Thursday, April 21, 2011

Butterick 5558- The Muslin Adventure

So I began work on the muslin for B5558 this past Sunday. Here's the envelope photo to refresh your memory:
Cute dress, no? It doesn't look like it would be that difficult, does it? Well, I shouldn't say difficult. It's not difficult, it's just fiddly. I started adjusting the pattern Sunday afternoon. It took all afternoon and into the evening to adjust and cut this out, and I wasn't even being particularly careful with the cutting (it was a muslin after all.)

The skirt front is one huge piece that you cut out on a single layer. It takes up almost a whole width of 45" fabric. And it has 15 pleats across the front. That's right, I said 15. And they have to all be stitched down. That's what makes the shaping in the waist. And they are supposed to be top stitched, too. No, I didn't top stitch the muslin. I'm not that crazy! Oh, and there are two separate back skirt pieces, a right and a left. And each one has 7 more pleats that have to be stitched down. Needless to say, getting the skirt pieces marked and pleated took all evening. There was no way around it- if you want to make a muslin that shows the true fit of the dress, you have to go all the way.

Luckily, even though the dress is fully lined, Butterick kindly provided separate lining pieces for the skirt which are simple A-line with darts. Whew!

The bodice on this dress is quite unique, too. There is a shoulder dart that is hidden under the lapel, and the bodice piece extends around the back of the neck forming a sort of collar stand. The dart is easy to sew, but there is an inset corner to deal with right at the top of it. It's really not too bad, you just have to mark accurately, sew carefully, and be patient.

I cut a straight size 16 for my muslin and added a 5/8" FBA. The resulting bodice was big and sloppy, so I had to go back and remove the FBA. That's why there's so much tape on the pattern piece in the photo above. I also discovered that the V-neck was much lower than the pattern photo seems to be. I ended up raising the bottom of my V 1.75". In the photo, the original neckline came down to the upper red dot. (The lower red dot is the point where the bodice and skirt intersect.) The green dot is my new V and the blue lines show my new cutting and stitching lines. This adjustment made my lapels slightly smaller, but the neckline is much more practical and modest now. I'll be able to wear the finished dress to work or church without feeling funny.

In the end, I discovered that I really didn't need to adjust a whole lot. I made a second bodice muslin (complete with lining because the lining has darts instead of gathers) and determined that I will cut a 14 through the shoulders and neck, and a 16 everywhere else. The skirt is full, so I don't need to grade out to an 18/20 like I would on a more fitted pattern. I do not need an FBA on this pattern. I did add 1.25" of length at the waist, making my waist pleats slightly longer, and I added a full 3" of length to the rest of the skirt. The muslin raw edge still only reached my knee. This thing is drafted SHORT.

It's taken me four days to get a satisfactory muslin- skirt once, and bodice twice. I have the skirt pieces cut, but I still need to cut the bodice and the lining. I had hoped to have this done for Easter, but I don't see that happening now. I just don't have enough time. No problem, though. I'm making it in linen and seersucker, and with the sleeveless bodice and full skirt, I'm sure I'll get plenty of wear throughout the summer.

Stay tuned for an update soon! How's your spring/summer sewing going?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

It Feels Good to Finish

McCall's 6273 is finished, with a week to spare! It feels so good to have this little dress completed in time for Easter! I love how the dress turned out, and the Princess seems pleased as well. She will be wearing it for Easter next Sunday.
The dress was easy to put together, it's fully lined, and it fits nicely. I will probably make it again- the Princess likes the version with the ruffles on the bodice and the tulle peeking out from the skirt. My only pet peeve with it is that it's drafted very short. I cut a size ten with size 14 length and I was only able to make a 5/8" hem in the outer skirt. I'd prefer a deeper hem, so if I do make it again, I'll add several inches of length to the skirt.

The sun was very bright outside when we took the photos. The fabric actually has lots of nice color in it:

The bow is just pinned on. I plan to attach it with a large safety pin. I figure it will be easier to wash/dry/press if the bow is detachable, and she can wear the dress without the bow if she chooses.

Here's a a shot of the hem. The seersucker has a narrow hem, and the eyelet lace is atached to the bottom of the skirt lining. I used white broadcloth for the lining.

I am very pleased with this little dress and quite happy with McCall's right now because of it. They have some cute patterns for kids, but I sometimes find their patterns to be too fiddly and frustrating to make according to their intructions. Fortunately, this little dress is not one of those.

In other sewing news, BS 08-2010-140 is finished, also. Hem, sleeves, everything.

We're having a little cold spell here right now, so I might get to wear this before putting it away for fall. I'm just happy to have it done!

And now that it's done, I am planning to start on this:

Butterick 5558 is one of the newer patterns released this spring. Something about this little dress intrigues me, so I'm going to give it a try. I plan to slap a muslin together this afternoon, and if it looks promising, I think I'm going to make the final dress up in coral linen (skirt) and seersucker (bodice.)

So how about you? Have you experienced that happy finished feeling lately?

Monday, April 11, 2011

McCall's 6273- Easter Dress?

There hasn't been much sewing going on around here this past week. It seems like I spend the whole week at work thinking about all the things I want to get done when the weekend comes, and then when the weekend finally arrives, I get nothing done. This weekend was no exception. I had big plans, but in the end, I only accomplished a little bit. Luckily, I was able to cut out this little dress Saturday evening. This is McCall's 6273, and I am making view C, the pink seersucker version on the taller model. I'm using a gorgeous multi-colored seersucker that I got from Peanut Butter -N- Jelly Kids. It's been in my stash for a few years waiting to become a smocked sundress, but the Princess isn't getting any smaller and I don't have time to smock a dress for Easter right now, so I figured I'd just let the pretty colors and the texture do all the work.
So far, I've attached the waist overlay and lined the bodice (with white broadcloth.) The pattern calls for a full lining and the instructions use the tried and true method of sewing the bodice front and back at the shoulders, and then sewing lining to bodice along the neck and armhole edges and then pulling the backs through the shoulders to turn it right side out. The bodice ends up lined edge to edge and it's a very neat, no-fuss finish. Way to go McCall's!

In addition to getting started on this dress, I was able to finish the side seams and sleeve hems on the ruched knit dress. All that's left is the hem, which I will do by hand- hopefully later tonight. Stay tuned for a final preview.

How is your spring sewing coming along?

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Burda Style 08-2010-140 An Engineering Problem

These are preliminary shots of BS 08-2010-140. The dress isn't finished. The side seams are only basted and I still need to hem the sleeves and skirt. As you can see, the dress is quite... snug. Not uncomfortably so, but enough that I had to stuff myself into some heavy duty shape wear to keep from showing all my lumps and bumps. Those wrinkles across the back? They're due to a combination of sway back and the fact that this dress is form fitting. My first thought was, of course, to just re-baste the side seams with a smaller seam allowance. That's what I'd normally do if I needed a little bit more room. But here's the problem. If I let the dress out and make it any looser, the front gathers are going to start to sag. It's the tension across the front of the body that keeps them in place.

In the photo above, you can see a little bit of what I'm talking about. The bottom gathers are sagging ever so slightly, and the bottom of the dress hangs lower in the front. Yes, my "bubble butt" is contributing to the problem as well, but it wouldn't be as bad without those gathers in the front.

From the front it's not so noticeable, and I actually do like the ruching across my body. It helps to camouflage my tummy.

And yes, the neckline turned out quite low, even with the adjustments I made (grading down to a 42 and raising the center front 1".) All the photos above were taken with the overlap pinned.

The photo below was taken unpinned. I can only imagine how bad it would have been if I'd just cut the straight 44. Notice that the horizontal wrinkles above the bust disappear when the pin is removed.

The clear elastic in the neckline worked out perfect. That edge is snug up against my body and it isn't going anywhere. I can twist, turn, bend over, or even hang upside down and there is absolutely no gaping. Hopefully it won't stretch during wear and expose any more cleavage!

I guess this dress is going to have to be strictly a "date night" dress and not a work dress. In any case, the weather is so beautiful now, it may go straight into the closet to wait for fall when heavy knits and shape wear will be more practical.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

M5038- And Yet More

See, I told you I made another one. I was just waiting for some nice weather to get photos! This time I used both ruffles and added satin ribbon along the hem edges of both of them.
If you're curious, you can read about how I added the ribbon here.

With a little knit t-shirt, this skirt is easy and comfortable for church or for school.

And just for kicks, here is version #2, the pink dot skirt:

In other sewing news, the Burda Style knit dress is coming along. I've got the back assembled and the clear elastic serged to the neckline edges. I hope to get some serious progress made on it this weekend.

How is your weekend going?