A year or so ago, a pineapple craze swept the Instagram sewing community. The tag, #pineapplesaresohotrightnow, accompanied creations made in a pineapple print fabric. Being typically late to the party,* I have only just made a similar pineapple print dress.
The pattern is Butterick 6528, an 80s pattern that I scored in a closing down sale of an op shop – I bought boxes of patterns for a few dollars. It has cut-on sleeves and a drop waist, with a straight gathered skirt. As the pattern only went up to size 12, I graded up to a size 16 + 5mm at waist. This was a relatively easy process, as the side seams and shoulder height changed at a fixed rate for each size. I omitted the neck button closure at the shoulder, because who wants to add buttons to a pull on dress?
The only problems I encountered were in the sewing process. This fabric is a linen/cotton blend from Spotlight, one I have worked with before with ease. I know it is loosely woven with a fair amount of stretch – enough for me to suspect some spandex content, especially as it doesn’t wrinkle in the wash! What I didn’t realise was I sewed this fabric successfully on my old Bernina, which is out for repairs, leaving me with my new, temperamental Janome.
Despite being a solid sewing machine in some areas (sewing bulk, denim, making buttonholes etc), the lack of foot pressure on my Janome DC2101 really lets the machine down. It makes sewing any vaguely tricky fabric – loosely woven, stretch, rayon, silks – a nightmare, as the foot lacks the pressure required to keep the fabric in check. I literally cried the first time I sewed satin on the Bernina, because it just sewed it, and I had spent hours in an epic struggle with my Janome, trying to achieve a single straight seam.
I didn’t realise it would struggle with this particular fabric until I sewed the waist seam, and it stretched out several inches – enough to make the waist seam droopy and ripply, even to the untrained eye. The drop waist also hit right on my bellybutton, which was an uncomfortable sensation, so with the help of the dulcet voice of Christopher Lawrence, I unpicked everything, lopped 6.5cm off the bodice length, and reattached the skirt.
The result is, I believe, much more flattering than the original drop-waist, and (mostly) ripple free. This is because I locked nearly every seam down with lightweight fusible interfacing to ensure it wouldn’t stretch out, and employed my walking foot. I also topstitched the shoulder and waist seams to further strengthen them.
Sewing issues aside, I like this dress a lot more than I expected to, and am pleased I’ve found a pattern I can use to dupe my favourite Gorman dresses. What shortcomings have you found with your sewing machine?
Pattern: Butterick 6528
Pattern details: Vintage drop waist dress pattern, in cuff and cuff-less variations.
Fabric: 2.5m x 133cm printed linen cotton pineapple in blue from Spotlight.
Other materials: Tessuti lightweight interfacing, bias tape.
Mods: Graded up from size 12 to 16.
– 3/4″ forward head adjustment (more than usual as the armholes were even height)
– drafted own facings and topstitched
– omitted neck button opening
– took about 6.5cm from bodice length
– cut skirt 56cm long due to fabric limitations, hemmed with bias facing
*I blame living in the country. We get trends 2 years after everyone else.