Category Archives: dresses

Muslins, Muslins, Muslins

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will I ever be free of them?

I’m currently on my 4th or 5th muslin of Laughing Moon’s Robe de Style pattern. I finally feel like I’m making progress thanks to the sewists over on Artisan’s Square, but I will be so glad when this dress is done.

I finished the separate slip a week or so ago and that was an experience as you need to use hoopsteel to get the shape and the pattern had me cut it shorter than needed so I had to recut the hoopsteel without assistance, remove the too short piece and insert the new one. It looks pretty good now, but I would do some of the construction, such as the bias binding on the upper edge, differently if I made it again. The insides look sloppy if you do it as instructed. Of course that could just be down to my own inexperience.

Anyhow, I’m not dead and I can’t wait to show you the finished dress after Halloween.

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Kwiksew 4026

DSCF2493 This pattern is very similar to the Lady Skater, but differs in construction. I probably would’ve got a better fit had I simply drafted a cowl neckline on the Lady Skater, but as this would be my first time sewing a cowl neckline, I wanted to get my feet wet with one that was professionally drafted. The pattern has 5/8 of an inch seam allowances for some godawful reason. I feel like the large seam allowances made construction more unwieldy than necessary. To be fair all the pieces did go together fine, although there is a misprint in the labeling of the different sizes on the tissue. The instructions also have a slight error as they tell you to complete steps 9-14 from view A to finish up view B, but there are only nine steps total for view A. What you need to do at that point is pretty obvious, but it could confuse someone new to sewing.

Due to several reviews mentioning that this pattern runs big, I went down a size to the large and it is still fairly roomy in the waist. Although, as you can see there is not quite enough room for my bust, the fit on the shoulders seems good and I can see how another reviewer mentioned that going with her regular size led to it sliding off her shoulders. A few other people mention the cowl being low but I didn’t find it to be particularly so.

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I made some pattern alterations removing 4 inches from the length of the skirt and 1 inch from the bodice length after comparing it to the Lady Skater. I decided to sew with the given seam allowances this first time, but I’m going to be trimming them off the pattern if I make it in the future.

With regards to the construction, kwiksew has you sewing up the side seams of the bodice and skirt separately and then attaching them at the waist. Then you sew clear elastic in a loop to your waistline, but at the edge of of the seam allowance not the stitching line which seems unhelpful as it doesn’t do anything to stabilize the actual seam as the allowance is so large. I think if I make this again I’m going to use clear elastic as directed in the lady skater pattern to stabilize the shoulders and waist. Speaking of the shoulders, those you stabilize with fusible interfacing and that at least seemed to work out just fine. I didn’t use anything fancy, just the light pellon knit interfacing.

One thing I found with the facing on this dress is that it likes to pop out, although it is understitched. If this was ready-to-wear there would likely be a tag preventing that from happening and I’m considering asking for some personalized clothing tags for my birthday.

This was a nice change from lady skater as much as I like that pattern, this is more dressy and I think could look rather classy with the right accessories and better fit in the bust. I have a dark green jersey very similar to this pink that I may try making up into another one of these.

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Space Dress

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My mama told me I should never venture into space

but I did, I did, I did.

Yes, it’s yet another Lady Skater, but making a galaxy print dress was the reason I bought the pattern in the first place. I promise I’m branching out a bit in the future, I have Kwiksew 4026 and Mccalls 6884  traced and ready to go. I’m looking forward to trying some more complex patterns.  Anyway, on to this project.

This fabric was a pain in the ass, beautiful, but a pain. I have never before had a knit ravel along the cut edge when stretched, but this one did, which made getting the neckband in nerve wracking. And looking it, I almost wish I had just turned and stitched anyway. Ugh.

It’s a thin 100% polyester interlock, white on one side and printed on the other. Normally I don’t go for 100% poly, but I’d been searching for an affordable galaxy fabric for ages and ages. I feel like this fabric was meant for some sort of athletic wear, so it’s a good thing there are not any sewing police. I’m really glad I ordered extra yardage though, as a good 5 inch area along one of the selvages is pure white, not printed at all. This made using the recommended fabric saving cutting layout impossible.

This fabric does not have as much vertical stretch as the other fabrics I have used for this pattern. This means the waist is a little higher than I would like, which also makes the skirt a wee bit short. It’s not obscene, but it’s fortunate that I prefer to always wear either leggings or tights under my dresses. Also, I have drag lines coming from the shoulder that didn’t exist in my other dresses that I believe are due to the lack of vertical stretch. It’s disappointing, but the print helps hide it a little bit.

Despite that small snag. I’m just as happy as I thought I would be to finally have a galaxy print dress. I’ve wanted one for years, but I hadn’t been able find any in my price range and my size. I guess I solved that.

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it’s silly, but the only thing that bugs me about this dress is that it doesn’t look great on the hanger. The neckline is nice and flat when worn, but bubbles when it’s not stretched around a body. I’m not sure what the solution to that is, but it honestly doesn’t matter in the long run, (Although if there’s a way to fix it, I’d still like to know.) Who is inspecting my closet to ensure that my clothing has the proper amount of hanger appeal? It’s not a show room and if my skirts end up looking upeven off my body, or a neckline looks a bit gathered when it shouldn’t. I really need to stop fretting over it.

Does anyone else fuss over their clothing not looking like RTW when hung up or in the drawer? Or am I just neurotic and alone in this?

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A Very Vulpine Lady Skater *Updated picture*

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I don’t know what my face is doing, sorry.

This dress is mildly ridiculous.. I’m pretty sure the print is meant for small children, but whatever, it makes me happy. There isn’t much to say other than that this doesn’t fit as well as my purple version, but I was expecting that, this knit has about ten percent less stretch and I can feel it across the bust. There are some wrinkles. Other than that it’s pretty okay, the waist is actually perfect, I feel it’s a little loose on the purple and green Lady Skaters.

I would like to learn how to alter patterns for knits that have less than the recommended amount of stretch though, because the galaxy fabric has about the same amount of stretch as these foxes. I’m wondering if I can just taper to the larger bust size, then back down again at the waist.

Sorry for going so long without posting, life has been busier than usual. That’s also why I decided to post this before hemming or finishing the sleeves. I’d certainly order from Girl Charlee again, the fabric is quite bit more vibrant in real life.

Side note, do you think I should leave off the sleeve cuffs and just hem the sleeves? I feel like the cuffs can make the dress look sweatshirt-y, which isn’t a bad vibe, just not what I’m really going for in this version.

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New and improved Lady Skater

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I haven’t been blogging much, but I have been working on tweaking the fit of the Lady Skater pattern, with much need help from the lovely people over at Artisan’s Square, LynnH in particular. I think I’ve got it near where I wanted although there are a few more tweaks I’d like to make. I have fabric for two more and I feel confident enough to tackle my precious galaxy fabric, which was the reason I bought this pattern to begin with.

I did want to make a note the cutting layout is still annoying a second time, so much so that I actually doubled my bodice pieces so I could cut them out flat. Unless the fabric is pricey, I’m just buying more next time so I can do a single fold layout. As I said before the layout works, it’s just bit of a pain.

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I had a photographer for once and I decided to get silly, err studious.

Cutting out was much easier as I now have a new larger cutting mat and could entirely cut each piece without moving the mat. It’s amazing how much faster and more accurate that made things. I hope some day I can have an even larger mat, one that would cover a whole table would be lovely.

Speaking of cutting, I think I must be getting lucky with my knits because I’ve had no problems with really bad curling so far, but I have bought spray starch as a precaution. They’ve also been very easy to cut out, I honestly have had more trouble with some wovens. I’m sure my experience will change as I branch out, but right now I am enjoying sewing with knits.

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I don’t know if you can tell, but I am loving this dress.

I started my alternations on my shortened size 7 pattern. I had taken a one inch horizontal tuck from the bodice. Then after some consulting I removed 1 1/4 from the center front, tapering to 1/4 at the side seam. From the back I did similarly, taking 1″ from the center and tapering to 1/4 at the side seam. This was all based on the amount I had pinched out of the green dress to get the waistband to sit where I wanted it.

I also did my first sloping shoulder alteration , although I probably should have been doing them all this time. I took out  1 1/4″ and took a tuck out of the sleeve cap so it would match the armscye. I did not lower the armscye at all and I’m really glad I didn’t as it would have been quite low and restrictive.

I also slimmed down the dress by sewing 3/4 inch side seams after I didn’t like the look of 1/4 ones. It’s still a little loose in the waist, but not awfully so.

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I’m rather pleased with this pattern now. It is quite an improvement over my first green one, although it still needs cuffs and to be hemmed. I want to do a smidge of a sway back adjustment, but then I think I’ll be done tweaking and can move on to trying out drafting different necklines and sleeves.

I feel like I learned a lot while altering this pattern to fit me and I’m so glad I didn’t say good enough and call it quits. It’s got me fired up to make another dress and try tackling my skirt sloper again.

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Lady Skater “Wearable” Muslin

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“Wearable” because this version really needs a belt to be at all presentable.

I feel it necessary to acknowledge that after all the rigmarole of getting it together, the pattern pieces for the Lady Skater sewed together without a hitch. After looking at other people’s finished dresses and knowing my own short waisted nature, I shortened the bodice by 1 inch. I think I’ll take another inch off the next one so that it sits was at my natural waist. I also want to take the sides in a smidge and shorten the shoulder seam by half an inch.

The instructions are very in depth. I do wish I had know the dress fabric needs 40% stretch before buying the pattern I feel like that information should be available outside of the actual PDF. It would have made deciding to buy the pattern a lot easier. I also didn’t like that the fabric requirements did not state the fabric widths. I later learned knits most commonly come in 60 inches wide, but since this pattern is targeted at newbies like myself, it might be best to make that clear. I found the cutting layout a bit fiddly, although it does serve its purpose of reducing wastage and lowering yardage requirements. The instructions have you fold the fabric enough to cut your skirt pieces and then refold from the other side to cut out the bodice. It works but you’re constantly testing to make sure that you’re not placing your pattern on one of the holes left from the previous fold and cutting. I know I call a lot of things fiddly but that’s exactly what it was. With the shortened bodice, I think I might be able to do a single fold layout if I buy half a yard more. It’s little wasteful but it be easier and if I want I can always use scraps to make underwear. I’ve wanted to try doing that.

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In addition to shortening the bodice. I want to do a swayback adjustment, the center back waistline is sitting about an inch lower than the center front. I pretty much always find I need sway back adjustments. Although I was hoping I would not this case as the pattern maker mentioned having already made one on the pattern. I guess it’s just not deep enough for the particular curvature of my back. It’s not big deal though, it doesn’t look much worse than most of my RTW.

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The shoulders are kind of awful and I’m going to post for some advice on how to fix them, although I think I’ve got it. the neckband came out quite well, I think, although I’m not used to inserting a neckband into a neckline with an open shoulder seam. It and the sleeve bands still need to be top stitched but I do not have any matching thread.

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As you can see the waist doesn’t hit the most flattering area, which is why I plan to raise it. I also feel it could use a slight full bust adjustment. I plan making at least two more versions, one for my 6pac and one out of the galaxy fabric. I’m holding off on the galaxy version as I have always wanted a galaxy print dress and I’d like to get the fit better. I feel like this pattern has a lot of potential to be a staple in my wardrobe.

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Unearthed a UFO

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Welcome to wrinkle city

Now what?

The fit is not the best but it’s mostly complete. I’m thinking of binding the neck and armholes in the mustard colored material lining the pockets, inserting a zipper and keeping it as an around the house dress. I mean there is no real reason to unpick and refit the whole dress when the pattern is still in print and I can make a better fitting version in the future. It’s Simplicity 6062, not some rare vintage find.

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I also want to hack off about 4 inches from the hem, I think that would be a better length. I don’t know what the optimal skirt length for me is, I’m still working that out, but I think I need to go shorter than I have been.

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As for the rest of my sewing, I’m making pouches for the auction at my Family Reunion in the summer. They’re pretty easy, I just wish I was better at top stitching. I’m also working on the Portrait Blouse from Gertie’s New Book for better sewing and it’s been a bear so far. I’ll put up a more through post about that a later date. I got caught up in the hype when that book came out and it’s looking like it was a poor decision.

Oh and finally, I’m working on my skirt sloper again. The side seam still isn’t straight and i fear it never will be. Still, I’ll buy more muslin and carry on, I will have a nice pencil skirt if it kills me.

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