Thursday, January 22, 2009
I liked this dress in the magazine and when people started making it I liked it even more so it went onto the never-ending project list. I bought the fabric in August from the G Street $2.97/yd table and made it sometime in September, as I recall (I know I wore it to the chili cook-off our work's child care center does as a fundraiser every year, and I *think* that's in September, or maybe October).
This fabric was not fun to cut out. I mean, I don't enjoy cutting in general but this was more unfun than usual. From about 5 feet away the stripes in the print are perfectly clear and obvious, but when you get closer than that they completely disappear. So I had a reallllly hard time laying out the pattern to make sure that the stripes went straight across instead of off grain (finding absolute perfect true grain in a knit is generally beyond my capabilities). Once I got the bodice front cut out I could see I was a smidge off and the pattern veers a little bit diagonal, but it was too late to fix it. I really do not recommend this pattern for stripes because of, among other things, the circle they make around your belly button.
In addition to the grain/stripes issue, this project was plagued by several issues.
-I totally missed the part in the directions where you pull the skirt overlay through the knot. I followed the part where you clip the seam allowance of the lower right front between the asterisks and stitch it down and then don't catch it while you're sewing the skirts to the bodice until after you've applied the overlay and then when I was done sewing I was like, "Huh. Why did I have to go to all the trouble of that business with the clipping and the turning down on the right front and the not catching?" Only when I looked at photos of other people's versions did I realize I was supposed to have pulled it through the overlay twist opening! Oh well. I cut this pretty short because I am liking the shorter skirts for this season, so I consoled myself by saying, (1) it would make the skirt too short, and (2) the horizontal stripes would be disturbed and even more distracting if I had done it right.
-This was not the right fabric. It's more of a t-shirt weight (where oh where does one find beefy knits?????) and so the collar is too floppy (should have interfaced) and it emphasizes the bad fit at the bust/underarms (below).
-For some reason it doesn't look as bad in the photo as it looks/feels in real life, but there is way too much fabric under the arms. My conclusion is that it's a bust issue, with there being too much bust in the pattern and not enough bust on the body. I think on a "normal" person the bust would displace that fabric that's bagging under the arms but since it's not being pushed to the front it's just sagging. It's not as gross as a baggy crotch, but it feels pretty gross and sloppy on.
Armscyes have been really frustrating me lately as I keep running across armscyes that are way too small, which makes no sense to me as I have a small frame. I work out and lift weights so my shoulders are muscular, but they are still small. And then here is this one that is way too big. Maybe it's the difference between raglan and set in sleeves?
Anyway, to make this again I will shorten the front armscye and the front by probably 1.5 inches and see what happens.
-Despite the back darts is has a MAJOR swayback problem. I need to either cut it with a CB seam or cut the back as a separate bodice and skirt along the same lines as the front.
-The above problems are (mostly) with me and not the pattern/directions, but my gripe with BWOF here is I didn't like the way they had you construct the front overlay, which was to sew the edges together and *then* finish the twist opening. The seemed needlessly bothersome (why attempt to sew down a round opening when you could do it in the flat?), especially as you have to do the exact same thing for the right skirt, so it's not like they disapprove of the method! So I marked the opening, interfaced it to reinforce, clipped into the seam allowance, and turned it down. It created a nice opening.
They also don't have you sew down the long edges of the drape overlays in place at all, which seems odd as this is a knit pattern and most knits won't hold a crease so there's a huge chance of raw edges showing. I used fusible web to get an invisible hem on the outer edges.
-In addition to the collar being too floppy, I think it's a bit misrepresented in the line drawing. Mine ended up being much wider than shown. Actually, scratch that. Now that I look closely at the line drawing I see it's intended to be turned down to get that width. I don't really like that. Next time I will cut it to half the drafted width and stiffen it up with interfacing so it's more of a true funnel neck and less of a funnel/cowl hybrid.
All these problems make it seem like I don't like this dress, but I actually do. It's a good reliable dress for work, looks great with boots, and I'm glad I went a little shorter on the hem. I can't see my own back so I don't think about that hideous swayback while I'm wearing it. In my younger days I *loved* short skirts, but I've been wearing them at the knee now for years and years and it's fun to mix it up a bit. I would like to make another one someday, if I can find a suitably heavy knit.
All photos are here and the pattern review is here.