Tag Archives: draft

New Look 6145, View B: Now with Sleeves! Plus, Fitting Issues.

I’ve completed New Look 6145 (size 18, no alterations), aside from steaming the sleeve seam and sewing the bottom hem. This was my first time setting in sleeves…which I realize I did backwards/inside out because my fabric looks the same on both sides. Of course, I realized this after I’d hand-sewn a catch stitch hem on both sleeves. Viewing this dress as a draft, I decided to just continue with constructing the dress. It fits fine in the upper back and upper chest areas, but it is quite voluminous and shapeless in the full bust and waist areas. See here:

New Look 6145 front
So roomy in the bust and waist areas! I look like a rectangle.

Peep my crafting gloves! Best gift ever for a crafter.

I know the African wax cloth, which is a quilting weight cotton, is to blame for the stiff drape (anti-drape) of this dress. I have a curvy figure: 41″ full bust, 33″ waist, 43″ hips. I want to show it off, not hide it in a cocoon. I need to address this, possibly with taking in the sides and adjusting the intake of the darts. I will also shorten the dress. As a shorty, I look better in a just-above-knee-length dress, and I know with even with the hem, the dress as it is will come to the bottom of my knees.

The sleeves look okay here, but when I raise my arm at all, the hem of the sleeve digs into my arm. There’s no give there at all. I think I will shorten the sleeves so that I have the ability to move. In my next version, I will adjust the sleeve to be a bit wider.

Here’s the back:

New Look 6145 back
This is okay, aside from my janky lapped zipper issues at the top. No one will notice that. This was my second lapped zipper, I believe.

When I went to try on the dress again after attaching both sleeves, it was a bit of a struggle to zip it up. The dress was fighting me a bit. I think it’s the sleeves’ fault. Also, the sleeves are sort of hanging off the side of my shoulder. Shouldn’t the sleeve cap fall at the top of the shoulder? I think this is part of the reason why my arms’ mobility is limited in this dress. Should I do a narrow shoulder adjustment here? (Also, this picture really shows off the back of my neck. You can tell I do a lot of reading and computing.)

I want to make this again in a woven, maybe a flowy rayon challis, once I make the adjustments. I also want to try this in a knit. This seems like an appropriate dress style for work, so I want to make this thing happen!

As always, I welcome your feedback and suggestions. I am going to try redoing the topstitching on Vogue 9021 after trying out different tensions and stitch lengths on a scrap of the broadcloth, and I think I will not topstitch all the way down, since that is causing the weird puckers at the bottom. Maybe I will tack that extra facing flap down, so that it stays out of the way.

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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!

New Look 6053: A Simple A-Line Skirt

Simple patterns are my favorite. I dislike how RTW features so much fussiness: spangles, beads, embroidery, studs, and other bits and bobs are distracting and unattractive, especially by the time the clothes hit the sale rack. I love plain clothing with simple lines. Unfortunately, simple, classy, plain clothing in RTW seems to cost way too much for the quality and fit.

One of my goals with sewing is to fill my closet with skirts, tops, and dresses with classic style lines, without random frippery. I want to make tops and bottoms in solid colors, so that I can mix and match with the prints that I have.

New Look 6053 fits the bill for simplicity. It has straight-skirt and A-line-skirt options in multiple lengths, and the fabric types listed are varied, from casual chambray to fancy silks and “silk types” (What does “silk types” even mean? It’s so general.) I can make skirts for work and for the weekends with this pattern. It would be interesting to try it in different types of fabric and see how different the effects are.

My first draft is in a quilting cotton. I’m attempting to go through my stash, which isn’t very large, but I want to make sure that I use the fabric that I bought when I was first learning to sew so that I can buy nicer garment fabrics in the future without guilt over clutter.

New Look 6145: Progress Notes

I started New Look 6145 the weekend of 2/7, tracing and cutting out the pattern pieces. I used African wax fabric that I bought in the New York Garment District last summer. (The purchase of this fabric was the first time I have successfully, accidentally, haggled a price. It’s a source of pride!) the fabric is light and crisp, even after a trip through the washer and drier. It is also a bit sheer.

Edit: This is my progress, as of 2/17/15–side seams are sewn and finished (clean-finished), vent is finished and reinforced, and zipper is inserted (somewhat poorly, but I am not too fussed about it). Next up: sleeves and a hem!

New Look 6145, shift dress, muslin
New Look 6145, partially completed

On Monday, I sewed the darts. This dress is different from Simplicity 1609 (another shift dress) in a few ways; one of those ways is that it lacks shoulder darts and another is that the angled darts are less dramatic than the French darts on S1609. It also has a back vent, which I am not sure is entirely necessary, since the dress seems to be rather short.

On Friday, I worked on the facing. I had some cutting mishaps, so the facings are not entirely even, after seeing the to the back pieces, which were the ones I mis-cut. I decided to turn under the un-notched edge and sew to finish, rather than using the fake overlocking stitch to finish, as I usually do. I think it looks neater turned-under.

On Saturday, I decided to do a lapped centered zipper, rather than the invisible zipper called for in the pattern. The decision was based on what was available in my collection of zippers; the only matching zipper I had in the correct length was a regular zipper. This was my second time doing a lapped zipper, so I found it pretty exciting. I mashed up Lladybird’s lapped zipper method with the Reader’s Digest method, since I’d already basted down the facing, according to the directions in the NL 6145 packet.

This is my first garment with separate sleeve pieces that must be set in. I’m looking forward to this challenge!

Learning New Sewing Skills: Simplicity 2444 Draft

When I started sewing, learning new skills was my main goal–it still is. Here’s one of my early hits/misses, a first draft of Simplicity 2444, sewn in February 2014:

Simplicity 2444

Skills learned:

  • Inserting an invisible zipper using an invisible zipper foot
  • Underlining the bodice with muslin, following Reader’s Digest instructions
  • Using muslin as a sew-in interfacing
  • Gathering (the skirt)
  • Using rectangles to create a gathered skirt (learned from Dolly Clackett)

Simplicity 2444 Back View

Things I did not do well here:

  • Paying closer attention to the instructions (and misunderstanding the instructions because I was looking at the Reader’s Digest sewing book and the instructions, which were different), rather than my common sense, which resulted in the zipper not ending at the top
  • Sewing the skirt in such a way that some gathering threads are visible
  • Hemming (I did a quick hem because this serves as a draft/a costume, since the fabric is crappy thin poly $1 Wal-Mart fabric–in this photo, the dress is unhemmed)

I made this (16 bust, 18 waist, rectangles for skirt) during February 2014, less than a year after I started learning how to sew. It has gaping in the back due to the zipper issue and possibly a “crone neck” issue, and gaping around the neckline, which others have noted.

Simplicity 2444

In my second version of S2444, I did 18 all over (due to weight gain) and added little darts on the back shoulder area to help fit over the curve of my upper back–thanks, Pattern Review commenters! I did the zipper properly, after lots of practice. For my second version, I used the included skirt, which has a lot of volume. I’ll edit this post later to feature it.