Category Archives: Summer Essentials SewAlong

Advice please!

This week I have been plugging away on two distinct projects.  One is going to turn out well and the other may well be destined for the trash can.

On Saturday, after making a successful muslin of Simplicity 2363 , I cut my fabric. A pink cotton chambray and a precious 1/2 yard of Liberty of London fabric .  The reviews of this dress have been pretty abysmal, but after seeing this dress by GenesisWinter I had hope that it could be made into a cute outfit. I was envisioning a more defined bib dress with shirring at the waist to add definition.

Let’s just say that the dress didn’t turn out like I was envisioning it.  I’m not destined to become a clothing designer.  Aside for the distinct mumu-like shape, the coloring is just awful.  I’m not sure that it can be saved.

Nothing gives an example quite like a picture– but I must admit that these pictures are a bit embarrassing.  How could I have gone so wrong with the fabric selection?  I’m a bit heartbroken that I wasted my first bit of Liberty of London fabric.


I thought that it looked better close-up.  So as I was sewing it, I (unfortunately) was only looking at it within a close range.  Once I put it on (above) it was a different story.  But for the record, here is the close-up shot.

Even though it looks like a mumu now, the shape does have potential.  As pictured, I have taken out about 1″ on either side of the dress.  However, the seams lend themselves to additional fittings- I have 6 “fitting opportunities” around the dress.  I have decided that I hate the gathering in the front and back panels too.  It makes two pouches in all of the wrong places.  I could take out the excess ease here- and use shirring to add definition.

Now onto the color.  I have extra of the pink chambray cotton fabric, so I could easily cut out the bodice again.  My question is- is it even worth it?  Is the dress worth saving?  I’ve had a friend say that it might be the wrong color for my skin tone.  Would it be worth trying to use RIT dye to change the color to a deep raspberry/violet?  And has anyone even used RIT dye successfully before? (How did you do it?)

The second issue is what to do with the Liberty of London fabric.  I carefully have ripped out the seams of the dress, and therefore have preserved the bit of fabric that I have.  However, it’s cut in the shape of the Simplicity 2363 bodice.  If I could adapt the pattern to a more-fitted, princess seamed top, would it be worth buying more Liberty of London fabric to make a fall top?  This is the shape that I was picturing.

Thanks for all of your advice!

I hope to have my second project finished tomorrow morning.  I’ll post my process later this weekend.

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Filed under Baby clothes, Dresses, Kids clothes, Summer Essentials SewAlong

A blue chambray shirt dress

It’s done! (Finally!)  My goal was to have this finished in time for the Fourth of July- and I succeeded.  This blue chambray dress is made from Simplicity’s 2403 pattern.

Now that it is constructed I think that it is a great dress.  It’s incredibly comfortable.  My favorite part might be the utility of the pockets.




This is becoming a constant theme, but I struggled with adjusting this dress to fit my height.  I realize now, that my problems were related to my adjustments of the bodice.  It seems that I added too much length in the shoulder area – thus skewing the collar and armcycles.  I recognize that adding 1/2″ to 1″ in the shoulder area isn’t a traditional adjustment –  but if I don’t add length there the armcycles are WAY too short.

Does anyone have any suggestions as how to solve this problem without skewing the neckline and armcycles?

While the pattern itself was quite easy to follow, I think that it could be improved in several ways.

1.  The sleeves.  The original sleeves did not look good on me.  At all.  This was seconded by the Professor when I proudly showed him my finished sleeves (which took a long time), and he paused and said… “hmmm…the sleeves look old-fashioned.”

After that sort of comment, I couldn’t just leave them.  I tried all sort of options before ripping them out –  could I roll them up or shorten them?  No.  They just had to go.  So I commenced with ripping them out in their entirety.

Once the sleeves were disassembled I used the slope of the sleeve cap from Simplicity 2177’s pattern to reduce the height and puffiness of the sleeve cap.  I then hemmed the sleeve several inches shorter (I just guessed the length that I thought would be flattering).  I added elastic casing (without using binding) around 3/4 of the sleeve to make it more fitted.  The resulting look is very similar to the second sleeve option of the pattern.


2.  The back yoke.   I have broader shoulders than those drafted in the average pattern and usually have to add a bit of width if the pattern includes set-in sleeves.  I believe that I added around 1″ to the back yoke, and subsequently to the back bodice of this pattern.  My first muslin followed the pattern directions explicitly, but I disliked the puffiness that the gathered yoke/bodice added.  The Professor’s shirt provided inspiration and I decided to change the gathers to a menswear-inspired pleat.  The top and bottom of the pleat are not quite symmetrical, as I needed to remove more excess at the top than at the waistline.  I’m pleased with the comfort of this design.


One last fun touch on this shirt dress is the special buttons.  The vintage buttons are from my NANA and are from her collection.  I think they may be pearl.  Thank you NANA!

I think that I will try to make this dress again.  I’m envisioning a fall dress — a tan corduroy dress to go with tights and my tall boots.

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Filed under Dresses, Pattern review, Summer Essentials SewAlong