Happy Wednesday everyone!
Sorry about my language, but the sentiment really fits here I think.I just finished a dress this week which required me to, well, fuck with my pattern. The pattern is the Ruby dress from Simple Sew, the pattern that came with issue 4 of Love Sewing magazine. I’ve had some issues with it that have been solved by, you guessed it, fucking with my pattern. I also got some help from the lovely Instagram community. I can’t say enough how much I appreciate the sewing community helping me out when I have questions which happens often enough. If you haven’t joined Instagram I highly suggest it. Even if you don’t post you have a chance to learn a lot, ask questions, and get inspired. Bonus alert! A lot of sewing-related brands are on Instagram so you can follow them for exciting news, competitions, and product updates.
Back to the pattern: I had three serious issues but only one of them could be solved with testing and experimenting with the pattern. My issues were: darts acting wonky, gaping neckline, and a weird issue with the bodice between the darts when attached to the skirt.
To fix the darts I started by changing the placement. I tried two other placements before going back to the original. From there I tried changing the height of the dart, first by lowering it half an inch and then by a whole inch. What happened eventually was that I reverted the darts back to the original places but I curved them at the end to make the placement work better. Needless to say, that was incredibly frustrating. They worked out well though after being ironed out so that was good. Curving the dart was the tip I got from the lovely sewing community on Instagram, which is great, because I had never heard of doing this before. Now that I know, I’m hoping that sewing darts will be easier in the future!
The neckline gape was also difficult. I hadn’t had to worry about this before so I wasn’t sure on how to fix it. Then I found a tutorial from BernieandI on WordPress that helped me fix the problem. Basically you cut the pattern at the neckline and do some magic incantations then it’s all better. What was so difficult was actually just trying it. I had never done this adjustment before and it seemed…too advanced almost. Turns out, it’s actually incredibly simple! I’ll show you how I ended up doing it just a tad bit different while still having it turn out right!
I followed the steps basically exactly as you seen them but I noticed something…I had no idea where to take out the ‘excess’ from the top. She mentions that she measured out half of what she actually needs and that it should meet the dart but that’s it. What happened for me what that I actually looked at the angles of the dart and if her lines matched the same angles as the darts and then tried copying that relationship. What it seemed like to me was that the angle of the dart line closest to the side matched the angle of the opposite line going up. I’ll show a picture here so you get what I mean:
Since I had that one line decided, I did just measure how big my wedge was from there and connected that line to the other dart line. I took out an entire half an inch which is quite a bit. The fit worked out great though so I’m really happy with that! Considering how easy this technique is I highly encourage you to try it on your own patterns and tell me if it worked for you. Share any other techniques you know as well!
My final problem was with the waist on the bust when I finally got the skirt attached.I don’t have pictures, which is really silly of me, but basically when I put the dress on there was a weird piece of fabric on the bodice in-between the darts that was almost excess and bunched up. However, when the skirt wasn’t attached, there was no such problem. I tried re-attaching the skirt in a couple ways, including changing the seam allowance and simply stitching down the weird flap. Nothing helped. Considering that everything else was good otherwise and I was getting really discouraged…I decided to fuck with the pattern once more by scrapping it altogether.
Instead of having a darted bodice, I’m going to cut the front of the bodice so that there will be a front yoke and gathered bust. I love this style and have seen some really great examples in vintage dresses. Here are some I really adore:
So instead of having a completed dress like I wanted to have today, I have just an idea and an interesting testing period ahead of me. The bodice has already been cut and I have no extra fabric leftover so I have to be really careful about this. I’ll be testing it on some extra cotton I have first of course to see what my limitations are and how to work with them. If I really can’t make this bodice work I’m going to save the skirt, cut up the bodice into a yoke so it sits at my waist, and be happy I at least got something from it.
For something that was supposed to be relatively simple I’m having the hardest time getting this done. This has been really discouraging for me as a stitcher and makes me wonder about almost quitting sewing entirely. Of course, this isn’t the only reason why. Since I’ve started sewing I only have 2 pieces I’m actually really proud of. Instead of my work getting better as I practice and use ‘better’ techniques, things have only gotten worse. I have yet to complete something on my new machine that I can say is really up to snuff. My blue lantern pencil skirt is close, but considering I’m having a hard time attaching a waistband onto the same pencil skirt with a different fabric I’m really questioning my skills. Attaching a waistband really isn’t that difficult after all. I’m only saying all of this because I’m sure you all feel the same at times. Transparency is something I fully support and I think it’s good to show the ‘bad’ parts along with the ‘good’ parts of any community, such as negative feelings and whatnot. I suppose I’m just waiting for a project where even if I have fit issues I’ll at least feel good about solving them and fit issues will be the only issues I have. As of late though, I just feel I can’t get anything done right. It’s really frustrating to say the least and makes me feel really inadequate.
So instead of leaving on a sad note, I do want to say this dress isn’t done with yet. In fact, I plan on working on it tonight by getting the other bodice cut out and cut up to start experimenting with gathering at the bust to see how things go. I won’t give up just yet on this wonderful hobby and I’ll try making another dress after this out of a pattern I’ve used before so it seems more satisfying than starting a new pattern.
Please, as always, share your own experiences. Do you feel bummed after things go wrong? What makes you feel good again? Let’s chat friends!
Until next time,