Clarissa dress

Hello lovelies! I’ve missed you! I have miraculously managed to sew something in the last month, and I’m so keen to share it with you.

This is Vogue 8811, in the rayon I bought in Bali.

Description: Pullover dress has shoulder pads, semi-fitted bodice, French darts, bias, flared skirt, back keyhole closure with button/thread loop, side snap/extension or zipper closing, cap sleeves, and belt. A: Purchased trim. B: Bust pocket. Circa 1940

Recommended fabrics: Linen, Crepe de Chine, Lightweight Broadcloth

 

This one was a bit of a journey. I thought up this pattern and fabric combo while lying in bed desperately trying to stop thinking about work long enough that I could go to sleep (it’s been a BUSY month. I don’t usually think about work outside of work hours – one of the perks of my job is it stays at work). It was prompted by how much I love my Dorothy Lara dresses. I needed another dress that was weather appropriate for the late summer, and given how busy and stressful things have been I needed it to be easy to wear. I love those 50s and 60s silhouettes but it’s hard to beat the comfortable, functional ease of a ’40s dress. When I know I’ve got a rough day ahead and I want to feel and look good without having to put any thought into what I’m wearing throughout the day, I reach for my two DLs every time. I wanted more of that in my wardrobe!

I also wanted to use this fabric soon. It’s very on-trend, and I love it, but I was worried that if I left it in the stash too long it would look and feel dated and I wouldn’t want to sew it any more. So I wanted to figure out what to do with it soon.

I’ve had this pattern in my stash for some time, but I’d bought the wrong size. I had the size 4-12 size nest not the 12-18. Going by my measurements I would normally sew the size 14 , grading to a size 12 at the shoulders, with a 2″ FBA. I didn’t realise my size snafu until I was partway through cutting out the tissue pattern pieces. I figured it was a pretty simple shape, given that I would normally cut size 12 shoulders anyway perhaps I could just add on some width to the sides and do that FBA and call it good.

Pardon my mystery bruise. Looking pretty impressive though!

This sort of worked. The trouble is it has this cool waist dart – it’s angled and one side is curved and you ease it together to create extra shape. It’s REALLY interesting, and makes the bodice sit really nicely, and it’s also quite hard to do an FBA on! I’m not at all sure I did it right and I probably should have sewn it up without the FBA first so I knew what it was meant to be like. However, after the FBA and cheaters grading up, I had a muslined bodice that looked pretty good and sat right, so I cut out the fashion fabric.

The ‘grading’ involved adding 1″ to the front and 3/4″ to the back of both bodice and skirt. I also lowered the front neckline by 1″ at the neck tapering to nothing at the shoulder seam.

By the way, my lovely blue wall now has a bed in front of it so I’m auditioning new photo locations. The best options were this boring grey-blue wall in my craft room with one million powerpoints on it, or outside. Outside worked well but I think it would have been better if I’d waited an hour because I had trouble finding a good spot in regards to the sun and so I only got a few good photos. I’ll work on it.

Anyhow. The dress. So I sewed it all up and tried it on and it was HORRID.

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Noooooo I was not trying to sew a caftan! Or a mumu

The FBA had added length in a weird way, and the rayon was quite droopy and the waist was totally uneven and also way lower than it should be and dipped drastically at the front. Ack! I unpicked it and laid out the bodice and just hacked it off even at the bottom. I’d say there was about 4″ extra at the centre front! Then there was some back and forth of basting and unpicking of seams in a totally unscientific way that will come back to bite me if I ever make it again because I didn’t really write down what I was doing because I did it in bits and pieces over a couple of weeks in a period where I was very stressed and frazzled.

What I ended up with was a dress where (after said hacking off evenly) I took about 1″ off the waist seam – I just sewed that seam at a larger width so it ended up taking the skirt up too. I also took almost all of the width I’d added in at the side seams back out again although I did keep most of it in the seam allowances so that I can let it out if the rayon shrinks up. I think in a firmer fabric I might still need the width, but in the rayon and with such a busy print, it just looked frumpy and saggy. The pattern had instructions for either a hand picked zipper or an extension with snaps, but I found that I could just pull it over my head quite comfortably so I just sewed up the sides. Again, probably wouldn’t be possible in a firmer fabric but works really well for this.

I was going to add pockets in but with all the adjusting I ended up serging one of the skirt side seams shut and I couldn’t be bothered unpicking it. I really would like pockets because the neck is so high I can’t access my alterna-pocket (aka my bra). But then pockets in rayon are a bit less functional anyway, so dunno.

The waist seam is still a bit wonky, and I’m not sure if it’s my terrible hacking of the pattern, or just the way the rayon is hanging. The bra I’m wearing also really changes how this hangs – I guess because it’s such full coverage, the position of my bust point totally changes the drape of the bodice. Yet another lesson in wearing my good bras to sew in.

Those issues are lost in the busy print though so I’m not too fussed. Also I’ll probably always wear this with a belt anyway which covers some sins, although it would benefit from some belt carries to keep it in place. The pattern has pattern pieces for a belt and I was going to make a black one but I don’t have an appropriate buckle so for now it’s this white one or nothing. I like the way the white lightens it up though.

The sleeves have facings and I HATE them. Hate. They’re flippy and chunky and terrible. I also think I need to take 1cm off the top of the sleeves and that would reduce the amount they stick up. If/when I make this again I’ll either line it like Tanya did, or bias bind them. The pattern includes pieces for shoulderpads, so perhaps that would change the angle of the sleeves? I chose not to make them although I would like to have a go some time just to see how it’s done.

Hateful

This pattern has a bunch of nice vintage touches that I really appreciated – it’s one of the reasons that I rarely buy newly drafted patterns. I have or can hack most things from my existing pattern stash, but I always learn a lot about technique or elegant drafting from vintage (repro) patterns. That said, the instructions did have you press down the seam allowance on the waist and then top stitch it to the bodice from the right side, which I tried but found totally bizarre and almost impossible to keep straight. Is there a reason for doing it this way? When I was making my adjustments I unpicked it and did it the regular way.

The neck facing I like though. It’s really neat and well drafted, even if I did also have to hand tack it down.

If I make this again I’ll take an extra 1/2″ off the neck all the way round (but not at the back neck). I like how it sits at the back of my neck but it’s sitting too high up otherwise, and in a stiffer fabric would be uncomfortable. It’s ok in this but it does bunch a little and in wearing it sits away from my collarbone a little bit.

I also sewed the side seam/armholes up higher, because they were pretty gapey under my arms. I probably should adjust the pattern to take them up even higher next time, I think. I liked that the pattern had quite an angular curve for the sleeve – a mod I usually have to make myself for cut on sleeves. The sides do pull a little but that’s the tradeoff you make for a cut on sleeve.

The sides pulling make the back hem look like it’s hanging too low in a lot of these photos. It’s even on the hanger – I hung it for a week and the hem didn’t seem to grow but then once I hemmed it it was way lower front and back. I liked the length though so I went back and hemmed the sides shorter so it is now even. However when i move around it pulls up an inch or so on the sides, making the back in particular look low.

I think I’ll give it some time to see if it grows any more and then take it up again at the back. Even if it is technically even when I’m standing totally still, the reality is that it will always hike up, so I may as well account for that from the get go.

The back neckline has a button and loop. I did a thread loop using this method, although it’s a little thin and hard to loop behind my head, next time I would use a double thickness. The button is from my stash and you can sort of almost kind of see it below. I do forget to unhook the button before trying to take it off 100% of the time. Because I am a fast learner…

I am so totally thrilled with this dress. I debuted it at work on Monday and it was so comfortable all day, and I felt so elegant and put together. I had several compliments and one person asked if I had ‘had it made’ and was blown away when I said I’d made it myself! (Side note, I am starting to feel more comfortable telling people I make all my own clothes. It feels nice, and I’ve never had anything but a positive reaction, and very little of the sort of bewildered or condescending praise I have been used to. Just people genuinely interested and impressed. It’s so lovely.)

I will definitely be making this pattern again. I’d love to find a good plaid to play with the grainlines – and the skirt is cut on the cross grain which means that even though it’s quite full you can cut it out of a narrow piece of fabric.

TL;DR What I made:

  • Vogue 8811 in size 12
  • 2″ FBA
  • went back and chopped the bodice to be even (ish)
  • Added 1″ to side seams of front bodice and skirt, 3/4″ to side seams of back bodice and skirt (most of which was taken out again but which I would keep for a firmer fabric)
  • Took up waist about 1″, losing a total of 2″ length from both the bodice and skirt
  • Lowered neckline 1″ at front neck tapering to nothing at front shoulders

What I would do next time:

  • Line the bodice to eliminate sleeve facings
  • drop neckline a further 1/2″ all round tapering to nothing at the back neck
  • POCKETS!
  • Would probably be worthwhile muslining the bodice with no mods so I could see how the waist seam is supposed to look and what the curve should be so I can adjust my pattern and not have to keep fiddling with it to get it right.
I especially like these photos with the soft light that looks like a film photo on a cheap family camera. It reminds me of so many family photos taken in the garden.

I also thought a lot about the ‘dress like your grandma‘ challenge while sewing this. I won’t claim this for the challenge because this dress wasn’t inspired by the challenge so that would feel like cheating. But I couldn’t help thinking that probably the reason I like the fabric so much is that it’s very similar to the curtains in the ‘back room’ at my grandma’s house – the room which was a playroom and where we all slept when we slept over there. Lots of fond memories of that room, although I can’t seem to find a photo of the curtains.

In fact I don’t have a lot of photos of my grandma. There’s a family album somewhere but it never seems to be brought out even when I ask. In the last decade my grandma has lost her husband, two children and all her siblings so I get the impression she’s not keen to reminisce, so I haven’t pushed it. But all the photos I have of her she is wearing a dress in a similar cut to this – cut on sleeves, high neck, circle skirt, some kind of botanical print, and which she would have made herself.

Here she is with all her kids (if you include the youngest who she was pregnant with at the time so does that count?). She would have made her own dress and almost certainly all the clothes in this photo. My dad is the one in the front in the overalls with the excellent pout. He and his sister next to him on Grandma’s lap are both dead now. Judging by the ages this would be late ’60s.

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And here is my grandma with my cousin (the daughter of my aunt to the left of my Gma in the above pic) and I in about 1984.

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I’m the one awkwardly sliding off my cousin’s lap… I just realised that less time passed between those two photos than between the latest one and now. Wild!

As she and I get older I’m starting to have a deeper but also more complicated relationship with my grandma – I’m realising the ways in which she and I are very different, have different values and priorities. Not in a bad way, but in a way that complicates what has always been a relatively simple relationship for me. I get the impression she never really ‘got’ either my father or myself. But she didn’t have to to love us, and love us she did. I dunno, I’ve typed out and erased various comments several times, I don’t know that I can articulate what my grandma means to me as a person and as a relation. I do know it’s important.

I think a lot of (although not all) that draws me to vintage shapes and patterns is my association of them with her, with her elegance and class and sewing skills and love. Sometimes it feels very retrograde to like these clothes, and I worry about it and what it says about me, and what the world sees when they see me in these outfits which happen to be what I feel emotionally comfortable in. Especially in the recent political climate. And why IS it that I happen to be comfortable in them? I fluctuate between feeling tired of my own navel gazing and feeling it’s important to interrogate these things even if there’s never a final conclusion because it’s complex.

“All this could be perceived as nostalgia for an age of innocent exuberance. Indeed, this may be part of the story, but there is also the natural process of reappraising past etas, searching for inspiration, tracing social patterns and making sense of our origins” – Peter Cuffley ‘Australian Houses of the Forties & Fifties’

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?

 

 

 

Anna, thy charms my bosom flatten

How’s that for a more interesting title? Thanks, Robbie Burns.

Here is my second version of the By Hand London Anna dress.

My photoshoot yielded some blown out results and then I got lazy and used a preset to adjust them. They look overprocessed now, so I apologise. The colours are pretty accurate, though.

The fabric is rayon from DK fabrics – it was labelled ‘lycocell’ but that’s rayon, pretty much. I bought it at the same time as I got the black rayon I used for my first Anna. This one feels thicker and denser – once I washed it on warm (to avoid distressing shrinkage later) it thickened up even more and now it hefts almost like a heavy silk. As you can see it’s pretty wrinkly too but as I’ve said time and again, that’s natural fabrics for you! It’s less obvious irl and I don’t mind it. This is straight off the line, no ironing, mind you. I took it out of the washer as soon as it was done and the wrinkles just fell out, so that’s a plus! But a few hours of wearing it means it wrinkled again. That’s life.

I cut the same size as last time – size 18 bodice, no adjustments. I was going on auto though and cut the skirt out at a 20 without thinking. That proved providential, in the end ~~foreshadowing~~. When I first sewed it up I did NOT get a good fit – I had a boob squish situation:

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It’s hard to take a photo of it, but trust me it was VERY obvious in 3D. You can kind of see in the above photo that my boob is kind of square. It was like someone had wrapped a rubber band around my bust. This is how I felt about it:

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Not good. Not good. The back was also too tight. Like, sausage casing tight. I spent a while mucking around and unpicking seams and resewing them. I tried sewing the side seams at 5cm instead of 1.5. That reduced but didn’t fix the issue. So I took out the zip and sewed that with a smaller seam. But then I sewed it in so one side was back to front, and had a mini hissy fit when I realised. I put it to one side, making a mini WIP pile with my B6055 and refused to sew anything for a week or so, because sewing is stupid.

After photographing and blogging B6055, I started to feel better about it – and thank you everyone for you nice comments about it! It helped a lot. I think high expectations were the cause of a lot of my disappointment, although I still shake my head at the hem and zip. But I no longer felt like sewing was stupid and awful, so I picked up Anna again. I re-set the zip and tried it on and my boobs were still squished. So going off of what I’d seen in the difference between the bodice shaped in B6055 and Anna, I decided to insert a 2″ panel in the side seam. With seam allowances this meant I added approximately 1.5″. This solved the problem entirely, although I did end up taking a dart out of the top because it was making the sleeves gape at the underarm.

Can you see the panel? It’s just visible.

I then took the front pleats in a bit because it was a bit roomy there. I had originally sewn them a bit smaller so I probably just put them back to as-drafted. I could maybe have taken the back darts a bit smaller, too, I am getting a bit of gaping there, but I do also use that room when moving in other ways, so that’s fine. My black version sometimes feels a bit tight across the mid-back when I’m sitting at my desk, and I didn’t want to replicate that.

I sewed one of the pleats a bit too high up but I’m not going back to fix it.

I also took a wedge out of the back neck, as that gapes on my black version and I find it really annoying.

My black version does have the boob squish issue but not as drastically – I suspect this fabric has less give and so there was no wriggle room at all.

I cut the skirt at the ‘midi’ line. But it looked like it was going to be really short, to me, so I cut it with 2″ extra length, figuring I could always cut it off later. Turns out it was basically the perfect length, I just turned up a 1cm hem. If I made this length again I think I would cut it 3″ longer and do a 1″ hem.

I had originally sewn the skirt together with 1.5cm french seams. Then when I realised the skirt was a size bigger than the bodice I just sewed them so the seam allowance was 2cm, but I only went a little way down, figuring I’d finish them off once the bodice was fitted. This was convenient, as I simply unpicked that, left the seams at 1.5cm, and it fit the bodice nicely! I compared the sizes and I still think the 18, adjusted, is better for me than the 20, because of the shape of where I need the extra room.

I am not sure the waist is sitting in totally the right place – I feel like it emphasises my stomach a bit. But then perhaps that’s just because I have a stomach! Whatever, I’m not going to make a big deal out of it. There is a bit of folding happening there, though, perhaps I could shorten it a half centimetre or so next time. I almost certainly can’t be bothered, however!

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Zip is from Lincraft because Spotlight didn’t have anything approaching the right colour and anyway, I think Lincraft’s haberdashery range is better in variety and quality. Don’t ask them for help though, I have asked about tailor’s hams and tracing wheels and no one there knew what I was talking about. I had to explain what carbon paper was before I could explain a tracing wheel, and I’m pretty sure the young woman serving me still didn’t know what I was talking about. Madness – but I shouldn’t trash talk them because I then sent them a mildly cranky email about it (my NY resolution a few years ago was that if I cared enough to complain about something to other people, I should let the business know as well) and got a very quick, very polite email thanking me and saying they’d do some more stock-knowledge training.

ANYWAY. The inside started out being mostly French seams but ended up with a fair bit of serging as I lost patience, and had to sew smaller seams. The waist is sewn and then serged to finish (plus a few zigzags where I ripped it whiel unpicking too aggressively. Ooops! Well within the seam allowance though so I’m not worried). The neck, arms and hem are all serged and turned over. The facing is SO annoying in my last version, and I just couldn’t be bothered. So far I think the neck finish looks just as good as the facing does, but we’ll see how I lasts – I suspect it will pucker over time.

I am really really pleased with how the zip went in the final time. The waist seam matched beautifully.

I am very glad to have this in my wardrobe! I pretty much only wear me-mades now, and since I’m not a fast sewer that means my wardrobe rotation is pretty limited. I am finding I need another dress I can wear when there’s a heatwave – the last few weeks have had temps up to 40C. This fits the bill perfectly! And I also needed one for when the weather is maybe 30C or so – and my blue linen works perfectly for that – the underlining makes it a bit too warm for heatwave wear. I showed this to S and he said ‘you’re so clever! You just whipped up two whole dresses this [long] weekend!’ I very politely did NOT laugh in his face, I just bathed in the praise instead! 😛

I have another dress cut out to sew and I am hesitating starting it because I feel like the sewing Gods have kind of turned their faces from me… tell me, how do you all get over the hump when you feel like everything you touch turns to ashes? Quick cleanser project? Just persevere? Turn to knitting? Let me know!

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!

Innards

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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Kirsten Kimono Tee and the skirt that fought me

This should have been a real simple skirt. But nooooo.

It’s a self drafted 1/4ish circle skirt – I say ‘ish’ because since my waist measurement is relatively large, drafting a 1/4 circle means making a large pattern piece, and it gets hard to draw the lines in straight because everything is far away from everything else, and you have to tape all these pieces of paper together… instead I drafted a 1/2 circle skirt and slashed and folded out a bunch of the width.

I had a pretty clear vision of what I wanted – a simple skirt with a flared shape and some drape. Foolishly I followed the instructions that had me add wearing ease. I should know by now that wearing ease in a circle skirt is a recipe for disaster. I had to take it in a bunch of times, including  removing an inch from each side of the front (but not the back), sewing the pockets shut because they gaped out, and resetting the zip about three times to take a wedge of about an inch out of the back. And as a result, the zip does this:

UGH.

So this is not the skirt I had in mind, really. And it took me about a week. I could have sewn two dresses in the time I was wrestling with this! I’m especially bitter about it because sewing time is precious at the moment. I have a reasonable amount of free time as I’m on summer holidays. But the only air con in the house is in the living room. As a result, if the temperature is over about 36C, it’s too hot after 11am to be sewing in my room. Although that may have contributed to some of this skirt’s issues – heatwave brain makes poor sewing decisions.

That back seam is a MESS. To be honest, I’m not sure that a back zipper is ever going to sit totally neatly, though. My but has a lot of different curves going on. Perhaps a side zipper would be better? Part of the problem is that the skirt slips down to sit at an angle, and that distorts the zipper even more. That’s just how skirts are going to sit on my waist, as a function of how it’s shaped. I’m just not sure how to work with that rather than against it. It’s a bit disheartening, tbh. I love dresses but I’d like the option of separates, without looking sloppy.

The fabric is a light denim from spotlight, with a mild stretch. I have enough to recut the back but not I think to recut the whole skirt. But honestly, I think I’m done with this thing. I might just buy some more fabric and make another one, fresh. This will probably get worn as a gardening skirt or something. I didn’t even bother pressing it for photos.

I cut it on the bias, but looking at these photos, I think next time I’ll cut the front on the bias and the back on the straight grain.

Those lumps make me angry to look at.

The top is a bit more of a success! It’s the Maria Denmark Kirsten Kimono Tee. I had avoided this because I previously didn’t like cut-on sleeves. But recently I’ve made a few things with this kind of sleeve, besides seeing it all the time in RTW, and I’ve come around. It does mean inevitable armpit wrinkles, for those of us with busts, but I don’t really care about that.

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I took some closer photos wearing leggings to hopefully show you the length a bit better

I only printed the pattern pieces and not the instructions, so didn’t realise you’re supposed to add seam allowances. This worked out for me though! I made a 2XL. First up I muslined it out of an old, holey jersey bedsheet. I didn’t watch my placement and ended up cutting it with a hole right on the boob, but that’s ok because it’s fast become my favourite sleep shirt. So soft!

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There is some back pooling but not too much – especially when I’m not twisting weirdly.

To make the black version, I added 1cm to the front neckline, although I think I didn’t need to – in this less drapey fabric it makes it sit a bit high and pull backwards. I think all I need to do is actually add the correct s/a to the shoulders. I won’t add it to the sides, though, I’m happy with how they fit. I sewed it all up with a lightning stitch, and broke out my walking foot to so the hems and binding. I bound it using this method which worked really well but I only used 1.5″ binding – next time I’ll make it thicker, because it was hard to get it neat when there wasn’t much width to work with.

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I didn’t do the back join very neatly, but it was my first time with this method and I have some RTW shirts just as badly done so I can live with it. It’s also already covered in cat hair…

I finished the arms with a lightning stitch, which is a bit wobbly. I also found it quite long on me – I like a long shirt for tucking but it means it’s ridiculously long if I don’t tuck it. I could probably lose an inch or two.

 

 

I knows what I likes

GUESS WHAT PATTERN I MADE?

Yeah. Another McCalls 6696. Even I’m looking unimpressed with my lack of adventure. What can I say? I knows what I likes.

Also, I cleaned out my wardrobe of all the things I didn’t like or didn’t wear, and I was left with about four outfits.

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This is pretty much everything except tshirts and yoga pants

Since there are five days in a working week, this was making things a tad repetitive. And you’ll recall that I said, when I made my first one, that I was dreaming of a teal version. This isn’t voile, it’s cheapo broadcloth from spotlight. I bought it to line the skirt of my flannel version, and just got an extra three metres for this dress at the same time. It was on sale for $5 a metre, which means that the buttons and thread cost more than the fabric. Can’t argue with that – well, I could if I wanted it’s not the best quality, I suspect it’ll have some colour fading issues eventually, given my experience with similar fabrics, and how it looks when I press it. But I wanted a teal version and I wanted it NOW, and I wanted a weight I could wear now, too – everything else in my stash is quite a bit lighter and would be too cold for this weather.

I will say, it was a really pleasant fabric to sew, though. Presses nicely, behaves itself, the lot. And I know what I’m doing with this dress well enough now that I could take my time with the bits I know matter, like getting the pleats pressed right the first time, and paying attention when sewing the placket, and the gathering at the back.

The only thing really worth noting is that I ‘drafted’ a curved waistband by slashing and spreading the existing band. I took my flannel version apart to deal with the too-small skirt issue and after some mucking around I’ve decided I need the size 20 above the waist and the 22 below. Wearing my anchor version I notice that the waistband pulls at the bottom and not the top, so I thought I’d give the curved band a go on this version, as a tester. It seems to work really well! That, and some press studs either side of the waist button, have all but eliminated the gape I get there. I don;t want to make the band much wider itself, because then the centre back pulls down at the pleat/gather, and is baggy and frumpy.

Slashing and spreading the band until it measures size 20 on top and 22 on bottom.
Slashing and spreading the band until it measures the same as size 20 on top and 22 on bottom – a 2 inch difference overall.

I did the waistband as a half, to cut on the fold, but I need to go back and even out the curve at the centre. I also ‘drafted’ a bigger pocket bag by drawing around my hand, but should have compared it to the existing bag. It IS bigger, but the side seam part doesn’t go down low enough so I can’t get my hands into it. I’m going to go back, cut it in half, and add in a bit of fabric in the middle, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet.

New pocket bag
New pocket bag

Fit wise, it has a few issues. The sleeves/armscye still aren’t perfect, the front bodice where I adjusted it by trimming some off the centre line is a bit weird, and the dart is too high. As a result of this combination, plus just having a belly so my waist is actually the widest part of my torso, at least on the front, the bodice rides up a bit.

Riding up to above my waist

Which I’m not a super fan of, and you can see the pull lines on the bodice that would argue it’s too tight. But loosening it anywhere leads to bagginess, and I’m even less a fan of that, so this is ok.

From the side and the back, though, it’s exactly how I want it and I’m so pleased.

And I feel very comfortable in it, both physically and because it’s basically exactly how I want to look, always.

I especially love it paired with my Bonnie jumper, which is looking a bit hard used, because I wear it almost every day. I need to make some more.

I also hemmed it a bit longer – I find because the skirt is so wide, it does tend to blow up a bit (see above…), so I hemmed it 4cm in total – 1cm turned under, 3cm turned up, which is less than the instructions say, I forget by how much. I think this is about perfect. It also means it’s long enough to wear my petticoat with it.

Be petticoated

Not going to lie, I am pretty into this look and also how it feels and sounds when I sit down in it, and I wish I were brave enough to wear it to work like this.

With petticoat

You can see here how the bodice is riding up because the dart is in the wrong place:

I think the dart needs to be lower and maybe also a bit shorter. I did think about turning it into a double dart, but I just wanted to sew so I didn’t bother. As I said, I know this fit could be better but it’s an acceptable compromise to me.

Here are some innards:

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Turns out I sewed the snaps a bit wonky so I’ll have to fix that – they make the waistband sit a bit off line. The buttons are in the right spot, thought. Buttons picked, once again, by the lovely Veronica at the Button Bar. I feel very lucky to work right across the road from there. Veronica ALWAYS picks the perfect buttons. She’s just magic.

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I french seamed the bodice, overlocked the sides of the skirt, and sewed the skirt together with a straight stitch. Luckily, because that will make fixing the pockets easier! The centre side of the skirts were cut right on the selvage so I didn’t need to finish them, and I overlocked the bottom seam of the waistband once I was sure it was working.

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I’m finally happy with my workmanship on the gathers, for this one.

I kept an informal count of how long this took, it was about 7 hours cutting to buttons. And the last two hours were buttons, because I was doing it over a couple of evenings when I was SO TIRED and it took me longer than it should have. I am really pleased with this one – with how it fits, how it looks, my workmanship and how I took it from start to finish without any hissy fits at all! A true winner.

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?