I was determined to have a cute and comfortable dress for my birthday back in June. DD and I took a trip to Phoenix to eat our hearts out (what better way to celebrate 33?) and I needed something that would grow with me.
Enter the Seamwork Catarina dress! I knew the moment it was released that I wanted to make it. It looks so elegant, yet effortless.
Well, let me tell you… making this thing was NOT effortless. I had some zany issues with the waistband that were my own fault, but I’ll get to that later.
But at least she turned out pretty, right? If you kind of recognize the fabric, it’s the same rayon Gertie fabric I used to made my second Vogue 8815 blouse. I think I originally bought 4 yards of this fabric, knowing I wanted to use it a LOT. Between the two projects, though, I have no more left. I’m cool with that. It gives me more room to buy other rayon fabric!
I cut a size 6 on top, grading to an 8 from the waist down. I also added an inch in length to the top piece, which seems to be my normal pattern tweak, and I took out 7 inches from the length of the skirt at the lengthen/shorten line on the pattern. This is supposed to be a midi-length skirt, but it was just way too much fabric and it would have weighed me down.
I went rogue from the instructions and lined the skirt. I basically cut out the same skirt shape in black rayon bemberg lining fabric, basted the lining and skirt together at the waist seam, and used them as one piece during construction. I want to get as much use out of this dress as possible, so I’m thinking of wearing it in the winter with tights and my Deer and Doe Ondee Sweater. The lining will help the skirt from sticking to my tights which can be really annoying.
I omitted the bra rings and sliders for the straps since I could not for the life of me find 1/2 inch rings and sliders. All I could find were 3/8 inch wherever I shopped. Granted, I didn’t look that hard and didn’t feel the need to go on a long quest to find them. It did take me a while to figure out how long to make my straps and I had to baste and rip a lot to get it just right. I still think they could be shortened a smidge but, meh. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
Let’s talk about the waistband. You basically gather the skirt, sew the elastic onto it, and attach it all to the bodice. I usually don’t have a problem with this, but I had the darnedest time!
First, the elastic seemed to stretch out too much when I sewed it onto the skirt. I didn’t use clear elastic like the pattern suggests, but instead used some 3/8 inch knit elastic from my stash. I’ve done this before with my Monetas with no problem, so I was stumped as to why it was getting all wonky. After ripping the elastic out, shortening it, sewing, then ripping out again, I turned to the internet for help. I found a helpful tidbit that recommended steaming the heck out of the elastic after you sew it, and it should shrink back to normal. I tried it and it seemed to work, so yay!
I thought I had defeated the monster, but when I went to finish the edges and really get that elastic on there well, my serger was freaking out. There were tons of skipped stitches and my right needle kept unthreading. I turned to social media for help and lovely Ms. Jamie from Mac’s Crafts suggested rethreading the serger. I did AND I changed my needles for extra measure and it finally worked! HALLELUJAH!
Then I went back and re-zig-zagged the elastic to make sure that thing wasn’t going anywhere. Take that, stupid waistband!
The Catarina also has you make a long, skinny tie belt for the waistband with the same fabric, which I did make, but it didn’t look right. I think it is because the fabric pattern is so busy. I substituted the tie waistband with a belt and I think it helps break up the pattern a little. I also omitted the thread belt loops because by the end of it, I was sick of dealing with this dress and just wanted to relax and celebrate my birthday!
Needless to say, my birthday was good as always. I didn’t take a picture at dinner, but here’s what I had for lunch…
Now you see why I wanted a non-restricting dress! DD and I definitely had a food hangover the next day so I consider it all a success.
And with success comes happy twirly photos!
I have some other plans with the Catarina pattern, so stay tuned!
And do tell – have you made something special for yourself for your birthday? How did it turn out?