Vogue 9021: A Little Confusing Dress in Progress

Vogue 9021

The dress in question.

I first noted Vogue 9021 when I was browsing for a cocktail dress with a twist. I looked up as many versions as I could find, to see if there was anything weird about the construction that I should know about. MimiG‘s version (in a knit) came up, as well as Adrienne‘s sophisticated number, Eryn‘s geometric dress (where she sewed up the armhole a bit), and Gabrielle‘s floral version (where she narrowed the dress a bit). I was warned about the armholes being so large that they would show some side bra.

I decided to go with one of the suggested fabrics, a polycotton broadcloth, for my first try. I chose a size 18, even though there would be 3 inches of ease at the bust, according to the tissue. I figured that part of the ease is for those fluttering sleeves, so I didn’t want to take away that feature.

The construction mostly makes sense, but the part about sewing the sleeve facing down tripped me up. The facing goes all the way down to the actual side of the bodice, and the way that the instructions ask you to sew it up makes for some awkward fabric bunching and a weirdly bulky join there. When I went to topstitch down the facing (’cause ain’t nobody got time for hand-sewing), it just made the situation more awkward. Here are some pictures.

awkward sleeve facing

See how awkward that join is? How do I make this less awkward???

The instructions say, “Turn facing to inside. Press. Sew outer edge in place.” The drawing of this step isn’t very clear about that join.

awkward sleeve join

Here is where the sleeve joins the side of the bodice. It’s pinched. Why?

I tried on the pieces of the dress–the bodice and the skirt–separately as they were finished, but with no zipper. It did not bode well for the finished dress. I clipped the zipper area closed with Wonder Clips when I tried on the skirt, and I had some tightness over my lower belly, with puffiness below it. Does that indicate that I need a full tummy adjustment? Also, the bodice was rather capacious. My bosom was like two apples lost in a giant grocery bag. I hate not finishing things before starting something new, though, so I just didn’t sew for almost a week out of frustration.

I still haven’t joined the bodice and skirt because I’m still frustrated about the sleeve finishing situation.

Vogue 9021 bodice

It looks so innocuous, but it fought with me every step of the way. No matter the stitch length or tension, the fabric puckered.

badly behaved facing

This fabric puckered if I even looked at it. I need to stop being so cheap with my fabric purchases. Pressing helped NOTHING.

Vogue 9021 skirt

Broadcloth: ehhhhhhh.

Do you have any suggestions about what to do about the armhole/facing/bodice side seam situation? Also, I’ve promised myself that I am going to schedule an sewing class to focus entirely on fitting. I just want cute clothes that fit my curvy body!


Vogue 9021 Planning; Ready to Wear vs. Homemade

I’m currently working on a first draft of Vogue 9021. It seems glamorous; I’m drawn to the fluttery, open batwing sleeves in contrast to the sleek skirt. I find that I like this dramatic silhouette, although I am not sure if it will work on me, a shorty–hence, the draft! I am making it out of a chambray-blue broadcloth (poly-cotton), as that’s one of the recommended fabrics. It seems a bit stiff for this purpose, but we’ll see how it turns out. I am making it in a size 18, but I am thinking that I may have to take out a little width in the bodice. There’s about 3 inches of ease there.

I went shopping yesterday for a cocktail dress to wear to a wedding. I’m feeling pressed for time and I am unsure about V9021’s suitability, so I am not making a dress for the wedding. (It always seems to come down to time.) I tried on several dresses in two different stores. Some were size 12, some were 14. I pulled the same dress in both sizes when both were available.

Under the yellow, harsh light of the dressing room, I tugged them all onto my body. Each dress made me feel bad. They highlighted things that I prefer to be hidden. They were tight around my waist and loosey-goosey around my shoulders (how?). I was close to quitting, but I knew I needed to find something. I ended up buying a princess-seamed fit-and-flare dress covered in hot pink flowers on a pale blue background…not something I would normally choose for myself, but it fit, right?

After I checked out, I realized that I never feel bad like that when I am trying on the clothes that I made for myself. Even if it’s a first iteration of a pattern with no adjustments made yet, I don’t get upset with myself. I think, “I can change this the next time I make this, or I can let it out a little here and take it in a little there.” I feel happy and proud of myself when I see myself in something I made, even if it’s a little awkward.

Maybe it would be worth it to stay up late, get up early, and spend all that extra time working on a dress for the wedding. Even if it looks “homemade,” I will at least feel happy with myself and not be reminded of my physical flaws.

Cation Designs Dolman Tee: Making A Copy of a Copy

dolman tee

I wore it all day!

I like the idea of doing a “rub-off,” or a copy of a favorite garment. Sunni of A Fashionable Stitch wrote an informative post (and review of a book) about doing a rub-off that inspired me. I checked out the book she mentioned (from the library) and read it all, trying to memorize the techniques. I haven’t yet tried a rub off of a favorite garment, but I have tried someone else’s!

The first time I made the Cation Designs Dolman Tee, my results looked so twisted and crazy! My sewing machine did not like the fabric, a slippery soft mystery knit with lots of stretch. I used a zigzag and a ballpoint needle, but my machine attempted to eat the fabric at every turn. The worst part was my neckband, which rippled and twisted somehow. I blame it all on the sewing machine. Please excuse the awkward selfie.

Dolman tee

I did XL in the sleeves and L in the body, since people have said the arms run small on this top. The L turned out to be tight around my hips, and the shirt is rather long on my body. I decided I like the shape and general breeziness of this shirt, so months later, I made another–this time in size XL all over and entirely on the serger. Prepare yourself for another selfie!

dolman tee

This version is definitely better constructed than the previous version. I love my serger! I am not sure about the looseness in the body, though. I feel like I should adjust the pattern so that it nips in more at the waist and so that it is shorter. I think the band should be more in the vicinity of the belly than the hips, and currently the hem band is straining over my curves. I think the sleeve bands could stand to be tighter as well.

I would like to get the hang of fitting, and I think working with a simple pattern may help me, as there are only so many ways I can go wrong, I think. I’m also quite interested in doing a rub-off, which seems complicated. I’ll get there!

By Hand London: Polly top

I made this By Hand London top out of unlabeled remnants from the Joann’s sale remnants bin.

By Hand London Polly

Do you see the differences between the shoulders?

I did a few things differently, since I was working with remnants of cloth and of pre-made bias tape. One armhole and the neckline are finished with pre-made bias tape (orange and white). One armhole is finished with a facing (made of the blue fabric) from the Polly pattern. This is why one shoulder is wider than the other. I don’t think most people notice this, though, as the shirt sort of slithers around my body. It’s a bit wide and loose in the chest (and armhole) region, which is something that I never thought I’d say past the age of 17. I think I made a large. I suppose I should go down a size the next time I make it. I also sewed the shoulder seams at an inch, as I read that the straps were a bit long, and I think that was the right move for me. I do like how flowy the shirt is. It’s very cool to wear when it’s hot outside.

By Hand London Polly back view

A bit of extra fabric around the waist, or is it not enough fabric for the booty?

I will say that my back looks so awkward here, but none of us are used to looking at our backsides, right? I like how this top shows a lot of skin, but not in an uncomfortable way, for me at least. I also think I can only wear this shirt with jeans. It’s not meant for shorts.

New Look 6053, View E: A-Line Skirt

Right before Easter week, I made a version of New Look 6053, which I bought on a whim at Wal-Mart when I was there to buy a chest-of-drawers. (I’m so easily distracted by sewing sections.) Previously, I’d made a draft of it out of quilting cotton, using a zipper I’d bought in a lot from eBay which fell apart after I un-zipped and re-zipped it once. I liked the general fit of it, so I went ahead and made it again out of a bird-covered cotton I got at a Hancock’s sale two years ago.

I am judging my dodgy sewing of this skirt.

This is the definition of “stank face.”

My face is one of drive-by judgment. I did so many things wrong on this skirt! The lapped zipper is all kinds of crazy looking at the top (and I’ve done several lapped zippers just fine before!). My hem is uneven. The facing isn’t quite right. There’s an odd looseness in the front under my belly, like a little poof of extra fabric. I was assured that the skirt looks fine to anyone else. It’s what I think that counts, though!

This version is a size 18. My current measurements (33 waist, 43.5 hip) are slightly larger than what is stated for size 18, but I have plenty of room to move and the skirt does not dig into my belly when I sat down, which is excellent. I think I could shorten the skirt some. It has a little bit of the sister-wife vibe. The hem is turned under twice, which I think was a poor choice. I should have used bias tape to do the hem, since the skirt is A-line. I also needed to double check how I was applying the facing, as I’d already had to redo it once, having sewn the wrong ends together and serged the bottom part of the facing. The facing should have covered the zipper tape, and it didn’t on one side. I was frustrated after so many mistakes, which made me make more mistakes.

Here’s a little blogger pose for you, pigeon toes for a bird skirt:

Pigeon toes for birds!

This pose says, “I’m just a lil blogger, showin you my stuff.”

Here’s another one:

What am I even doing here?

I like to think of this blogger pose as the “putting out a cigarette with my shoe.” I was very much enjoying my photographer’s direction.

And here’s the back:

Baby got skirt back

The wind decided to highlight my assets.

I think I would make it again with a different, softer fabric, and maybe one in wool also. I did wear this skirt two times after making it, so I guess it’s okay, but there’s no way I’m letting anyone look at this zipper!