Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Let the Road Test Begin

I have finished the test version of NL 6674:

Finally. So far, so good. I like the general shape and sillhouette. So far (I only had it on long enough to take pics) it's comfortable.

The wrap is generous. The pattern photo makes it look like the front wrap only extends as far as the dart on the side front, when in fact it wraps almost completely across the front. Of course, that means the skirt wrap is generous, too. You can see it here with a little bit of wind blowing:
It would take hurricane force winds to create an embarrasing moment!

Here's a shot of the back:

It's pretty plain. Of course, it's kind of hard to see details with this busy cotton print, but I like it. I plan to wear it to work tomorrow for the real test drive. If the dress passes the test, I will move on to the next phase in creating my military wrap dress.

In other news, I actually worked on the BWOF trench coat last night. I hope to have it completed this weekend. Hopefully I will have pictures and a review to share in just a few days.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Wrap Dress Progress

Why is it that often a project that appears to be "easy" turns out to be a huge pain in the neck? Take NL 6674 for example. It looks easy enough, and in fact it is easy to cut out and assemble. However, it's taken me 5 (yes, you read that correctly- FIVE) bodice muslins and 2 skirt muslins to get to the point I'm at now: about to make a "test run" dress, or in other words, a wearable muslin. I won't bore you with the details of all the five bodice muslins. I will, however, share the adjustments that I made to the pattern for this next (6th) version:

I started with a size 16.
I made a 1/4" FBA (green lines).
I shortened the bodice 3/8" above the bust (red line).
I lengthened the bodice 1" below the bust (blue lines).
I angled the dart up slightly and moved the whole thing up 1/4" (pink lines).
I added 1/2" of width to the sleeve by slashing and spreading:

I added 1/2" of width to the front and back skirt pieces (for a total of 1" front and back- yellow lines) and darted out the excess at the waist (green lines).
I added 1 and 1/4" of length to the skirt (pink lines).

I can tell from the last bodice muslin that I will need to put a hidden snap on the front vee to prevent gaping. It looks fine when I'm standing straight and still , but it opens up when I move.
I have already cut the dress out and I have my fingers crossed that this time will be the charm. I will be sewing it up in an Asian print quilting cotton, hoping that it will be wearable and that I will be able to use this model for my "wearability test-drive."

Can you tell I'm feeling just a little bit burnt out on this project? It's quite possible that by the time I'm ready to start the actual Military Dress, I'll be too sick of this pattern to continue.

In order to refresh myself, I threw together a muslin of BWOF 02-2009-124A.

I like it, and I think I can make it work, but kind of like NL 6674, this deceptively simple dress may take more work than I thought. Sigh...

Why can't I find a truly easy project? For me.

On the bright side, I am still using up stash at a steady rate. The Asian print is from stash and I have a stash fabric picked out for the BWOF dress also. And even though making five muslins was not exactly fun, I did use up quite a bit of ugly fabric that was taking up valuable stash space. That's not a bad thing at all.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Breaking My Promise

Okay, so I know I promised I wasn't going to work on anything else until the BWOF trench coat is done, but I hit a snag: I ran out of interfacing!!! How could that happen? (Easily, as it turns out.)

Not wanting to waste good sewing mojo (and not being able to make it to the fabric store for at least a few days) I decided to break my promise and start working on a new project, New Look 6674:

I made a muslin of the red dress with the collar from the blue print dress. This was all to try out the pattern, which I may use for another project this spring: a Military Wrap Dress.

I first got the idea from a dress I saw on this post on The Mahogany Stylist. (Scroll down to the second picture.)
Here are a couple of other examples I found in In Style magazine:
From Diane von Furstenberg

From Jessica Simpson

(Sorry about the not-so-clear pics. I had to scan them.)
So what makes a wrap dress a "Military Wrap Dress"?
Notice all three examples (including the one in the link) have the following details in common:
Solid Color
A Collar
Breast Pockets
Hardware- Metallic Buttons
All three dresses appear to be made of woven fabric. In addition, the JS and DVF dresses have rolled sleeves with a button and tab to hold them in place. That's definately a detail I'd like to copy. The other dress (in the link) has pockets on the skirt, which I definately like; also the pockets have some lovely pleating details.

NL 6674 has none of these details (except the collar.) It's essentially a blank canvas. What it does have is the general shape of the three inspiration dresses, and it looks like an easily customizable pattern. It's also suitable for wovens , which is essential for a military styled dress.
I have completed one muslin to check for fit issues, and I have begun a second "muslin" which should fit after the adjustments I've made. This second dress should be wearable and I'll be using it to test drive the wearability (Does the neckline gape? Is the skirt overlap adequate for day to day wear?) before I put all the work in to adapt this pattern.
I'll be sharing my progress as I go along.
Oh, and one of these days, I'll have a trench coat to show!