Ralph Pink Moda Dress Review

I’m not very good at this blogging thing, lol. No blog posts for a year and then 3 in one day 😀 One difficulty is that it’s difficult to take good photos – there aren’t many blank walls in our house, and generally it always feels quite dark. We definitely need to upgrade our lighting in every room. But now that my boyfriend is away on a trip for a week, I can take over the house and use it as my sewing studio!

The other difficulty is that I have always been uncomfortable being photographed. My awkwardness and discomfort shows. Well, I purposely cut my face out of the photos since I don’t do my makeup on the weekends. After trying to photograph 2 projects back to back, I actually feel slightly more comfortable. Looking at, and trying to evaluate the photos somewhat objectively, I realise being a bit more conscious of having better posture improves the photos 200%. Maybe I could also learn on working to “give face” in photos, but let’s take it one step at a time 🙂

Anyway, on to the review! I had been wanting to make this dress probably since I started sewing 2 years ago. I think it’s impractical with dresses outside of summer, but browsing the clearance fabrics at my local store, this stable, thin, stretch “denim” twill (probably viscose poly blend) jumped out at me. It would pair so cute with this pattern! And if you’re going to make a cute, impractical dress, you gotta go all the way and make it in white! 😉 I never buy white dresses due to risk of getting ruined – but when you sew, you can just sew another one!

The construction is fairly simple, though fitting was slightly challenging. I love the design and seamlines of the dress – most indie patterns are pretty basic and in my mind not worth paying for when I can trace a Burdastyle from the library for free.

Some fitting tips (or how I did it)
I put together the pdf, traced off a single size (I would need a smaller size for upper half, but figured it would be easier to fit if I traced a single size), tissue fit my bustform to check the general dimensions. I adjusted for my erect/short back. I noticed that the center front hips would need some additional width, and that my center front bust would probably need to be taken in.

To do a muslin fitting, I sewed all the pieces together, except for a 1″ SA pinned along the entire back, and divided the front with a 1.5″ SA. That way, I could get the muslin on, adjust from the front, and remove the back pins, and transfer the fitting adjustments back to my tissue pattern. Since the center is on the fold, I needed to do some pattern drafting adjustments to get more fullness in the hips. I didn’t want to mess with the design of the seams too much unless necessary (only adjusted for my erect/short back).

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Because the final fashion fabric was so stiff, I had excessive length/bubbling in the back and the bodice was “lifting up” causing gaping in the neckline, which I attempted to fix by taking up the shoulders and increasing the back center seam. Probably the fabric is not the ideal match for this pattern (the cotton bedsheet muslin sewed and draped perfectly), since there are some fit wrinkles in the back which I don’t know how to resolve. I probably need a sway back adjustment as well.

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Overall I think it is cute, but there are few fitting woes that I don’t know how to resolve (or maybe the fabric is a bad match for this pattern). On the bustform it looks great, so maybe the dress needs to be tighter, since it is a stretch twill?! But then again, my body is not covered in flocked velvet texture which can hold the dress in place 😉

 

modo-bustform

 

My Sewing Pattern Review: 

Pattern Description:
The minimalistic Moda dress will add a subtly demure element to absolutely any occasion with clean, sharp lines and curved cap sleeves. Featuring a plunging square neckline and delicate piping that contours the body, the wearer can make full use of the nipped in waist for a more modern, feminine look. Experiment with colour-blocking dress panels and contrasting piping to create a more statement piece, and to enhance that all important body-shaping aesthetic.

Pattern Sizing:
UK 4 – 16 (EUR 32 – 44 / US 0 – 12)
I sewed a UK 8/EUR 36/US 4 according to my measurements, but I needed to grade up the hips during the muslin making process. When I looked back on the sizing chart, I realised that the sizing chart was based on finished garment measurements (oops)! I missed that since I usually wear European size 36, so be aware that his pattern sizing has minimal ease.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes, the line drawing, although I skipped the piping.
I also added pockets.

Were the instructions easy to follow?
The construction of the dress is fairly straightforward, although there were some misprint/typos in the labelling of pattern pieces. The front side pieces are actually the back side pieces and vice versa. Also, when tissue fitting the pattern together, the front side piece was “mirrored” (had to place with print side facing in). There was one pattern piece where marking lines were missing.

For a beginner (and an “indie” pattern), the instructions are quite sparse. He didn’t explain how to finish the top of the invisible zipper in the side seam, though I suppose if you are experienced that is not a problem (I tried to search online and fairly certain that I did it not do it in the proper way…)

I actually changed the order in which I sewed certain seams in order to make additional fit adjustments.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
The pattern itself is beautifully drafted and designed! Really brilliantly designed so that the darts and shaping become unusual design elements. The pattern pieces consist of many straight lines, which is perfect for beginners like me – and sewing it together was really fun and satisfying due to all the seams coming together like magic!

One major drawback for beginners is that you will need to have some understanding of pattern grading to get a good fit, due to the mystical shaping/darting/seaming, it is not so easy to “just draw a smooth line between” to grade between sizes on the flat pattern.

** fitting tips above **

Fabric Used:
Stretch cotton viscose poly twill (almost like lightweight stretch denim) that was on sale! Probably not ideal for this project as mentioned.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
Fitting adjustments as mentioned.
Added pockets, lengthened the dress 3 cm though it’s still a touch short.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
As mentioned, this is technically an easy sew, although fitting requires some pattern drafting understanding. I’ve read reviews that his patterns are more geared towards slimmer body types, so this pattern may be a bit challenging to fit.

I will DEFINITELY sew this in more fabrics! Would like to try it with contrast piping, in a jacquard or silk, in chambray, in print… It’s so cute, and the fit is coming along. I’ll just need to figure out how to vary the design a little so that it becomes less obvious that I’m sewing the same pattern 🙂

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McCall’s 6436 shirt dress hack and Kibbe Body Type Dressing

Finally finished the project I started back in January but lost motivation for, due to the long dreary cold winter, until after the hottest and longest summer in memory in Sweden…! I needed to finish it so I could at least wear it once this year.

Last summer I was obsessed with owning a floral stripe shirtdress. There was a dress at Zara which might have fit the bill, except that based on the model’s height, it would definitely be too long on me. On top of that it was in viscose/rayon, and meanwhile I spotted a cotton lawn fabric (a bit of a splurge at 10 GBP/meter) on Minerva Crafts which would be much nicer! I could only buy the fabric by the meter, so I hoped 2 meters of the narrow 140cm/56″ fabric would work by hacking a shirt pattern.

I used McCall’s 6436, my 3rd shirt dress pattern. Previously I attempted a Papercut peter pan dress shirt, an unfinished UFO since I realised just before doing the buttons that the the quilting fabric probably wasn’t very wearable, as well as Butterick B5526 which I was not crazy about due to the size of the collar.

Based on what I read from other reviews of this pattern, I made a muslin, or attempted to make a wearable muslin in a poly cotton navy pinstripe fabric which I bought in the discount bin at my local fabric store. I ended up removing the sleeves, since the fabric was a tad stiff for this shirt style, and ended up being a bit too much STRIPES IN YOUR FACE. In the end, I never finished the shirt since I didn’t have any summer bottoms that went with a navy sleeveless shirt. A pair of white jeans would have looked amazing with it, but my summer wardrobe is seriously limited. Living in Sweden where summer is like a week long, it never made sense to invest in a summer wardrobe. Until this year. If only I had finished the shirtdress earlier I would have been living in it 😦

So anyway, after finishing the muslin, I felt confident enough to dive into hacking the pattern into a shirtdress!… Well, if only I knew what I was in for… The number of design changes, fitting changes, and incorporating new methods that were not in the sewing pattern – well, I really didn’t make things easy for myself! (Read on for my full Sewing Pattern Review of what I changed) Though, the silver lining that I sewed my first sleeve placket! (well, actually, attempted it, ripped it out, practiced on a scrap, and then tried again). Thanks to the fabric, which was so easy to work with! I’m really seeing the benefits of working with higher quality fabric.

Though the pattern is a loose fitting blouse, I just can’t help myself from taking in patterns towards a more fitted silhouette. One of the frustrations I’ve had with buying RTW and with my early sewing projects is that everything is ill-fitting on me, making me look terrible. Parallel to my sewing projects during the past year, I’ve been trying to incorporate the principles from Fit for Real People, and just started fitting a Palmer Pletsch sheath dress learning pattern.

I’ve also learned a lot from my favourite Youtuber, Aly Art, about dressing according to Kibbe body types about what styles and silhouettes look best on me. I’ve often been confused/skeptical about dressing for body type, since it’s unclear whether I’m a pear, rectangle, inverted triangle – none of the traditional advice really seemed to apply to or be helpful for me… Well, according to the Kibbe body types, I’m a Gamine (more specifically, Soft Gamine), best described as looking a bit “teenager-ish”. Yin or rounded in the face, and Yang / angular in the body.

Gamine Do’s:

Small, sharp geometrics. Precision fitted and crisply tailored. Your outline should be sharp, straight and staccato. Many vertical lines and horizontal lines.Details should be small, sharp. Broken up, loads of crisp trim, outline, colors, cuffs, waistbands, lapels. Sharp angular necklines. Sharp and narrow waist definition

Avoid:

Oversized. Large or long geometrics. Unconstructed shapes. Soft edged or rounded shapes. Ornate, intricate or delicate shapes.

More tips on Gamine dressing (basically a reminder for myself!)

Some examples of Gamine celebrities are Mila Kunis, Audrey Tatou, Mary Kate and Ashley Ohlsson.

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Applying these principles on myself, I can see that tailored > loose. These photos are taken days apart (the pencil skirt and tie neck blouse I blogged about last time). Though I know the principles in theory, application of the knowledge takes a bit longer (and maybe I need to either stop wearing the blouse or try to redo it). 😦

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Now, this advice has really clicked for me, since basically for the past decade, oversized, minimalistic, loose, boxy shapes have really been “in”, especially in Scandinavia. And I have never felt good in these types of garments (while simultaneously wondering how everyone else manages to pull it off). I feel much more at peace knowing, confirming and accepting that, really, I should be wearing tailored shapes with waist definition to look my best. Though this makes my sewing tasks harder, at least I have the power to create the garments that look best on me, irregardless of what is “in” at the moment or not. And that is amazing 🙂

Finally, thanks for bearing with me for the photos! I was super proud on finishing the dress, but after taking photos, I’m a bit unhappier seeing the finished product on. The interfacing on the placket is rather bulky and interferes with the dress falling smoothly! Any advice for softening up the interfacing? My local store doesn’t sell thinner interfacing, so I’m not sure when to skip interfacing or not on my next project(s).

As well, I haven’t yet installed the cuff buttons. Advice about what to select? I used some cheap bulk buttons I picked up on a trip to New York, but I don’t think that I’m very fond of it (see my close up photo of the buttons on the placket). Also appreciate advice on my next version of this shirt. The buttons seem a bit too big?! (not sure if I’m just used to RTW, but my other dress shirts have much smaller buttons)

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My Sewing Pattern Review:

The shirtdress is my 4th attempt at making a dress shirt as a beginner (previously tried a Papercut peter pan dress shirt, also Butterick B5526 which I was not crazy about, and now this, a 3rd pattern). I think I finally found a pattern to continue building on for future.

I attempted to make a wearable muslin in a mystery fabric (navy pinstripe poly cotton most likely). The fabric was surprisingly nice, though probably better suited for a loose, drapey summer trouser than a shirt (still learning about fabric since I’m a beginner), so I ended up removing the sleeves since they were a tad too stiff.

Pattern Sizing:
Big 4 is known for having a lot of ease, so I sized down 1 size (size 8, grading out to size 10 in hips) and made fit adjustments thereafter.
This pattern comes in different cup sizes A/B, C and D, and I used A/B.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
I think so. The cover photo shows a lot of ease in the pattern, though I took in the darts considerably and reduced the sleeve cap.

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes, aside from challenges due to my own modifications to the pattern and methods. I think if I had actually followed the instructions I would have made my life easier, but then I would not have got the result I wanted.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
The high armholes are very flattering!

Generally I like the collar, as I didn’t like the collar on Butterick B5526.
The collar is too tall for my short neck, although I attempted to shorten the collar stand (forgetting to shorten the collar itself).

The pattern uses a 2 piece sleeve, which would making finishing the sleeve placket easier for a beginner, though I made my life harder by sewing a 1 piece sleeve and doing my first sleeve placket! 🙂

The cup sizes still seemed to be too large for me, although it may have to do with learning how to select and grade my proper size due to my body type (broad shoulders, narrow back and chest). Generally RTW that fits me in the shoulder is also too large in the body.

Fabric Used:
2m x 56″(140cm) wide Cotton lawn for the shirt dress // poly cotton for the muslin

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
Oh boy! Quite a lot!

Design changes:
– Extended the length into a shirtdress. This was a great way to squeeze a shirtdress out of 56″/140cm wide fabric that I fell in love with, which I could only buy by the meter online (2m used)
– I reduced the sleeve cap height / shoulder ease (approx 1/2″ ease reduction) using Silhouette Patterns Peggy Sagers’ method on Youtube

– narrowed the sleeve width, using a RTW dress shirt I already own as a reference
– shortened the collar stand (forgot to shorten the collar height…)
– hidden shirt placket

Construction notes:
– 3/8″ seam allowance for armholes, 1″ seam allowance on cuffs to be able to skip over the step of trimming after sewing
– French seamed sleeves, so that they will look neat when I roll up sleeves

Fitting changes:
– shortened sleeves by several cm, and then shortened them another 1cm again between the muslin and shirt dress which ended up being a tad too short…
– quite a long, deep back dart, to try to compensate for my erect back and sway back. I learned during the process that I probably need a narrow back adjustment instead, since I thought I only had a sway back and erect back.
– lowered/deepened the neck scoop
– shortened bust dart, lowered by 1.5 cm
– added waist darts for additional shaping

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
It was quite a task learning to sew and fit a dress shirt, as well as make changes to the pattern and methods simultaneously, but I will definitely make this again, taking away all I have learned!

I recommend reducing the shoulder ease / cap height if you want to get a nice streamlined fit on the shoulders as I did.

2 year sewing anniversary!

And a 1 year break from blogging, eeps! I decided to take a few months off from sewing, due to my frustration at selecting appropriate fabrics for patterns, learning how to fit, learning to sew, learning what garments I like wearing, all at once. So I took some time to really analyze what I wanted to wear and what I felt good wearing. Also have started a fabric stash of beautiful fabrics from Sri Lanka and Mood in New York from business and personal trips 🙂

Still I was suffering from some sewing-perfectionism-paralysis for some periods. What broke me out of that was surprisingly, sewing costumes! Since I didn’t need to sew perfectly  for an outfit that only needed to hold up for a night, I could really just jump into sewing for pure fun! As a new employee at my workplace, I was a part of the party planning committee, and I insisted that we dress as clowns a la Clockwork Orange 🙂

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From my workplace’s previous summer costume party as Gogo from Kill Bill, which I never posted. I ordered the skirt online from a Chinese eBay seller which ended up a tad short (eep!) though I figured I was well covered on the upper body at least.

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Pic of Burda cocoon dress just before finishing. Realised I don’t like dresses that don’t have waist definition, so I tapered and took in the sides a lot. Only to not be able to walk up stairs in it. I might put in a back slit, maybe, never.

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Burda tank (my detailed Pattern Review BURDASTYLE MAGAZINE 04-2016-#118 (TANK WITH NECK PLEATS), with some modifications (left the pleats open). Wasn’t crazy about it until I tried it on with a high waisted skirt. The interfacing is a bit too stiff?! But I’m happy about the fit! At this point I learned that I have an erect back (possibly narrow back with “wide” shoulders, as in I need to size up from my bust size).

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My second version of this Burda Bowtie blouse 10/2011 128A (my detailed Pattern Review 10-2011-128A (BOWTIE BLOUSE). Obviously I needed to customise it 🙂

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Self-drafted quarter circle skirt + the skirt just before hemming. Of course made mistakes during drafting and adjustments, and needed to put in a lining since I misjudged how thin the linen (bought in Sri Lanka) would fall. Worst of all, the hem is uneven, and I hand sewed the hem with a single thread while watching a 2 hour movie, so I’m dreading the thought of redoing it… Most likely I will just live with it. The matching top I had planned is a WIP since it ended up being more matronly than expected. Really trying to let go of my disappointment in the result not being as good as hoped for, and trying to see it as learning experiences.

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And the latest project, which I am super proud of! Finally, something that fits amazing and looks store bought! (Or, better than store bought, since I have never purchased a pencil skirt in my life, as pencil skirts never fit me right!) The fabric is from Mood, cotton twill marked with a designer whose name escapes right now… This fabric was an absolute dream to work with! Pattern is BURDASTYLE MAGAZINE HIGH WAISTED SKIRT 04-2012-118 (my detailed review on Sewing Patterns). Oh, and of course I made a number of changes to the pattern design – I really can’t leave it be to follow directions exactly!

Currently trying to finish a shirtdress which I started back in January, and lost motivation for since it was cold… Now that we’ve had the hottest and longest summer ever, trying to rush to get it done before it gets too cold (omg!). I may need to learn to sew ahead of seasons. One thing I realized about my sewing is that I sew like I cook – I almost absolutely cannot follow a recipe/directions without making my own modifications to it, haha!

Feels a bit silly(?) that I somehow feel compelled to blog even when it’s been a whole year since I last blogged, and that I don’t really have followers so to say. I guess I feel that I’ve gotten so much from the online sewing community, that I want to have some presence online, as well as share whatever I can, however little it may be 🙂

Scuba cape jacket

Sometime last year, I saw a scuba cape jacket in COS which I fell in love with. But the price 1400 sek (~$200USD) and its impracticality (cropped sleeves), I couldn’t justify buying that jacket though I still think about it sometimes!

COS cape jacket

After seeing this pattern in a sewing book by a Swedish designer Jenny Hellström called “Sy! Från hoodie till skjortklänning” (Sew! From hoodie to shirt dress), I just had to try sewing my own cape jacket!

Fleur jacket

The line drawing of the jacket looked simple enough for an advanced beginner sewer (or naively ambitious complete beginner like myself!)
Fleur jacket line drawing

And it would have been easy, if I had chosen stable fabrics, but I didn’t make it easy for myself by using a hellish, slippery, form-shifting rayon lining.

All my problems challenges were a result of my inexperience in choosing fabric and not having a great selection of fabrics where I live (bought fabrics online and during a weekend trip to Stockholm). I found it pretty challenging picking appropriate fabrics, lining, interfacing (and interlining as I had chosen to do) to get the result I had in mind, though I guess that is the whole thing about learning! Closet case files Clare coat sewalong was really helpful for me.

What I had in mind was a navy scuba with hot pink lining using (non-polyester) fabric… I purchased what was labelled as Medium/heavyweight Telio scuba knit navy from fabric.com. The fabric color was much more near-black than I was expecting unfortunately 😦  This made the jacket look a bit too vampirish as my boyfriend joked but luckily the ribbed sleeves saved the jacket from feeling too Dracula.

The scuba fabric was also more drapey than I had expected, so I debated between interlining and interfacing the fabric for more body. After sewing the jacket with an interlining, I would recommend interfacing it instead.

For the lining, I had planned to use Kona Cotton Broadcloth in Valentine from fabric.com, but when it arrived, I realized it wasn’t really suitable (not slippery enough and too stiff), and didn’t really look good paired with the near-black navy either. I ended up using it as interlining for the collar and front, but I’m not that happy with the result, and wished I had interfaced instead. For the lining I used a lilac rayon lining.

Review of the book and pattern:
The entire book falls short of providing an easy way for beginners to construct the pieces in the book, which is a bit disappointing given that the book is aimed at beginners/advanced beginners. And there were some issues with the pattern and instructions, such as that the collar was to be sewn with 2 identical pieces (my collar doesn’t quite roll under) – so next time I would grade the under-collar to be slightly smaller. I didn’t agree with their method for finishing the hem and cuffs for example. I do love how the back of the jacket “kicks” out. I’m a bit unsure whether the sides of the waist were supposed to be cut higher as in my resulting jacket, or if it was supposed to be a level hem, which I think would look better (hard to say if it is the pattern or my less than perfect sewing skills).

There are a few other cute pieces in the book though, and it was still worth slogging through the difficulties with this pattern.

Front Fleur jacket

Back Fleur jacket

Construction/design/fitting changes:
Added side seam pockets, using lining material, though I wish I had used the outer fabric instead. I would recommend welt pockets though, since the location of the pockets is rather far back.

Lengthened the body by 2″ (the jacket is a bit too cropped in its proportion, and I’m short waisted to begin with). I had to shorten the sleeves by 1cm in order to finish the cuffs on my lining which mysteriously ended up too short, though luckily I received 12cm of ribbing due to the salesgirl’s generous cutting. I used twill tape around the armholes and neck to stabilize the scuba fabric.

I skipped the topstitching as shown in the line drawing, but maybe others could give their opinion as to whether or not I should top-stitch?

Details Fleur jacket

I had planned to start sewing this project in September, but saw that Pattern Review was hosting an Outerwear contest in October, so I delayed my start to the project! This project basically took me the whole month to sew, and unfortunately it’s a bit too cold to wear it now. But I think this jacket will fill a hole in my wardrobe as I don’t have a suitable jacket for late summer / early fall transitional type weather. If you’re a member of Pattern Review, I would appreciate a vote for my jacket 🙂 Voting opens Nov 1st.

Outerwear Contest 2016

I sewed pants! Simplicity 1887

After sewing (90% of) a button up shirt with so many STEPS, and nightwear, I wanted to sew something simple, that I could wear out of the house. A pair of loose elastic waist trousers should be easy right? And in a nice drapey viscose twill? Hahahaaha!! Yes, I am a naive, newbie sewist!

Inspired by these pants (love the pockets!)
pants
and these
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and strugglesewsastraightseam’s Simplicity 1887 pants I decided I wanted a pair of loose pants – maybe even a crop top?! (Even though I’m most self conscious about my stomach – but I still like the idea of sewing it one spring day.) I wanted proper instructions (in English and not Swedish) and flip flopped between ordering Simplicity pattern 1887 from the US (a $15 shipping fee, since the UK store was out of stock) and Named Peg pants.

Simplicity 1887 peg trousers

 

I read reviews that the Named patterns didn’t have very good instructions and that they were sized for taller people, but the Simplicity pants would need narrowing in the leg. The deciding factor was the flat front waistband on the Simplicity patterns, which I figured would be more flattering, and less like joggers. Plus I liked other people’s shorts sewn with this pattern.

This was the pants project that just wouldn’t end. The pattern itself is fairly easy with mostly good instructions (except how they did the waistband – I invented my own method of finishing it), but cutting and sewing viscose I was swearing fairly often, especially with the number of fitting adjustments I made. Our house is covered in rayon fray! And ripping black thread from black fabric is not fun…

Sizing
A lot of reviewers said they went down 1 or 2 sizes, but one reviewer didn’t size down and made her recommended size (12) and since my recommended size was also around size 12 (12 waist, 10-12 hip) I made 10 waist, and I think 12 hip (unfortunately didn’t mark down which size I cut!). I think I made a size 12 hip with the thought that I would take them in if necessary, which I didn’t need to do.

I took in the width of the legs from the hip down as many other reviewers did. I referenced the width of leg from a Burdastyle pattern I had borrowed from the library.

Fitting, design changes & construction notes
After struggling through sewing everything except the outer sides and hem (managed to sew the pocket upside, then two right legs by mistake) I saw how unflattering and horrible they were (no pics of that, sorry)! I had fit them as I went, but with the pants pinned higher than where they would sit with the elastic installed. The crotch was super baggy, halfway to my knees, the top of my underwear showed, and I looked like I was wearing a diaper. I couldn’t make the waistband smaller as I wouldn’t be able to get them over my hips!

But then I remembered strugglesewsastraightseam installed an invisible zip! With the pants sitting at my natural waist they looked much more flattering. Unpicked the waistband, I took a wedge out of the rear waistband (7 cm total taken out) and top of the back of the pants, as well as narrowed the inner back of each thigh to compensate for my skinny thighs as RTW pants are always too baggy under my butt (took a triangle from each leg 4 cm wide at the top, tapering 15 cm down the leg). After taking all that apart and resewing it, I realized I didn’t understand how Simplicity instructions wanted me to finish off the waist seam in a nice way – it just looked like a mess of unfinished seams that I was supposed to just leave like that?! – so I ripped the waistband completely off AGAIN and invented my own way of finishing by sewing the outer waistband to the top of the pants, and turning under the inner waistband, topstitching in the ditch. Why not?

Fabric
I ordered black twill viscose all the way from the US, from fabric.com. I do think the material has amazing drape – they’re a summer weight twill, almost look like wool or high end pants. I actually got complimented on my pants at work! (And got to brag that I made them myself!) I hung the pants before hemming and despite that, the pants seemed to have stretched a tiny bit with wear – the knees are a little bagged out but in the loose fit they aren’t so noticeable. And I needed to take in the waist again after wearing, so there’s a bit of excessive fabric gathering at the rear waist, so next time I’d take in even more.

Now, pics! I tried to lighten up the detail photos since black is pretty hard to photograph. The pants do look a bit unflattering at certain angles, especially the back, but I think the next time I sew them I could try to adjust this. I still love these pants somehow! From the side/angle view I love how slim they make me look 🙂

I learned a lot from sewing these pants. Fitting, interfacing, the importance of matching notches, installing a zip, sewing with viscose, thread tracing marks, baste fitting. I was nervous about the idea of a zip before, but when I needed to do it to get a better fit, it wasn’t a big deal anymore – it’s just a necessary step to get what I want. The zip is far from perfect (or invisible) since I don’t have an invisible zipper foot, and that doesn’t bother me too much, although I do kind of want to hunt one down now. Not so easy since I’m using a vintage Husqvarna machine.

But I loooove these pants! I made pants for crying out loud! The feeling of being able to make exactly what you envision is so empowering!

Garment #3 Flannel Nightgown – Sweet country girl meets 90’s grunge

So what happened with garment #2?.. It’s officially my first UFO (unfinished object). Right now it’s been sitting for a month waiting for buttons and buttonholes, but that post will come when I have pics. For my second garment I was a little ambitious, wanting to do a button up shirt, but my choice of quilting fabric was a bit unfortunate. Chalk that up to a (rather common?) fallacy of being drawn to novelty prints, though I also reasoned that a sturdy cotton would be a good choice as a novice. Now I wish I had sewn it in a plain cotton shirting, so it would be more wearable.

Anyhow, the idea I had for my nightgown was to do a plaid flannel slip dress style nightgown. Sweet country girl meets 90’s grunge! I wanted to do it in a red and black check (which I kind of still wish I had done), but the best fabric I could find in my local fabric store was a white and blue flannelette, and on impulse I wanted to sew it sooner rather than order fabric online. So now the nightgown is just “Sweet country girl”.

I also didn’t want to spend money on a pattern – I’m “only” going to be wearing it at home! Why spend money on that?? Although come to think of it, I wear it practically every day now that I’ve sewn it… Maybe it should be worth spending money on. I haven’t “Marie Kondo’d” my home wardrobe, so most of what I wear at home is old castoffs that are too worn to wear in public – is it any wonder I feel so dumpy a lot of the time? Hmm.

The pattern is from Burdastyle magazine (07-2013 #116) borrowed from my local library.

slip

My version

These photos were taken 1 month ago, when it still felt like the end of summer – right now it’s starting to feel like winter! I’m pretty uncomfortable with being photographed, and I feel even more self conscious standing out in our yard in my nightie, but I enjoy seeing other people’s sewing blogs, so in the spirit of keeping good karma going, I am uncomfortably putting myself out there on the int-er-net!

Fabric
Squeezed this out of 1m x 140cm checked flannelette, which after pre washing showed how NOT square the print was

Fitting notes
– Burdastyle really doesn’t have much ease to their patterns as I confirmed / found out. According to their sizing I should make a size 34/40/37 bust-waist-hips but then the waist of the garment would have been wider than the hips(!) I cut a 34 bust grading to 38 in hips, which I was glad I did since the garment is pretty tight in the hips… I think because of my fabric choice, there isn’t as much extra give with the bias.

– The cups are super small and widely spaced. I’m not busty in the least but I fall out when I sleep. I shortened the straps a lot since I took the photo for more upper coverage so now the under-bust seam sits ON my breast.

– Brought in straps at back to prevent slipping off shoulders

Construction notes
– The Burda directions were pretty useless for me as a beginner – some lines of brief text, and on top of that in Swedish, when I barely know English terms for sewing. I used instructions from SEW Sew Everything Workbook book.

Design changes
– Trimmed the cups in wide lace (which was fortunate since the cups are tiny!). I only wear this at home around my boyfriend because nip-slips galore. Now if someone knocks on our door I’d probably decline to sit down in the gown.

– I shortened the length by about 3″ (which despite pre washing the flannel is now too short) and added a split side seam.

– I also added a pocket for my iphone and a matching mask 🙂

mask

Make again?
I don’t know if I would recommend this pattern or make it again – maybe if I manage to hack the pattern to increase the cup size. I saw someone else on Pattern review made it as a slip for under clothing, and it might be better for that purpose.

I don’t think the flannel was well suited for this pattern (too stiff), and there is surprisingly little ease in the hips. After adding the split hem and shortening the length, the nightgown drapes a bit nicer on the body, as well as giving more ease when turning over in bed.

Despite these imperfections, I still love my nightgown 🙂

First garment!

My first garment is the famous Colette Sorbetto. I decided I would try a free pattern for my first go, to see if this sewing my own clothes thing was for me. I actually made this back in August, but after wearing it a few times (and making additional fit adjustments thereafter) I think I can actually evaluate it more objectively now.

When I first made it, I was absolutely thrilled – I made something that covers my body! Amazing! I wore it to work the next day and even wore it to a job interview the following week haha!! What I didn’t test with the fit was how it looked sitting down though, and with the stiff fabric, the neck would gape open… After I showed it to my boyfriend’s mom, she recommended taking up the shoulders and taking in the hips which were flaring out, which helped a lot with how it looks, though you can see there are still fit/fabric issues.

Looking at it now, I don’t like it as much as when I made it, but I’ve been wearing it pretty regularly.

I’m wearing it with (unhemmed) Simplicity pants which I just finished, and will blog about soon…

Sizing
According to the pattern, my size is 00 bust (smaller than their sizing) – 2 waist – 0 hips. As it was my first time sewing a garment, I cut a size 2 grading out to size 4 at the waist and hips, but ended up taking in the sides to about a size 0bust/2waist/0hips, and would start with the 0 directly next time. I think their sizing chart is true to size.

Fabric
I squeezed this out of 0.8 m of 140cm wide Python print “fashion fabric” cotton, though I think the fabric doesn’t work with this pattern.

Fit changes
– Kept bust dart location (many said it was too high but I didn’t find it so)
– Lowered the armholes
BUT
– Shortened the length of the shoulders (thus bringing up the bust dart and armholes)
– Cut straight down from the waist to the hips as it was flaring out

Design changes
Lengthened the hem to size 18, curving the hem

Construction changes
– Finished the armholes and neck with self bias, folding the bias tape under, top stitching armholes and blind stitching the neckline
– For the hem, sewed a line of stitching, using this as a guide to fold under the curved hem, top stitching.

Next time I would
– Use a fabric with more drape (silk?)
– Start with size 0, or size 2 with shorter shoulders / higher bust dart
– Cut straighter fit from waist to hips
– Lengthen, exaggerate curved hem
– Try a simpler version without the front placket