Vogue 8379: It’s a Wrap!

Have you heard of the Curvy Sewing Collective? If you haven’t, and you are a curvy gal, plus-sized or not, you’ve got to check them out! Anyway, right now they are having a wrap-a-long, which is being hosted by Jenny.  Since learning to sew my own dresses is on my retirement play list, I decided to play along.

Jan 13 007

This was my first real foray into sewing with stretchy fabric and I was quite nervous! I didn’t want to screw it up and end up wasting the money I’d spent on the fabric and the pattern. I really hate waste (which is probably why I love scrap quilts so much). Anyway…I’m not going to learn how to sew if I don’t jump into the deep end, and this sew-a-long was the perfect opportunity to have a support system. If I needed to call for help, I knew help would be there.

Jan 13 016

Jenny was making an entirely different pattern, so her instructions didn’t match exactly up with the Vogue instructions. Because I don’t have the confidence to step off the path yet, I elected to follow the Vogue instructions, but at the same time pay close attention to the differences as I went along. My thinking was that this would be a good way to learn, and I could then make a second dress and follow Jenny’s directions where it made sense to do so. That way I’d understand the whys and how comes instead of just blindly doing it. (If you know me, you’ll recognize this trait! I always want to know how come things work the way they do!)

Jan 13 020

Some of the differences in instructions were:

  1. Vogue had me assemble the bodice and the skirt separately, before attaching them together while Jenny suggested sewing the back bodice to the back skirt, the front bodice pieces to the two front skirt pieces, and then sewing together at the shoulder seams, leaving the side seams open (for now).
  2. Vogue had me sew the sleeve seam and then insert it into the arm hole scythe. Jenny walked everyone through how to sew the sleeve in flat and then sew up the sides and sleeve all in one.
  3. Vogue had me make an interfaced neck facing. Jenny taught everyone how to replace the facing with a t-shirt edging.
  4. Jenny also had us using products such as wonder tape and knit stay tape. Which I didn’t use, but probably will next time.

Jan 13 015

I plan on sewing this dress again, using Jenny’s directions this time as everything she said made perfect sense and I could follow along with her reasoning for the changes. Also, I’d like to try the different way to finish the neck line.

Jan 13 010

I didn’t have enough fabric for the ties, so I had to piece them. Since I was piecing them anyway, I also made them longer. Surprisingly, I can wrap them around so they cross in the back twice! I love this because it feels much more secure. Next time, though, I’ll use a  diagonal seam on the piecing because the straight across seam has left a bulge that annoys me (even though I’m sure I’m the only one who can see it).

Jan 13 006

It was a challenge! I can’t tell you how many times I balled it up and threw it in the corner! Seriously!

Jan 13 014

I had some trouble with the neck gaping. It really bothered me.

Jan 13 021

…then this morning I woke up with the idea that if I moved the side opening (where the tie comes through from the inside) down onto the skirt instead of having it on the bodice, it would snug the left bodice piece up a bit.

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And it worked!

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…but if any of you are sewers, I’d appreciate some tips on how to prevent neck gaping in general. What can I do next time to make the neck edge snug down instead of curling back? Does it do this because the interfaced facing prevents stretch?

Jan 13 018

Next time I’ll also lengthen the bodice about 1 inch. I’ve been giving the dress a test run around the house today, and I find I have to keep tugging the bodice down. It wants to sit just above my waist. Again, a bit annoying. I don’t like to be constantly tugging at my clothing. Other than that it is very comfortable!

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Vogue 8379 is a keeper. I think it is surprisingly flattering (I didn’t expect it to be!) and so I will definitely make it again. Next time I’ll make view A with the long sleeves.

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Ta da! The Vintage New Look 6510 Shift Dress Part 2

This is a follow-up post on my second vintage New Look 6510 shift dress.

You can read all about part 1 HERE . And the original shift dress which I sewed out of a sheet and which turned out very nice is posted HERE.

Remember this problem?

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After much un-sewing and re-sewing and internet researching and head scratching…
may I have a Drum Roll Please! ……

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Ta Da!

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Yay! I made another shift dress!

It still didn’t turn out as nice as the first one I made, though. Why? I think that has to do with the fabric I used. This particular fabric is very flimsy and on the verge of unraveling at every step – in fact,  I might have to go back in and re-do the seams after a couple of washings. I think this pattern is better suited to fabric with more body, like the bed sheet I used for the last one. But that’s okay. I only paid $3.00 for this piece of fabric from the thrift store, so it made good practice material.

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Remember this problem from the last post? 010

To fix it, I unpicked & removed the bias tape, raised the shoulders about 2 inches and then re-attached the tape. Then I unpicked the side seams and the bust darts and moved them down.

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Thank goodness the print is so busy because I did not get the bust darts even. One is much lower than the other. More unpicking may ensue…depends on whether or not it affects my comfort wearing it. Because I don’t think it’s noticeable unless you’re really hunting for it. And if anyone is going to be staring that hard at my chest, than they deserve the reward of finding the bad job!

I also unpicked and removed the bias tape on the neckline, and added a facing. The fabric is so flimsy that I feared it would go all wonky after a few wearings. I then sewed the bias tape pack on again (for decoration.) I also added a funky retro button from my button jar.

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Remember this problem from the last post?
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To fix it,  I sewed darts over the shoulder blades to help take in some of the gaping in the neck. It still gapes, but I’m okay with that.

Well…no, I’m not, actually. But I don’t know what else I can do about it at this point. And besides, when my hair is down you won’t be able to see it. Right?

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Remember the bunching at the back? Well, I fixed that by sewing fish-eye darts down either side of the back seam. YES! FISH EYE DARTS!!! I consulted the Google-gods about what to do about the excess fabric pooling at my lower back and fish-eye darts was the answer I was given. (Fish eye darts are vertical tear-drop shaped darts. So why don’t they call them tear-drop darts?) Amazing!

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Lalala! I am feeling so clever!

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So there you go. It isn’t perfect. But it’s light and airy and I think I am presentable enough to run into town or to the grocery store in it.

And it is a very thrifty dress, costing me a total of $3.25 to make.

What did I learn?

  • Sitting with the seam ripper and unpicking seam after seam can actually be a kind of peaceful zen experience.
  • Darts are marvelous things if you put them in right.
  • I need to learn how to adjust the tissue pattern before I cut out my fabric.
  • I really like shift dresses, but I need to find a better designed pattern.
  • I am ready to move on to something a little more complicated than just sewing a front piece and a back piece together (though you wouldn’t know it judging by the trouble I’ve had!)
  • I can learn to do anything!

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I think I’m finished with the New Look 6510, though. Too much fiddling and in two attempts it still has major problems. Time to move on to something else!

Or….maybe I will be stubborn and MAKE THIS PATTERN WORK on one more, last attempt!

What would you do?

Vintage Simplicity 9852 Strikes Again! (shorts version 2)

Remember these shorts?

Well, today I made another pair, out of…get this… a curtain that I got for $1 at the thrift store. Yup – a curtain.

013No pockets this time. Actually, I did make pockets, but I screwed them up. So rather than unpick everything and re-position them, I simply cut them off and sewed the seam closed. Problem solved!

012I swear to you, they are hemmed evenly! (I must be standing funny…)

014Meanwhile, everything in my garden is blooming!

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