Today, we have a special guest post from Lauren T., a 29-year-old sewing enthusiast from Nashville who likes to craft, ride her bicycle, eat tomatoes and watch Back to the Future. Lauren is the creator of the blog Lladybird where she writes about her sewing projects and offers tutorials.
In this post, Lauren shows us how to sew a dress from pineapple print Zazzle fabric.
I shared a little sneak peek of this dress in my last post (which, by the way – if you haven’t browsed through the comments, you absolutely should! I LOVED reading everyone’s stories!), and I had quite a few comments and emails from people asking what the pattern was and where I got the fabric. I’m sorry that I had to hold out on y’all – photography was just NOT happening that day – but I’m happy to be able to share the whole shebang with you today! Hopefully you’ll think it was worth the wait 😉
Introducing – my first make for Summer 2015, the Be-Zazzle’d Pineapple dress 😀 I don’t ever name my makes (partially because that would be a LOT of names to come up with, and partially because, well, as you can clearly see – I’m not very good at naming things hahaha), but naming this one was just toooo easy. Sorry if it made you groan.
I guess we should talk about the fabric first, because it’s slightly more of a focal point than the pattern (though I promise we will get to the pattern soon!). It’s hard to see from these far-out pictures, but my dress is covered in tiny pineapples! Cartoon-y pineapples, to be exact, since we all know those are the cutest pineapples. And, unlike cherries, I actually really really really love pineapples. I have been known to eat an entire pineapple in one sitting, and I have no regrets. Well, maybe my mouth does, but it has learned to deal.
Here’s a close-up of the fabric. Isn’t it so awesome? It’s definitely a cutesy little novelty print, but it’s not quite so in-your-face as some of the novelty prints you find on quilting cottons. It’s a little more subtle (well, as subtle as you can get with cartoon-y pineapples on a watercolor turquoise blue background), and it’s just pretty. I love it so much!
The fabric is called “Tropical Summertime Watercolor Pineapple,” and it is from Zazzle. Did you know that Zazzle prints custom, on-demand fabric? Neither did I! This is a new venture that they’ve recently rolled out, and they offered me a few yards to try out and see if I liked it. Um, you guys. IT IS AMAZING. Granted, most of the fabrics offered are Home Decor weight, but they do have a classic combed cotton (similar to quilting cotton) and a Pima cotton, which are both suitable for apparel. I decided to go with the Pima cotton, and I chose an existing design. You can absolutely design your own print – I just didn’t want to go that route personally because I don’t really have a good eye for things like fabric design! I’d rather let someone else handle that part and let me make the dress 😉
Pima cotton is very easy to work with – it’s similar to quilting cotton, just lighter (but not quite as light as, say, voile). It doesn’t fray much and it cuts and sews like a dream. It doesn’t press quite as well as some other cottons – I just used my clapper to hold the seams down while they cooled, and that worked fine (your hand also works in place of a clapper, but don’t burn yourself! Ask me how I know.) The only minor downside is that, since the fabric is printed, the design only shows on one side – so the wrong side is white. This isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker, but it’s certainly something to be aware of when choosing a pattern. You don’t want to use one that will show the wrong side of the fabric, unless that’s part of your ~ design inspiration.
I pre-washed my fabric before sewing it, and I definitely got a little bit of color fading. Not as much as you’d think – the colors of the fabric upon arrival weren’t quite as neon as they are in that product photo! – but they are a little muted. I actually like them better this way, so I’m ok with that! I washed the fabric on cold and dried it on low, same as I pre-treat all of my fabric. Going forward, I plan on washing this as infrequently as I can get away with (I mean, short of stinking up a 5 foot radius around me or anything like that) and when I do wash it, I will turn it inside-out and hang it to dry on the line. I imagine if this was hand-washed and hung to dry, it would probably retain it’s colors a bit better, but I’m a woman who ain’t got time to hand-wash her clothes (and, tbh, I only line-dry because then it means I don’t have to iron hahahahahaha), so I can live with a little fading.
In the future, I am going to re-draw the curve at the bottom of the back cut out, because it’s not quite in the right place.
I also did not actually sew button holes to the back – I just lapped those two pieces over each other and sewed them down. The buttons are there strictly for decoration. I had every intention of adding the buttons- there is interfacing there and everything – but I realized that the buttons would gape open, and also, they’re hard to close by myself because they’re in that weird spot in the middle of my back that I can hardly wash, let alone button. So this dress just slips right over my head. It’s a little bit of a wiggle, but it’s not too bad.
Oh, and I added pockets! The pattern doesn’t come with them, so I stole a pocket piece from another dress pattern in my stash.
There’s an invisible zipper at the center back of the skirt, which helps with getting everything on. I actually had this zipper in my stash – it’s one of those metal invisible zippers which aren’t great (seems like a good idea, until you try sewing one and realize that it’s basically impossible for it to be concealed, which is the whole point of a concealed zipper. And now we all know why these zippers don’t exist anymore), but the zipper was the perfect color, so I took one for the team and made it happen. Also, check out my matching serger thread – also from the stash! I love it when that happens 😀
Here is the bias binding. There are two lines of stitching because I under-stitched the facing instead of pressing it with the first pass (here is my method for adding bias facing, if you missed that post!). Also, I cut a ton of the bias tape and only used a fraction of it, so expect more pineapple bias facing in future blog posts.
I don’t really have anything else to say about this pattern, so have another photo of the back:
OH YEA.I definitely love this dress and I definitely plan on making more – I don’t even care if the open back is super one of a kind and that it’ll be obvious that I have several of the same dress. Whatever!