Monday, January 16, 2012

My first sewing post!

Here we go- my first post about sewing.

I decided a few months ago that I wanted to tackle something I haven't attempted before...a tailored dress.
I've never made anything tailored before, preferring smock tops, skirts, and baggy tunic tops. Mainly for ease of sewing, not because I think those styles suit me. Which they don't, really. I have a tiny little up-an-down figure so I really should be making more structured, ladylike items of clothing.

This is the pattern that I decided to cut my teeth on. Looked easy enough. However, looking at the measurements on the back, I knew I'd have a bit of trouble. My waist measurement fits into the 3rd size, but my bust measurement fits into the first size.
I don't have a ridiculously small set of boobs (I'm still a B cup, same as I was pre-kids) but my chest is very small. And I've put on a lot of muscle mass around my waist in the past year. As well as gaining 5 kilos, I've gained a good inch or two on my waist, which I'm not too happy about. I'm not clever enough yet to figure out how to tailor patterns to my size, so I just cut out the smallest size and hoped for the best.

Thankfully, I had the sense to make a toile before destroying my lovely cotton prints....

This is how the first toile turned out. As you can see, I didn't sew the darts very well because they are puckered at the points. Also, the fit around my bust was terrible. It was really, really tight around my waist.

So I cut out a second toile. This time I cut out the 2nd size, but kept the darts in the same position as the first size. Don't ask me why I thought the bigger size would fit me better. It was a complete disaster and went in the bin.

This is the 3rd toile. I moved the bust darts up by 1cm and made the waist darts 1cm longer. I also added an inch to each waist seam, and an inch to the length because I thought it was too short. The fit was so much better. Not perfect, but I was totally over it by then, and I deemed it good enough. So I cut out my fabric and sewed it up.

Because I really have no idea how to alter patterns, it didn't really work when I attached the skirt. The waist seam was as crooked as a dog's hind leg, and the bodice was way too long. Also, when I put in the zipper, the bodice was way too big around the side seams. So my alterations to the length and the side seams had to be undone.

It's still far too big around the waist, it's really tight around the front arms, and I totally ballsed up the zipper, but I was so over the whole thing that I just left it as is. It still looks nice on.

So, here's a breakdown of the project.

Pattern used: Kwiksew 3521

Does it look like the drawing on the pattern/ envelope?

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes, very. I find that all modern patterns are aimed at dullards like myself who need everything explained in very clear terms.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I like that it has two neckline options. I don't think there's anything I didn't like about it.

Fabrics and notions
I bought this very light cotton (not sure what it is...possibly a voile or lawn?) for $4/m a couple of months ago especially for this project. The 20 inch zipper was purchased for the project too. I had the hook and eyes in my 'stuff' box already.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made
I did make quite a few changes, but the only ones I kept were to move the bust darts up by a centimetre and lengthen the waist darts by a centimetre. Oh, and for the next one, I reduced the front armhole sleeve by a centimetre.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes, I did sew it again, as you will see! And I would recommend it to others.

Did you use any new skills?
Yes, a new way of sewing in a zipper (I usually just do it my own way, which I still did, and which sucks. but for the next one I did it properly.)
Oh, and I learned how to sew darts properly.

Pattern: About $6
Fabric: $4/m...I used just under 2m, so I'm guessing $7
Zipper: $1.50
Thread: Stash
Hook and eye: Stash
Total: $14.50

It's a very light, cool, breezy dress. I feel very feminine in it. Just don't look too closely at the sewing...

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