The sewalong for the Calvin wrap top and dress starts next week and I wanted to do a quick post in preparation to go over fabric and notions so that you can be ready to sew come Monday.
One of the things that I love about the Calvin is that it really works great with those beginner friendly, easy to sew fabrics that we all love to use. The pattern does not require a lot of drape (although drape is fine) so cottons, linens and rayons work great. The most important thing is that the fabric will press well so stick with those natural fibers and stay away from polyester blends or you will really regret it when you are making those yards and yards of bias binding. I decided to go with some medium weight linen in a beautiful vintage red from The Fabric Store that I have had in my stash for awhile. I love linen for this pattern because it's breathable but still has some structure so it presses well and really shows the style lines.
This pattern has a lot of bias binding. The way that the yardage is calculated, you can use the same fabric for both the dress/top and binding or you can use a contrast binding. This is such a great way to use up scraps. I love the idea of mixing stripes with florals or different sized prints for some really fun affects. Making the binding will take you a bit of time, but it is super easy so try not to shy away from it. I do not recommend using the bias tape you buy in the packages at the big box store. They are cheap, stiff, and won't feel nice against your skin. That being said, there are some resources for really nice bias tape that you can buy if you want to go that route. You will need 6 - 7 yards of bias tape and you want double fold bias tape with a finished measurement of about 3/8". Here are a couple I have found:
The Fabric Store - They have bias in not only their Liberty fabrics but also their exclusive range of linens. This is such a great option for those who want matching binding and main fabric but don't want to make the bias yourself. The width is perfect too. I've use this exact combo for some of my tester versions and it was perfection.
Imagine Gnats - I recently noticed that Imagine Gnats is now carrying Atelier Brunette bias tape by the yard in both viscose crepe and double gauze. It's the perfect width and matches the very popular Atelier Brunette fabrics. The viscose crepe is on the light weight side so keep in mind that it may be a little more finicky to work with.
I am sure there are more out there. I know a lot of indie fabric stores carry bias tape by the yard so check around.
RINGS / SLIDERS:
One of my favorite details of the Calvin are the adjustable straps made possible by the ring and sliders. It really helps for getting a good fit. I know that the 1/2" sliders can be a little harder to find so I wanted to give you a few resources. First of all, the best place to look is in your drawer. If you have an old bra that you don't wear or is worn through, save the rings and sliders before you discard it. If that is not an option here is where you can find them:
Tailor Made - This is such a great place for all things bra making, but also a great resource for rings and sliders for the Calvin. You can pick up a couple sets for just a few bucks which is great if you don't want to buy in bulk.
The Bra Makery - There are quite a few shops selling rings and sliders on Etsy so you may want to poke around a bit for one closer to you, but the Bra Makery seems to have quite a good selection and at a good price. You can choose 3 sets or 12 sets at once and they even have these adorable heart shaped sliders if you want that novelty look.
OK, those were the trickier things to find, but you still need a few more notions. Make sure you have coordinating thread. There is a lot of topstitching on the bias binding so it really should match well unless you are purposefully trying to make it contrast.
You may want to add the optional modesty snap and if so you will want to source a 1/4" sew on snap. A lot of people are tempted to skip this, but if you are C cup or bigger I highly recommend it. These are pretty easy to find and you should be able to pick up a pack of them at almost any sewing store.
You also need a hand sewing needle to attach the sew on snap and make the belt loop / thread chain.
One last thing you might want to consider getting is some spray starch. The more lightweight and slippery your fabric is the more this helps. When you are making your bias binding, applying spray starch really helps to keep the creases and reenforce the binding for easy stitching. It will disappear in the wash so it's not permanent. It just makes your life easier.
OK, I think is all for today. We will not be going over printing your pattern or cutting out your pattern pieces so get that done before Monday. If you need a little help with that part, check out this blog post for printing and assembling your pattern.
See you Monday! If you still need to get your Calvin pattern you can do so here.