Black Fielder dress is successful palate cleanser

Merchant and Mills Fielder Dress in black viscose

After sewing lots of bright colours lately, I felt the need for a colour palate cleanser, hence this dress and I’m pretty pleased with it.
It’s the Fielder Dress from Merchant and Mills. It was a bit of an adventure, mostly self-inflicted! I found the shoulder darts tricky and it didn’t help that I didn’t have seam tape as instructed. I used some narrow twill tape I had and it was really too thick. They’re the kind of darts that start off with raw edges and end up on the fold. However, they do give a beautiful shape to the shoulders.
https://merchantandmills.com/store/patterns/paper/the-fielder/
I wanted the neckline to be the height of the crew neck which is a different pattern piece, so I traced it and added on the neck height to the bodice front and back and the sleeves. This is probably why I ended up with surplus little triangular bits around the neckline. I just trimmed them off using my French curve and it was no problem.

I lengthened the sleeves a couple of inches and added a few inches to the length. Otherwise I cut a straight 22 which is a bit bigger than the pattern size chart, but I’m glad I did. I think it’s just big enough.


For the neckband and cuff I used some stretch ponte I had left over from another project. This is a different stretch to a rib knit as advised in the pattern, so I judged the length myself. This Threads video is where I learnt how to do this.
https://www.threadsmagazine.com/2008/10/27/video-a-neckline-binding-for-knits
Just to make life interesting when I sewed up the sleeve and down the sides I didn’t notice I had moved the needle over giving me a bigger seam allowance. I decided to do the second side the same to even things up. However, the dress was then slightly too small, so I had to rip them both and do again. At least I hadn’t done the overlocking to finish the seams.
When I was trying it on, I could see that the pockets were much too low for me and when I sat down they gaped horribly. I used a viscose twill for this dress and decided that pockets were not going to work, so when re-doing the side seams I took them out.
I got a new Pfaff sewing machine for my birthday in April and the longer I have it, the more it amazes me. I decided to try the invisible hem foot and stitch that comes with the machine. It worked first time! I never succeeded in doing this on my old machine. Or maybe it’s just I have more experience now.

Surprised and delighted at how well the invisible hem done on my machine turned out.

I like the finished look of the drapey viscose twill but I don’t think I’d make the dress in this again as it was very shifty on those slightly complex darts. A more stable fabric would be much easier. This is a lovely quality viscose though, which I got it from Ann Marie at http://www.craftystudio.ie

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