Thursday, August 29, 2013

New Look 6457

I love New Look patterns.  I think it's partially their great everyday price and that they put all sizes in one envelope.  That said, I wish all pattern companies would do a little better.  New Look seems to be geared more for a basic sewer and takes a few shortcuts in construction.  They rarely include a full lining and rely too heavily on facings for my liking.  It's not a big deal in most cases to draft a simple lining, but for more complex or pleated necklines, this is not my strength.  My wish is that all pattern companies would offer you the OPTION of a lining.  Include facings and instructions for bias tape for unlined versions, but also offer lining pieces.  Sometimes the lining offers a unique opportunity for a different garment altogether with its alternate darts.  I like this as added construction option.  Pattern companies, I hope you're reading this!!

Now on to the dress I made with New Look 6457.  I've had this pattern in my stash forever, but just got around to making it.  Drafting is not something I'm good at or enjoy, so I'm somewhat of a pattern hoarder.  So is my mother, so it's obviously hereditary.

Were the instructions easy to follow?  I was impressed when I noticed that several of the bodices feature an all machine clean finish. Great job NL! Slipstitching stinks

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
With so many bodice options and the great price, this is a lot of pattern for your money.  I don't think it would have killed them to include one straight skirt option though... just saying

Fabric Used:
Poly cotton blend seersucker, lined with really high thread count (heehee ;) white cotton

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I swapped the gathered skirt for the slim fit straight skirt I developed for the 1950's dress. It's become my TNT skirt due to it's shaping. It's more bell/tulip shaped than a conventional skirt pattern which helps emphasize my shape. I have narrow hips and sometimes look like a barrel in normal skirts! Apparently I don't know how to measure (or shouldn't do so after 11PM) because when I stitched together the lining as a semi-muslin, the skirt darts did not line up with the bodice darts and had to be scooted over. No biggie

I cut 1 inch wide interfacing that I fused to the lining on the front and back neckline edges just to prevent it from stretching over time. I didn't self line the bodice, so I self lined the halter ends so they wouldn't look weird when tied.

I also added purchased piped trim to the neckline and waist seam. It was my first time not making the stuff! Too bad they don't offer a million more colors and fabrics, cause purchasing it is so much faster.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
This pattern has so many bodice options and it's very easy to swap skirts for lots of sewing opportunities.  On my semi-muslin the bodice fit seemed fine, but when I wore this I noticed it's a touch roomy at the top bodice edge.  If I make another version, I'll probably taper it in 1/4 inch at the underarm for a slightly snugger fit.

I wanted something cute and comfy for summer that was nicer than wearing shorts. This fabric shouldn't wrinkle much so it will be quick and easy to grab for casual dinners out or nicer BBQs.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Dress for a wedding... the saga continues

When I planned this project, I had no idea how big of a PITA it would be!  I was very confident that Vogue 9668 view C would be flattering to my figure type (inverted triangle).  It seemed simple enough to showcase my fabric, complex enough to not be boring, and classic enough for a family wedding.  I've never had so much trouble with a pattern!  I'm normally a straight 10 bodice and all of my alterations are the waist and below (to account for very narrow hips).  I'm even a standard B cup.  The only change I make is a very smaller cheater version of a broad back adjustment, by sewing the center back seam with 3/8 inch seam allowance instead of 5/8.  That's it!  That's all I normally do for bodices, and you can see from my pictures, that fit is normally pretty good.

This pattern called for a redo of every single piece.  The back neckline gaped and required me to take out a wedge, the midriff was ever so slightly too long and tight in the waist (normally I take the waist in to a 9, not let it out), the back midriff had to be re-contoured as it was riding up at the lower edge, the front bodice had major bullet boob thanks to that large dart, and the skirt was a disaster.  It was poofy in all the wrong places.  It had weird ease in the lower back (above my butt) and really puffy in the tummy area.  My husband commented that I could easily be 3 months pregnant and still wear it...

I made at least 2 muslins, which I NEVER do, and then even decided to create a version in cheaper fabric before cutting my silk.  Not that the silk was very expensive, but since everyone knows I'm making the dress, I wanted it to be perfect.  I hate when people know I sewed something because then I'm never sure if the compliment is based on the dress itself or if they're just surprised I can actually sew something that doesn't look like a dress an Amish girl would wear to feed the chickens.

I just don't love it though... While the fit is technically OK, I just don't think it's very flattering, or as flattering as I would like it to be.  The midriff proportions seem off.  I'm only 5' 4 1/4" and it seems like too much, but I don't know how to reduce it without messing up the boobs.  Speaking of  the boobs, they aren't quite right either and I'm not sure how to fix them.  I'm sure it's my fault since I converted the dart to a princess seam, but I didn't change the position or volume.

This dress has to be ready for next weekend and I happen to work for a living...  So this past weekend I went balls to the wall and lived in my sewing room.  I thought they would have to send in a search party.

I've always loved the Burda Starburst dress and thought it would be lovely made in my olive green dupioni.  The muslin was a total and complete disaster though.  The starburst pleats complicate the alterations.  Given enough time, I think it may be fixable, but I don't have that kind of time for this project.

So on to plan B.  I've always loved New Look 6401 that I bought many years ago as a starting point for the wedding dress that I didn't have time to make..  Anyway, here's the line drawing

I had planned to make it knee length and maybe add some ruching on the front and back bodice for texture and to sort of disguise the gathers.  I made my usual size 10 and the thing was HUGE.  I probably need a 6 in the bodice alone!  FYI the pattern only goes down to an 8 and I just don't have time to deal with it... Another wadder muslin.

So in a fit of desperation, I did something crazy.  I pulled out a pattern that I've never used and cut the silk.  I'm insane, especially given all the crap going wrong.  Mazzygir on PR did a review on bodice A and eliminated the waist overlay and full skirt.

She used a beautiful turquoise silk dupioni that's a bit shinier than mine (mine is handmade and a bit nubbier).  I thought her dress was lovely and flattering.  Just when you think I couldn't be any dumber for cutting something given my current luck, I have to be honest and say that I further complicated the issue by eliminating the midriff and merging it with a fitted skirt... Cross your fingers and pray for me!