I made myself another dress using McCall’s 8108. It says it takes 1 hour of sewing time, but with my adaptations, extras and incredibly lower-than-average sewing speed, it actually took me much, much longer. I finished off all the edges with an overlock stitch, made the entire pattern a size smaller, added a closure on the neckline in the back and learned a few things along the way. It was really nice to be able to finish a dress and wear it to church the next day. Sewing clothes is becoming more and more fun!
I learned how to sew darts and do a handpicked hem. Traditionally, I think a handpicked hem is meant for lightweight fabrics, but it worked just fine on this heavyweight cotton dobby (more on this fabric another time). I have an aversion to hemming things. When I made myself curtains a few years ago, I left the bottom unhemmed for so long that my mom finished them up for me when she visited (thanks, Mom!). But a handpicked hem is actually quite fun. I think I could actually start to like hemming!
Hand-Picked Hem (In the pictures below, I am using a swatch of fabric, not an actual skirt hem.)
First, you fold and press the raw edge toward the wrong side (1st fold).
Then you fold it over again and press (2nd fold).
Next, (and here’s the counter-intuitive part, at least for me) fold the whole hem toward the RIGHT side (3rd fold), making the edges of this fold flush with the first fold and pin into place, but do not press with iron.
Now all machines are different, but on my machine (Bernina 440QE) you use the blind hem foot (#5) and use the blindstitch (#7). Line up the edge with the midline guide and start stitching. The blindstich is 4 straight stitches on the right of the guide where the needle is falling through the air, not catching any fabric, and forming a chain of thread along the edges,
followed by a zig zag stitch. The zig zag catches the layers to the left of the guide and returns to right side for the 4 straitght stitches. Using my blind hem foot, the zig zag stitch goes over a metal pin, allowing more thread per zig zag so that there isn’t any pull on the fabric when it is flattened.
This is the result from the wrong side,
and the right side.
Pretty, isn’t it? With closely matched thread, it would almost be invisible.