Way Too Big Washi

Washi

Washi

After chatting with some fellow sewists at the Sew-LA birthday party I decided to finally bite the bullet and make the Washi dress. The pattern has been sitting in my stash for months, but I just knew that the top was going to be too big and I am not really to the point in my sewing where I know how to make adjustments. But I decided to forge ahead anyways and picked out an Anna Maria Horner quilting cotton that I had in my stash. I cut out the smallest size with no adjustments.

I found that the dress sewed up pretty quickly. In one night I had the shirring done, the front was attached to the back, I had the facings in and I was ready to attach the sleeves, but I figured I had better try the dress on. Good thing I did, it was huge! I could stuff another me in the front of that dress! I certainly could not bend down in this dress. I pinched and pinned and figured out that at least 3 inches would need to come out.  I tried to figure out what the best way to fix the top was and decided to just take it in in the sides and see how that worked…So I took in the top over an inch in each side. Well, now the dress was uncomfortably tight around the arms and there was still gappage at the front….I sat down and took the top apart and put the dress aside.

Luckily for me the next day I had a private lesson with the lovely Haley at Sew LA to help me do a small bust adjustment to my Emery dress pattern. When I got home I attempted a SBA on my Washi pattern. I took in my bust darts by about 7/8″ and this time sewed up a muslin of the front and sewed it into the rest of the dress. Hmm, there was still some gappage so I  then took out over an inch from the font. I recut out my top from my fashion fabric and sewed it up. I tried it on and the fit was pretty good, yay! All that was left was to sew my sleeves, bind my sleeves, tack down my facing and sew the lining.

Arm hole binding

Arm hole binding

I ended up using pre-made binding, which I think was too small and made things a little bit difficult to sew, but it looks okay so I am fine with it. I then tacked down my facing and sewed my hem by hand.

Overall I am really happy with the way it came out. I think I would like to make the Washi again, but maybe in a softer, more comfortable fabric. Suggestions?
Not a bad fit

Not a bad fit

Shirring keeps it pretty snug in the back

Shirring keeps it pretty snug in the back

Pattern Testing – The Senna Dress

When Lindsay Woodward put up a blog post looking for people to test the Senna dress I volunteered. I thought the pattern was cute and figured it could be fun. She sent out an email with the pdf pattern and instructions and gave us 10 days to give feedback. I was really excited and printed my pattern, assembled it, cut it out, cut out my fabric and started sewing that day.  I couldn’t finish however because the pattern calls for elastic thread, which I did not have. I did end up running to Jo-Ann’s the next day to get some and they did not have a lot of selection.

Body did I have trouble with the elastic thread. I just could not get it to gather the fabric at all. I re-sewed with a longer stitch length, fiddled with tension, steamed the seams with my iron and even tried drying, but no matter what the seams would not shrink up. They do look a bit gathered when my skirt is flat, but once it is on they straighten right up. Lindsay did send out instructions/helpful tips for working with the elastic thread that would have helped me if I hadn’t rushed to sew the pattern right away.

No gathering to be seen

No gathering to be seen

I also picked the wrong fabric. The jersey I picked felt pretty heavy, but when I tried on my dress, the skirt was like a second skin; whoops. The top also came out a bit loose, but I knew it would. My bust is smaller than the smallest size for the pattern, but I figured if I was testing I didn’t really want to make any changes; plus it’s knit so it doesn’t really matter that much. If I was to make this pattern again, I would choose a heavier weight fabric and take in the top a smidge. For now I think I am going to take the skirt off the dress and turn the top into the crop top variation from the pattern.

Overall I think the pattern is cute and I think I will make another one once the pattern is officially released.

A bit big in the top....a bit tight in the bottom

A bit big in the top….a bit tight in the bottom

Very tight across the bum...whoops, bad fabric choice

Very tight across the bum…whoops, bad fabric choice

Copycat Out and About Dresses

Version # 1 – Sleeves
I downloaded the Out and About dress by Sew Caroline in the midst of my Moneta fitting troubles as I was curious to see if the top would fit me better because the XS has a smaller bust measurement. I decided to use some feather print jersey from Girl Charlee which is actually the same fabric the dress is shown in on the pattern except in a different colorway; call me a copycat, but after having issues with not enough stretch in the shoulders in my Moneta I figured couldn’t go wront using the same fabric the pattern maker used for the dress.I opted to make the half-sleeve knee length skirt version. I actually cut the dress out at the same time I cut out my gray horse Coppelia and Anima pants, but I just couldn’t work up the enthusiasm to sew up the dress (I think this feeling was coming how unhappy I was with my Moneta). Well this weekend the bf was out of town and since this was my last cut out project I figured I better sew it up so I could start cutting out new projects. The construction of the dress was pretty familiar now that I have sewn up a few t-shirts. I made no changes to the pattern except that I used clear elastic to stabilize the shoulder seems and I sewed a 1.5″ hem because I thought the dress was a bit long on me with the 1″ hem. I also decided to fold the cuff up all the way instead of .5″ because the sleeve was hitting me in a funny spot. The only trouble I had constructing the dress was sewing the gathered waist to the top neatly. My gathers ended up looking funny/smooshed on one side so I unpicked them and re-sewed only to realize I caught some extra fabric, so I took it out and did it again. My gathers still don’t look great, but I can live with it.  Overall I am pretty happy with the dress. It is a bit tight in the shoulders when I go to pull it off, but the fit of the top is so much better than my Moneta.

Out and about dress #1

Out and about dress #1

 

Out and about dress with sleeves

Out and about dress with sleeves

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Version # 2- Sleeveless
I made a second Out and About dress, but this time opted to make the sleeveless version using the tutorial on Caroline’s blog. I used a jersey in the briar rose print by Heather Ross; so again I have copied Caroline, because this is the fabric used in the instructions for the Out and About dress. What can I say? I wanted to do the dress in a cute print for summer and I had enough of this fabric in my stash already.
The dress came together pretty easily, I sewed the dress in a day. This time I gathered the skirt panels on my serger. It was my first time using this technique and it was awesome! I also tried to attach some elastic at the waist to make the seam stretchier for when pulling the dress on and off, but I am not sure how well this worked. In order to make the dress sleeveless, I trimmed off 1/2″ from each side of the front and back bodice and used the arm bindings pattern pieces that Caroline has on her tutorial.The end result is pretty cute and comfy. I think I should have lowered the arm cycle because the sleeve cuts into my armpit, but oh well, next time I guess.

Sleeveless out and about dress

Sleeveless out and about dress

Colette Moneta and the trouble with sewing for a small bust

Colette Moneta

Colette Moneta

I have always had trouble fitting tops and dresses because my ribcage/bust is very small (I seriously have a tiny chest here) so even the smallest size of a top just looks like a big bag. I don’t know what size 0 person with a C cup these companies are making clothes for, but I envy her because she can buy clothes off the rack that fit. Anyways, I figured one of the benefits to learning to sew would be that I could finally make clothes to fit my top! I am finding as a beginner sewist, however, that commercial sewing patterns are also not designed for people with tiny top halves. All the patterns that I have acquired so far start the smallest bust size between 30 and 34 inches and are designed for a B or C cup; lets just say my bust is smaller than 30″ and I am maybe an A cup (if that), so I guess I will have to learn to alter my patterns….

I bought the Colette Moneta knowing that the smallest size was for a 33-34″ bust and that Colette designs for a C cup, but I figured since it was a knit pattern it wouldn’t be that bad. Well after making my first bodice I figured I was wrong about that. The top was just huge at the bust, like a few inches too big at both sides. So I figured since it was knit I could just take it in on each side. So I took off about an inch and a half on both sides of my lining and tried it on and it fit pretty well, but when I did the same thing to the fashion fabric I knew it definitely didn’t work quire right because now the armpits were a bit short/tight.

I looked on-line to see if anyone had written about the Moneta being too big, but found nothing. I did find a post on doing a full bust adjustment on the Moneta, but I figured adding darts was not going to help me. I ended up e-mailing the lovely ladies at Colette and they sent me a link to a tutorial on grading down a patter. I set to work and graded down the bodice by just under 4″ total. I sewed up my lining and it fit pretty well, so I set about sewing my fashion fabric (adorable deer fabric I got at Girl Charlee). When I tried on the outer bodice the fit was really good, the only problem was that I couldn’t get it off without help! My fashion fabric didn’t have enough stretch! Curses! My problem boiled down to this, if I made the bodice tight enough to fit my bust, it would be too tight to take off….What to do? I ended up making the shell and lining of the bodice out of my stretchier knit (the stuff I bought to line the dress). So all in all I ended up making the bodice 3 times.

3 Moneta bodices

3 Moneta bodices

Well, I finished the dress last night, but I am just not happy with the way it came out. I think it would look so much cuter out of one fabric. Additionally I really don’t like the fabric I made the bodice out of. I ordered the fabric online and it is supposed to be Kaufman Laguna stretch jersey, but it doesn’t feel like the other Kaufman Laguna stretch jersey I have purchased. Instead of being slightly thick and relatively stable, it feels super stretchy, thin and slightly spongy. Altogether it makes for a not entirely flattering bodice and you know what, the bodice is still too big at the bust! I guess I needed to grade down more!
What the dress should have looked like!

What the dress should have looked like!

Crappy bathroom selfie of me in the Moneta

Crappy bathroom selfie of me in the Moneta

Does anyone have suggestions for knit dress patterns that have a smaller fit in the bust?

Sewaholic Gabriola – or Cutting Rayon is the Worst

I have been MIA from the blog for the last few weeks for a couple of reasons, 1) I have been busy with work, and 2) I haven’t had any completed sewing projects to show off. Well, at least I can gladly say that I now have 2 completed sewing projects to debut.

My completed Gabriola!

My completed Gabriola!

The first project is the Sewaholic Gabriola skirt. As soon as I saw this pattern on the Sewaholic blog I knew I wanted to make it. I love maxi skirts and I loved how the bias paneling on the skirt really made it look different. I wasn’t sure what fabric to use for the Gabriola, but I knew I wanted something swishy and floaty, and finally settled on some emerald rayon challis from Fabric.com. I washed, dried, and ironed my fabric and cut out a straight size 2 from the pattern (I actually traced my pattern pieces onto tracing paper instead of cutting into my pattern, which took forever with the long lines of the maxi skirt). I folded and laid out fabric on my cutting table and carefully laid out all my pattern pieces, which I have to say was difficult because the rayon really wanted to slip and move off grain every time I tried to smooth the fabric, but I pinned and cut and I thought I did a pretty good job of it, that is until I tried to match up my pattern pieces. That is when I realized that my fabric must have slipped off grain/moved when I was cutting out my pattern pieces, because none of the pieces didn’t seem to fit together correctly when I went to pin the panels together! Ugh! Trying to match up the panels on this skirt was so frustrating; my fabric looked the same on the front and the back (I did mark the back with chalk, but the chalk was rubbing off as I handled the fabric pieces), there was really only one notch to match the pieces so I wasn’t exactly sure how the pieces were supposed to line up at the other sides, and I was dubious that my pieces were the correct shape to begin with after my cutting fiasco, also the pieces are cut on the bias so I think they maybe stretched a bit…so yeah, frustrating.

I managed to get all the panel pieces sewed, and finished the edges by pinking them, we’ll see if that holds up. I had an easier time sewing the skirt pieces and finished those edges with my serger. I put in the zipper (I still don’t think I am doing a regular zipper correctly because it looked pretty messy) and attached my waistband. I was pretty excited that it looked like a skirt, but when I tried it on and showed it to the bf he informed me he could see my underpants. Crap! So, I figured I had to add a lining if I didn’t want to scrap the skirt. I knew I didn’t want to completely remake the skirt for the lining with all the paneling, no way. I ended up  taping the pattern pieces together to make one front and one back piece in the same shape as the skirt, but short (I figured I only needed the lining to cover the butt). I cut out my lining from ambience bemberg lining, took the waistband and zipper out of my skirt and then attached the lining the skirt. I re-sewed the zipper and put on the waistband (making it slightly smaller this time).

My next frustration came with trying to even out the hem. I hung up my skirt from a hanger and sat there with my ruler, chalk, and scissors and stared at my skirt, I had no clue how I was supposed to even out the hem. Was I supposed to let it all fall in the middle or hold out the sides? No idea. I ended up evening it out to where it all naturally fell off the hanger. I then folded up the hem and tried it on, hmmm, too long….okay re-mark, re-fold, re-iron…better. I did the hem by hand, which took quit a while, but I finally finished! This skirt took me over 2 weeks of pure frustration to complete. I kept telling myself that after all the issues I had with this skirt that as long as it was wearable I would be happy. Well, it is wearable, but of course I keep thinking about all the things that are wrong with it. But you know what? After wearing it out I was actually pretty pleased with it. It is floaty and swishy and feels nice against my legs when I walk, so who cares if the zipper is wonky?

I love the paneling

I love the paneling

Yay! It's done

Yay! It’s done

So overall the pattern wasn’t bad to make and the skirt design is super cute, I think all of my issues stemmed from fabric choice and inexperience.

I definitely plan to make this again, but maybe in a more stable fabric next time, like voile?

I also completed the Coco dress by Tilly and the Buttons, but I hope to blog about that later this week.

Here's Coco!

Here’s Coco!