Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Simplicity 3678

Ever since this guy came along, I've been racking my brain and scouring my closet for some non-maternity, nursing friendly, but still stylish clothes to wear. I daydreamed all summer about finding the perfect button front dress patterns so that I could then fulfill my other daydream, which is being able to wear simple cotton dresses every day, cool in the summer and perfect for layering in the fall. Something similar to this or this, maybe.

Daydreams aside, for the most part, I end up wearing knits, since I can't seem to button up any of the few button front blouses and dresses in my closet. Hence my foray into the world of home sewn knitwear, starting with Simplicity 3678

Here's my take: 

Pattern sizing: 

Okay, so I generally wear a size 10 these days in ready-to-wear clothing. If you've never sewn clothing from a pattern before, take note: you CANNOT go by your regular size when it comes to choosing which size to sew from a pattern. Really, you can't even go by your measurements. On this pattern, if I went by my measurements, I would have sewn a size EIGHTEEN! (What is up, pattern companies???) I guess, if I had to nail down a general rule of thumb for myself, I'd split the difference between my measurement-indicated size (18) and my ready-to-wear size (10). For this dress, I made a size 14 and it fit pretty well. Just let your ego go, ladies, when you're sewing from these patterns. 

Did it look like the pattern photo on the envelope when I finished it? 

I think so. Plus a few (ahem) extra pounds of model underneath and a more open neckline/bodice which I'll explain in a sec. 

Were the instructions easy to follow? 

Very much so, in theory. Still figuring out how to sew knits without it becoming a comedy of errors. See below. 

Fabric used: 

A thin, cheapy, for-experimentation-only knit print out of my stash. (This could explain some of my problems.)

Any adjustments made?

Um, yeah. I tried sewing the neckline and facing with a double needle, to give the dress a more professional finish, but I just wasn't happy with 1) how the facing was laying (it was really bunchy) and I could just imagine it flipping out every time I wore the dress (assuming I ever actually got that far) and 2) how the fabric actually bubbled up between the two needles. (Anyone know what that problem was all about? Double needles are meant for knits, right?) So, anyway, not wanting to spend time troubleshooting or seam ripping, I serged off the seam and facing.  

Then I tried turning a narrow hem and stitching it down without a facing. Which I think would have been fine had I not (apparently) stretched the fabric as I sewed, so it got all wonky and wavy. So I serged that off. 

At which point I tried Heat N Bond No Sew hem tape, because I had it on hand. I stuck it onto the inside of the serged edge, folded it down, then tried to stitch over it with my trusty double needle. Surprise, surprise, that didn't work. Apparently, when they say No Sew, they mean it. It kept gumming up my needle and breaking the thread. So I serged that off. 

Finally, I purchased this lovely little product from my local fabric shop, so much more appropriate, and used it to stabilize the newly cut and serged neckline, turned it under, and stitched it down. Done, but now my dress absolutely requires a cami underneath. Which I probably would have worn anyway, so no big loss. (pointedly ignoring precious loss of time)

The only other "adjustment" was that I serged the bottom hem and left it at that. L-A-Z-Y. But, hey, I think I paid my dues on this little project, especially considering that it may never pass through my front door. 

Would I sew this pattern again? 

Actually, yes. I think so, if I had a nicer, more sturdy knit to work with. And assuming the Wonder tape washes up well, I'll stick with that little revision to the pattern. Facing schmacing. 

The final product, as photographed by my 6-year old:


Larissa Holland said...

first of all, it is really cute! Looks great on you. I'm so jealous of your sewing another cute dress for yourself when all I've had are disasters. You look too skinny to have just had a baby also, so that really annoyed me. :-)

Secondly, you are my hero for persevering through all the trials and errors. I'll be using this valuable information when I finally break into the world of knits someday.

Thirdly, you have quite the little photographer there. he's ready for some serious work.

Robyn said...

Here's another Robyn to say that I think it turned out great! Those sizing issues with clothing patterns is one of the reasons I never wear the one dress I completed and why I haven't finished another. Maybe one of these days I'll tackle it.

LaKaribane said...

Well, according to Sandra Betzina's Fast Fit, for Simplicity and McCall, go by High Bust Measurement (under armpits, above breasts) and for Vogue, New Look and her line, go by Bust Measurment as listed on the pattern.

I never used to like how my Big 4 patterns turned out, either! I still prefer European pattern magazines like Burda, Patrones or KnipMode.

Oh, and apparently, the sizing on the patterns envelops is actually the REAL sizing, RTW changed theirs to "vanity sizing" in the 70s or something. I'm a RTW 6, patterns size 10-12.

The nasty surprises are somewhat defused by reading reviews at Pattern Review. I've dodged quite a few bullets.

LaKaribane aka Miss-Know-It-All...Not!

Robyn said...

Hey, thanks, ladies. Wow, LaKaribane, that is some good information. I do refer to Pattern Review some times, but 1) I'm too cheap to become an actual member (so far), so that limits my access to reviews, and 2) I'm a kind of jump-right-in, fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants seamstress, so advance research rarely happens. That approach works out for me about half the time. :) Thanks again for the tips!

randi said...

I love this dress. The shape is very flattering!

Robyn said...

Hey, Randi, thanks! And thanks for visiting my blog!

Larissa Holland said...

sigh. SIGH.

Robyn said...

Am I supposed to be reading something into your dramatic sighs, Larissa???

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