I’m liking it. ๐Ÿ™‚

IMG_5913I was getting desperate for new poses, so DD told me to lean against the wall. I really like this picture, so thanks, DD!

Now that I’m looking at these pictures, I notice the necklace I chose to style this dress with gets lost in the busyness of the fabric. C’est la vie.

OK now let’s get into my fitting issues. I should have called this the Mesa Dress of DOOM! since it gave me a couple of headaches, but it wasn’t bad enough for me to put the stink on it.

The main problem was the neckline got crazy droopy, even though I made the top part a small and I have football-player shoulders.

Sewing16It may have been my choice of fabric since it’s very drapey and got a little warped when I stitched it. But no amount of pressing made things better. Hmmmm what to do?

Sewing17I decided the best course of action was to pinch darts out in the front and back. I thought I could simply unpick the seams in the neck band, make the darts in the body pieces, sew the neck band smaller, then resew everything together. I thought this would be easy enough. I thought wrong. Between serging the neck band and body pieces together and top stitching with a lightning stitch, it would have been impossible to rip those seams out and still maintain my sanity.

So now what?

I played it lazy and sewed the darts while keeping the neck band attached. I then split the dart by carefully cutting it down the middle and hand stitched the darts open so the neckline wouldn’t bubble. Does that make sense? Here’s a close-up of the finished product on the inside of the garment:

IMG_5919I didn’t remember to make notes while I was doing this, but I think I made each dart 3/8″ deep at the top and graded 2″ down. As you can see, I made 2 darts on the front and 2 darts on the back because I thought one large dart down the middle would have looked wonky.

Thank GOD the fabric has a crazy busy print or else this would have looked horrible!

The only other fitting issue I had was that I had to take in the side seams around the waist by about 1″ each and grading out so I still had room for the booty. Since I have more of an hourglass/pear shape, the dress just pooled weird at my lower back and made me look bigger than I am. Taking the side seams in helped give it a closer fit and worked around my curves better.

This project could have gone so wrong so easily, but I conquered it!

My victory pose.
My victory pose.

I haven’t worn her out and about yet, but I know I definitely want to make another one day. I think I should probably start with an XS on top then grade from there, though. Ain’t nobody got time for making all those darts!


32 thoughts on “A Seamwork Mesa

  1. I still love your hair. So awesome! I love this dress–the fabric is. so cute, I want to pull it ut of the picture and steal it all for myself! Mwa ha ha! I mean, if it’s 3 dollars a yard, I’m sold. Lovely dress, Red! You pulled it off!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Abigail! You’re so sweet. ๐Ÿ™‚ My second bleaching came out pretty good – I’m a little more platinum now but my stylist said I’ll get the true platinum color with the third attempt. The things we go through for “beauty!”

      The fabric is a little different style than I usually am attracted to, but I’m digging it! I just bought more “ethnic” looking prints online, so it looks like there will more to come. Yeah, you can’t beat the prices at SAS! I love it when the cheap-o fabric makes turn out wearable! It makes me feel less guilty for splurging on other fabric. ๐Ÿ˜‰


  2. Looks great and I’m glad you overcame and conquered the neckline situation – thank goodness for busy prints as they can hide a multitude of sins! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Lovely length on you too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, thank you! Before I sewed, I never really went for prints. Now my closet is full of prints just for that reason – I feel like I can make all kinds of mistakes and it won’t be seen, LOL.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Don’t remember if I commented about this before but your hair looks great! And the poses. And the Cruella lipstick. And the dress too of course. Fun print, awesome that it hides little things but really the dart you added looks pretty neat. Yay for conquering projects and cheap dresses ๐Ÿ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The leaning against the wall pose is the cutest!!! You look like model!
    And I got that NARS lip crayon too!!!! It lasted so long for me! I layered mine over a red lip stain too so it was like not ever coming off haha. I need way more colors of it!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha i haven’t work the neutral one that much because I love a colored lip. Red isn’t my favorite because it’s kinda high maintained roads but the lip crayon one did smear or wear off like at all even when I ate! So I need a bright fuchsia one now and maybe a mauve one!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I have quite a few neutral lip colors in my stash but I’m thinking I need to start branching out into more colors. I get a little scared it will just end up all over my face or hands (I touch my face ALL DAY LONG cuz I’m a weirdo). But now I’m itching to go back to Sephora to see what other colors NARS has. ๐Ÿ˜€

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Haha totally me too!!! It is kinda more maintenance but only if it’s darker or super bright. Like red is always more work to keep nice but pinks and corals and peachy colors are pretty easy!


  5. What a fun print! It definitely hides all of the fitting headaches, and you did a great job making this pattern work for you. I’m always on the fence about shift dresses…they seem so stiff and movement restricting, but what a perfect solution to make one up in a knit fabric. Fun modeled shots too–it’s always a challenge to get a good face that balances the garment. Between my big cheesy Midwesterner grins and my more serious sideways looks, I’ve ended up liking more of the serious looks. Maybe it’s a conspiracy, and we’ve all been conditioned to only like pictures of super moody faces.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree- knit shift dresses seem to be the best idea. Thanks for the kind words about this project! I still have yet to wear it since it’s crazy hot now but I expect to get lots of wear out of this in the fall/winter. Maybe I’ll try a long-sleeved one if I’m feeling adventurous!

      Taking photos is difficult – especially when your face doesn’t want to cooperate. Maybe I should draw a face in crayon on a paper bag and put it over my head, LOL. That should fix the problem!


  6. I love that pattern of fabric! I’m in the process of trying to make a Mesa dress of my own, but my first muslin version was a disaster. The fabric was much too thin so it draped weird and you could see my underwear which just highlighted the things I hate about myself. Plus I screwed up the sleeves. The 2nd version is a heavier fabric and so far feels like it’s going together better… but I have yet to do the sleeves soooo there’s still a chance to screw it up!

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    1. Thanks! I think I would have had the same issues as your first Moneta (too lightweight, clingy…) but the busy print hides A LOT. I’ve actually been sewing tons of printed fabric just because it hides the mistakes better. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      I wonder what happened with your sleeves? Did you try sewing them in flat first? I find that helps LOADS with knits. I forgot what the instructions say to do…

      Anyhoo I hope your second version is a success and I want to seeeee! โค


      1. Well I haven’t done sleeves before – so far my clothing sewing has all been Wiksten tanks and a Sorbetto tank. I just kind of pinned the sleeve to the dress pieces and sewed it in, but my seam line ended up wavy. Everything lined up, mind you, but the wavy-ness looked funky. It *might* have fixed itself had I pressed it a bit but I was so frustrated with the thin fabric that I juts kind of threw it into a corner of the room, haha.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I find pressing and steaming the dickens out of things helps with some sad sewing outcomes. But yeah, that would be frustrating for sure! I was working on a t-shirt last night and only one side of my back piece was way longer than the front. No idea how that happened, but I tossed it aside and I’ll get back to it when I’m not so angry about it, LOL.


  7. This looks amazing on youโ€” and Iโ€™m super impressed with your persistence and creativity (hello, darts!). I tried to make this as one of my first garments and found it awfulโ€” the neckline, as you found, was huuuuuuge! I gave up and cut up the pieces to make a top. I was really disappointed in thr quality of the pattern drafting.


    1. Thank you! It’s one of my favorites and definitely gets a ton of wear. It’s strange because I made this dress in a more stable sweater knit and had no trouble with the neckline. I guess the fabric has a lot to do with it? It was such a pain figuring out those darts but I’m definitely glad I put the extra effort in!


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