Saturday, January 14, 2006

jules' frock


A stretchy frock. Vogue 2091. This was a supposedly "very easy" pullover frock. Only 4 pieces in the pattern. They say you should buy by the shoulders/bust size for a frock and then adjust the rest. In this case that should have meant a exactly 14 bust and a exactly 12 size for the rest. The upsetting part was that there was a 6-8-10-12 pattern and a 14-16-18 pattern. I bought the larger one, cut a 14, tacked a 14 top, 12 bottom and then tried it on.

And then I changed everything except the bust size.
Shoulders narrowed 6/8" and narrowed 6/8" because the neck seemed gaping and there was bagginess above the bust.

As well as changing the outline - obviously I am not a correctly shaped person - I also had to change the length (and slightly changed the position) of the pleats because I had taken so much off the waist.

The fabric is cotton and very two way stretch. This is why I could not precalculate the required changes before cutting out. The fabric was more stretchy than advised on the pattern. It is fairly firm and quite warm. I think it is definitely better fitted snugly since it doesn't really drape very well. Before I took off all those inches I had strange rucks in all the wrong places. I mostly used the small zigzag machine stitch, with the occassional straight stretch stitch. I used a size 11 stretch needle and size 90 black thread.



Steve Bloom said...

Aha! A blog comment in which I can exercise a little expertise, unlike with all that climate hoodoo. Knowing nothing about you or your sewing proclivities other than what I see here, I will now give you a bunch of unsolicited generic advice:

As you have just discovered, all that "quick and easy" rhetoric with which patterns are marketed is only loosely related to reality, which is to say you will only get a fit if the pattern is really loose. :) A significant adjustment to a pattern with any kind of close fit creates other changes, and those changes create more changes, etc. This is a bad situation for a detail-oriented person.

Anyway, to avoid this kind of frustration, I suggest a) taking a dress-making class if that's at all possible, b) getting some suitable books ( is good for those), c) buying a dress form (get someone with some experience to fit it to you), d) getting a supply of the special paper (kind of like tissue paper, but less subject to tearing) that's used to modify ready-made patterns, and e) joining an amateur dress-makers blog.

Now, have fun!

jules said...

But I wasn't at all frustrated. It was fun working it out. It's just geometry init? I thought it was interesting to see how different my shape was from the Vogue shape.

a) Rather a lot easier to work it out myself than do a dressmaking class in Japanese
b) We have no room for any more books - well maybe at some point I could get one or two, but I'm going to wait until I know what would be useful
c) Likewise no room for dressmaking forms - although I'll bear it in mind
d) I have some great squared tracing paper that works fantastically for making adjustments, but I thought about it and decided it would be simpler to fit this very stretchy material empirically.
e) I joined patternreview, which has already been extremely helpful.

Do you make many pretty dresses yourself?

James Annan said...

Steve: We Want Jpgs!


Steve Bloom said...

Oh, sorry for the tardy response -- I didn't see yours right away. I promise jpegs, although perhaps not for a week or two.

BTW, my actual business is making fancy soft furnishings, but a small couture operation is maintained for my partner.

Jules, I'm glad it's all been smooth sailing so far. Patternreview sounds like it will probably resolve most of the tough questions that come up. The other hard part of making clothing is really all the finishing details, IMHO. I'll try to come up with a specific recommendations of one or two books. Which books do you have now? As for the form, you can get by without one (using yourself as the form) so long as you have a willing assistant -- which it sounds like you do.