Sunday, August 14, 2011

Gore Skirt

I did make up a skirt from the linen blend fabric - it was just the right weight for a gore skirt. My favourite pattern - Kwik Sew 2956.
I doubt I will wear the top and skirt together unless I have a white sweater or jacket over top, it just seems too much print to my eye.
Instead, I will wear the skirt (today anyway) with this 100% linen blouse that I made last summer from Peggy Sagers Classic Blouse pattern. This is another favourite pattern of mine, so easy to construct with Peggy's factory methods for the facings and buttonhole placket.

I am now working on a linen dress from Simplicity 2938 and hope to finish it up later today.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Simplicity 2938 Top

Pardon the crummy pictures, but they are self-taken. But I was so thrilled with this pattern that I just had to post my success. After the last pattern failure, I thought long about this sleeveless pattern. I didn't want the poor fit that I just had with the green dress.

tClose up of the neckline, which has nice pleats

I remembered reading once that it is a good idea to cut out the facings and try them on before cutting the bodice. This is to check the neck fit. So I did that. And it occurred to me that I should try a smaller size at the neck and shoulders. Years ago, I read in a Nancy Zeiman book how to measure across your front chest from armhole to armhole and she had a chart that told you which size would fit you best. I measured a 14 according to this method. But I have been cutting size 16 in most patterns and then trying to get a better fit.

So I cut out size 14 facings, tried them on and saw that this would sit nicely on the neckline. So I went ahead and cut out size 14 in this pattern, i.e. size 14 at the neck and shoulder and then out to size 20 at the underarm to get the circumference required at the bust.

This turned out to be too large as well, and I took in the underarm seam down to the bust level, essentially cutting size 18 there. This can be taken in yet again, but this top is finished with binding on the armhole and I will pull it in with that. I have enough of this fabric, which is 50% cotton/50% linen, to make a skirt but that might be too much of this pattern. Still, who says I have to wear them together? A gored skirt in this fabric would be nice to wear.

When I cut out the dress, I will cut size 14 at the shoulders and neck, out to size 16 at the underarm and then to size 20 for bust and waist. It feels so good to know that I can cut this out with confidence, having tested this pattern first and been pleased with it.

This pattern calls for a 12" zipper in the left side seam; in the top, it is completely unnecessary as I can pull this on without undoing the zip. In a dress, however, it might be needed in order to get it over your head and over the shoulders. I guess it depends on how wide the hip area is. I think I could get away with no zipper.

This is the fabric for the dress in this pattern, a cotton/linen blend that has nice drape but enough substance not to be wimpy. I have rayon lining for it, but it may not require it.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Sometimes you just move on

well, this dress didn't work out for me. The fit is not good (sorry, no one here to take photos and I don't know how people take them themselves, I just get flash). The sides are easy to fit, but the neck area just doesn't look good.

I hand sewed the hem last night and have a lining cut out, but I think I will just give this dress away. Someone somewhere will have a brand new dress to wear, even if it is the colour of a frog, LOL! Perhaps I should have made the shirt as initially planned.

Things that don't work out always make us feel like failures. That is why it is good to at least finish the garment and give it away, much better than bunching it all up and trashing it. That is a real waste.

I remember a friend telling me that clothing manufacturers make many samples of a garment before it goes to production. They have a lot of time to get it "right". Work out the design, work out the sizing, work out the fabrics that work well. We only get one chance, unless we have oodles of the same fabric and are prepared to sew that pattern over and over until we are satisfied. Not me, time to move on.

I really want a dress. I rooted through some recent pattern purchases and found this one. Another Simplicity by the way. #2938 for an unlined dress. I doubt I would make that jacket, those flappy sleeves are just not me.

This dress has princess seaming in the front and some tucks in the center front neckline. I am thinking that I can resolve the neckline fit with those tucks. At least, I hope so! But I will make the top first just to check this out. Off to dig out some soft cotton for a trial run.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Alterations a few but necessary

I decided to cut out the top part of this dress in some scrap fabric to re-check the fit having cut the pattern down one size. I left larger seam allowances on the shoulders so that I could take them in or out as required. That is an easy way to fix an armhole that is too low.
I'm glad I did this because right away I could see that I had the usual extra fabric at the top of the dress front. So I will move the pattern off the fold slightly when cutting out. Marcy Tilton gave this tip in her book on sewing knit tops and it works well and is so simple. It does add slightly to the bottom of the dress, but this is A-line so it doesn't matter.

Next I could see that I had to take in immediately below the armhole and I will use Carolyn's method of just sewing deeper seam allowances there, perhaps the top two inches. Not much is required since I had already pinched out a dart in the front armscye when I made this dress before.

But what I really noticed was that, if I sewed the facings on as is, the neckline and armhole would be cut in deeper and I was happy with them as they were, i.e with the seam allowances left on.

So I traced off the pattern again, this time drawing dotted lines on the center front and the underarm where I will make the small adjustments. And then I added 5/8" seam allowances to the armholes and the neckline. It was then easy to make new facings by simply tracing them off the new pattern.

The extra time to make that little fitting shell was probably half an hour, but I know that it will save me in the long run. After all, I would prefer a dress that fits nicely rather than one that is kind of sloppy in the upper neck area. Even though I will probably always wear this with a cardigan on top, I will feel better knowing that it fits well instead of settling for just a passable fit.

The cotton is cut out and I will iron the lining (which I had to run out and buy last night). I am going to line it with rayon lining to give the dress some substance. I have a couple of cotton dresses that I underlined with rayon lining and they feel wonderfully cool to wear, plus they have more body than just the single layer of cotton.

Check out Tany's blog and see how her lined cotton dress looks spectacular. Well, not that I am going to look like Tany but my dress can look as well made anyway.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Dress Complete - What's Next?

I finished up this dress this afternoon. I had the hems to machine sew, the buttonholes to make and buttons to sew on. I am glad that I chose classic shirt buttons, they seem right to me. That dark mark on the right is a water mark from the iron. I was in a rush to take the photo.

Next up is a simple shirt from this batik cotton that I bought from Vogue Fabrics. I don't usually wear green but this really appealed to me as so cheerful and I just want a very simple shirt to wear with beige capris.
The fabric will be a dream to sew, 100% cotton always is. And not boring, because of this bright colour.

I tend to sew boring clothes but this is what I wear most of the time. Sometimes I will wear something a little more exciting but I can't see spending oodles of time on things that only get worn once or twice a year. I would much rather fill up my closet with regular daywear than with special items.

Much of my day is spent back and forth to the swimming pool, grocery store, post office - just plain regular stuff. So the clothes are pretty regular too.

Update: I have been away from this for an hour and I thought "I don't want to make that shirt, I want to make a dress". As soon as I got home, I dug out this pattern, which I had previously made last fall, both the dress and the sweater/jacket.

I tried on the dress and saw that I can cut a smaller size, since I have lost about 12 pounds since I made it last. And I know I have some thick cotton jersey that will work for the jacket. Inspired by Carolyn's post on her "signature style", my mind is changed. That's our prerogative, right? As women, as sew-ers, we get to change our minds.

Now, I am really looking forward to cutting this out tonight.