So I think I may have mentioned that the first maxi dress (blue) and the second one (green) were both trial runs for the "real" one I wanted to make. Before I get on to the good stuff, let me show you Sunday's fail:
This is the experiment I did with the kelly green interlock knit, attaching the neck and sleeve binding in the same way they're applied in the Renfrew top*, using my serger. You can see that didn't work - I ended up with a wavy mess.
I've come to a couple of conclusions: 1) interlock is a pain to work with and 2) it's just way too heavy for a maxi dress anyway - or any summer dress I think.
For the "real" dress, I had a nice, drapey rayon jersey print in my new favorite color, coral:
Isn't that pretty? It came in my big knit order from Fabric.com. I looked yesterday to see if there was more, but no such luck. I really love this medallion print. Unfortunately, it wasn't printed in line with the grain of the fabric. I was able to get the front almost straight, but the back is slanted, and I'm OK with that.
I was worried that this fabric was going to be too thin, but as has been my experience with knits so far, it plumped up after a run through the washer and dryer**. It is quite drapey and stretchy, which made laying it out to cut very tedious and time-consuming, especially once I figured out the print wasn't straight. I probably spent an hour just on that step.
I also spent a lot of time doing samples of different stitches and binding applications, but no matter what I did, I just couldn't get the topstitching to work for me. So I hand-stitched it to the reverse like I did the first time - for this dress, the finished product was more important to me than trying out new techniques.
I will say that for my samples, I did cut armhole-shaped pieces of scrap to apply my fake bindings to. I've started to think that part of my difficulty is that is some sections, you're sewing vertical grain to horizontal grain. Even in hand-knits, this can be a challenge.
Also, this time I finished the side of the binding that was going to be turned to the inside with my serger, and that made the hand-stitching a lot easier: the overlock stitch worked as a stabilizer and sort of "gathered" the fabric into a curve. I did all seams on the serger as well.
I'm pretty happy with this dress, although it's a lot more body-conscious (and therefore revealing) than the first one because of the nature of the fabric. But this thinner jersey gives a much better result. I will admit that I'll be wearing a slip under it to smooth things out.
I don't have time for a photo-shoot today because I've got appointments throughout the afternoon with different contractors. But I was excited to share this version of the Mission Maxi. Frankly, now that I've finished this one, I'm not sure I'll be wearing the blue one! (And there's no way I'll be wearing the green one! Well, maybe for lounging around the house - it is pretty comfy.)
I have a little too much on my plate at the moment, but once things settle down a bit, I'm planning on compiling all the fantastic tips you guys left me in the comments and trying them out. Thanks again to all of you!
* I measured the neckline and armscyes, then took off 1/2" from the armhole bindings and 1" from the neck, sewed them closed and then folded them in half and sewed the raw edges to the armhole and neck edges.
** Conversely, the interlocks seemed just about right before I washed them, but then got too puffy!