Tag Archives: class sample

Class samples: Zoe Dress

In March I’m teaching a class on the Zoe Dress by Sew Over It at Periwinkle Quilting. So it was high time to get on with sewing my sample.

This is a cute basic dress and I figured it would be a step beyond the very basic Arum I did last year. And I really, really liked this beige-with-writing-and-roses fabric. I had a really great fit with the SOI Betty Dress back before Christmas, so I was pretty excited.

I’m generally a big proponent of tracing when it comes to expensive indie patterns, but I find the SOI patterns really hard to trace. The Betty didn’t have different line styles for the different sizes, which made it hard to pick out the right size, and this one had different line styles, but some of them were really faint, with tiny and spaced out dots, including the size 12 I was tracing for the lower half. Also there’s more notches than you can shake a stick at, and I always miss notches when I trace. So I cut. Based on the Betty, I cut a size 10 for the shoulders and bust and a size 12 for the waist and hip. I didn’t do a petite alteration, but I did add a small swayback adjustment, by shortening the back piece at the waistline and taking a wedge out of the side piece, since the pattern has princess seams but no side seams.

I tend to like a lot of ease in the hips, so I kinda wish I had gone up another size there. As is, I let out the side back princess seams as much as possible–you can’t adjust the front princess seams because there are pockets in this area (yay pockets), but the back is where I really need the room anyway.

You can see the pulling across the back armscye in this one.

The swayback adjustment worked well, although it’s possible I should’ve petited somewhere by a smidgeon.

There are back neck darts. They make a nice shape and I didn’t modify the shoulder slope or anything. (Often I have to square it a bit)

But something is off with the back armscye. The sleeve cap is tall and narrow, which alarmed me a bit, and it definitely works well if I keep my arms down but doesn’t allow a lot of motion. And moving my arms to the front the littlest bit pulls mightily across the back. Fortunately this cotton has quite a bit of give, but it feels like I need a bit of a forward-shoulder adjustment—it’s tight across the back if I try to move my arms forward, but roomy across the chest. Weird because that’s not something I’ve ever needed. Possibly I could let out the seam at the back armscye a wee bit…

I did raise the underarm a tiny bit, which I almost always do, and that helps with the mobility a bit, but I’m just not totally sold on that armscye. And I’ll definitely be checking back measurements when we do the class.

All in all, though, it’s pretty cute.

I’m going to show you my greatest, most terrible shame now, though:

There. There it is. Do you see? How in the HELL did I not check, when I went to cut it out, which way the print was facing? Of all the STUPID… anyway, I can’t go on or this blog will descend into a string of profanity I’ll probably regret releasing onto the internet.

On a happier note, the invisible zipper and the facing attachment fully by machine went smooth as butter. After all these years I still think of Pattern, Scissors, Cloth every time I do this. And yes, I still had pink thread in the serger from the baby overalls, and it makes me happy.

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Class samples: Trapeze Dress

I am teaching a class next month (at Periwinkle Quilting and Beyond… I guess I’m the beyond.) on the Merchant & Mills Trapeze dress. So, sample sewing time.

Spoiler: it turned out ok.

Actually, it depends on your metric. Technically, this is a work of freaking art. Style wise, it’s fun but plain—which goes with the Merchant & Mills aesthetic, if not so much mine. Fit wise, it’s ok but not spectacular. More on that in a sec.

It’s a pretty insanely simple pattern. Ok, I didn’t make the long sleeve version with the funky little inset. That’s a neat version but I didn’t think I’d actually like wearing it. This is what I struggle with with these class samples—balancing what I want in a wardrobe vs. what students need in a class. It is a nice pattern, though—there’s some subtle shaping at the side seam, and the amount of flare is just perfect for a crisp woven.

Anyway. The sizing is British, apparently. I’m in between a size 10 and a 12, but closer to the 10, so I went with that. However, the shoulders are a little binding so perhaps the 12 would’ve been better.

On looking at the pattern pieces, I made two of my usual adjustments: I squared the shoulder, and I raised under the arm. Possibly I should’ve just petited through the armscye, but the effect is pretty similar, except that I think raising the bust might’ve been a good idea too.

The square shoulder was definitely the right call. I think I could’ve raised the underarm a bit more, because my squaring of the shoulder involved raising the outer shoulder, which counteracted raising the under-arm somewhat. Usually I handle things a bit differently, by dropping the inner edge of the neckline when I’m tracing, or just grading to a smaller size in the neck—but I didn’t decide to do the changes until after the pattern pieces were traced. Anyway, it looks nice until I move.

Pockets!!! I added pockets!

My construction, on the other hand, is flipping flawless. Well, nearly. I went with a Hong Kong binding for almost all of the seams. Yum.

After some sampling I went with this dusty punk rayon binding left over from a version of McCall’s M6263 that I apparently never blogged. Oops. I think it looks really cute with my grey fabric. The other dress was pink and grey too, for that matter. Incidentally, the fabric is a Robert Kaufman Essex Linen “Homespun” blend and it’s yummy as hell. And it eased in the sleeve cap really nicely, which is great.

As you can see, I added pockets. There’s plenty of room in this style, and these days, with key cards and cellphones, I’m much happier if I have pockets. Oh, and when binding the hem, I stretched the hell out of the bias tape as I went, which caused it to gather the edge a bit, making it much easier to do a nice, deep hem on the curved edge. I did end up serging the armscye seams, as it was just better to reduce bulk and narrow the seam allowance there.

The whole Merchant and Mills philosophy is of the “slow down and make something carefully and well,” variety, which I respect even if I hate their arty envelope photos. And I really did enjoy this process, with exquisite materials and minimal fitting. It still took less than eight hours of sewing, so it’s not that long of a make. That includes hand stitching all the hems.

You can see how the smooth shoulder fit goes all to hell when I lift my arm even a little. Some of that is unique to my body but some is the draft, which has a fairly high, narrow sleeve cap—the kind that looks perfect while stationary. To make it again, I would remove .5 cm from my raised underarm, but then petite through the armscye 1cm. If I need to make it again, which I probably don’t. I think I’ve mentioned my overstuffed closet.

Here, have an artful flatlay:

I almost wanna make a little pink bow for the outside. Probably too twee, right? This pattern is all about class, right? But I really do love those seam bindings.

maybe I should just wear it inside out?

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