Monday, May 30, 2016

Twist Yet Again Top - Irmchen (Burdastyle)

Pattern: "Let's Twist Again..." pattern by Irmchen, available at Burdastyle, FREE!

Pattern Description: Loose, asymmetrical top with twisted side draping and over-long sleeves.

Pattern Sizing: German size 42, according to directions.

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

Were the instructions easy to follow? So easy, they weren't even provided!

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? It has a simple shape, yet when made up it is unusual and was an extremely easy and fast sew.This will be my second time making this pattern.

Fabric Used: 2 yards of 60" Shitake Brown/Heather Gray half-inch striped jersey knit (50% cotton, 25% poly, 25% rayon) from Girl Charlee, which was on sale for $1.50 a yard!

Ignore my belly in this picture, please.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: As before, I added length to the sleeves when I cut it out while also adding a bit of width because the original top's sleeves were a bit tight at the wrists. I cut both the pattern and fabric out a little larger than the pattern piece and chose to sew a 1/2" seam allowances.

I sewed a small narrow zig-zag while slightly stretching the fabric. I then went over that stitching a second time for strength. The sleeve hems were folded over 1/4" twice and slip stitched. I did the same for the neckline and for this version, I chose to attach the optional hem band included with the pattern.

Multiple pins guarantee matched stripes.
The other side: ta da!
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes! This item is so quick to make, the only thing that took time was the hand stitching. I may not add the hem band to any others because I think it brings attention to my expanding waistline more than I'd like. However, the best thing is that the pattern is still free after all this time.

Conclusion: I now have another version of this top that will go with some other items in my wardrobe. I love how it is a t-shirt to just grab and put on and an interesting top. The first one I made was from a knit that had some Lycra content while this one is a basic cotton knit. If I make this again, I will probably choose another beefy stretch knit as this feels a bit flimsy for this style. But I still like this version and how could I not, the price of this top (not including tape and printer paper costs), was under $4.00!

Monday, May 09, 2016

Stacked Triangle Wrap Skirt - Simplicity 1163

Pattern: Simplicity 1163 (2015)

Pattern Description: Misses' knit skirt with option of asymmetric faux wrap, flat front, or pleated front drape with length variations.

Pattern Sizing: Size R5 (14-16-18-20-22) I chose a size 18 reflecting my new measurements.

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

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, very much.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I always love a simple knit pattern. The front drape gives it some interest and the near-flat pull-on waistband makes it sleek and easy to wear.

Fabric Used: 60" Black Triangle Square Print on Off White 10 oz. weight Ponte de Roma (45% Rayon/50% Poly/5% Spandex) from Girl Charlee and 2 inch black Dritz soft waistband elastic.

Check out this side seam! Can you even see it?

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: I cut out a size 18 and the finished measurements stated the hip would be 43" which is an inch larger than my hips. That would be fine but it felt much looser than that and more importantly, it was too wide to attach evenly to the shorter waistband. Perhaps, it wouldn't be a problem with a stretchier knit, but this ponte could only go so far. Therefore, the waistband could barely get over my hips, so I reduced the seam allowance to 1/2" on the waistband. I then increased the side seam allowances of the skirt to 1 inch. Luckily, meeting halfway worked out and with a bit of stretching I was able to make the two match.

Once I had the elastic in the waistband, I tried on the skirt and could see that it was more a-line than I expected. That was my fault because it is illustrated in the drawing above. I debated slimming it down but decided against it.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes, it is a very simple pattern that produces a great skirt with interest.

Conclusion: I love the waistband, which practically lays flat on me. It would be flatter on someone that has a smaller difference between their waist and hip numbers. I also like that the a-line shape adds a little swing to the skirt which makes it pretty sassy.

Monday, May 02, 2016

Mod Stripe Dress - McCall's 6886

Pattern: McCall's 6886 (2014)

Pattern Description: Close-fitting, pullover dress with neckline and sleeve length variations.

Pattern Sizing: E5 (14-16-18-20-22) I cut a size 14 tapering down to a size 18 at the hips.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing it? Yes, after my alterations and changes, it does.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, very much. If alteration had not been needed, it would have been a very quick sew.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

Fabric Used: 60" jade and mustard striped ponte de roma (80% polyester/15% rayon/ 5% Spandex) from Mood Fabrics, item # 107912.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: Well, for starters, I made sure to use my correct measurements and to choose my size according to the pattern's finished garment measurements. Even then, changes had to be made.

I found the neckline to be a bit too wide and the depth far too long, about an inch too deep. Therefore, I had to reduce the length from shoulder line to underarm.

I've seen the versions online and noticed that the dress fit so many different body types and sizes; however, the extreme curve of my back did not work with the line of the dress. My first thought was to create a false seam down the back of the dress by folding it down the center and sewing a curved seam to alter the dress. However, I chose to create two side darts instead. There was some try and error as to how long the darts should be. in the end there was still some extra length above the waist but nothing I couldn't live with. I just need to remember to remove it from the pattern.

When I basted the dress it was hard to imagine the final fit and there were drag lines at the underarm area that I hoped I could remove. I decided to attach the sleeves flat. This way I could see if the drag lines disappear when the shoulder seam no longer hung down and it would also make it easier to enlarge or decrease the side seams easily, if needed.

What this showed was that the dress was still too large in the bodice at the front, the back fit perfectly. I undid ALL of the basting, pulled out the pattern again and recut the bodice to a size 14, including the armscye. Once the sleeves were reattached, the majority of the drag lines had been removed.

It was easy to hem the sleeves and skirt with a simple zig-zag line of stitching in order to preserve the stretch.

However, the fold over and stitch method was not ideal for the neckline and I decided to create a neck band, which would also raise the scoop neckline to where I would feel more comfortable. I chose to cut the neckline band at 26" for a 30" neckline.

The neck  band's three layers were difficult for my machine, I had to use the manual control to slowly topstitch the neckline but it did result in an almost perfect neckband. I then steamed the band to shrink it in tighter for a more secure fit.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I would now since I have altered the pattern. I would love to try out the v-neck option with short sleeves next. For me it was not the easy TNT pattern that others swear it to be but it was fairly simple to alter. So I would recommend trying it as it may work out easier for someone else.

I believe that the back shoulders are too wide because of those irritating diagonal wrinkles. I also believe the armscye is too high because the upper arms seem to be twisting under the arm towards the front. Also, as seen in the picture below, the back waist is too long and a more extensive sway back reduction is needed.

Conclusion: I like the dress, but its not perfect. I already had to make a lot of changes to make it to this point but there will have to be more in its future if I ever want it to be a TNT pattern.I would love to be able to whip up a knit dress whenever I wanted but the time is not now or at least not with this pattern. Sigh...