Tuesday, August 30, 2011

"Falling" for Vogue 1250

Inasmuch as I have lost count of the number of weeks Houston has had temps over 100 degrees one would think that whining about Vogue 1250 not having a long sleeved version would beg the question "what is she smoking?" And yet, preparing for that first crisp, cool day sometime in October was the inspiration for this project: I want V1250 with sleeves! It has bothered me from the get-go that sleeves were not an option.

This cinnamon colored "Crinkle Polyester" knit was actually the muslin I first made for V1250 and I loved the pattern so much I moved on to make others and put this one aside unfinished. I just love the color of this fabric and yet it has always said "Fall" to me so I decided it was the perfect Muslin #2 to try out the long sleeves on!

The first thing I did was to decide if I simply wanted to extend the existing cap sleeve or re-draft a set in sleeve at the shoulder. I took the easy route since I like the look of the existing dropped shoulder cap. I went through my stash looking for a pattern that had a similar cap sleeve and that also included a long sleeved version...I decided upon Butterick 5495. 

Next, I compared the two garments I had from each of these patterns. The armscye was virtually the same on both when I layed one upon the other:

Now, I must warn any of you who are professional pattern drafters, engineers, or basically anyone who has a highly functioning left brain...what I am about to do to get from A to B might be painful for you to witness...but, hey...it worked!

I took the back pattern piece with the extended sleeve from the McCall's pattern. On top of that I put the back pattern piece from V1250 and matched up the notches at the shoulder. No magic in that formula...it just happened to look right. I placed a piece of waxed paper over the sleeve to trace on. (sorry about the glare)

M5495 by itself

With V1250 back and notches matched, draw sleeve of M5495 on to waxed paper
 Then I repeated the procedure using the front of V1250, again matching the shoulder notches. See below:

Now I had a front sleeve and a back sleeve. Being the Einstein that I am, it occurred to me that I did not want a seam going down the top of my sleeve. So I turned one sleeve over and layed them sided by side, creating a whole sleeve. A further light bulb moment alerted me to overlap these two pieces to allow for imaginary seam allowances. I think I allowed too much which will be revealed by a fix later on.

Here are the two pieces of the sleeve side by side with approximately 1.250" overlapping (5/8 X 2 although this turned out to be too much. Plain old 5/8 would have worked better.)

So, I cut out the sleeve and pin fit it to my arm and the garment. It was a little snug but it seemed to fit the dress so I was going to trust the fabric I was using to be stretchy enough:

The next step required me to put on my big girl pants because it was time to cut into my fabric. Luckily, this "Crinkle Polyester" was on the remnant table so if it was a total disaster at least it was not a financial setback. Upon laying out my cute little pattern I saw that there was negligible difference between the front and back of it so I just folded that puppy in half and placed it on the fold. I ended up with a sleeve that looked like this:

Before cutting the second sleeve I basted in the first one. I undid a little of the side seam of the dress, sewed the sleeve in flat and then re-sewed the side seam and down the sleeve. It could have used a little more room right under the arm so I would make that adjustment on the other sleeve. It is not uncomfortable and not bothersome enough to buy more fabric and cut another sleeve. One down...one to go:


I decided to tweak the pattern a little bit and add a little more length to the under arm so I ended up with this:

And a cut sleeve that looked like this which fit much better with the dress:

So, as the heat continues to bake and buckle our streets causing the water mains to burst I shall continue my quest for a cute Fall wardrobe that will now include V1250 with sleeves! Hope this tutorial has been an inspiration for you to try something new! Happy sewing...and stay cool...

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Disappointing Vogue 1257

I was so happy making Vogue 1250 three times and was very hopeful this DKNY pattern would turn into another TNT for me but, alas, it is not to be. Two muslins later I still do not have a modified pattern to make a dress I will wear. I really feel that not only is the pattern envelope information on this dress very misleading there are some serious design/drafting issues as well.  The pattern description says: Fitted dress has bodice front extending into sleeves, armhole seam on back bodice, straight skirt with front pleats gathered into band to form drape effect, back darts.  First of all the photo on the envelope is made from a fabric that is so dark it is hard to get a good view of the waist...and granted, my envelope pic above is creased right across there, as well. The dress appears to sit somewhat above her waist but not significantly nor did the pattern description say that. So, I relied upon the line art to give me a better idea of where the waist sits. (see below) To me it looks like the dress sits at the waist. Not! Once I began tissue fitting, I discovered that the back bodice is only 14.875" long and the skirt shows it should sit 3" above the waistline. I would not have purchased this pattern knowing how high waisted it was designed to be.

The first flopped muslin I blame myself for inasmuch as I used an ITY knit with not nearly enough lengthwise stretch. What this did show, however, was that the cut of the bodice extending into and comprising the entire sleeve was drafted very poorly...not nearly enough room in the armscye and upper arm to accommodate the indicated sizing. There was enough length, however, for the arm of a Harlem Globetrotter. On the first muslin I  cut a 14 because the tissue fit was so small. So, once that one was deemed a disaster... I was off to buy a rayon/spandex fabric with plenty of stretch in both directions. By this time I am so freaked out by the sizing of the first muslin that I cut a 16 and lengthened the bodice 3". I usually cut a 12 in Vogue, sometimes a 14 depending on the style...I've never cut a 16 in my life! Gasp!  ...just sayin'.

Lengthening the front and back bodices 3" resolved the waist issue. The next issue arose when crossing the right bodice over the left. Going by the markings on the pattern the coverage afforded was scandalous. To rectify that I crossed the right bodice almost to the left waist of the dress which was tricky because it had to line up with the gathered portion on the skirt. By now I'm wondering if the BVM pattern drafter was smoking crack on his lunch hour...it's also 3 in the morning and although  I'm on a mission to make this work I turn this project into a wadder and toddle off to bed.

I did revisit the whole matter this morning and have decided to retire this pattern. After glancing through the rest of the instruction sheet I see they are telling you to add an elastic casing around the waist. Why? This is a form fitting, straight skirted dress that already has enough bulk in the front from a lapped bodice and the pleats. I decided BVM must have gotten their instructions mixed up with a pair of pull on sweatpants... 

The pattern did have one redeeming factor in that the construction of the gathered and banded pleats was interesting. The pictures in the directions were not very helpful so I took some photos (see below) of steps 14-24 which might be of some help to you if you decide to embark on this strange odyssey. I wish you better success than I had. I think of patterns the same way I do books...there are way too many good ones out there to plod through one that you're not enjoying!

Step 14

Step 15

Step 16

Step 17 (construction of the band is straightforward)

Step 24

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Butterick 5466 Skirt-A-Paloosa

As an homage to my Pattern Review friend Anne, from down under, I am creating a skirt wardrobe from Butterick 5466. Take a look at Anne's fabulous collection and you will see why I am so inspired. This pattern is a simple and basic skirt pattern that with a few little nips and tucks can be made to fit like a glove. This first offering is made from a quilting cotton I had in my stash. The geranium print is just so happy! The skirt does not call for lining but I will line all of mine because it just makes for a better experience all around...if you shy away from linings try it on a simple pattern such as this...if for no other reason than the mystique of only you knowing how beautiful things are under your skirt! The lining is polyester and the lace was sold by the yard at High Fashion. Could the color be a more perfect match? Until next time...happy sewing!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Chanel worthy DKNY

My dear friend Kandy lost her mom earlier this year. Jodie Bell was a sought after interior designer here in Houston and a woman of impeccable taste and style. Kandy recently gifted me with a pair of Jodie's shoes...Chanel sling back pumps...cream with the signature quilted black toe. I will wear them with pride and in honor of Jodie and the beautiful art that she created.

The new shoes needed a dress! One befitting their elegance. I decided upon Vogue 1250, a simple Donna Karan sheath with a soft and drapey cowl neckline. This is actually the third time I have made this dress and I think it is my favorite. It is perfect for the shoes and I can't wait to wear it! I hope Jodie would be pleased with my selection...