Sunday, April 21, 2013

Stupid Rookie Mistake

Here is a peek at Burda Style 04-2013-119, the cute little wrap front blouse I've been working on.

I got the sleeves sewn on yesterday.  They are very nice, with nifty pleats at the sleeve cap, gathers at the bottom and a nice, inch wide band.

Imagine my irritation when I went to try the darn thing on and I discovered that the sleeve bands are too tight!  Not just snug, but literally too tight to wear.

How did that happen?  Especially since I clearly remember measuring my upper arm (I always make my sleeves bigger- Burda designs for a much slimmer arm than mine!)  I knew exactly how long to make the sleeve bands, and yet, when I made the pattern piece, I made it an inch too short.  Stupid mistake.

Sigh....  So now I have to take the sleeves off and make new ones.  The current sleeves are completely finished (serged, and hand sewn) and since I have more fabric, it will be faster, and easier just to start over.

Of course, right now I'm too disgusted with myself to even get started.  I think I'm going to go play with my pattern stash instead.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

New Look 6095 in Horizontal Stripes

In my last post I talked about being inspired to make a horizontal striped dress for spring.  I finally got around to putting the finishing touches on it:

As I mentioned before, I used New Look 6095, a simple shift dress designed for woven fabrics.  I made view A, pictured in the model photo.

The finished dress is okay.  There are some issues, some of which may have stemmed from using a pattern for wovens with a very light weight knit fabric.  I used a black and red polyester/rayon striped knit from Hancock Fabrics

I cut a 14 through the shoulders and a 16 from the bust down, which is my standard size(s.)  I probably could have gone a size smaller on top since I used a knit, but I wanted the dress to be loose and easy, not too body conscious.

I made a 1/2" FBA by adding a 1/2" strip to the tissue right above the darts.  The pattern tissue looked fine, but the darts are too low on the actual dress.  Probably due in part to the weight of the dress pulling them down.  I avoided the diagonal drag lines, but the low hanging darts bother me.  Of course none of my non-sewing friends or co-workers will ever notice, so I'm going to ignore them.  Or at least try to.

There is a center back seam and 2 vertical darts in the back of this dress.  Check out my stripe matching!

When I first got the side seams basted and tried the dress on, the sleeves looked awful- way too wide and floppy, almost like flutter sleeves.  You could also see way too much "underarm cleavage." Ugh!  It could be partly due to the fact that I should have gone down a size in the knit fabric, but if you look at the envelope photo carefully, the sleeves on the model look a little too wide and flappy, too.  I'm going to chalk it up to a combination of user error and bad drafting.

I was able to somewhat fix the sleeves by taking the dress in about an inch under the arms, from the sleeve edge tapering to nothing at the bust dart.  That took some of the flap out of the sleeves, and gave me more coverage at the armpit.  The bust and chest circumference is still good, which further reinforces the idea that I should have cut a smaller size.

Of course the sleeves still aren't great.  If I made this dress again, I'd use a different sleeve altogether.  I'd also move the bust dart up about 3/4"

I pretty much got what I wanted:  a simple, striped dress to wear on warm days.  I can dress it up with a belt and heels, or wear it loose with sandals.  I'm not 100% pleased with the sleeves, but they are okay. The dress is comfortable and will be great for the hot days ahead.

Now that this project is finished, I can move on to my next project, the little wrap front blouse from the April issue of Burda Style.  How is your spring sewing going?

Saturday, April 6, 2013

A Striped Dress for Spring and Summer

I've been noticing some cute striped dresses popping up online lately.  Not so many that it seems like a momentary trend or anything, but just enough to catch my attention.  I've always heard that horizontal stripes aren't flattering, but I have to say, if the stripe is done just right, the look is quite nice.  

Really, what could be better for spring and summer, than an easy, relaxed t-shirt dress with stripes?  I've also been noticing some really nice striped fabrics, both online and in my "local" fabric store.

I decided I really wanted to try a horizontal striped dress.  A simple, comfortable t-shirt style seemed like the perfect way to go about it, too.  The look seems pretty versatile.  Dress it up or down with shoes, jewelry, a belt, whatever your mood might be.

I love that these dresses are so simple and therefore easy to make.  No zippers or closures, just an easy knit you can pull on and off.

Personally, I think a loose, easy fit is the best for me.  And although I'm seeing a lot of really adorable short dresses these days, I prefer a more modest length- at least to the knee.  All the more reason to make my own.

This dress is about the closest I could find to what I had I mind:

Pure and simple.

I chose New Look 6095, a simple sheath pattern for wovens.  I figured it would work for a knit, too.  The cover model is wearing a very cute dress with horizontal stripes and that helped me decide on this pattern.

The pattern is so simple- just a front and a back, and short, almost cap sleeves.  The back has a center back seam, which I could have omitted, but chose not to, as well as vertical darts for shaping.  I wanted a loose, "easy" fit, but I still need a little bit of shaping.

The dress is almost done.  I just need to finish the neckline.  The pattern provides a facing (since it was designed for a woven fabric) but I'm thinking about doing a narrow band in self fabric cut on the bias, or maybe just a narrow binding turned to the inside and top-stitched down.  It also needs a hem, but that shouldn't take too long.

I hope to reveal the finished dress before the weekend is over.  Unfortunately, I'm fighting an ugly spring cold that has me feeling drained and useless.  Even if I can muster the energy to fire up the sewing machine, I'm not sure I want to risk sewing in my condition.  I'd hate to have any mistakes so late in the construction process because I wasn't feeling good.

So what are you working on for spring?  Is there anything on your "must sew" list right now?