Tuesday, November 03, 2020

Big Bad Floral Wrap Dress - New Look 6301

New Look 6301 (2014)

Pattern Description: Misses' mock wrap dress has slim or flared skirt, several sleeve optionsand three types of waist treatments (tie, no tie, band) with an elastic casing at the waist. A Just 4 Knits dress. I made View A.

Pattern Sizing: Size A (8-10-12-14-16-18-20) I cut a size 18 bodice, no alterations, to begin with...

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes, fairly simple.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? The finished garment pictures of this dress look great, and at the time, this was the only wrap dress pattern I could find with a fuller skirt.

Fabric Used: 57" double brushed knit in Multi Shana Floral (97% Rayon, 3% Spandex) from Jo-ann Fabrics, Gutermann 100% polyester Sew-All thread in Claret #440 and Copenhagen #933.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: After a few pattern reviews from (Sewsarahsmith and Sew-To-Fit), I decided to take their suggestions and do the following: I added length, about 4" to each of the waist ties. I also shortened the neckband by an inch to eliminate any possible gaping in the neckline.

Printed off-grain

What I didn't expect was that my fabric would continue to stretch. By the time I basted the skirt to the bodice, it seemed to have stretched out more than three inches. Luckily, I had only basted the side seams, so I took the dress completely apart, compared it to the pattern pieces, and recut. Even the armholes had increased in size!

Waist is much lower than it should be.

I cut an inch off the skirt length. Then I shortened the bodice length by 1/2." I would have liked more but didn't want to interfere with the darts at the side waist. Both the side and shoulder seams lost about 1/2", subject to me trying it on again. I also shortened the neckband piece; since everything else had stretched out, I can only imagine that the neckline did too.

I took great care not to stretch the fabric further. After a series of Big 4 pattern sleeves being too tight on me, I cut these a size larger in width, keeping everything else the same. However, I ended up sewing the sides at 6/8" when they seemed too loose. In addition, the excess ease was ridiculous; the sleeve caps are essentially gathered. I knew then how completely OVER this dress I was since I didn't try to fix it. I needed to hem it and then put it in the magic drawer (won't be hanging this one!) until I forget all about this frustration!

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I still love the pattern's look and will attempt it with a more stable knit next time.

Conclusion: This dress will be worn nonetheless. Well, until it stretches itself out beyond recognition! Unfortunately, it will not function as a muslin because I have no idea what the true fit and ease of this pattern are because of this fabric's low quality.

Historical note: Photographed after voting early, October 2020.

Friday, September 11, 2020

Sewing Update!

I can't believe it's been months since I wrote anything here. I've been thinking sewing if not doing it during the quarantine.

I have been lucky in the fact that my job had us start working from home the second week of March. My sewing room-slash-guest room added another name and use as a work-from-home office.

I first attempted a reorganization of my supplies, which made some improvement but needs more. I created separate binders that hold all the printed-out copies (the majority) of my PDF patterns; all my fitting and alteration tutorials and research; and another for general home repair and craft projects.

Unfortunately, I still have enough fabric that I have more than the plastic bins can hold, and some fabrics are in garbage bags. I'm not too fond of the message that is sending.

So, the main goal this summer was working through my immediate summer/fall projects. Instead of having yardage in various drawers, bins, and bags, I wanted it instead worn on my body. 

However, summer got away from me. Unfortunately, I hurt my back more than a month ago. I believe the chair I was using to work-from-home was the culprit. I've been seeing a chiropractor for that last three weeks and am slowing starting to sew again. You see, since the injury, I couldn't sit upright for weeks, so there was no sitting down in front of my machine. I've just started to sew again.

First on the list are some simple tops from leftover pieces of fabric in the stash. One top is a modified square with armholes. Another is my makeunder of the Assembly Line Cuff Top, which I can't seem to forget. I saw a picture of the actual pattern piece on Instagram, and I am attempting my version. 

I did buy more fabric, but it was all for quick makes, and unfortunately, both my sewjo and my back died, and most are still waiting. 

I have some cotton blends I bought back in 2019 from Joann's, especially for spring and summer tops, which I will STILL make after the muslins. That's what cardigans are for, right? Then I have some of my tried n' true fabric for shorts and a lovely dusky purple linen that I bought before the Jo-Ann Fabrics boycott. 

The linen is for a Simplicity 9139 that would replicate this inspiration photo.

After that, I caught a sale from Fabricmart for horizontally striped jerseys, my fabric weakness. Hopefully, one of them will be my first The Friday Company Adrienne blouse, another indie pattern that I've fallen in love with this year. The other two will be simple t-shirts, and luckily these all can be worn for a couple more months.

So, there should be more sewing content soon. But, don't hold me to that.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Please, Help Me Make Up My Mind!

Last year, I fell in love the this fabric from Jo-Ann Fabrics, their amazing leaf-a-palooza print stretch crepe. I had to have it. Ever since then, I've been stumped as to what to make with it, though.

I know I want something that takes advantage of its drape, something with a fuller skirt, and some swishy movement. Perhaps, some ruffles and gathers?

However, I don't want so much fabric that the details can't be seen, or my shape becomes lost in the pattern.

Here are a few of my thoughts. As time went on, the choices kept multiplying. I need your help!

This dress was my first thought:

Simplicity 8888

The lack of waist definition worried me. After seeing a few of these made up I think it would have a string muumuu vibe. The original inspiration (seem below) by Jasper Conran looks great despite not having any waistline.

Jasper Conran S/S 2017

So no go for this pattern, at least in this fabric. I still think it would work in a solid or a more subtle pattern, and I will probably make it one day.

Then there are these:

I already own the top two patterns, with B6677, being the frontrunner. I adored view A in the illustration from the get-go, but was not excited about the full-length version in the photo. I think I would need to alter the neckline into a rounded v-shape because the print might be overwhelming.

Butterick 6677

I honestly bought McCall's 7381 because of the photograph, the illustrations didn't appeal to me at all. However, with this print fabric, I think the bulk of the waist ties and the sleeves ending right at breast height might not be the best for my figure. So, it might be better in the full-length, sleeveless version.

McCall's 7381

Most recently, I noticed Butterick 6705. I think it has a good design balance. Though again, it is rocking an empire waist instead of one at my waist.

Butterick 6705

Simplicity 9041 has a more appealing neckline, where it doesn't crowd the neck and is more open. I think I'd really like it in the short version with perhaps a ruffled band around the armscye, much like in B6677.

Simplicity 9041

This last option is a Cynthia Rowley-designed OOP from 2011. I always thought view B would make a great summer wedding dress in a silk crepe or crepe de chine. You know the type of boho dress topped with a crown of wildflowers in the hair? Again, I would want to amend the design by adding a ruffled tier to the bottom and eliminating the droopy hanging necktie.

Simplicity 1939

What do you think I should make? I realize the problem isn't really with the patterns but my inability to imagine the final silhouette on my body and my fear of disappointment after putting all that work in.

At this moment, I definitely think I will use the tiered skirt of B6677, view C. The mystery is what will the bodice look like because I think I want something less blousy and more sleek than the options above? So, maybe some frankenpattern work is ahead?

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Quick Projects From 2019

These three projects passed by last year without any fanfare, but I really like to document, so here we go...


I loved Simplicity 2406 so much but realized I would never be able to wear it again while also eating what I love to eat. The hip area was already bordering on too tight years ago. So, I cut it off right at the widest point to make myself a wearable top.

This gave the top some more time, but it's not the same. Since Jo-Ann still sells this fabric, I'm tempted to make that dress over again, this time in the grey version. What do you think?

Tried and True:

I made a simple skirt using a downloaded Pattern Runway skirt pattern (it seems it is no longer available) and some Jo-Ann quilting fabric I had my eye on called Dotted Twigs in a gray, mustard, and black print. It goes with everything, but of course, reads very spring, so it's been in storage.

New Make:

For Halloween, I chose to go as a superhero. Owning both the Simplicity 8718 and Simplicity 8074 "warrior women" patterns, I had a lot of pieces to choose from. The designs in these patterns resemble two of Rey's looks from The Last Jedi (with two versions of Rey's scavenger drapes,) and three costumes from Game of Thrones; a Season 7 Arya Stark battle dress and two from the Season 5 Sand Snake sisters (complete with harnesses.)

I originally wanted to use the harness ideas to create a Valkyrie costume from Thor Ragnarok but wanted something simple to make. I then thought of how achievable the character of Domino from Deadpool 2 would be instead. However, I still really wanted Rey's sleeveless vest in my regular non-superhero wardrobe, so I went ahead and made it anyway.

I was able to find a beautiful tweed remnant on the Jo-Ann clearance table and an exceptionally well color-matched lining.

Hand sewing for the win!

I'm pretty proud of this make and have worn it many times to work as a regular garment. I do still have plans to make Rey's padded epaulets (detachable) at some point with the leftover fabrics.