Thursday, November 4, 2010
McCall 6032 is totally my kind of pattern: a knit dress with a bit of volume in the front. I like the double V front and back neckline and the choice of sleeves as well. When I found the fabric at Fabric Mart ($5.99/yd) it seemed like a great match. The front of this dress is cut as one piece so it's a good pattern for a large motif like this, though the back has a separate bodice and skirt and a CB seam, and I did not handle the cutting layout very well I found when it was done! My main concern was not to get a giant circle over my boob, so at least I succeeded in that.
This calls for a center back zipper and for the bodice to be lined. To add insult to injury, the bodice lining is done the Bad Old Way where you have to sew the shoulders at the end, rather than the new, all-machine clean-finish way. This is a nice sturdy knit so it didn't need to be lined and as for a zipper in a knit, pfft.
When I made some unmentionables recently I finally pulled out the picot elastic I had purchased from Sew Sassy and I thought it was really cute and decided to use it as a neckline finish at the next opportunity. This presented the perfect project!
The front is cut on the fold, and I had cut the back bodice on the fold as well since I was not putting in a zipper. While cutting, it seemed like the back neckline was really low. When I put it together, the back neckline was indeed really, really low. The dress was overall a bit too large as well. And I was a little stumped as to how to get a good elastic application only by clipping into the seam allowance at CF and CB. I took a rather large dart at center back, taking up about 1.5 inches of fabric and finishing it a little above the waist. I cut it open and unstitched the first 5/8" for seam allowance. At the center front, I took a tiny dart only slightly longer than the seam allowance and slashed and unstitched it 5/8" as well. I cut two pieces of elastic, each slightly shorter than the distance from CF to CB, folded down the seam allowance on the neckline, and stitched in place with a twin needle, overlapping at CF and CB to make a point. I trimmed away the seam allowance only so it would like nice for the picture. Ha!
I was happy with the way the neckline trim looked--it adds a little pizzazz without being too obvious and using trim like this makes for a nice sharp V at center front and back.
Here's my dumb move and slapdash finish for the project. I cut the 3/4 length balloon sleeve, even though every time I've tried this look in the past it is a disaster on me. It makes me look shorter and like I have tiny Tyrannosaurus arms, and also widens me across the middle. And also looks like an old-fashioned nightgown. This look works for many people so I'm always lulled back into temptation, but on me it is all around bad.
Instead of first going to narrowing the sleeve to be fitted, I decided to chop them off in a fit of mania and see if I could do a puffed elbow length sleeve. That didn't look good either. So now I was stuck with voluminous, unflattering sleeves. I could have cut out a new set, but then I wouldn't have enough fabric to make the Simplicity 2580 empire waist cowl top. So I carefully serged my cut off lower halves back on using the tiniest seam allowance possible and narrowed the sleeves. Luckily, the joining seam really doesn't show from 5 feet away so I think I got away with it...this time. I hemmed the sleeves with picot elastic to echo the neckline.
You can see that the low back neckline creates room for it to slip off my shoulders a bit. I don't have to constantly pull it back up into place, thank goodness, but I might need to make some sort of sloping shoulder adjustment if I were to make it again. Bra strap keepers would help, too. The way it opens up creates those little dewlaps at my underarms, but at least there's no swayback! I made my usual swayback adjustment, of course. But perhaps swayback puddling would distract from the terrible pattern repeat there at center back.
This was another piece that got a lot of wear on my trip to Turkey. Love the bright colors and sturdy knit, and the cut flatters my shape well.
All photos are here and the pattern review is here.
So, it's cold now. Sadness. Cidell and I were talking about Fall/Winter sewing and she expressed skepticism that my knit dresses for winter actually keep me warm. They don't. The dresses are barely an afterthought in the scheme of keeping warm. First, you start with tights. Then come the wool knickers made out of thrift store merino wool sweaters. Lightweight, form fitting, and oh so warm. I think the wool knickers are the smartest sewing I have ever done. Now, don't get me wrong--they are so ugly that they are the anti-sex. Much worse than a chastity belt, because the chastity belt implies that someone wants to get at what's under there. With the wool knickers, it's like, "I wouldn't go near that with a 10 foot pole." But so warm.
Then you add knee high boots, a coat, a scarf, a hat, and gloves. Oh, and throw on a dress somewhere in there. The only place that isn't covered in a double layer is your knees, and if it's really cold you can put on some black Cuddl Duds (big fan of the product, despite the inexplicable spelling) or silk long johns, which can pass for tights on the commute to work but have to be removed in the office because they don't *really* look like tights. My office allows jeans on Friday so I usually do that, but other than Fridays I wore pants only one time last winter when it was too damn cold for a dress. Otherwise wool knickers/boots/coat/hat/scarf/gloves keeps you warm, despite the flimsiness of a knit dress.