Thursday, August 12, 2010
Butterick 5450, Easter Dress
I think my marinating time for fabrics is about a year, because this is another one from from Hong Kong, right on the heels of my McCall 5579 kimono from another Hong Kong fabric (they were sewn about a month apart).
I had originally intended this fabric to be for the Simplicity 2827 vintage dress pattern I made in May, but I kind of fell out of love with the fabric. I felt like the colors were a little too pale. I like saturation. So I skipped it for that project, but thought it would work with Butterick 5450. It looks a bit like an Easter dress with those colors, but it is cuter made up than I was feeling it on the shelf.
I started with my usual adjustments, now including broad back. This has separate pattern pieces for the bodice and bodice lining, which is a nice touch for a simple pattern. But that meant I needed to adjust both the back and back lining. In the course of this project, I realized that the L shaped adjustment ends up adding length to the back side seam. I was really confused at first when my side seams were about an inch offset. That's a lot even for my imprecise self. However, the back fits well and doesn't pull across the shoulderblades. I also did a swayback adjustment. However, because of the bodice design, with its very deep center pleat and smaller side pleats, I wasn't sure if it would need a small bust adjustment or how to do one, so I left that to the fates. Luckily, the bust fits well and is not too large or baggy.
When I made this there were only a few reviews of this pattern on Pattern Review, and the photos were all on flat-bellied dress forms and one flat-bellied person. I really, really did not want to deal with this clinging to the belly and decided to add a little width to the front skirt, which is meant to be cut on the fold. I must have been tired when cutting this out because I remember thinking, "Do I need to add any width at the very top? No, I don't think so." That would have been ok were it not for that pesky "seam allowance" requirement. Duh. I sewed CF with a very narrow 1/4 inch SA. I also added width to the sides at the upper edges and turned the front dart into a pleat. The front has plenty of belly room. In fact, I probably would have been fine with the skirt as drafted on the fold.
To get the skirts out of my fabric I had to cut them on the cross grain, which results in that awful pattern repeat on the front. That really bothered me when it was first made, but luckily I can't see the front skirt while I'm wearing it.
I don't know if it was a result of creating a slight A line in the front skirt or what, but the back skirt was making a terrible shark fin when it was all put together. It looked ridiculous! I had installed the zipper pretty far down and could only take in the center back for about the last 10 inches, but it remedied the problem.
Ever since I saw this fabulous jacket by Couture Arts in person in Philly at PR Weekend I have been wanting to do some decorative hand-stitching with embroidery floss. I chose a yellow very slightly more saturated than the yellow in the print to try to bring some brighter color into it. I hand-stitched around the neckline and down both edges of the center front deep pleat. In the end, the stitching barely shows even up close, alas (click on the photo to enlarge--you can also see the pin my mom gave me that goes perfectly). But I like the technique and will keep it in mind for embellishing other projects. Embellishment is always hard for me because I don't have an eye for it (even though I love to make jewelry--I don't know why the disconnect) and fear it will always end up Becky Home-Ecky.
When the dress was done, the pale colors were definitely missing something. I figured I would probably want to wear it with a belt anyway, so I dove into stash to see what I could find. I came up with this vintage ribbon I purchased from the Goodwill trunk show I went to last year. It pained me to cut into a bit of vintage ribbon, but saving it forever is not why it was made and it was the perfect finishing touch for this dress.
It is a cute, well-drafted pattern, other than the Bad Old Way directions for lining the bodice (see my tutorial of earlier this week for the new, better way). I really like that there are separate bodice lining pieces. It puzzles me that the skirt is not supposed to be lined; I lined it. LOVE the back neck darts, something that was standard on older patterns yet all but disappeared today. Most of us have somewhat rounded shoulders and the dart makes for a nice fit.
The only thing I don't like about the pattern is that the straps are quite narrow. I should have paid attention to the drawing and the width of the straps in cutting, because the drawing fairly accurately depicts their width. I am comfortable wearing sleeveless pieces to work, but generally prefer a little more shoulder coverage, so if I made this again I'd widen those straps out toward the shoulder.
All photos are here and the pattern review is here.
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I wore my old pair of Gingher scissors--a gift from my mom with my first sewing machine in 1996--into the ground, and bought new ones when they got painfully dull (literally--they hurt my hand). I kept the old ones on the ironing board for cutting interfacing and quick jobs. I took them to the hardware store to get sharpened, where they managed to dull with finality the last little bit of cutting edge. I don't think they could even have cut paper; they certainly couldn't cut crisp cotton batiste, possibly the most easygoing fabric to cut. I took them to the G Street Fabrics Scissor Sharpening Event team (I hope the response convinced them to repeat it on a regular basis), who probably could have restored the cutting edge if they weren't trying to sharpen 200 other pairs of scissors in a four hour time span. They brought them back to almost being able to cut interfacing.
I visited the Gingher website and they promised that for $7.50 they would restore my scissors to like-new working condition and send them back to me (no extra shipping charge). I figured I had nothing to lose, as otherwise I would have to try to find a way to recycle the metal of the scissors so I sent them along with a check. A check--so quaint!!! But they don't take credit cards. The website says 3-4 weeks; I think mine was right at three.
I got them back yesterday, complete with the sheath. I had meant to tape my name and address to the sheath but forgot; I was glad they kept track of it. They really are like new!!!!! I wish they had loosened the screw a teeny bit as they've always been a squidge stiff, but the blades can chop through multiple layers of fabric like butter again. This from literally not being able to cut *at all*. They have been raised from the dead. I highly recommend this service for your Ginghers!