Connie blouse and Tilil skirt

Hello all and happy new year! I hope 2017 is treating you all well so far. Mine is ok, although the last few days have been stinking hot – yesterday it got to 40C, which means we’re stuck in the living room as it’s the only room in the house with air con. I took it as a prompt to edit photos for a couple of FOs. We did make it to the beach yesterday, and the water was delightful to swim in. We saw two dolphins right up near us (after a moment’s panic after seeing the fin that it might be a shark) and a large jellyfish, the latter of which prompted us to get out of the water right quick, but was still beautiful. We don’t get deadly ones down here but they still hurt very much if you get stung by them!

Anyhow, on to the actual sewing content! First up is the skirt, which I finished last year. It’s another Simplicity 1166

I made this one back in October so I don’t remember all of the details but it was made pretty much exactly as the last one, which means that it’s the largest size with an extra 2″ added to the waistband at the back, and the length shortened 3″. I didn’t change the pleats at all – I was even more careful marking them this time because I wanted to see if my problems with the last one was user error, however they fit into my enlarged waistband perfectly!  I feel like there is a pleat missing or a drafting error for the larger sizes, maybe. Anyway it worked in my favour I guess.

The fabric is some Ikat that I bought at Spotlight a while ago. It was on their clearance table for months and I kept coming back to it so in the end I bought it, despite it being just a little bright for my usual comfort zone. I made this in the leadup to our October Bali holiday because I thought I might wear it there and I figured the colours would fit in there better than here! In the end it was too warm to wear this skirt there, it’s too much fabric, although the denim version was the perfect plane outfit.

I really like how the stripes in the Ikat show off the different angles in the skirt. The fabric is a bit heavier than the last make, and hangs really nicely. It took me ages to take photos because when I bought the buttons I ended up with one too few and couldn’t sew the last one on until I went back and bought another, which I was very lazy about doing. I did wear the skirt in the meantime though! Initially it felt really bright and garish which seems so strange to me now – it’s become a real favourite and I get a lot of compliments on it.

I elasticised the back again and I was thinking I might need to go back and make it tighter, or take back out some of the extra I added, because the skirt is a bit loose. However last time I wore it I noticed that it pulls at the front where the waistband meets the skirt. You’re supposed to add a large snap there and I never bothered, but because the placket sits on one of the stripes of the Ikat I can see the skirt is pulling right where the snap should be. That pulls the buttonholes on the waist right to the edge and distorts the waistband, which makes the skirt sit loose. So I’ll add the snap and I think that will fix the issue, or at least minimise it.

I really love this pattern. It’s so comfortable and easy to wear, and it feels elegantly casual. I probably don’t need another at this stage but I can definitely see myself making it again as the others wear out. The Turnstone version needs to be re-hemmed, because the back stretched out on the bias and is now quite ridiculous. I’m being very slack about my mending and fixing pile, so it’s been there a while and I really notice its absence in my wardrobe. Must get on it and get it back in rotation!

Now for the blouse! This is the bodice of Butterick 6055, which I have made three times now, lengthened into a blouse. I was pretty ad hoc about it, and I’m not sure I’m happy with how it turned out.

To make the bodice into a blouse, I added 4″ and followed the curve of the sideseams out. I experimented with the darts and ended up sewing the top part of the dart as marked on the pattern, and then tapering very quickly to nothing below.  I also ended up sewing the centre front seam below the facing with a smaller seam allowance, because my stomach needed extra room there.

The back is a bit too tight and I noticed on wearing it that the fabric has pulled around the back darts, so I think I might take them out altogether. You can see in the above photo that it’s bunching up.

I sewed this is an attempt to get out of my sewing slump, and because I really could use some shirts in my wardrobe. However, I just wasn’t feeling it I was not very careful with it. the hems are terrible (I should go back and fix them), and I think I need to reshape the curve of the top armseam to be smoother because they are sitting funny. I think this is an issue with my traced-off pattern, so I’ll go back and fix that too.

I did add a gusset to this one as well, as per my Christmas dress, but I had a lot of trouble with it this time!

The fabric for this blouse is cotton linen from Spotlight and, frankly, it’s awful. The weave is incredibly loose, and you can see the threads pulling away from each other even when it’s not being worn and the seams aren’t under pressure at all. It also pulls off grain if you so much as look at it, which made doing the gussets really hard. They are not neat at ALL but at least I eventually managed to get them in with minimal puckering at the points.

I made my first to B6055’s in the same linen, but the white is the worst of the bunch. The other dresses haven’t worn very well either – they’re ok, but I will probably need to retire the navy one at the end of this summer, as it’s looking a bit sad. I wouldn’t buy this linen again. You get what you pay for, I guess!

It also, of course, wrinkles like nobody’s business! The above photo is after ironing it and then wearing it only for photos. That’s linen for you! I put an invisible zipper in the side, upside down so that the opening is at the bottom, but I forgot to take a photo of it. You can sort of see it in the above photo where I’m lifting my arm up to show the gussets. To be honest, it’s annoying to zip and unzip and mostly I just struggle into this shirt without using the zip, which I can just do.

As wonky as the gussets are, they worked in that I can comfortably do this:

And even this!

Not bad for cut on sleeves. However, there’s some weirdness going on with how the sleeves are sitting, and some odd pulling and folding above the bust, which you can see below and in the first picture. I think in the photos it looks about the same as any cut-on sleeve issue but it does move a bit strangely and look odd in real life.  I’m not sure if this is due to the too-tight back, or the gussets being incorrectly placed, or maybe I pulled things off grain while putting in the gussets, or maybe it’s just that the fabric is light enough that the heavier gussets are pulling it strangely. It’s not a massive problem but I do notice it while wearing it and it makes me feel a bit less put together.

I used mid-weight sew in interfacing for the collar facing. I like how it sits – it’s been washed once more since these photos and those points have calmed down a little, but I do like a collar with a bit of weight to it. However another problem of the linen is it’s a bit sheer, and the facing at the front shows through. You can only just see it in these photos because they’re a bit overexposed (honestly I feel like I have totally forgotten how to take blog photos! I hope I’ll get back into the swing of it soon!) but it’s quite obvious in real life, and I’m not sure I’m ok with it. It looks… odd.

I tried it with my Malmaison skirt which is the other skirt I can see it going with and I’m nor sure I like it. The issues with it makes me feel like it’s more casual, because it’s not as neat, so I like it better with a skirt I feel is more casual. Also, without the skirt of a dress to hold it down it rides up. I think I might like this shirt better in a heavier fabric, with the side seams tapered out further at my hips, and maybe and extra inch added. As it is, I see it getting some wear because it does fill a gap in my wardrobe, but honestly I’m hoping to replace it with something better before long. At least the linen is out of my stash?

Christmas Dress 2016

Hello all! I took a bit of an unintended break there for a couple months, huh? More on that at the end of the post, I want to get to that juicy sewing content first!

Here is my Christmas dress for 2016! I made one last year and at that point said ‘well how many Christmas outfits does one need?’ Naturally that meant that I decided three weeks before Christmas this year that I needed a new one. I couldn’t stop thinking about this vintage christmas card that Heather posted last year.

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I had an idle look for fabric that would work and found some in Lincraft – it’s part of their basic cottons line. The fabric is VERY crisp, for better or worse, so it doesn’t drape very well and it creases lots and also it was very hard to hand stitch the facing down without it being very visible. But you know, once a year I can live with that. I don’t think I’d make another dress out of this fabric but it would make an ok shirt, or kids dress. The collar is just white homespun or broadcloth or something from my stash.

Anyway initially I was planning to make a half-shirt dress – like this one that Lily has since posted over at Mode de Lis. But then I figured I’d really left it too late, I didn’t want to muslin anything so I’d go with a pattern I’d already made, which meant B6055, my now most worn make. I love this dang dress. Except that the sleeves don’t have great movement, and I’ve been meaning to figure out how to put gussets in it and I figured a christmas dress was a low-stakes way to do that.

Gusset innards with reinforcing organza

Figuring out the gussets was intimidating but fun! For the actual sewing part I used Gertie’s tutorial but since the pattern didn’t come with gussets I had to figure out how big to make them and where to place them. This was surprisingly hard to track down – lots of places say things like ‘just add a slit at the armpit’ but like… there’s a lot of variables there! After some googling I found a google book scan of a pattern drafting book which instructed on sizing and said to take the slice from the turn of the armpit in the direction of the shoulder point. So that’s what I did! It worked really well and was very fun. I didn’t finish the edges because the tute didn’t say so but I think I probably should have.

I also didn’t orient the stripes very well because I was spending my brain power working out which bit went where and didn’t think about it until afterwards. Oh well. The tute didn’t specify topstitching either but I thought it was a good idea. The gussets definitely make it much more comfortable and give much better range of movement – I still wouldn’t want to play tennis in it or anything but I’d say I have about as much movement as in a regular tailored shirt. I’ll definitely be using gussets more in the future.

Anyway the bodice went together smoothly, which it ought to because I’ve made it a tonne before. Except that I forgot it was meant to be cut on the fold so I cut it in two pieces and then had to sew a teeny seam allowance there – but it doesn’t seem to have made it too tight or anything. But then I ran into trouble with the skirt. I had decided to put in a waistband which I did by simply cutting the bodice 2″ shorter – and smoothing out the curve of it because as drafted it fits into a curved circle skirt – and then adding a 2″ plus seam allowance strip for the waistband. But I broke a bunch of my rules about sewing and made decisions before everything was together so I ended up moving the waistband up and then down again because the proportions were off. Note to self: ALWAYS put the skirt on the dress before making that decision, it will weight it down way more than you think. Because of this mucking around the skirt ended up an inch or so shorter than I’d prefer – I think the waist is actually maybe half an inch too high. Close enough!

I initially attached a gathered skirt because I wanted the stripes maximised. but I HATED it. I just do not like gathers on me, at all. I was also limited by the amount of fabric I had because I bought all that was left on the bolt so I found the gathers made the middle very bulky but the skirt was actually quite narrow and not floofy enough.

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NO THX

I think the best thing would have been to do big box pleats but I was coming down to the wire, time-wise and I also was kind of just done thinking about this dress. So I defaulted back to the pattern as-drafted. I tried to stripe match and to get the line down the middle to sit somewhere nice, with moderate success.

The cottons a bit sticky and also I was taking these hurredly on Christmas Day which was stinking hot so I didn’t get a good one of the side but the stripes line up pretty nicely. Please excuse the wrinkles – these are all after a full day of eating and sitting in a hot car for two hours. I think it held up pretty well! The collar is a bit off but I’ve since washed it again and now it’s lying properly – it takes a couple of washes for the interfacing to chill out.

I initially chucked in an invisible zipper because it was quicker but it wasn’t sturdy enough and it popped – also not helped by me deciding it was too baggy and cutting down the seam allowances before I put the zipper in! Dumb, breaking more of my own rules not to make anything drastically smaller before the fastenings are in. I then had to let it out again and use teeny seam allowances and it’s ok but probably could do with an extra cm or two, because it does ride up a bit when I sit.

Anyway I ended up going back and hand picking the zipper so I could get as close to the seam allowances as possible. This meant the zipper teeth show where the waistband is because it was too thick to turn under nicely, but that’s where I really needed the room so I went with it. I actually quite enjoyed hand picking and will definitely be doing that again in the future. It took a bit but it wasn’t as time consuming as trying to set in a zipper five times.

A not very good photo of the zip

I was also contemplating putting cuffs on the sleeves to mirror the collar but then decided I couldn’t be bothered. In the end I think I like it better without.  My cousin reckons it’s low-key enough that I could wear it on non-Christmas occasions, but I’m not so sure! Maybe with a black jumper over the top I could get away with it? Either way, it was a hit at Christmas, I felt very festive in it and my sewing-master grandma approved of the gussets. A win!

So about the break. I think I burnt myself out in October with a bunch of deadline sewing, and just haven’t been feeling it, so there’s been very little sewing and therefore no blogging. Initially I felt weirdly guilty about it but then I decided, you know, sewing is a hobby. It’s meant to bring joy. If I’m not feeling it, I’m not feeling it – although I’ve started to dip back in of necessity because I need some more warm weather clothes and sewing is the only way I get new clothes now. But I’m not putting any pressure on myself to either sew or blog, so I anticipate that things will still be a bit quiet around here for a bit, aside from a couple of FOs that I’ve finally gotten photos of so they will pop up shortly.

In the meantime I’ve still been doing crafty stuff – I’ve been catalouging my stash on the Cora app, refolding everything and getting rid of stuff I don’t love in an attempt to get all of my stash into the designated space in my craft room (there are a couple of secret boxes in the spare room wardrobe). I’ve started drafting a moulage using Suzy Furrer’s crafsty course and it’s going ok although she uses a lot of industry standard measurements with super don’t work for me, and I’m now at the part where I have to do all the adjustments to compensate for that and I’ve gotten a bit frustrated with it. I’ve also picked up a couple of stalled knitting projects and moved them to the next bit, which is satisfying.

I’ve also been extremely busy doing a new job at work – I go back to my regular position when I start back next year. I’ve been doing a similar job but the next level up (as well as training my fill in person at the same time) and it’s been really fun and interesting but definitely tiring, especially at the end of year panic where everyone realises they have to get everything done before January, and my manager was off sick and someone else was on leave and someone else left so I was the only one in my team there! Hectic.

I also started taking zoloft because I realised as we came out of winter that this one was really rough for me (and also tbh the US election news did not help my mental health at all. Yikes). I coped really well but doing that basically took everything I had. I’ve only been on it a week but already I am much less exhausted – I hadn’t realised how tired I was! I mean I knew I was tired but it had become normal to have absolutely no energy for anything. I am hopeful that zoloft will be the right drug for me and will help me get back to a better normal. I’m very lucky to have a great GP who is on the same team as me and determined to find the right thing for me, and helped me get over my weird reluctance to try meds – that internalised ableism will get you! But something has definitely been not right in my brain chemistry, and thank goodness for modern medicine, with all its downsides it sure has many upsides.

So that’s the story! As I said I suspect it’ll still be slow here but I’m getting back into sewing slowly so expect to see me around a bit in the New Year. Until then, happy holidays, whatever you celebrate, and here’s to a wonderful, safe, loving 2017 for all of us and everyone else.

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Bon Voyage dress

I’m trying out that thing where you name your makes, because referring to them as numbers makes me feel like a weird robot. And not in a cool way. I’m very bad at naming things, though, so we’ll see how long I last!

After posting about my last B6055 (beep boop zeep zorp. That’s me being a robot. Not a cool one) I actually ended up really really loving it.The hem still bugged me but I felt fancy in it anyway and honestly, I just wanted to wear it all of the time.So when I was packing for the most recent Craft Camp, the pattern was the first thing to be packed, along with this black cotton linen. It’s the same cotlin blend as the last one, from spotters. It’s really lovely, I have to say, although it does have quite a loose weave and is mildly seethrough.

I meant to just make it the same as my last one,  but I didn’t read my pattern notes. Last time I traced up an adjusted bodice, so that was the same. But I wrote ‘size 20, adjusted’ on the bodice and so I cut out a size 20 skirt, forgetting that I’d graded out at the waist to a 22. I ended up going back and doing teeny seams to give myself the ease back in the waist – it fit at a 20 but wasn’t nearly as comfy, especially when sitting.

The actual sewing details of this one are, same adjustments as the last time, i.e., dropping the kimono sleeve down and scooping out the under arm. Size 20 bodice, size 22 from the underarm down (after re-adjusting it). I left the bodice unlined and lined the skirt with bemsilk because it was quite seethrough. The navy one is actually quite warm because of the lawn underlining in the bodice, whereas I can see myself wearing this one on a heatwave day. I left it to hang for a day and then the lovely Sue pinned the hem for me. The linen dropped quite a lot on the bias – I also ended up lifting the bodice up a bit at the centre front, which also dropped. You can see here how much it dropped because I just sewed the hem at the height it was, without cutting it:

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I hand sewed the hem and the sleeve hems because even though it took hours it was still quicker than doing a terrible machine hem and then having to re-do it anyways. I took quite a big hem at the sleeves after experimenting with the navy version – giving it a 2″ hem means it hits high enough on my arm to give me a lot more movement than a shallower hem does. I also unpicked and evened out the hem of the navy one, and hand sewed that, while I was at it. Circle skirts are lovely but their hems are the devil.

I french seamed where I could and overlocked the rest. Zipper is machine-sewed laped, and all the facings are overlocked to finish and then tacked down by hand. Used quite a heavy interfacing for the collar because go big or go home, that’s how I feel about collars.

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Sorry this photo is so terrible – the light was fading by then  but I wanted to show this bit because I think it’s interesting, drafting-wise. Innards of the facing of the collar.

I adjusted the collar this time – I graded from size 20 down to size 18 at the front edge of the collar, and it sits much better on my shoulder, actually meeting the shoulder seam properly and not pulling at the back.

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Collar sitting at the seam, and just barely meeting at the back.

I had quite a lot of trouble sewing the collar, again. Part of the problem is that I hadn’t been careful to finish my neck-darts all the way to the end and they were pulling apart and making that seam longer than it should be (I often don’t bother to backstitch seams if they’re going to be caught in another seam, and this lazy step finally got me in trouble!). Once I fixed that it was easier. But part of it is I think it’s just drafted weird. Next time I would either adjust it so that the bit of the collar that attaches to the neck is longer, or just not expect it to overlap. In this version it meets at the back neck but doesn’t overlap as the pattern says it should. I do think it looks ok this way but not as nice as the navy version which I did manage to get to overlap – at the expense of it pulling. There is just straight up not enough of the collar for it to do what the pattern says it should.

It’s fitting a bit firmly here at the waist because there were taken directly after dinner, so my stomach is at high tide, so to speak. I managed to quickly sneak in a photoshoot, trying out this new location – I haven’t tried it before because to my left here is the door to the room where the Teen used to be. Since he’s moved out, I figure it’s a safe. He was very nice and probably would have waited until he was out of sight to roll his eyes, but you know. I did get busted taking these photos but instead of an eyeroll I got a hug, so that’s ok:

N’aaaaaw.

It also means the camera is a bit lower than I realised, since I’m standing on the deck, so I think my torso is a bit foreshortened. I’ll adjust the tripod more next time, but overall I am pleased with the location – ok, it’s boring, and dusty, but it’s the best evening location I’ve found yet – everywhere else I can take photos around my house is in full sun or dappled shade in the evening, and since evening is when I have the most time for photos, you’ll probably be seeing this spot again. I did take advantage of the bench to try some sitting poses.

Felt a bit odd. Might have to revisit the sitting section of the Better Pictures Project for posing advice. I did follow Gillian’s advice about dynamic focus mode and it worked WAY better. My face is in focus in almost every photo, and there is less general weirdness. Thanks, Gillian!

Here it is with a jumper, as I wore it to work the other day. I love how it emphasises the collar. I did think about piping the collar but I am so so bad at piping, so I left it.

As you can see, I did the pockets this time. I thought I would feel ambivalent about them but I love them. I left the bow off, intending to sew on some nice buttons from my stash when I got home, but I think that would catch on things – like the belt, since the top of the pockets are just barely under the belt – so I think I’ll just leave it without anything there.

And without the belt, so you can see more of it:

The positive ease in the waist is more visible like this. I did a lapped zipper because I was using a borrowed older machine with no invisible zipper foot, and I think I did an ok job! Even when I had to unpick and re-set it twice while I was fiddling with the waist.

I will probably always wear it with a belt, and I notice the belt sits a bit lower than the waist, so I might put in belt loops. I should also note that this has been washed but not ironed. Being linen, that means it’s crumpled. But let’s be real – I’m not going to iron this after every wear, and after an hour of wear it’s wrinkly anyway, so [shrugs]. I did iron the collar of this after it was washed, and I think I might start ironing the hem because looking at this it looks wrinkled in a way I don’t love. I think I say this every post. I might just stop pointing out the wrinkles. Like natural fabrics, live with wrinkles, that’s my deal!

The front and the back of the skirt are different pieces in this pattern – the front having more circle in it. I’d say the back is maybe 1/4 circle and the front is maybe 1/2. I did think about using the back piece for the front this time round, because I don’t really like having that much bias at the front. It folds in and looks a bit weird (and… yonnic. Like the pockets aren’t enough!). The reason it’s like that, I think, is that it’s designed to be worn with a petticoat, like so:

You can still see the fold lines where it has been hanging, but the skirt sits out properly. Before taking these photos I had been thinking I might nip in that centre seam to get rid of the folding bit but you know, after looking at these I think I might just start wearing it with a petticoat! I really love how it looks but do feel a bit self-conscious in one, but looking at these it doesn’t look that dramatically different anyway. And maybe that way I’ll get my apportioned seat to myself on the train, without some dude trying to sit half on my leg.

Here’s some more photos of it with the petticoat:

Speaking of petticoats: bras!

Here is a nice one where you can see my bra is kind of pointy. It’s this one and I am in love with it, especially with my shirtdresses. I do find it makes my bustpoint much higher and so on my first M6696’s, which have a knee-length hem, it actually makes them a bit short for my own personal taste. If I am intending to wear this bra (I have four, in different colours) with a dress I’m making, as opposed to my other bras, I make sure to try it on wearing this bra. It does change the fit quite a bit. I do always make sure I’m wearing a good version of my bras when fitting, not the older, stretched out ones. My regular bras are these ones, in case anyone wondered – I have trouble with underwires cutting into the sides of my breasts so wirefree is the way to go for me. I find the ‘smoother’ ones a bit more comfortable but the pointy ones do lift my breasts entirely off of my ribcage, and I think it’s probably the first full breath I have drawn since I was, like, 13, so that’s a huge plus. I find myself standing straighter and breathing deeper when wearing them, which was a bit strange to realise!

Both of these have wide enough bands, and come in a good enough range of sizes, that I can get the band tight enough to give me support – that’s where most of the support in bras comes from anyway. The downside of these is that I find the slider on the straps basically does nothing, it will always slide back down to the bottom, but since there is enough support it doesn’t really matter, all the straps are doing is holding the cups in the right position. Now I have found ones I like, I keep an eye out for sales and buy a bunch at a time, since postage is a killer and I haven’t found anywhere in Aus that has them. I did originally find it at Harris Scarfe’s, but they only have beige. So yes, I have about four of each kind now, because that means I can wear a different one every day and wash them on the weekend, and also I am kind of terrified they’ll stop making them. When i went looking for the link I couldn’t find one of the makes and I actually broke out into a cold sweat, for real. I’ve tried a couple of the other styles of the 18 hour comfort bras but only these two really work for me. They are all shaped a bit differently, and have support in different areas, so if you are interested it’s probably worth trying a couple of styles. I am absolutely not paid by playtex (I WISH, send me free bras yo) I just really really am in love with having a bra that fits and supports me and is cheap enough that I can buy several (cheap is relative… they are cheap for bras, which is not exactly what I would call ‘cheap’).

Anyway, that’s the story with my bras! 😛 Little bonus content for ya.

Back to the dress! Here is the obligatory kimono-sleeve lifting-arms test:

That’s as high as I can go before it starts to strain. Not bad for a kimono sleeve. These have the same adjustment as my last version – I really do not recommend sewing them as-is, it’s such a weird shape and I just don’t think it would look good or work for anyone.

And the back-room test:

I also had a go at trying the pose from the cover:

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Didn’t get it quite right because I was going from memory, but I had fun trying!

So that’s it! Another lovely dress and I’m sorry I said mean things about my last one, I love it now. I’m thinking about making just the bodice into a shirt, but then I think I’m done for a while because it’s a pretty distinctive dress and I’m not sure I need more than two in my wardrobe… or DO I?

 

 

 

How do you find ‘good enough’?

This here is Butterick 6055, and I have some mixed feelings about it. Without feeling the need to ablogogise, I am stating for the record: this is a very imperfect make. It is not made at the peak of my skills. And I think I might be ok with that (mostly).

These photos were kindly taken by my partner, S, at noon on a very sunny day, so they’re pretty high contrast. Not ideal photo taking conditions but at least you can see the dress clearly! It also means I have more facial expression, although many of them are versions of exasperation! I enjoyed myself, anyhow. They’re taken in Soldier’s Memorial Park in Unley, after a morning at the Unley Museum. My dude knows how to treat me to a good time! (No sarcasm involved, it was lovely).

I fell in love with this pattern a little bit and had visions of a breezy, simple summer dress in linen. I was mildly put off my the slightly strange shape of the sleeves in the line drawing (see below, they’re kind of… tubular?) and the fact that only about three other people have made it. Which is not necessarily a sign of anything, but can be.

B6055, Misses' Dress and Belt

But I was in love with the idea of this dress (perhaps an inauspicious start! Expectations to live up to) and in fact paid full price for this pattern, something I never do. Full price patterns here in Australia are something in the ballpark of $20, which is too much for me. I will pay that for an indie pattern but not a big 4 – I usually save a list of patterns I want and then wait for one of Spotlight’s frequent sales. Which is partly why I have very few vogue patterns – they don’t go on sale much. Butterick doesn’t either, although it does happen if you can wait. But I couldn’t! I wanted this dress and I wanted it NOW. So full price it was.

The fabric is a cotton linen blend from Spotlight, from the stash. It has a VERY loose weave, to the point where it would be a bit scandalously see through by itself. Because of this, and to tone down wrinkling, I underlined the bodice with a navy lawn, also from spotlight. I just basted the bodice pieces together by machine before sewing. The skirt is lined with the same lawn. I had 3 metres of the linen, significantly less than it calls for. I just squeezed it out, by not doing the pockets and some pattern tetris. The skirt is a 1/2 circle ish skirt, which uses a reasonable amount of fabric. Because my fabric was thin, it limited the tetris I could do, and I was glad of the centre front and back seams in the skirt pattern.

The collar calls for sew in interfacing, but doesn’t say what weight. Is it just me or is that a bit strange? Interfacing weight can totally change a pattern. I used a medium-heavy weight because I do like a dramatic collar, but I’m not sure a lighter one mightn’t have been better, especially as there are a lot of layers here. There’s the fashion fabric, underlining, and the collar facing, and the interfacing. I like how it looks but it does feel a bit poufy and voluminous when on.

All wrinkles are after a morning of sitting in the car and walking around. Pretty acceptable, I think.

I made a straight size 22, the largest size. My measurements are, high bust 41″, full bust 45″. The pattern measurements are size 22 fits 44″ bust, finished garment bust measurement 48″. I wasn’t sure how an FBA would manage with this shape of bodice, so I muslined to see and it looked fine out of the envelope. I think a sleeve shape like this is kind of more forgiving my dint of kind of not fitting anyone – everyone is going to have bubbles under their arms, etc, so there’s not as big a difference for a large bust.

I say I didn’t make many changes but I did muck with the sleeves a bit. The first muslin, I basically couldn’t move my arms! It had huge batwings of fabric between my arm and torso and I couldn’t lift my arms much at all. I didn’t manage a photo, unfortunately. Given the scarce but hard-won knowledge I have pieced together about sleeves, I theorised that I needed to cut the arms higher up. Here is a good article about sleeve fit for tightness vs movement, and the last image in this pin shows how a low sleeve/armhole restricts movement. I often have this issue because when patterns are graded up they don’t reduce the armhole size and proportions. I need a larger sleeve but not a larger armhole.

Anyhow, I laid the BHL Anna bodice on top to see how they  looked together:

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A pretty drastic difference! You can also see the interesting collar piece, here. I ended up laying the Anna bodice sort of in between the centre seam and the side seam of the 6055 pattern, and drafting in the ‘sleeve’ shape. It’s much higher and closer to the shape one’s arm and torso actually make.

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Anna on top, adjusted 6055 between, original pattern below. I think this also solves my current Anna fitting issues – I need an inch more room there at the side seam, where the sleeve starts.

I also traced an inch more room up the top seam, but only on the ‘sleeve’ portion. So the shoulder seam still sits in the same place, but once it leaves my shoulder there is more room up top than the pattern has as drafted.

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I shortened the waist by 1″, just at the lengthen/shorten line. I needed a bit more room in the stomach area, so I drew the darts back in a bit thinner after I adjusted the length.  I had initially raised the neck 1″ because it was a bit scandalous on the muslin. However, with all the extra thicknesses in the real version, that was too high and I lowered it back to the original length. My second muslin looked pretty great, so I forged ahead – this muslin did make me think it would be nice as a top, as well. It’s long enough on me to be a top without adjusting.

The sleeves with the adjustment are MUCH better. They still slightly restrict movement upwards, as all cut-on sleeves will unless they are totally baggy. But I can still do this:

It just strains a bit. I actually am pretty happy with the general fit of this now. The bits that I am unhappy with are all with the finishing. The first trouble came with the collar. I had sewn the collar on in the muslin because I couldn’t understand the instructions and thought I’d need practice. That helped, but I should have sewn it with all the layers to test. There is one step in the pattern that I straight up do not understand, I cannot see where it would come in or how it would make sense. I also misunderstood and sewed the back of the collar together, and trimmed it. However, this is supposed to be left unsewn and then sewn to the back neck, and finished off with the facing. So because I trimmed it, the seam was a bit shallower and it doesn’t sit quite right.

I feel like the fabric wants to fold a bit wider out from my neck than it is, and it’s pulled back in by the back of the collar. This is not helped by the almost spongey effect caused by two layers of loose weave over tight weave interfacing and underlining – it feels and behaves almost like scuba fabric.

If i did it again I would also not overlap the back as much – I overlapped it less than called for but even then I feel like it pulls. I would sew it so the points meet but don’t overlap. I also wouldn’t cut the corner of the collar piece, I would sew it on square. It seemed to want to go like that but that wasn’t how the pattern said to sew it (sorry, I don’t think this makes sense without the pattern piece in front of you!).

I read someone else saying they had to fuss with the collar, I wonder if this was the same problem? I do wonder if it’s the larger sizes/larger busts that cause this? I am not sure if my suggested fixes would work, I am just sort of fumbling around by instinct here. I also feel like the top sits a bit far back.

The pattern drawing clearly has the top of the collar sitting in front of the collar seam. But it looks to me like the pattern photo of the real made up version might have it behind the seam. I did think about trimming it down but in the end, I like it enough. It took some fussing and pressing but I am ok with it now. Enough to not want to muck around with fixes I’m not sure will work! Here are the guts of the collar:

I used a combo of serging and french seams throughout. By the time I got to the hem and the sleeve hems I just used the teal that was already in my overlocker rather than changing back to navy.

The facing actually sits pretty well once it’s on but I am going to go back and tack it down anyway. The interfacing is showing because I didn’t have quite enough self fabric to cut the collar facing out all the way down. I will be going back and trimming this.

The other issues I had were the hem, which was a royal pain to sew. I have worked out that the linen dropped a LOT. Like, three inches. So I sewed up the suggested 2″ hem but it was way way too long still. So I broke my own rule of not doing anything irreversible after 10pm (bad decisions happen that way) and just serged that hem off. That left me with a slightly wonky serged edge, and not much hem to turn up. I just aggressively sewed it by eye, and it turned out pretty wonky. However, after a firm pressing the next morning, it turned out my eye was much better at getting a straight-sitting hem in than I thought. The 2″ hem was, I assume, to give it heft, but I think the serged and turned hem does this much better, in a linen, than a deep hem would – it sits almost like it’s got horsehair braid in it. Next time I would do a shallow hem but with a ribbon or bias binding to turn it up and give it heft.

A twirl and a view of a wibbly hem.

It looks ok-ish. It’s absolutely far from my best work, and I am disappointed with myself for pushing on when I knew I was making irrational decisions. On the other hand this was languishing needing a hem and a zip to be done for about a month so at least it’s done now? I was going to go back and rehem it but you know what? I probably won’t. It’s good enough. The sleeve hems are also pretty terrible, and I WILL go back and fix them because that’s quick and comparatively easy and will make a big difference since they’re at eye-height and will get seen. Speaking of zips:

YIKES. A total hash of a job, partly through rushing and carelessness, and partly through struggling with the loose weave of the fabric + underlining making it kind of spongey and hard to manipulate. The waist seam doesn’t even line up!

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I had said I would go back and fix this zip. I probably won’t. I think I should but I also think the worst bit is under my arm and won’t show, and I am not confident I will actually improve on it if I do it again. I will go back and reinforce the seam above the zip, though, as it gets a lot of strain when I’m taking the dress on and off.

So, all up… mixed feelings. Mostly I think I am cross with myself for rushing and not taking care when I knew I should. On the other hand, doing that got me a finished object as opposed to a WIP which was starting to linger. I know there are things I should go back and fix, and I also know that I probably will only do about half of those. But I also also know that that’s because the other half are things that are signs of poor sewing, but don’t actually show that much in the finished object – or at least not to a non-sewist. I certainly have owned bought skirts with worse hems, but that doesn’t make me feel better for having done such a poor one. I guess that’s a good sign about where my skills are at, but it doesn’t feel good!

I am pretty sure, however, that those annoyances will fade with time, as the dress becomes more of an object and less of a project. And in the meantime, I have a dress which I quite like and I think I’ll grow to love, if I can just get over myself!

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