Simple Floral Cotton Frock (Butterick 6718)

Wow! Look at me – I sewed a newly released pattern from Butterick!  I made View B of Butterick 6718, with a few changes.

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As busy as November was, I did manage to find time to sew: I finished three (simple) items and am nearly finished a far more complex one.  This is one of the simple ones.

I bought the Lifestyle Wardrobe for the featured view (ACE): the pantsuit.  I purchased the fabric (ivory silk wool satin with red silk crepe for the blouse), but need to muslin everything before I can start that. I started with the dress, it is the basis of the blouse, using a coordinating fabric from my stash.

The dress is fitted, with front  and back fish eye darts and a gathered neckline.  It’s unlined: the neck is finished with self binding and the armcyse with narrow facing. I made a size 14, with modifications.  I find that this style dress to be too fitted in the torso, between the bust and waist.  Rather than lose the darts, I simply added 1/4 inch to each side seam, tapering to the size 14 under the arm.  This also gave me more ease for sitting/ at the thighs.  Though the dress feels loose when standing, it’s much more comfortable to wear all day (sitting, standing, driving) with a tad bit more ease.  Also, hot/humid Florida means tight clothes are not comfy.   I also added 1.5 inches in length at the midsection add/lengthen line – my normal adjustment, but I think I could have done a full two inches here.

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The fabric is one I’ve had a while – a stretch cotton sateen in a brown and black floral pattern.  I read recently that dark florals are in this fall. I purchased it from Gorgeous Fabrics in 2016.  Finally found a use for it!  The dress is not lined, and I really like my dresses with linings, so I used a black silk twill I purchased in 2013 (also from Gorgeous Fabrics).  It was intended for lining an unfinished trench coat I started back then, but at some point cut into it for another project…  It’s a lovely, lovely lining.

I found that I needed to make a few more changes as I fit as I went… first, I had to add shoulder darts/back darts, as I had too much fabric between the shoulder blades.  I think is do to the rounding I’m starting to notice in my shoulders…  The cotton sateen has body, so it was pretty obvious… (the recommended fabrics run the gamut from brocade to challis).

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Shoulder dart.

The neckline is gathered, and I knew that between the body in the sateen and the lining,  gathering was not an option.  I opted for a some small inverted pleats at the neck line.  I think it’s a slightly more sophisticated look.

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New Neckline with Pleats.

Since my lining is black, I chose not to line edge to edge, but kept the binding and facing.  I did not edge stitch the binding or top stitch the facing.

One last thing, this is shorter than I would have thought (never pay attention to the model picture) even after adding length to the torso. It’s also more flattering in person than my pictures below indicate.

This is an easy make, and your choice of fabric can glam it up or make it office worthy.  I wore it with a black leather blazer and low black pumps to work (the shoes in the pix are not comfy so I ditched them immediately after pictures.)

I probably won’t make the dress again (too many others in the queue), but look forward to making the other pieces from this pattern.

Last, my 8yo son took pictures this morning before work, but once again, out of focus.    The rest were this evening after work.

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Successful Failure? B6554

Summer sewing?  But it’s fall!  Yes, it is even fall here in Florida, but summer warmth is still part of our days.  This dress started as McCall 7745, and ended up as skirt.  Last May I determined that I really liked view D of McCall 7745, and purchased the yellow viscose/linen that became a hi-lo skirt.  When the fabric arrived, I changed my mind and ordered a lovely blue print Hawaiian rayon challis (Tori Richards) to make the dress (fabric from Fabric Mart).

McCall 7745, view D

The reviews for McCall 7745, view D, were overwhelmingly negative, so I made a muslin for the bodice.  For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out how to adjust the muslin.  It was too big through the bust, but with no wiggle room at all to lift the arms!  I gave up and switched to view B, but wasn’t thrilled about the design.  It had too much flounce for me.

Butterick 6554

Butterick 6554, view B has a very similar feminine silhouette but a little less frilly, so I thought I would try again.  I spent some time tweaking a muslin, and then it was time to leave on vacation for summer – and I hadn’t even cut anything out.  Three weeks ago, I thought I would pick up were I left off, and cut it out for the Luau we were throwing.  I didn’t finish in time for the Luau, but I did finish it for my kid’s school carnival today.  And I hated it!

I must have misread the markings I had transferred from the muslin to the pattern tissue. And I’m convinced that wrap dresses with raglan sleeves are not a flattering look for me.

Without any hesitation, I cut the bodice off and stitched on a grosgrain waistband with hooks and eyes.  Much better, very comfortable, and still feminine without being too girly.

We’re thinking about a vacation in Portugal next summer – so even though it’s cool enough for a sweatshirt here (in the morning), I’ve got something to take with me!

Pictures:

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Before pressing. I had a bad feeling about it. Trying it on confirmed it.  This long-waisted gal can’t wear this wrap dress.

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Much better!

I have little time, but loads of inspiration!

Well, the new position, along with preparing for hurricanes, means I have had little time for sewing regularly or for any extended periods of time.  I have had the week off because of Dorian, but so has the kiddo.  Still, I began to think about the next few dozen projects.

No really.  When I have no time to sew, I plan.  Here’s a snapshot of some of the projects I’m working on, or hope to complete:

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The good news, some are already in progress.

  1. Vogue 1526, Paco Peralta short-sleeved jacket and pant (I made the shirt some time ago).  This is almost finished, as in hopefully this week.  Details coming up.
  2. The Kay Unger color block is up next, as an easy-do-right-now-option.  I’ll be doing it in black and white rayon ponte leftover from other projects.
  3. To the left of Kay Unger is a Molyneux vintage dress. I’ll be doing this in a gorgeous black/silver bamboo woven.  The pattern is vintage – and too small  – so a little pattern grading is in order.
  4. The Kwik Sew men’s coat is cut out.  I promised it two years ago to DH.  I’ve got to take the time to finish it.
  5. The Patterson Couturier will be in a a gorgeous plaid.
  6. The Guy Laroche suit (top left) is cut out and about half done.  I started it last spring, but it won’t be cold enough to wear it for several weeks.
  7. The Butterick summer dress in a Tori Richards rayon challis print for a Luau in October.
  8. The Paco Peralta zip front in a burgundy denim.
  9. The remaining three (bottom left):  Montana, LaRoche and Edith Head – I don’t have the right fabric for these yet.  And, I have many other patterns paired with projects I can work on until I do…

And, my plans usually get upended. I know there are another half dozen projects awaiting my attention, some cut, some long-desired. And I need a coat.  Hopefully, I get the first four on my list completed without deviating. After that, who knows.

And, no, we aren’t in any danger from Hurricane Dorian, though last week we were prepping in earnest!

Copycat: Modified Butterick 4684

As a rule, I don’t like to copy ready-to-wear.  I work in a field where ideas are protected, as is what you produce.  Plagiarism may be the sincerest form of flattery, but it’s still plagiarism.  Still, I did it this time.   I found this blouse at Nordstrom:

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Nic & Zoe (at Nordstrom)

It retails for $148 – all linen, raglan top, with tied up sleeves and shirt-tail hem.  I really liked it.  But before buying it, I saw a similar fabric at Marcy Tilton:  darker, more intense, but similar.  I decided to give it a go.

I went through my patterns and decided on using Butterick 4684 as my base.  I’d made the tunic before, long ago, so thought it would work:

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No, it doesn’t have raglan sleeves, but I find that raglan sleeves are hard to fit on me.  I chose view D, with the sleeves of view A.  Here are the changes I made:

  1. I eliminated the front slit.
  2. I used a top I had whose neckline shape and size was similar to the photograph (though a bit smaller as it turns out) to reshape the neckline.
  3. I used a narrow facing to finish the neckline, top-stitching 3/4″ from the edge.
  4. I used french seams throughout.
  5. I set the sleeves in flat before basting the side seam in a continuous seam all the way to the lower edge.
  6. At this point, I knew it was time to try it on for shaping, as this is a pretty boxy top.  I tapered into the waist about 1.5 inches on both sides.  I also shorted the top by 1.5 inches.
  7. After sewing the side seams, I used a favorite shirt to decide the shirt-tail hem, and traced/trimmed the fabric to the right shape front/back before machine-hemming a shirt-tail hem.
  8. I used half-inch black grommets I had on hand.   I would have placed them higher on the sleeve, as in the photo, but my sleeves were a little too narrow.  So, I placed them 4.5 inches above the hem, centered, as in the photo.
  9. I keep going back and forth on the ties.  The white cotton twill tape didn’t look right with the darker fabric and black grommet.  Unfortunately, the only black twill tape I had on had was synthetic and doesn’t drape.  I cut 20″ inch strips for both.  Next time I’m buying supplies, I will buy the cotton twill.

Photos.  I bought a tripod/remote for my phone, but the blue-tooth wouldn’t pair with my phone.  So, the usual not great bathroom selfies.  The pants are a white linen/viscose mix (also Marcy Tilton).  And, yes, they are Paco Peralto 1550, again.  I forgot to put on my shoes, hence the dragging hem!

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After seeing the stiff black ties, they are coming out!  The white looks better, even as a temporary expedient!

B6134: the Ponte Version

Well, the ponte version of Butterick 6134 (last week’s shirt) revealed new fitting issues.  I’ll continue to play around with this “muslin” though I hadn’t intended it to be a muslin.  The rayon ponte is from Marcy Tilton – she does carry great knits!

Early morning bathroom selfies:

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What I didn’t notice on the version from last week was the placement of the princess seams. Note that they are way to the outside of the bust apex.  This pattern piece is essentially the same for all sizes in the envelop (size 6-14).  And if it’s too wide on me, running between a size 12/14, imagine the fit on a narrower gal. I’m also a B cup, which is who the big 4 design for.  This has the affect of making me look flat chested.

You can also see other issue areas.  I have pulling now in the sleeve that I didn’t have before… I should mention that I folded out 1/2 inch in front and back on that middle piece, right above the point where the princess seam meets the sleeve to deal with the hollow chest.  I also have some pulling toward the stomach (more planks, less wine?).  And though you can’t see it well, the neck collapses/has too much fabric. What you see in the photo isn’t simply because my arm is raised.  Better picture here:

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I cant rescue this version. I hadn’t noticed the princess seams on last weeks version, so when I did them here, I serged – I have no fabric to play with.  I can still play around with the sleeve and neck.

In any case I’m entertaining suggestions. Right now it’s really not working for me, but I love the lines on this enough I’d like to get to right!

And, if you’re wondering about my long string of failures… I have plenty of clothes (well enough) that I’m moving outside of my comfort zone. I’m trying new styles and new fabrics (too me).  But I’m also finally tackling my most difficult area to fit – tops/shirts. I’ve been avoiding shirts, especially semi-fitted/fitted for a long time.  I need to figure this out – as I have noticed that I have the same problem with dresses.

 

 

A UFO no more: Butterick 6134

A cute combination of raglan sleeves and princess seams, I chose Butterick 6134 early this summer as a great wardrobe basic.  It’s an easy pattern, but I fell into trouble with it – fabric choice and fitting!

IMG_3604I’ve been cleaning out things around home (including donating 7 amazing RTW designer suits from my suit days to charity and 20 yards of fabric to the art program at my son’s school).  I came across this project I abandoned over the summer and decided to finish it for the lessons learned.  And, voila it works.  While this version is just okay, I have high hopes for the next version!

The pattern:  Butterick 6134, released 2014.  Fitted top with raised neckline.  I chose view B, but with view C’s short sleeves.

The fabric:  The pattern calls for faille, challis, or crepe.  Crisp and architectural or soft and drapey?  I chose a soft white tiny pique cotton woven I bought from Sawyer Brook at least 5 or 6 years ago.  Spoiler:  the fabric doesn’t really work.

Construction: Nothing complicated here.  Except the fit. I cut and stitched a 14 through to adding the sleeves (a 14 – how’d that happen?).  I basted in the raglan sleeves and tried it on.  I thought I was being generous cutting a 14 … but … my midsection …  too tight.  In a fit, I took it off and threw it in the sewing closet where it stayed until I found it last week.

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I tried it on again, now that I soberly realize that I need to fit the body I have, not the body I once had, or think I’ll get with exercise.  It wasn’t so bad.  I let out all the seams in the front and sides (where I needed room), and re-stitched with 1/2 inch seams up until the first darts, where I eased back to 5/8ths.  It fits. I added about 1 inch doing so.

I also noticed when I finished the top that I need to think about one more fitting measure (at least).  I had marked the bust point with tailors tacks, and I noted that the bust point was low.  I pinched out the fabric above the bust between the sleeve seams (but not in the back), and the fit was much better.  I’ve noticed “saggy extra fabric”  in this area before, which leads me to believe that I need to muslin all my tops to check for the hollow chest adjustment.

Would I make it again and what would I change?  Yes, but I would change the fabric (and fit adjustments).  This fabric wrinkles too much, and it’s not “firm” enough.  It doesn’t have the body it needs to look just right. It’s very fitted, so I’d recommend a stable knit (like a ponte).  My next version will be in a grey rayon ponte remnant I picked up from Marcy Tilton.  This version is fine as a layering piece, but I’m not thrilled with it as a stand alone.

Butterick 6494 dress in Rayon doubleknit

Just a quick post.  I recently made Butterick 6494, view C, no pockets. It’s an easy make, but, sadly, it’s already too warm here for long sleeves.  Perhaps a cool evening?

From Butterick’s website.

This is an easy dress to make, so very little to write.  I made a size 12 in the shoulders, tapering in the sleeves and side seams only to a size 14.  It’s a slim, close fitting dress, and very flattering, but give yourself room if you have a clingier fabric.

As for the fabric:  a teal rayon doubleknit (with some elastine or lycra) from Emma One Sock.  It’s a medium weight, which is perfect here (the pattern calls for french terry).  The fabric was fairly easy to work with, though it wrinkles easily (see the photos).  I found that going up to a size 11 needle helped with skipped stitches.

I didn’t really change much or do things differently from the directions, which are straight forward.  I did eliminate the pockets, as reviews elsewhere suggested these could lead to enhancing the tummy area in an unflattering way.  I followed the instructions for the collar, but I don’t think it gives the best results.  I plan to follow David Coffin’s (Shirtmaking) instructions next time I do a collar, as I think it will result in a more professional finish.

Over all, I’m pleased, though I know where the errors are.

Some pictures:

 

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