Thursday, January 22, 2009

Tippi Hedren Dress, BWOF 02-2008-103

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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).

Baggy Underarms-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.

Drape Finish-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.

19 comments:

BeeBee said...

I think it looks much better made than in the line drawing - more shape. And it is cute on you, but yeah, I see what you mean under the arms.
As for beefy knits. G Street has them. Just not on THE WALL (my term for the $2.97 collection that I love so well.) I'm using one that is amazing, probably about $6/yard maybe $8? Not sure, not so good at documenting my purchases - that my be for the better. But it's heavy and really stretchy and jumps back into place. Kinda diggin' it, can you tell?

Little Hunting Creek said...

Under beefy knit category, I found that Juliette is plenty beefy. However it is difficult to find (of course). Beefiness = expensive too, at least in my experience. I think for the raglan sleeves SBA adjustment you are on the right track. One way to test it out that I use is to make a top only with the experimental alteration, to see if it is working for you. That way you can use a small amount of fabric (I usually have knit scraps to use) and then you can make another dress. It looks good on you in the picture, so I'd make another one.

Claudine said...

Great dress, although I don't see Tippi Hendren in it. No one will ever notice the belly button circle unless you stand perfectly still with your arms held out for a long period.

Lindsay T said...

Metro Textile is starting to carry some beefier knits in prints that are good for work. Ya just need some more heft for dresses and things, right?

Vivienne said...

To repeat: Gorgeous! About the baggy underarms and long back - could shortening the entire above bust part of the bodice get rid of both problems? I'm trying to say pinch out a fold across the center of the armscye in front and back.

Lisette M said...

I know you had issues with this dress, but it looks pretty nice to me.

Carolyn (cmarie12) said...

I love that you name your outfits! I had to look at this one the minute I saw the title!!!

AllisonC said...

I do love this pattern, though I'm still debating if it would work for me. I loved the one I made for a petite friend. Yours looks good, maybe you just need to go down a size in the top to get the fit you want - it looks perfectly fine in your photo though.

Linda said...

I like the style of this dress. Sorry you are not so liking it.

I nominated you for an award. Please visit my blog for award rules. Thanks.

ruth219 said...

i like juliette too, but i find it's not real stretchy. i've gotten it at joann's, both the one by g street in VA and the one in gaithersburg. you can also order some really nice heavy knits from sewingstudio.com. your dress looks wonderful....as always, well constructed and carefully thought thru. i want to make this bwof pattern now! Ruth

Sue said...

Your comment about the circles around your belly-button made me laugh! :)

You have great legs so take advantage and wear shorter skirts!

Jill B said...

You know, with this review, I actually think I would attempt this dress (had I the right fabric, and the pattern, and fewer items in my "to be sewn" queue. I really like your commentary and explanations on this one! And it IS cute enough I'd not notice all those details unless I really had time to study you in it. Which might be awkward, to have me staring at you for several minutes saying, "now, turn". :)

dyeabolical said...

For inspiring me all the way back to the wrap dress days from pattern review, I've nominated you for an award. Please, check my blog...

Sheri said...

If you use a "beefy" knit, would there be too much bulk around the waist? This is my problem area, not yours. That picture of you is great. Love the hose.

Nancy (nanflan) said...

Hi, I've nominated you for the Kreativ Blogger Award that's going around. Enjoy!

Faye Lewis said...

That's a really nice dress, great fit.

Sew4Fun said...

I love reading your blog and how creative you are, so I've nominated you for an award on my blog. Belinda

Sherril said...

I'd have never seen that belly button circle if you hadn't pointed it out. Also, the dress doesn't look as if it has too much under the arms, but I hope you can get it to feel more comfortable with the alteration.

I've also nominated you for the Kreative Blogger award. I didn't know Belinda had beaten me to it. Darn those people from down under who are awake while I sleep.

Barbara said...

Great blog, terrific clothes and writing. I have nominated you for a Kreativ Blogger award.