Thursday, March 5, 2009

BWOF 10-2008-115, Stylin' 70s Gather Front Kimono Sleeve Jersey Dress

Thank you all for the lovely comments on my blouse! You've got me excited about it again. And Rosesred, if you see me in the neighborhood (which is likely, as I don't have a car and walk everywhere), please say Hi!


Well, since I declared my intentions to make the most of my stash back in January I've been very good about sticking to my plan. I bought some fabric on my last visit to G Street, which is permitted. But of course it distracted me. I became obsessed with the groovy 70s print and decided to sneak it in. I bought the fabric knowing it was low quality and flimsy (darn that print!). I assumed it was nylon but the burn test has me stumped. It burns like cotton with a slow, steady flame and a clean smoke. But it can't possibly be cotton because of the hand. It doesn't burn fast enough to be rayon, or get that rough texture when it's wet like rayon, but it has a similar silkiness and easily-snagged finish as rayon. It's cold to the touch on the hanger like polyester, but definitely doesn't burn like poly (no curling toxic smoke, no plastic bead after burning). It ends up with a sort of filmy but dry ash that smudges between the fingers. I wonder if it might be modal? It doesn't hold up to anything and already has a few snags so it probably won't even be around long enough to figure out what it is!

When I first saw BWOF 10-2008-115 it seemed like a not-quite-right substitute for Knip Mode 4-2008-13, which at the time I was still lusting over, not knowing a copy of that issue was living only an hour away from me. Plus, after how unflattering similar kimono sleeve style BWOF 10-2007-114 turned out on me, I was not convinced it would work for me. So I skipped over it.

Now that I've made Knip Mode 4-2008-13 (twice), I was more open-minded about the BWOF version. Several people have made really cute dresses of it, including Christina, with whom I share similar tastes, and the style seemed perfect for the fabric.

Neckline TreatmentI wanted to get a top out of my fabric as well, and once I was done cutting out the blouse and the top I didn't have enough fabric to make a binding for the back neck edge. But I don't think I would have used a bias strip anyway. Instead I used my new favorite technique for finishing the necks of knits, twin needling over clear elastic.

The front self-facing on this is not top-stitched or otherwise finished in place. I thought I would need to use some fusible web to keep it from flipping outward, because my mystery fabric is very flimsy. However, I found that by turning the facing over the shoulder seam and stitching-in-the-ditch to hold it there it stays put while I'm wearing the dress. It also helps that I sewed higher up the center front seam than BWOF's marking (which made it very low indeed). BWOF has you sew only for about 1 inch above the seamline; I went up another couple inches (mainly so my slip wouldn't show).

BackAfter the horror show that was the back view of the Tippi Hedren dress, I decided I needed to get serious about swayback adjustments in knits. I always do one for wovens but figured knits are easy enough to mold into shape. But the swayback on that dress is so awful I couldn't live like that anymore.

In the past, I've altered for swayback on knits by adding darts and/or taking in the back at the side seams. However, while these techniques fix the excess fabric on the horizontal axis, they don't always cure the puddling from excess fabric on the vertical axis (as seen on the Tippi Hedren dress, which has back darts). So I needed to take some of the fabric length out at the swayback, which for me is about 1 inch below the waist.

Swayback AdjustmentIt's quite easy to do, just fold out a horizontal dart, tapering to nothing at the side seam. My dart here took out about 1.5 inches of fabric, which must then be added back at the hem (it's obvious when you lay it out how much and where). I was skeptical before I did this alteration, because if you're adding it back at the hem are you really changing anything? But yes, you are.

BackUnfortunately, it requires adding a center back seam, which doesn't work with every print. I fear the print alone on this dress is widening, and the CB seam exacerbates the problem but at least there's no puddling!

I took in the side seams about four inches total at the empire seam to give a more fitted look. While it doesn't have the same saggy-non/side-boob thing as 10-2007-114, it was completely hiding me under all the fabric. It still has the same feel and style as designed, but scaled more for my frame.

The faux loop at the center front skirt gathering was completely lost in the print, so I left it off. The area needs some embellishment, however, so I went with a pin from my mom; I don't know how old it is and it may well be from the 70s. it disappears in the pictures, but I think it's a little more noticeable in person.

In the end, this dress stands on it own regardless of similarities to the Knip Mode pattern. It's fun and easy to wear but also stylish. It's perfect for this print, and I'm glad I gave it a shot. All photos are here and the review is here.

Now back to stash sewing!!!!!!


Little Hunting Creek said...

Very cute dress! I love that print; I would have bought it too.
The sway back alteration isn't logical, at least to me, but it does work, so go figure.

BeeBee said...

Yeah, I'm sorry but IMHO that dress does nothing for you. The print's cute and it fits well, but it doesn't accentuate how thin and well proportioned you really are. The BOWF 115 shirt makes you look great, but the dress, well, a little wide. Even Tippi looks better on you. At least in the pictures. Though I do want to know what the fabric turns out to be.
I didn't leave a comment on the shirt, but LOVE it. Not only does it fit you great and look great on you, it's soooo darn cute! The silk facings and buttons placement look very professional and unique. I may be copying that.

Byrdie said...

The print of the fabric is cute. I think it's a fun looking dress but I almost have to agree with BeeBee- doesn't show off your figure. Where do you find the time to sew all of your creations?!?!? It seems like you crack one out every couple of days:) I envy you:)

Lisette M said...

I love it! I couldn't cut this one out of the fabric I originally planned (not enough yardage) so I had to find another one from my stash (not that that was difficult...)

Christina said...

Groovy! I think I've already worn out the first one of these I made.

Adelaide B said...

I'm totally grooving on those tights; I love a strongly colored leg. I also love the groovy butterfly pin. Does your mom know that you are stealing her jewelry? (I guess it says "pin from my mom." She could have given it to you. I'm sorry I called you a stealer.)

Carol said...

I'm so glad you've made this dress! I traced off the pattern last week and have the fabric sitting there ready to go ... but I keep hesitating. I love your version and it looks really good on you. I recently discovered the whole twin needling over clear elastic, too. Apparently the Pellon Fuse and Fold that Burda always talks about does something similar with even less stiffness and bulk. I haven't seen it, but I'm on the lookout. The great thing about using clear elastic is that it eliminates the channel effect. I might just cut this dress out tonight!!!

Vicki said...

Pretty groovy fabric!! I put teal leggings on the other day to wear with a dress as it was a bit chilly, well I quickly took them off - I looked You however look pretty cute (maybe something to do with the age difference....)

Karen said...

Love the dress, love the fabric even more.

You'll look lovely in it while collecting your Sisterhood Blog award. Wander on over and give your acceptance speech.

Sue said...

I love the dress - good fun! I am curious to know more about the twin needling over clear elastic.

Anonymous said...

I like the print, but it almost seems to overwhelm your body a touch.

I can see where it fits perfectly, and I can see the adjustments to the fit, but for me, I think it would look better as a shirt, not a dress.

But then, I'm a chunky monkey and everything makes me look wide, so I'm biased.

Anonymous said...

I think it's perfectly adorable, fun and funky and I don't have any earthly idea why you or anyone else is obligated to show of your figure.

Anonymous said...

I totally love the whole outfit with the tights and the boots. Doesn't do much for you in the back view but it does look really cute overall! And thanks for showing the alteration you did where you add the length back at the hem. I could not picture that in my head. But now it makes sense. Aha!

Petite Josette said...

I had totally overlooked that pattern. You version looks very fun and comfortable !