Friday, July 31, 2009

wherein the seam ripper gets quite a workout

either the pattern is off or it's me, and i'm choosing to believe it's the pattern. i made this cute sundress, butterick # 5181, the first garment i have tried to fit to my new post-baby body. i measured (i have a 39" bust?? how and when did that happen?) and GOOD LORD I AM A SIZE 14 according to the pattern. i've never been a 14 in my life. no offense to anyone who is a 14. it was just a shock to me... up until a few years ago i had always been a 10, and most recently a 12. well, i thought, it must be that little bit of baby weight that's left over and the breastfeeding boobs. did i mention how strangely mondo they are?

i fell in love with that beautiful paisley cotton a couple weeks ago at the fabric store and have been coveting it ever since, and finally treated myself to some to make this dress. the pattern said "easy" and it was, incredibly simplistic, i think i got this done in one morning though it might have been two if the kiddo didn't nap well. the bodice is a bit scandalously low, i will definitely be wearing a cami with this, and i love the raised waistband as i have a very long torso and appreciate anything that gives the impression of a more balanced body and longer legs. HOWEVER i would definitely make some changes if/when i make it again (which i kind of hope to do in that vintage-looking black-and-tan floral):

first off, the skirt is a bit short for my taste. it hits right above my knee. i've been known to wear skirts that short and shorter (see: anything i wore in high school or college) but lately i prefer skirts to hit just below the knee. i think 3-4 inches additional on the skirt panel would do it.

also, the construction was just plain strange, and i still cannot figure out why the directions called for it to be constructed the way it was. the bodice is fully lined, which is always nicer than a facing of course. so you line the bodice, all right, no problem, turn it, press, and then the directions say to understitch as far as possible. say what? true, in the past i have not been a fan of understitching, but it helps keep the lining (or facings) from rolling so i generally always do it. i just could not figure out how to understitch the lining after i had turned it, with those [relatively] narrow shoulders. i tried but it was so much swearing. in the future i would attach the lining at the neck, understitch, and THEN attach the lining at the armscye and turn. it just isn't possible (that i can see) to understitch both, and i'd rather the neckline be done than the armscye.

then there was the attachment of that midriff band. the bodice is lined with batiste, but the midriff band calls for two pieces to be cut - one for the outside and one for the inside/lining. huh? why not just cut one from the batiste lining? that would save money, feel nicer against the skin, and (not always a concern, but i like it) look nicer on the inside. the band was attached by sandwiching the bodice pieces between the two (inner and outer) midriff pieces, instead of the traditional lining method (basically, making a second garment and sewing it into the outer garment). granted, i'm not sure how i would attach it differently, because the right and left bodice pieces were separate, not lapped over each other or stitched together, but it sure made it difficult to insert an invisible zipper, because i like to encase my zipper between the fabric and the lining so the stiff edges of the zipper tape don't rub. and it looks nicer.

the way the midriff band was attached also made the dress difficult to alter. i thought it had properly fit the pattern to my body before i cut it out, but it turns out i'm NOT a 14 after all (!), i'm still a 12. the dress was too big and i had to go back and rip out most of the bodice so i could take in the side seams. usually this isn't too difficult but the way the bodice was encased in the midriff band made it so that i had to rip everything out. but - now it fits, albeit a bit short. i'm thinking i may remedy that with a band of the paisley fabric attached to the brown, what do you think?

(with my alterations, i think the fabric amounts should be: 2 yards fabric (45"), ¾ yard contrast (45"), and ¾ yard batiste or voile [lining].)


Kelly said...

I love it! It's so pretty! The neckline does seem waaay low, but perfect for a cami.

Elizabeth said...

It is not fun altering patterns and fitting them is it!? That is why I only sew for my daughter and only make very simple things for myself :) I'm not sure if you know this or not but ready to wear and pattern sizes are different. So, you very well still might be a 10. My daughter wears a 4 or a six in ready to wear,but her pattern size is 12. I do have to alter the bust for her.
Butterick is very odd fitting I think! Simplicity use to be kinda dorky,but now I really like their stuff and the way it fits. I love Vouge patterns the best.
I'm making Caitlin a very fitted dress right now,and I posted on it a few days ago. I'm still working on the darn thing! It has boning.
Have you ever gone to the web site called "pattern review?" it is so addicting, and you can see if someone has made a certain pattern and view the photo and reviews on it. Fun times.

Your dress did come out cute though.

Jaimey said...

Love it and I would never think the bottom was an add-on. Now put it on and take another pic! :) And I am a 12 too if you tire of it. LOL

eireann said...

elizabeth, i have never heard of pattern review but i am sure i will become addicted very soon! i have always (previously) felt that vogue, burda, and butterick patterns fit relatively true to size and that mccall's run big... but apparently not. i really love simplicity patterns lately also, and yes vogue are my favorite as well, especially the vintage vogue dresses (which seem to also be caitlin's favorites?). :)