For my second Array project, I decided to go for a tunic-length/short dress version in a lovely teal double gauze — Mountain Views by Nani IRO, which I got from Stonemountain and Daughter Fabrics last year, before the pandemic hit. This was my first time sewing double gauze fabric. I thought the fabric would make a great Array dress. This was my Me Made May project. I basically had one goal for May — to finish this tunic.
This Papercut Patterns design has three hem lengths, hip, mid-thigh, and just above-the-knee dress. I made the Arrray top in a purple rayon earlier this year. That version was essentially my mockup. I was testing the fit, which was pretty good, except that I wanted just a little more ease in the hips. I made size 5: bust 39.5″/118 cm, waist 31.5″/80 cm, hip 41.75″/106 cm. When I made the Array top, I did grade slightly up in the hips – halfway between size 5 and 6. So when I cut out my Nani IRO fabric, I went with size 6 in the hips and size 5 everywhere else.
My purple top has elastic at the wrists so I went with the flared sleeve option for this version. I like the sleeve drama, don’t you? Though you do have to be careful when eating — the sleeves can end up dipping into your food if you aren’t paying attention when reaching for something. 😉
I made a few changes to the pattern, which are detailed below, but otherwise, I followed the pattern as is. I didn’t made any fitting adjustments other than adding some ease to the hips.
My changes to the Array dress pattern
The instructions for the Array dress are straightforward. I followed the instructions for the most part but I made a few changes. For example, instead of topstitching the bias tape around the neckline as the directions instruct, I handstitched it in place.
Tip: after you attach the bias tape to the neckline, to ensure that it lies flat, be sure to gently stretch it as you press it.
Before you sew the side seams, you attach the ties to the front at the waist. The ties are very long, with each tie made up of four pieces — two pieces for the wide bottom piece and two pieces for the thinner piece that ends at a point. You cut a total of eight strips of fabric and then sew them together to make two ties. I trimmed the ends of the ties very closely to the seam so I would have a nice point at the end.
Another change I made was to top stitch the ties because once this Array dress goes in the wash, I imagine I’d have to iron the ties every time or they would look messy. I’m not fond of ironing so anything to avoid it, is good with me. LOL
Because double gauze is a little delicate and definitely ravels, I was concerned that the stress of the ties on the side seams could tear the fabric. So I cut two strips of black fusible interfacing to put where the ties are attached to the front before you sew the side seams. This was my addition to the Array dress construction.
Adding side vents
When I tried on the tunic before I sewed the side seams, I felt that it would feel more comfortable with a little more ease below the hips. So I decided to have side vents. However, I had already cut my fabric and there’s not much you can do with a 3 cm seam allowance. I cut strips of fabric to sew to each side of the fabric where the vents would be. Then I top stitched them in place.
And here’s a good view of one of the side vents. They just provide a little more room to move around. I can certainly understan why there isnt a lot of ease because there would be too much fabric at the waist, which would not look great with the waist ties. There are no bust darts or waist darts in this pattern.
I hand stitched the bottom hem but I machine stitched the sleeve hems. I also didn’t close up my sleeve hem to give myself the option of inserting elastic at the wrists for a puffy sleeve bottom, leaving an opening near the sleeve seams. If the flared sleeves bother me, I can always change them, right?
And here’s another photo of the Array Dress. I do like the flared sleeves so I’m sticking with them for now.
And here’s a back view.
These photos were taken before I got my hair cut. As you can see my hair got quite long during the pandemic. I hadn’t had my hair cut in 15 months! (You can see my new haircut here.)
My hat and the mural
My hat is a vintage straw hat that I’ve had for many years. I grabbed it before I walked out to the door to take photos. I don’t wear it very often because I have to be in the right mood to wear it. Plus it needs to go with the whole ensemble. I poked around my blog to find a photo with me wearing this hat and saw that I wore this with this skirt with a yoke.
The striking mural behind me is called “Water Is Life,” a project of Youth Spirit Artworks, which their website describes as “an interfaith art jobs and job training program located in Berkeley, California which is committed to empowering homeless and low-income San Francisco Bay Area young people, ages 16-25.” You can donate to Youth Spirit Artworks here, a page that also lists other projects to which you can contribute, including their Tiny House Village project to create 100 homes for unhoused youth. There’s a GoFundMe page for the Tiny House Village here. As of today, they have nearly reached their goal of $70,000.
You can read more about the Tiny House Village, in this article, which said that nearly a dozen youth moved into the colorful village in February and that eventually 22 people will live there.
Here’s another view of this great mural.
Please support your local arts and youth organizations! Art and music are essential to life.