I haven't forgotten about posting my thoughts about the Coffin shirtmaking method, I've just been interrupted by a spurt of sewing mojo. Taking full advantage, I made up this Kwik Sew pattern with some silk jersey from Fashionista Fabrics that has been chilling in my stash for a few months. I almost finished it last night but the hem will have to wait until this weekend.
I was semi-inspired by this Milly dress, I thought the contrast bands would help the fabric look better against my pale complexion. Light blue tends to wash me out.
The trim is an espresso brown silk jersey from Stonemountain & Daughter, I purchased it locally so I could match the dark brown in the print. The pattern calls for a woven fabric, since I used a knit I cut an XS instead of a S, and eliminated the back zipper. It pulls on easily, even thought the armholes and neckband are quite fitted. The belt is topstitched to the gathered front in a rectangle, then hangs freely and ties in back. Because of this I didn't make any of my usual narrow small back/swayback adjustments.
The pattern calls for armhole facings, which I personally dislike. Instead I pulled out one of my Diane von Furstenberg dresses for inspiration, and copied a self-fabric narrow binding technique. I made 1/2" single fold bias from a crosswise piece of the silk jersey fabric, pinned it RS together along the armhole seamline while stretching the binding a bit, and sewed down the middle of the binding (in between the folds) along the armhole seamline. Then I pressed and understitched the binding, pressed again, trimmed the armhole SA to 1/4", and folded the binding to the inside and topstitched. This gives a nice narrow, stable finish, that hugs the body due to the stretching of the binding when attaching it to the armhole. I used my walking foot for all the construction.
Because of the modifications, I had to change the construction order quite a bit. I first sewed up the back and side seams, then attached the armhole binding. KS has you attach armhole facings before the side seams, which doesn't work with this method. The side seams need to be sewn before you bind them. I cut the back neckband on the fold instead of using a back seam since I wasn't including an opening. But this makes it impossible to finish the band using the instructions, you need that back seam for turning. Instead I sewed the necklines of the outside and inside neckband together, then painstakingly pressed under the seam allowances of both layers along the outside edge so they matched perfectly, and attached the whole unit, sandwiching the dress between the layers (front was gathered first), by edgestitching. This was very fiddly, I spent some time matching everything up so all the layers would be caught in the edgestitching. I believe the kwik sew instructions were easier to follow, they have you attach the dress to one of the bands first, then stitch the rest together. Prior to this you sew the exposed shoulders as a seam and then flip, which you can do with a back seam.
After the neckband is attached, all that's left is the belt and the hem. I've sewn a few belts from silk jersey now, and after trying a few methods what seems to work the best is spray adhesive, no pins, and a walking foot. Sewing long narrow strips of silk jersey together can be a mess if the machine is stretching out the fabric. The walking foot is a must, but I find using the spray adhesive is even better at eliminating slippage and gets rid of the need for pins. Attaching the belt to the gathered front of the dress was also proving tricky, until I took out my wonder tape and taped over the gathered stitching line. This serves 2 purposes: first it holds the gathers in place once you get them distributed, and second in holds the belt in place over the gathers while you edgestitch.
I just bought a stretch twin needle, I'll be pulling that out this weekend to finish up the hem. I also like to interface the hem on silk jersey with fusible tricot, It gives it a bit of weight and structure that looks very nice with a twin needle finish.
My only bone to pick with this pattern was the back pattern piece was labeled CUT ON FOLD in big red letters on it. In the instructions, pictures, and layout, it all looks to be single layer, and the piece has a shaped CB seam. There's no way it's supposed to be cut on the fold. Shame on you Kwik Sew, you are supposed to be known for your excellent drafting and instructions!