I don’t seem able to go to Queen W without coming home with some fabric; when I was last there, introducing a local sewing friend to the joy that is the textile district, this fuschia ponte knit told me it really wanted to become a long-sleeved dress.
Well, who am I to stand between a bolt of ponte and the deepest desires of its knit heart?
And after working out the fit issues with V8685 with the red bamboo jersey dress, it seemed that it would be a fairly quick and rewarding project. Which was true. And because I could alter the tissue in advance rather than trying to alter the fabric pieces after they were cut, some of the difficulties with the red one were solved nicely (like the shoulders).
1. Removed 1″ from the armscye, front and back.
2. Cut a 12 everywhere, except grading to 14 at the hips
3. Did an FBA on the front, rotating the darts into the tucks
4. Took out 1″ from the centre back length
5. Took out 1″ from the sleeve cap, and then another 2″ in the sleeve itself. Which turned out to be about 1/2″ too much, but I can live with it
6. And took out about 1 1/2″ in width from the sleeves, which at first were baggy as hell. Even now they are pretty loose
Because the ponte has a decent amount of structure, and because the fitted skirt on this version doesn’t have the weight of the full skirt on the last one, I didn’t have to interface the bands or yokes and I didn’t need to make it quite so tight. I replaced the neckline facing with a strip of bias tape cut from a matching cotton satin, to prevent the neckline from stretching or sagging out over time and reduce bulk. The dress holds it shape nicely and is super comfortable. And I got to wear it for the first time presenting a talk on my community climate change impact adaptation planning project as part of a panel on community engagement strategies.
(“Community Climate Change Impact Adaptation Planning project” is, to be fair, half the talk, since the project title is so bloody long.)
It was a nice little confidence booster, and I’m betting I’ll be getting a lot of wear out of this one over the winter.
According to the BMV size chart, I am a size 16/18. This dress was cut in a size 12 with an FBA on the front bodice pieces, grading to a 14 at the hips. As you can see it is still not too tight. I love this pattern, but be warned: size down.
(I’ll be posting a project shortly with an embroidered collar, and rather than clutter that post with a lot of background information on embroidered collars, here is an info-dump to be read in conjunction.)
A nicely-embroidered collar can be a fun and fairly easy way to work some embroidery into a clothing project, taking a basic neutral garment and turning it into something a little special.
A badly-embroidered collar can be a fun and fairly easy way to turn a basic neutral garment into something that looks so unbearably amateur in six months you’re not sure you can wear it.
Collars have a big advantage for beginning embroiderers: They’re small, so it doesn’t have to take long to stitch up even if you’re new.
Collars also have a substantial disadvantage for beginning embroiderers: They’re highly visible and right near your face, so you will be carrying any mistakes around in a prominent location.
What’s a newbie to do?
You can make a regular collar and be extremely careful. Or you can make a detachable collar.
Of course, a detachable collar presumes you have a collarless shirt, dress or sweater (or several) to attach it to. I’ll assume you can manage that part, being enterprising sewers who know how to make collarless garments on which a collar would not later look completely foreign. I’ll also assume that you’re basically familiar with collar construction, and then gently nudge you towards David Coffin’s instructions on making plain detachable collars. And then we’ll get into the business of embroidering them (which of course also works on regular collars).
Here is an incredibly fancy detachable collar:
It’s hard to picture it being worn, ever, with anything but a cocktail dress. I can’t zoom in enough to be sure, but my guess is a stiff black silk, stabilized, backed with a lighter black fabric on the reverse. The silk would have been embellished before attaching to the reverse, and given the bulk of the embellishments that may have had to be done by hand. It would be heavy, for one thing, and stiff, for another, but it is beautifully done. It looks like clear crystals outlined in goldwork.
Here is a much less fancy embroidered collar:
This one’s not detachable, but you can see your range of options pretty clearly. Assuming you can transfer the script neatly to the collar piece this would likely take about an hour. It’s just a backstitch in plain black cotton floss.
Mark the area to be embroidered
The easiest way to do this is if you haven’t yet cut out the collar piece. Trace the cutting line and the seam line onto the right side of the fabric where you can clearly see them. Interface the whole thing as you normally would. If the interfacing is non-woven or a stiffish woven, you’re probably fine; if you’re using a loosely woven interfacing on the collar, stabilize the area to be embroidered separately.
If you have already cut out and interfaced the collar piece, trace the seam lines on to the right side. You can baste the whole thing to a stabilizer and hoop that, and just cut the excess stabilizer away when you’re done embroidering.
If you really, really don’t want to have to do this and really, really have a problem with hoops, you have a few options: either embroider using a pattern or style that minimizes any travelling threads on the reverse (this is what will cause pulling and warping) or resign yourself to being very patient as you go. Stop periodically and give the collar piece a good stiff tug to ensure that the embroidering threads are loose enough not to pull or warp the collar. Still stabilize, but just the area to be embroidered.
2. Pick your pattern or motif.
Colour contrast, size of pattern, heaviness of stitches, heaviness of threads, and any light-reflecting embellishments will have the biggest impact on how much attention the collar draws. If you pick something heavy, either because the stitching is very dense or the materials have weight (beads etc.), this may affect your choice of stabilizer, so be prepared to use something stronger if you choose an embellishment style that is very heavy or dense.
3. Ensure it fits nicely within the collar.
You won’t just be sewing the collar piece to the under-collar; you’ll also be topstitching or edgestitching. It’s best if you can leave at least 3/8″ of empty space between your motif and the seamline. If not, you’ll be topstitching on top of the embroidery. That’s not necessarily a problem, but it does affect the look of the collar and it’s best to choose your preference in advance of stitching.
4. An iron-on transfer or tracing/freezer paper is your best bet.
If you have an iron-on motif already, figure out how you want to position it on your collar, then trace the collar cutting lines or seam lines around it before you cut the motif out.
If you are tracing your own motif, same: trace the cutting lines or seam lines as well. This will let you get a perfect mirror image when reversing the pattern on the other side of the collar.
If you’re doing a cross-stitch or other canvas embroidery style, you can use waste canvas instead and count your stitches. This is a bit more work as you’ll have to baste the waste canvas to the collar piece and remove it afterwards. A higher number on the waste canvas equals smaller stitches; keep in mind this means more stitches, and more time stitching. A lower number means an easier, faster project, but maybe not quite as elegant or neat.
5. Hoop and stitch
Or use a scroll frame etc. Scroll frames have the advantage of holding the entire project flat and taut, and the disadvantage of extra steps if you want to use them for a small piece. In this case I basted the collar piece to a scrap piece of muslin and cut away the embroidery area in the back. But once the set up was done the stitching was a lot easier and there were no hoop marks on the finished piece.
6. When you’re done, and you’ve pressed the collar piece nice and flat, and it’s ready to be attached to the under-collar, I recommend using a regular zipper or piping foot to sew them together. Then you can stitch as close to the embroidered area as you need to.
Don’t press your stitches. If you need to press the embroidered area, treat it like velvet and use a needleboard or a towel so you don’t flatten your work.
Embroidered collars can be delicate.
(satin stitches, mostly)
They can be pretty.
(From here. satin stitches and french knots–and by now you are probably seeing that this was done a) on a purchased shirt, after collar construction, b) by a beginner (look how much neater the left hand side is than the right) and c) without stabilizing or a hoop, causing those bits of pulling and warping.)
They can be shaped
(machine embroidered; shaping of the collar also done by machine satin stitch. You can shape a collar with the same set of techniques you’d use for a scalloped hem, but I won’t get into that here)
They can be a bit cheeky and odd
(all satin stitch–check out how neat the borders are and how flat and shiny her floss is) (also: deliberately assymetric is a nice choice if you’re not sure how accurate your mirroring is going to be)
(satin stitches, back stitches, french knots, and some straight stitches it looks like)
(satin stitches, back stitches, french knots, maybe some buttonhole stitches; it’s cute and graphically it’s a lot of fun, but as embroidery it is not stellar. Still, it’s totally wearable.)
They can be ornate and dimensional
(I love this one. The work is gorgeous, the colours are fantastic, the collar is nicely put together–wow. She’s got fern stitches, fly stitches, a ton of woven picots, and pistil stitches. The fabric is a bit wobbly, which I think is a result of embroidering at least part of it after the collar was assembled, and the weight of the thread on a fabric that looks fairly light. From Senorita Lylo.)
(Another one by the same person, this time on a printed fabric. Just to give you a sense of how you can work with embroidery on a printed fabric.)
They can be incredibly fancy, like the D&G one.
A warning on the fancy stuff: The plus of using colourful and casual threads like cotton floss or crewel wool, as a beginner, is that mistakes (so long as they aren’t too numerous) look intentionally-wonky and charming rather than slipshod. The same does not apply for thread painting, goldwork, stumpwork, beading, or other fancier embroidery techniques. Then mistakes, even in selection of materials, just look sloppy and translate pretty directly to becky-home-ecky. The fancier the materials you’re working with, the less room for error you have.
One more Edna St. Vincent Millay. Then I promise I’m all done with her for a little while.
So it’s been a busy summer, in the best possible ways. Lots of dancing, bunch of concerts, lots of time with friends old and new, and a good smattering of dating. Plus, of course, sewing. Not necessarily as much sleep as my doctor would advise but that’s what we have caffeine for and I can always catch up in the fall.
Four of those five are nothing but pleasure. Dating–oy.
I like being single. February workday mornings after a major blizzard, ok, I wouldn’t mind having a guy in the house. But most of the time I love having my little house all to myself and my girl. I like being able to decorate it any which way I choose. I like not having to answer for how I spend my money. I like having the bed to myself. I like being able to leave an emormous pile of fabric and a stack of sewing projects in progress on the dining table for weeks on end. I like never feeling any pressure to spend my evenings watching a TV show I really hate to make someone else happy. I really, really like never ever having to pick a grown adult’s dirty underwear off the floor so I can move it two feet to the right into the laundry hamper. It’s well worth doing the yard work for. Or as Frances tearfully said one day when she was (needlessly) terrified that I was going to bring an xy-person into our lives, “I really love our single lives together!” I love it too. Maybe somewhere out there is someone even better than all of that, but he’s going to have to be. Better. Than all of that.
Which means dating, for me, is just getting out of the house, meeting new people, doing something fun, and who knows, maybe at some point finding the someone who’s better than all of that (it does seem unlikely that such a person would just materialize in my living room while I sit there in my pjs working out the fit on a new dress pattern). But I’m in no rush, and if it doesn’t happen that is perfectly fine.
But oh, Dear Readers, the number of times I have wanted to vent here about the assclown(s) I just ditched. It amazes me that in 2017 so many guys still seem to have the expectation that a single woman of 42 must be so desperate to be with somebodyanybody that they can behave any which way they please and a girl will just lap it up.
Most recently I had the pleasure of informing someone of why I, and I suspect most women in Canada, are going to be uninterested in dating a man who spends most of his time as a semi-professional internet troll, hating everyone except a very narrow band of straight mostly-white conservative guys who belong to the Proud Boys and read Rebel Media. As you can imagine, that excludes most people. It certainly excludes everyone I care about (so far as I know).
He actually provided me with his full name in a message and begged me to stalk him, which was how I found out about his online activities.
I harbour no illusions that being turned down for a date by a woman on a dating site is going to result in the kind of wholesale character transplant that would be necessary to encourage someone like this to start treating people with courtesy and respect, and if someone expresses a single off-colour opinion or even revolting come-on, I either block and delete or ask them a polite, pointed question or two before blocking and deleting. And most of the friends I asked about it recommended blocking and deleting, saying that they feared how someone would like this would react to anything harsher.
But to me, this is exactly the kind of behaviour that enabled the win of Trump, and is exactly the kind of behaviour since then that Trump’s win has emboldened: proud, public displays of hatred. This idea that we can just Nice awful people into better behaviour, that if we talk to them in exactly the right magical way they’re going to change everything about themselves and become good after a lifetime commitment to being horrible, that the important thing is keeping the conversation polite and on some mythical high ground–hell no.
We don’t do this with other antisocial behaviours. Sure, we hope people are going to do the right thing and pay their taxes, but if they don’t, we have an entire enforcement apparatus to ensure that they do regardless of whether they think taxes are good or neutral or evil or a sign of the apocalypse. And we spend a lot of time in kindergarten teaching that violence is wrong; and for those people whom the lesson did not stick, we have large, well-funded police departments to deter violence and prosecute violent offenders. (Its efficacy and fairness being up to serious debate.)
Yet when it comes to hate, we just … smile and keep talking until every individual’s mind is individually changed and they do right out of the pure goodness of their hearts? Just no.
Some people are hateful. Who they hate is going to change, but they’re going to hate. No one can change that. You can only change the cost/benefit analysis of acting on that hate.
Being one person, I can’t enact or enforce legislation; but I can confront this kind of thinking and behaviour when I see it. I think as individuals oftentimes the only thing we can do is make it clear that there is a social price to pay for being this kind of person, and it’s important to, because not doing so ultimately reinforces their ideas that everyone actually thinks the same way they do and they’re the only brave souls willing to express it. But I do really hate it when this kind of thing intrudes on what is supposed to be, basically, a fun social activity.
I was very careful not to call him names, and I was also extremely blunt.
It did not go well.
Mind you: “well” in the traditional sense isn’t what I was aiming for. But this was a guy who’d been very careful to keep all of the misogyny, racism, islamophobia, violent threats, homophobia etc. off of the dating app. So I thought if I engaged him I might be able to flush him out and report him. And while he obviously had made serious investments over the years in being an awful human being and is unlikely to change, he might pause before expressing it if he knows it’s going to interfere with his orgasm supply.
He was stunned and heartbroken to find I was not impressed with his digital footprint.
Dear Readers, to call these things walls of text would be a disservice to the construction feats that texts are capable of. These things were the motherfucking Donald Trump Mexican border wall of text. They stretched from horizon to horizon. I’d get one monster message, and stare in astonishment as the little typing-bubble popped up immediately beneath it.
It took me seventeen screenshots to capture his last message to me.
I reported him.
HE WANTS ME TO SPEND A YEAR ARGUING WITH HIM ABOUT WHETHER OR NOT HE’S A BAD PERSON.
Oh my god honey. Why don’t I take the stuff you post on the internet and run with that idea now.
The funniest part was him going on and on and bloody on about how at least he puts his name on what he writes and stands by the consequences, unlike antifa–a word I never used but he could not stop talking about them–and then tagging each message with this disclaimer:
And then any specific tweet or post I pointed out as being gross, he has since deleted. Not to mention that this Proud Boy, who has listed Proud Boys as his employer on LinkedIn and has a Proud Boys tattoo on his shoulder, started distancing himself from the Proud Boys philosophy as soon as he found out he might not get laid on its account. His bravery and conviction are truly astounding.
These assholes are why we’re all suffering through Trump.
Millay wrote a poem that I think is perfect for the age of internet dating (so about 100 years ahead of its time), possibly because being in a lifelong open marriage gave her lots of experience in brief encounters.
I shall forget you presently, my dear,
So make the most of this, your little day,
Your little month, your little half a year,
Ere I forget, or die, or move away,
And we are done forever; by and by
I shall forget you, as I said, but now,
If you entreat me with your loveliest lie
I will protest you with my favorite vow.
I would indeed that love were longer-lived,
And vows were not so brittle as they are,
But so it is, and nature has contrived
To struggle on without a break thus far.
Whether or not we find what we are seeking
Is idle, biologically speaking.
I think it’s safe to say that I’m not going to forget this one–but I won’t remember him fondly, that’s for sure.
So in addition to the regular pleasures of online dating including dick picks, inappropriate come-ons, regular harassment, and guys who mistake it for a therapy app–let’s add the odd conversation with out-and-proud neo-nazis.
And this entire post’s only tangential connection to the sewing project is this:
I said no to a date (to someone else who is safely non-bloggable) to stay home and sew this instead because I knew it would be more fun, not to mention the garment won’t make inappropriate demands on my person or my patience. If I don’t want to wear it one day, it’s not going to pout or throw a rage-tantrum. It’s fun to wear and it’ll never send me dick pics. It goes without saying that it’s not going to post hate speech on the internet.
(I do have a Sewing Rule when deciding on a date: If I know or reasonably believe I would have more fun staying home sewing or reading a book, I say no.)
It’s the skirt half of a Sewaholic Cambie view B, sewn up in and lined with a silk-cotton voile (bought half-price because that’s the only way such a thing is cost-effective). It’s airy and unbelievably flouffy. I could have five kilogram bags of flour strapped to my thighs under there and you’d never know. It has pockets in the front that you completely can’t see except as extra flouff. The construction was standard: join, gather, attach to waistband, install zipper, join lining and outer, finish hems.
There’s a second half to this project that will hopefully be done and posted sometime soon, so you may see this skirt again.
You probably won’t be seeing anything about dating again, unless and until someone exceeds the neo-nazi. Please join me in hoping that that never happens. I feel like I spent the weekend dragging my brain through sewage.
But of course I couldn’t make it black and white. Friends would probably worry about my health if they saw me in clothes without colour. So instead:
Where the white was replaced with a large-scale multi-colour floral on a black background. Both are cotton satins, not at all stretchy–and despite Burda’s directions, given the ease and boxy fit, you don’t need stretch. This is my now-standard 38/40 combo and it is nowhere near tight. I probably could have gone down another size, particularly given the faux-wrap in the front and the walking room it provides.
It’s not a really complicated pattern, once you have it traced and cut out. Tracing the pieces out correctly and cutting everything out on grain so that the print is aligned over the bands is the hardest part. Also a note of warning, in case you overlooked it as I did: Both sides of the front have a facing on the bottom rather than a hem, so don’t add a hem allowance, just a regular seam allowance. And the instructions will try to tell you that underlining the facings will keep them in place, but the skirt will laugh in your face if that’s all you do. Some extra stitching is needed to keep them from flopping down at the bottom.
The skirt front is two pieces when constructed: the right hand side with all the bands on it, and the left hand side underneath that is all cut out of the main fabric with two standard darts. You then baste them together across the top and treat them as one piece for the construction of the skirt.
I really like it. It’s boxy but comfortable and striking with the large print and the bands. Plus it has so many bright colours in it that it kind of matches by accident with half the shirts in my closet.
It might also be fun to make up with a solid for the main skirt and the print on the bands, if you like the overall pattern but find this a bit much. I’m a fan of a Bit Much personally, so this works for me.
The extent of my Spanish is the very small amount that penetrated through the two-foot-thick barriers I erected around my skull when Frances watched Dora as a small child. Which is to say: not much, and nothing specific to sewing.
I’m also not generally a fan of midi skirts or hi-low hems. But here we are: a hi-low midi-skirt in light yellow cotton twill, from a Spanish sewing magazine.
And you know something? It was pretty easy. Getting the pleats pointed in the right direction was the hardest part, but arrows are fairly universal in meaning and otherwise it was just–you know–a skirt with four pieces, pleats at the waistband, side seam pockets (that you do have to draft yourself but hell, it’s just a standard pocket shape, drawn to the waistband so that it’s nice and stable). Sew the front together to the notch to make the front slit. Invisible zipper extends through the waistband. Front slit was serged and turned once to make it neat, as was the hem.
And now I have yet another yellow garment.
(It amazes me that once upon a time I thought I didn’t like or wear yellow much.)
(I mean, I have three yellow t-shirts, two yellow blouses, two yellow skirts, two yellow dresses, and a predominantly-yellow striped skirt. I wear yellow the way other people wear black. Apparently. All I need now is a pair of yellow pants, and I mean that sincerely.)
The one downside of yellow being, again, that it is always somewhat see-through, and this is no exception, even though it is fortheloveofgod COTTON TWILL. That’s like denim. See-through denim. How is that possible? But I don’t care, I love it, I’m wearing it.
Now I’m trying to fight the temptation to get a subscription. I should fight that temptation, right? I don’t need another sewing magazine subscription.
I’ve heard of Patrones, Knipmode & La Mia Boutique from sewing bloggers and on forums, but have never bothered to buy them before. In part because it’s a bother: none of them are available on news stands in Canada, so it involves some hunting, online ordering & exchange rates in order to procure them. And in part because I wasn’t sure how much I wanted to mess around with patterns where all of the instructions would be in languages I can’t read.
Then I made the World’s Most Complicated Shirtdress (thereabouts) and thought, if I don’t need to look at the instructions to make a shirtdress, maybe I can make things up that are basically instructions-free. And I ordered one or two of each and picked a pattern from each that looked simple enough to be a good test of instructions-free sewing. First up was this different-but-easy Knipmode t-shirt pattern in leftover yellow cotton jersey.
(I’m writing this in early June, by the way, in case it gets published well after other posts that make mention of the new sewing magazines.)
I didn’t look at the instructions, because they were in Dutch. Google translate helped me confirm that it was made up in a jersey and that “mouwbies” means “sleeve band” and “heupband” means “hip band.” Otherwise I traced, cut and serged.
And it’s … ok. The armscye is too big (story of my sewing life) so I’d shorten it by 1″ or so on front and back if I were to make it up again, and this jersey being yellow is–though not thin–translucent. Why. Anyway, you can see the facing. And last but not least, the front was about 2″ shorter than the back. I have no idea if this was a pattern error or a tracing error on my part, and I don’t care enough to go back and see for something that’s so easy to fix.
So I don’t know how much wear I’ll get out of this, but I did learn two things:
I can sew in Dutch.
I can make a few modifications to this and end up with a really cute and different t-shirt pattern, so long as I make it out of something completely opaque and not too drapey.
Technically this is a petite pattern, which at 5’8″ I am not; but believe it or not, I still had to shorten the armscye by 1/2″ front and back, and the bust dart was still about an inch too low, necessitating much weird sewing to avoid weird pointy bits.
I also did an FBA, which introduced a fisheye waist dart in the front. I tried it with and without the dart, and with is better IMO.
For construction, I serged any exposed seam allowances and used the sewing machines for the seams. It’s very tidy.
The pattern works. It all goes together properly. The sizing is as portrayed in the description and photos. It’s a cute idea. And yet … I don’t love it. That old bugbear: I don’t like blouses without closures on me. If it were a really drapey fabric it might be ok, but this is not drapey enough to make up for the lack of shaping inherent in a pullover woven top. Even with the waist dart. It’s just very boxy. I think it can work with a fitted skirt or pants with a good snug waist, but otherwise probably not.
The fabric is a cotton voile bought years ago and just sitting around waiting for the right blouse pattern. At the time of purchase I thought the right blouse pattern was going to be much bigger, so I have some left over. And I’ll be using it on something with closures.
Somehow or other this beautiful linen jumped into my shopping bag when I went fabric shopping with a friend. It was insistent on being turned into a big skirt, but all of my skirt patterns–even the pleated ones–have curved hems. A curved hem would not have looked right with this lovely poppy print, so I used the skirt part of the V1353 dress pattern, with wonderfully flat hems perfect for border and linear prints, and added a narrow waistband.
And then added a narrow band of matching bright pink cotton voile to the hem to finish it off. Just something a bit different. I cut two 2 1/2″-wide strips of the voile, sewed them together, matched the width of the skirt hem, folded it in half, and sewed it to the bottom edge of the skirt.
And I have nothing new to say about the construction or sizing on this one. This is a mid-weight linen, and I used a white cotton voile to line it. The seam allowances were serged before sewing them together; the hem on the lining is just serged, to keep it light and floaty; the hem on the linen skirt was serged to the hem band. That seam was then edge-stitched to keep it from flipping down after wear.
The pattern repeat wasn’t quite tall enough, and I didn’t have quite enough of the fabric, to line up the pattern perfectly between the front and back. Thus everything is about 2 1/2 inches higher on the back. But I don’t think it’s visible to a casual observer.
The zipper goes right through the waistband. There are no other closures.
It just so happens that it perfectly matches that coral voile blouse and a pink t-shirt I already have, plus the pink voile that I was planned on making into a top–fate, right?
This skirt tested my fitting abilities to the limit. Such a pretty pattern–
–and so many opportunities for the fit to go disastrously wrong, most of which I found on version #1. So:
To tweak the fit with something low-risk, I made the shorter variation out of some leftover wool. And promptly discovered it was much too big all around. Why does this keep happening? At any rate, I ended up taking it in–several times. The lining was much too big as well, which was hard to discover in advance as it was a single piece cut on the fold with two darts and joined together in the back. I had to sew it up with about a 4″ seam allowance to get it to be the right size.
I feel like I’m making up the size as indicated on the pattern but maybe I need to recheck the measurements because this was pretty ridiculous. Anyway:
Multiple unstitchings and restitchings later, I finally got something that is mostly ok, but it’s still a bit wavy and weird in the back. It’s wearable, I think, but not great. So instead of moving on to the nice fabric, I thought I should make another test version:
This time with the longer version and the drapey godet in the back, out of a poly/rayon/spandex fabric. ($6/m. Can’t beat that.)
It’s red. Hurray!
The adjustments on this version worked really well. It only needed a few tweaks to fit just about perfectly. Except for the lining, which was still way too big.
When wearing, I discovered that the front waistline is about half an inch too high, and that the waist as a whole is about an inch too loose to stay put. So these were tweaked for version #3. You’ll notice that the drapey godet in the back does not drape the same as it does in the pattern drawing. More on that in version #3.
Version 3: Wherein I Found More Fitting Issues
Apparently I over-corrected the fit for version 2 out of the stretchy fabric, because when I cut it out of the not-stretchy silk-wool blend, it didn’t want to zip up. I was able to loosen it enough to make it technically work, but I was worried about the stress on the seamlines so I re-cut the ruched side pieces and the upper back pieces. It worked perfectly and it is now very comfortable.
It is a really fantastic fabric–and even after needing to recut some pieces I still have enough leftover to make a handbag–and it doesn’t drape the same as the red one does, so the back godet is an issue. It’s interesting still and I like it but, meh. It might have been better if I’d gone for the version where the godet is two pieces sewn together down the middle, so the grain runs differently. But it’s too late to find out now. (But it’s not too late for you, Dear Readers!)
I still love that side pleating bit.
I think, given that it’s silk-wool and fully lined, this is one I can wear in fall and winter. So I’ll just pretend I got a head start on next season’s sewing rather than having taken forever to make up something from last winter. It is a really cute pattern. I highly recommend a muslin, as the fit is challenging to tweak with the seamlines; I also recommend making it up in something very drapey and using the two-piece godet in the back to get a better drape. But it is overall a cute and very different pencil skirt pattern.
(You can read the post about the Cambie experiment to use as a hack** for La La Land here. I’ll try not to revisit my obsessive fangirling too too much in this one. Quick summary: I knew I wanted to hack this dress as soon as I saw the movie last year; the Cambie was the closest I could find to it, with the separate waistband, sleeves joining along the top of the bodice, and a full skirt; and I made up a straight Cambie a month or two ago to work out the kinks and figure out what I’d need to change and how.)
Possibly the best part of making this dress was the built-in excuse to watch the movie a bunch of times so I could be sure to get the details just right. Research, right?
The second-best part is the dress itself. I love it, but it was a big undertaking and I’m glad to be done with it. Maybe once I’ve had a chance to wear it out dancing once or twice, and have recovered with an easier project or two, I’ll decide I love it even more than watching the movie again.
Pattern Alterations and Changes
I drafted a 3/4 circle skirt pattern to replace the Cambie skirt. I wasn’t sure what type of skirt the La La Land Dress had, but given the lack of darts and the movement when she’s dancing in it it looked to me like some kind of circle skirt, and I wanted to be able to spin without it going all the way up to my waist* and the movie version didn’t look as full as a whole circle skirt. So 3/4 it was.
I did line the skirt since yellow is, regardless of fabric type it seems, generally translucent when worn. Why is that? The lining is very short; I didn’t get enough of the voile to make it longer. But it covers what it needs to cover to make it something I can wear in public. After wearing it a half-circle might have been a closer match, but live and learn: I can’t imagine making two yellow La La Land dresses, but if this is something you might try, go for a half.
The front of the Cambie was altered to be straight across.
I altered the bodice darts to be slightly narrower, to allow for gathering similar to the La La Land Dress. I didn’t get quite as much gathering as I wanted, but it’s similar enough and I’m happy with it.
The back was shortened, and straightened to allow for separate sleeves.
And then the Cambie sleeves were altered to make for a cap with that straight bit over the shoulders, and the join altered for the square front and back necklines. Originally I had them about as wide as the movie version, but I had Underwear Visibility Issues, so I moved them in a bit.
The only thing about the original Cambie pattern I didn’t change was the waistband.
Just typing that out exhausts me all over again.
Fabric & Lining
The main fabric is a bright yellow Fabricland rayon, and the lining is the coordinating bright yellow Fabricland cotton voile. Neither were expensive. Then again, the yellow La La Land Dress was made from a cheap Joanne’s polyester the costume designer got on sale, so this may be unique in that the handmade knock-off of the movie dress cost more than the original. I’m ok with that. I intend to dance in this dress, outside, and polyester would not have been pleasant.
Mostly assembled per Cambie instructions: assemble bodice and skirt, attach each to waistband, install zipper; repeat with lining except for the zipper; sew right sides together along the top, leaving space for the sleeves; sew sleeve outer to sleeve lining, baste into sleeve openings and check fit; hand to allow hem to settle; hem. Nothing here differed from that general order. The only minor change is the hem, which I serged and then turned up once. I hate fussing with the fullness on a wide, round hem, and this makes it just a bit easier.
Sewaholic patterns are drafted for pear shapes, which I very much am not; the sizing chart puts me into a size 8-14, but a fairer comparison taking into account body-type differences would be a size 8-10. And this dress is a size 8 with a hefty FBA.
There’s a lot of volume in the hips on both Cambie dresses, and in the 3/4 circle skirt replacement, so the limiting measurements for fit are bust and waist. Both have generous ease–2-3″–so you have room to size down if you want something more fitted, and if you go ahead with the size indicated by your measurements, you won’t end up with a tent.
***Already posted over at The Monthly Stitch. Apologies for those of you who are seeing this for the second time.
**Yes, I said hacking, and I’m not sorry.
*This utterly, utterly failed, as I found when I wore it out dancing. Actual conversation afterwards:
B: I love how floaty it is!
M: Yes! It really goes quite high.
Andrea: It sure does. A little higher than I was planning.
M: Maybe make a pair of matching yellow bicycle shorts.
Andrea: Yeah… believe it or not I made it less full so it wouldn’t go up all the way like that.
B: Really? But it wasn’t so bad.
Andrea: Yes it was. That’s ok.
M: Really, yellow bicycle shorts! Then it looks like you did it on purpose. And you can put “salsa” across the butt.
If you haven’t seen the movie…
…and would like some idea of what I’m talking about: the scene with The Yellow Dress