Close Encounters of the 4th Kind

Big 4, that is.

I did something a little while back that, in hindsight, is new to me. I made a Big 4 stretch-knits-only pattern.

I made View E. Duh.

I made View E. Duh.

I mean, I have lots of them. I just haven’t really made any up before. (The odd kids’ pattern excepted) Not really intentionally, but just because Jalie and Kwik Sew or Burda or a few other indie patterns always seemed to have something a little more what I was going for.

But then Simplicity 1612 threw itself in my way, and, well, how could I resist?

Simplicity 1612 and Border Print

Simplicity 1612 and Border Print

I mean it, how? Especially View E done up in this gorgeous knit—drapey without being too fiddly, with a crazy-perfect border print. How could it go wrong?

Above-bust adjustment. I made it stepwise so as not to raise the neckline.

Above-bust adjustment. I made it stepwise so as not to raise the neckline.

It started well. I decided to make a 10 (I often make a 12, but I was pretty sure smaller would be better for this pattern. I made my usual changes to the bodice—shortening both between bust and shoulder, and between underbust and waist. I took advantage of the rear seam to do a swayback adjustment, and mindful of Sunni’s advice, (and some previous personal disasters) I reduced the amount of gathering at the front just a smidge.



I was worried about the crisp, cut-out appearance of the bodice, so I used lots of knit interfacing. (The pattern only called for a little right at the front opening.) I’m not sure if I used not enough or too much, but I sure didn’t get it just right…

What's right

What’s right

Ok, so off to such a good start, right? And, well, let’s start with what’s right. (Apologies for the craptacular photos, by the way—I’ve been sitting on this hoping I’d get better ones taken but it hasn’t happened yet and I figured I should just get this posted before I forget everything.) Anyway. Fit—good! Bust was at a perfect level, sizing was right on, a little bit of tweaking of the back seam helped a bit there, and overall just WOW. Look at that fabric. Love it. Long, sleek, elegant shape.

Flippy shoulder

Flippy shoulder

The devil, as always, is in the details. Worst is the neck-circling shoulder-thingy. I’m not sure if I should’ve interfaced this entire circle, or not interfaced it at all. Β Or maybe done a bound edge all along the arm-area-opening. Anyway, one side flips up. The other doesn’t. The neck-band-tie isn’t stretched enough to lie flat (I matched markings and everything!) and was wavy and bubbly, so I topstitched, which wasn’t a good idea, either. I think it’s a bit wide, really, too. The bodice is lined and the princess-seams don’t tend to line up perfectly, which makes some weird ridges; I should go in and hand-stitch them together, except that hand-stitching knits just irks me. Irrational, I know, since I’m perfectly happy to hand-stitch the snot out of anything else. /sigh. I guess I’m just feeling like the whole construction and finishing of the dress is, hmm, not quite as “knit like” as I’m used to.

Back view

Back view

One last, maybe piddling, little point: scroll back up to look at the cover art. See how smooth and sleek the dress is in the back views? Ok, so I’m not perfect at back shaping, but here’s the thing. In order for a dress to hug the back like that, the front needs to be snug. At least with the way my back curves… maybe you non-swaybacked people out there have different experiences. Well, the only way to make that happen in this dress would be to totally get rid of the gathered looseness in the front. And, well, I like a little bit of looseness over my belly these days, thanks. Plus, y’know, it’s part of the design.

2013-04-29 11.29.40

Rolled hem!

On the bright side, after fighting with my serger tension issues for almost two hours, I finally managed to get it to produce a nice, stretchy, rolled hem! (I wrapped some button thread permanently between the tension discs for the needle thread. It holds them open enough that they have a normal tension, now.) I used white thread and Oona’s trick and coloured in the black areas with permanent marker, although real fabric marker would’ve been better.



I keep hoping that some time in the magic closet helps me forgive this dress’s flaws, because really, it’s black, who’ll actually notice them? People notice the crazy print and that’s pretty much where it stops. But so far, I notice them (especially that flippy-up shoulder!), and it’s been a couple of weeks already. Maybe I should just re-do that neck band? maybe with some FOE instead?

At least I got one Me-Made May wear out of it...

At least I got one Me-Made May wear out of it…




Filed under Sewing

22 responses to “Close Encounters of the 4th Kind

  1. Gorgeous dress! I would re-do the neckline, so that you don’t fret about it when wearing it….I never want to re-do, but usually am pleased when it is done, and I think this dress is totally worth it.

  2. It looks just beautiful.

    What kind of interfacing did you use? There are interfacings that will stretch with your fabric (here they call it French fuse). I’ve had non-fabric permanent marker wash right out, but never if it’s left a week or two before it’s washed.

  3. Just lovely – even with the dramas. I love the back and how it shows off your shoulders.

  4. absolutely gorgeous – however, I agree with the others – if it really bothers you, and you have enough fabric, fix the neckline.

  5. Cherie

    I think you will fix the neckline problems, as I’ve noticed you are as anal as I am about things like that! But you look spectacular in the dress, I bet hubby loves you in it! You go girl, your makes are as glam and dramatic, may I add as adorable as you are.

  6. It would be a crying shame not to fix this dress so that you love it as it deserves!! Definitely figure out what needs to happen with the shoulder area. And in the meantime, I’m going to see if this one is OOP or not. Cuz, you know, my pattern collection could use just a few more… πŸ˜‰

  7. The problem here is two-fold: 1) None of the big4 that I’ve tried has ever created a neck binding that is tight enough (I usually hack off several inches from the pattern when I do mine), and 2) you’re spoiled from using good pattern companies*! πŸ˜€

    That said, this is an absolutely gorgeous match-up between pattern and fabric. And you look amazing, flippy shoulder or not!

    *okay, they’re not necessarily bad, but they’re sure don’t spend the time perfecting knit patterns (or, I suspect, any pattern) as much as companies like Cake.

  8. Corinne

    You’re right, the fabric and style of the dress are LOVELY. I so appreciate the “blow by blow” description of the good and the bad. Unfortunately for us “one at a time” sewers it takes a few tries to get it just right. Just found your blog….glad to meet you and look forward to the ride. Thanks.

  9. I love it! Not sure what to suggest about the shoulder though. I don’t think it’s that noticeable. I love the tip about colouring in the serger thread! Mine’s been threaded up with white for ages, and I’ve given up changing it because the tension goes weird when I change threads. Maybe now I’ll just colour in!!

  10. Love this dress on you! I would redo the neckline if I were you, but I can’t tell you what to do to make it better, unfortunately.

  11. Beautiful dress! Maybe if you bound the neckline and stabilized with some clear elastic? This may take a little experimentation

  12. Oh. This looks too good on you not to fix and make perfect! Really stunning, wonky shoulder aside.

  13. i just bought that pattern! i am certain i will not be using interfacing, and am of no help whatsoever there. but i LOVE your border print. i say chop the offending bits off, and use long strips of rolled jersey to create new shoulder straps (like, a LOT of straps).

  14. You look good in everything you make!

  15. Oh what a great dress…. from a distance. I think I could look over a lot but that wingy shoulder piece will always bug you. I like Oona’s suggestion.

  16. Iron over the permanent marker to set the color – will help keep it from washing out. I’ve used every color Sharpie in the world for stuff like that in film and theatre. =)

    I’m wondering if the interfacing got a little stretched out as you fused it, thus the one side flipping up. It always seems that one side will go together more perfectly than the other on everything. One sleeve will go in perfectly and the other needs to be redone once or twice – just Murphy’s Law. (When I was working at the opera a couple months ago, a coworker had to reset a sleeve on a custom built men’s suit at least 10 times to get it to hang without drag-lines!)

    Overall, it’s a really great dress! Don’t beat yourself up over it, but go ahead and try a little tweaking just to see if you are happier with it. =)

  17. What a fabulous and sassy frock! This is pure fanciness!
    I must admit, I would probably redo the neck to get it to sit properly or try a different strap/neckline style. But what a stunning make!

  18. Joy

    I hardly ever make a garment that doesn’t have some imperfection(s) that bugs me (: I think the dress turned out gorgeous and really suits you!

  19. Forgive it or fix it, but either way you gotta wear the living daylights outta this. It’s hot! Seriously beautiful, love the combination of fabric and style!

  20. Pingback: Simplicity 7330 View 4 & Simplicity 1612 View E - Deb's In Stitches

  21. Pingback: Simplicity 7330 View 4 & Simplicity 1612 View E - Kittyloaf Designs

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