No sooner do I declare that I like a bit of edge in my clothing, than I make a bunch of things that are super sweet.
Butterick 6321 is a bonus project—a pattern featured in Fabricland’s current mailer, so available as an extra project if someone wants to do it. And it is seriously cute. And, pockets. But, I had a hard time settling into this project. Sometimes I feel a bit like a stereotype of myself as the girl who makes the pretty dresses. In the end, I like it more than I thought I might a lot of the way through, though.
I had a hard time picking the fabric. We have a lot of gorgeous rayons and some nice summer cottons in store right now, but I liked how the detailing looked on the solid version on the cover. Eventually I settled on this pretty and very light-weight stretch denim, and lace for the detailing. I do love this lace, and have been looking for an excuse to use it in a project since it came in.
After checking the final garment measurements, and knowing I was using a stretch fabric, I opted to sew a size 10 throughout, rather than grading to a 12 for waist and hips. I am glad I did the 10 in the bottom half, but I could maybe have gone down to an 8 in the bust and shoulders. (Typing that terrified me. I have never in my sewing life been an actual pattern size 8, though I’ve tried once or twice with disastrous results.)
I made most of my usual alterations—swayback, square shoulder, and petiting along the designated lengthen-shorten line. What I skipped was additional petiting through the armscye. I figured, because of the construction with the seam there, I could adjust at that point later if necessary, and I overdid the petiting on a few projects last fall so I’m a bit gunshy now. Come to think of it, those were both McCall’s patterns, though.
Then I went and did my construction in such a way that it would be nearly impossible to adjust anything by the time I could actually try stuff on properly. In hindsight I could’ve left off the bodice facings and the sleeves until everything else was finished, tried on, and then fixed the shoulder height. Hindsight is so perfect, isn’t it? What I actually did was finish every damn thing on the bodice, beautifully, with plenty of seam grading and trimming to make things work in my heavy fabric, before I even had the skirt started.
A couple of construction notes: the pattern calls for self-lined shoulder pieces and cap sleeves. I substituted a navy stretch poplin for these pieces (as well as the pocket lining) because of my heavier fabric. I also went a bit off road on the construction, as I wasn’t completely fond of the method described. I am pretty happy with what all I did, even the moment when I had the entire bodice rolled up inside the little front “placket” so I could machine finish it. Just not with the fit. /sigh.
This is another side-zip dress. *headdesk* it’s not so much the physical insertion of a side zip that I dislike, as the difficulty they add to fitting as you go, and then the awkwardness of wearing them after. In this case, we were wary of using an invisible zipper because of the heaviness of the denim… So rather than struggle with the bulk of a conventional zipper or a lapped side zip, I basically went for the nuclear option. Exposed, chunky metal zip.
I’m not sure if this is the wisest style decision I’ve ever made, but I do like the flatness of it. It goes with the denim but seems a bit out of place with the lace. And the fancy pull is gigantic. Oh, well.
At my first try on, before the zip was in, I confess my heart sank. The shoulders were weirdly wide and the cap sleeves came too low under my arms, feeling extremely constricting. I had visions of ripping off the sleeves entirely for a sundress look. Or just throwing it all in a corner.
But, it’s a work project and so no UFOs allowed. Once I had the zip in, things looked a lot better. With the waist sitting where it should, the extra height above the bust is more apparent, but it also forces the bottom of the cap sleeve up to the right height under my arm, so the weird binding is down to manageable proportions. Meaning I won’t be turning cartwheels easily but I can comfortably put my hands on my hips and cross my arms. The shoulders are definitely a bit wide, but some of that might also be the extra height letting things slide around. I don’t have narrow shoulders, by the way.
This pattern has a sweet, detailed upper bodice, and the skirt is fairly narrow with some interesting shirt-tail shaping at the hem (although it’s subtle, maybe a bit too subtle to be noticeable. On the other hand if it were more pronounced it would’ve been harder to get my wide lace to curve evenly to match the edge). I like them both—I’m just not convinced they go really well together. I’d love to pair the bodice with a fuller skirt (say, Sewaholic’s Hollyburn, which has the same kind of pockets) and/or the skirt with a little sundress bodice or even as a separate piece. In reality, though, I like the finished object more than I thought I might, and if I can bring myself to rework the shoulders I’ll probably be good with it as is.
It does look a bit like a Victorian bathing suit.