Yet another M6696

You sick of them yet? I’m sure not!

Look how NICELY that collar sits

This one is in a cotton flannel from DK fabrics. I’ve already made a shirt out of this although I never wear it because the buttons I chose have a delicate shank (sounds like a euphamism) and keep popping off. It’s in my teetering ‘to fix’ pile.

Gosh I love this fabric. It’s so soft and lovely and the colour is fantastic. I wanted a straight skirt, longer sleeved version of my own precious shirt dress. I sewed this on the last day of craft camp and I kind of rushed through it. It’s fine but there are some wonky bits and I just wish I’d taken a bit more time. That said, the things I’m not happy with now aren’t due to rushing. They’re due to not listening to the my instincts. It’s hard, though, when your instincts so often lead you astray!

I’ve photographed this after a day of wear. It’s wrinkly, but I think the wrinkles are instructive about the things that need fixing.

I initially cut a size 22 skirt and button band, as indicated by my twister dress. The joy of a dress with a waistband and pleats/gathering is you can basically make the pieces whatever size you want, without reference to each other. But when I tried on just the bodice, it looked like it was going to be over large, so I trimmed them down. Although it fits, I wish I’d stuck with the larger size. In future I will cut a size 22 button band and skirt. I think, tbh, that I should really be a size 22 all over, the bodice looks over fitted to me when I look at it objectively. Except that I like a close fitting bodice, so I’d rather have slight pull lines than it be baggy. Just my preference. But NOT for the skirt! I think this might need fixing because it’s quite tight in some strategic places.

In fact, when I got to button stage, I ended up going back and unpicking the placket, and sewing it with the smallest seam possible, from the waist down. That left me with a slightly wonky placket, and some dodgy insides, but it fit much better and tbh I think it would have been impossible to sit down in if I hadn’t done this.

Dodgy innards

The one I most worry about is the skirt. Since it’s a straight skirt with no vent, it’s tiiiight when I sit down. Here is what it looks like from my pov

Btw, aren’t these buttons lovely? I don’t even care that they are two-whole buttons and so twist around.  I can’t decide if I think they most remind me of an art deco Olympic torch, or a Sims plumblob. All credit to the delightful Veronica at the button bar in the Adelaide arcade, who always knows the right button for the job.

Anywho, here are the instructive wrinkles it causes at the back

Too tight! The fabric is sort of a medium density weave and I worry about the strain being put on it. It also pulls across my upper butt

Related wrinkles and strain lines – you can see they are most pronounced right in the centre, between the darts

And it’s too tight at the waistband. Here are the damning wrinkles

Look at that strain! All this tells me that yes, I should have cut the larger waistband and skirt. I have these pulling areas in my other versions, but with a gathered skirt it’s less pronounced. In fact, the waist fits fine when I am standing (Before a day of wear there was no pulling at the middle button), but when I sit my stomach expands, not to mention I have bad posture and lean forward which accentuates this. So when I sit, the waistband is quite tight. To some degree, that is just part of how my body is, and how fabric works, and I was always planning on inserting a backwards-button above and below the waistband button, to prevent gaping. (I find this snugger than snaps)

That said, this is just too too tight. I am worried that the fabric/buttons will tear, and it doesn’t look neat, which is basically my primary goal when I dress. So I’m planning to go back and take the back skirt off of the waistband, re-sew the side seams as small as possible, and extend the waistband. I suspect I am too lazy to recut and reattach the waistband, and I’m not sure I have enough fabric, so I may just cut it at the side seams too, and add in an inch or so. Probably that will turn out to be one of those ‘shortcuts’ that takes three times as long as it would to have done it right. I’m also debating sewing some lining fabric (or organza maybe? I’d have to order it online) to the skirt, to make it less wrinkly and sticky. Oh, and, I’m going to unpick the hem and lengthen it about an inch, it’s just a tad shorter than my preference for straight skirts, especially when I sit down!  This will mean attaching an extra length to the placket, which will look dodgy, but can’t be helped.

Wrinkle wrinkle wrinkle. That’s natural fabrics for you. To be fair it HAS just been sitting in a pile waiting to be photographed.

The other thing is the sleeves. I debated whether to just make the shorter sleeves again, but in the end I couldn’t resist those cuffs. Look at them! Delightful. I adjusted the sleeves for my twister/anchor dress by tracing the sleeve cap of another dress sleeve that I know fitted better. It worked but the sleeve twisted a bit and I didn’t want to risk that with the longer sleeves. But I should have, because these are tight in a specific way. Here is my ‘aha/duh’ moment. I have a broad back and narrow shoulders – what this actually means is that I hunch forward. So if you imagine my clothes moving and stretching with me, if I’m standing up straight, all good. Then I go back to my actual posture… the front armscye folds in as my shoulders go forward, and the back armscye stretches out (man, if only fitting were that easy). So OBVIOUSLY I need more room at the back armscye than someone who doesn’t slump. Actually, the M6696 armscye works fine for me, once I took the dart out of the from (DUH because I need less room there, fitting is hard) but the sleeves don’t. The sleevecap is where you get all your movement room from, basically.

I couldn’t fit away that fold at the front armscye, because I need that to be able to move my arms.

The sleevecap in M6696 is almost symmetrical, which is not really how arm movement works, even if you DON’T slump. That’s fine for me in front, but because my shoulder and arm are already starting from a more forward position, I need the back sleeve cap to be fatter, like it was when I traced the other sleeve.

I think what I should have done, is traced the back sleeve cap and not the front. See how the angle of the slope is so much shallower? I’ll show you what it means in the dress. Here is the back when my arms are forward

Also, note to self: expand the area where the gathers are in the upper back. I need the room ALL over my back, not just at the centre.

Obviously one arm is way forward with the remote, but the on on the left in the picture is just sitting about neutrally. But see the drag lines? It’s pulling exactly where the extra room would be, had I traced the shallower curve. I know it’s not the bodice that’s the problem because this is how it sits when my hands are on my hips, artificially creating more upright posture:

You can see there that the back bodice actually overhangs my body. It’s fine. But the sleeve doesn’t really come to meet it, if you see what I mean.

I’m not going to fix that in this dress – I definitely don’t have the fabric to recut, and it’s annoying but bearable. But it’s something to bear in mind in the future, not just for this dress but in general.

The other issue with this sleeve is that it’s either too tight or too short. The cuff hits me at a point that’s too wide for it, and so it either tries to pull the sleeve down, exacerbating the tight sleevecap issue, or it creeps up, making itself wrinkly and sitting funny. When I first put it on it was really tight and uncomfortable. After about an hour it found a place where it could sit ok and felt fine, but I still keep messing with it because the cuff is flipping around and it sits all bunched.

I think you can kind of see what I mean here, with the bunching.

And here are the wrinkles: on the sleeve where it rolls itself up, and also across the cuff where it folds itself in half at an angle, because that way the circumference around my arm is wider

I THINK what I’m going to do is take off the cuff, add an inch of fabric in there, reattach the cuff. The folded up cuff will mostly hide the addition, and even where it doesn’t I think it will look neater than it does now. If I make the longer sleeves again, I would slash and spread the sleeve so that it is longer, but from the top if that makes sense, so that the sleeve narrows more gradually, because I could use an extra bit of room all the way down the sleeve.

I looked and I can only find a few other people who have made the long sleeved version, and they’re all a bit thinner than me. And/or I have extra muscly lower arms? It IS tighter on my right arm…

Oh AND the bust dart is in the wrong place

Too high

I have real trouble sewing this bust dart, for some reason. It’s too high but partly that’s because the waist, being too small, wants to ride up. I won’t be fixing it.

So, here I am once again proving I can’t write a concise post, even for a dress I’ve made before. 😛 But you know, I had some real lightbulb moments on how to fit my body, and each time I make it I fix something. The collar on this is perfect. So, you know. Win? I will go back and fix these things, but tbh I’ll probably wear it in the meantime, or at least once I’ve fixed the skirt. The issues bug me but even with them it’s a great dress. I need to fix the buttons on my anchor dress but I wear that at least once a week and it bugs me but not enough not to wear it. These two dresses still fit me better than any of the rtw items in my wardrobe.

Oh, and, I lined the pockets with scraps from Miss Caroline’s orsome tunic dress that she made at craft camp, which just happened to match perfectly.

I debated using more of this for the collar stand but then didn’t because I was lazy, and also this way the dress is more neutral, which is good and bad. Yes, a teal dress is some kind of neutral in my world, what about it?


8 thoughts on “Yet another M6696

  1. I’m so behind in blog reading, so I’m just getting here. I am totally going to try your collar fix on the 6696 I’m working on right now. I made one out of a thicker canvas, and the collar problems that were only sort of evident in my voile versions became unbearable in the canvas, which wants to stand at attention. The version I’m working on right now is denim, so the collar will definitely need to get sorted if I want it to look nice. My canvas version was also the first one with sleeves, and I’m going to have to figure out some kind of forward shoulder adjustment before I make another with sleeves because when I raise my arm to write on the whiteboard in class, the whole dress comes with me! The shoulder and upper arm area is the most difficult to fit, hence my usually making sleeveless dresses and just wearing cardigans with them. However, this version has made me long for a long sleeved version made out of fine-wale corduroy, which is what I thought yours was until you said it was flannel (flannel sounds nice too!). This is definitely going into my fall/winter sewing planning – thanks for the inspiration!

    1. Glad to be inspiring! You just made me realise I do have some fine-wale cord in my stash that was originally destined for skirts but I’ve lost interest in that idea… I wonder if I have enough for a dress…

      That was my experience – my voile one, I can see the collar issue if I’m looking but it’s not obvious. But the anchor one I really noticed. I actually unpicked the collar and button band yesterday, trimmed it, and resewed it. I just eyeballed so I’m hoping I didn’t do it wonky! But at first glance it looks to be much better. I’m planning to take before/after photos at some point but it has to wait until I can get some natural light.

      Sleeves are just totally vexatious, aren’t they? I am surprised by how little fitting info there is out there about sleeves and armscyes and upper arms, given that it’s such a big issue if it doesn’t fit properly. And even in straight sizes, everyone has different shaped arms/shoulders.

  2. Great work on this. Your analysis the how the pattern differs from your body is quite helpful. I am curvy in the same places as you and my arms tend to eat up all of the ease in commercial sleeve patterns. If I ever get brave enough to sew M6696, I will flat pattern measure the sleeve before cutting it out to see if it is too small for my bicep circumference + an inch or sew of ease.

    1. Thanks! I’m glad it is helpful. I struggle so much with sleeves in commercial patterns, they’re just never quite right. I’ve yet to find one that totally works, even drafting one myself is slightly off, I guess there are some things a formula can’t do! And it’s the sort of area that you KNOW if you get wrong – cos you can’t lift your arms above your head!

Whadya reckon?

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