Tag Archives: class samples

Class Samples: Dress Shirt

A very eager student asked about a class using this pattern. Curious, I was happy enough to oblige.

The Dress Shirt is a simple, pared-down take on a shirtdress, and I actually really enjoyed the sewing process, particularly the front bib and how the neckline was finished. Things went a bit awry at the sleeves—my first inclination was to set them in flat, shirt-style, but there’s way too much ease in the sleeve cap for this method—lots of gathers that are difficult to control. So I did the second sleeve in the round, but still didn’t do a great job on the easing. Next time I would pare down the sleeve cap a wee bit.

On the other hand, the pockets I added worked out fine.

The back view is surprisingly attractive in this picture, at least (these are terrible photos but I had about three minutes to take them in, so it is what it is.)

However, my biggest issue, far and away, is the fit in the shoulders. I did the same size (10) as for the Trapeze Dress last fall, which is technically a size down from my current measurements but a) there’s plenty of ease and b) I don’t think my shoulders have actually changed very much. Plus looking at the model, the pattern seemed to have slightly dropped shoulders, not really what I wanted. But, as it turns out, the shoulder fit has the same restricted movement and tightness across the back as I had in the Trapeze—plus a WAY low armscye.

I did only two of my usual adjustments–when sewing up these class samples I try to stay fairly close to the pattern. I squared the shoulders slightly, and I raised the underarm about 1cm. I did the same on the Trapeze Dress, and I don’t think the underarm height there was a problem. But obviously a bit of a broad-back adjustment is probably in order.

Dress lifts up at least 2-3” when I raise my arms. However, I do like the shorter hen length.

But on this dress, the armscye appears to be dropped by over an inch. I could easily lift it up an inch to an inch and a half before I’m happy with where it falls. For that matter, if I can get the sleeves sewn in a way that’s comfy for me, I’ll probably take 2-3″ off the hem, too. But that’s more personal preference.

There’s not much more to say as it’s a simple make. I really did enjoy the physical sewing of it. I don’t know if it’s the most flattering thing I’ve ever made (better photos might change my mind there), but it was a fun process!

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Class Samples: Alder shirtdress

It’s a bit sweet. And a bit snug right through the bust—I really need to come to terms with my new measurements. But I knew from scouring Instagram that I preferred the “fitted” versions of this dress, so I was at least somewhat intentional in sizing down.

I considered adding back-ties, but with the down-sizing I didn’t really need them.

Anyway. I love the short, sassy skirt. I love the fabric, which is a yummy double gauze. It might, however, be just a little too twee. I’m thinking I would like it paired with black leggings and tall boots. We’ll see.

I went with a mandarin version of the collar. Partly I like them better, partly I’m hoping if I lead some students in that direction it will save some class time. This is only scheduled as a 6 hour class and I’m a little scared. Once it’s don’t being a class sample, I might even cut the neck down to a bound scoop. I’ve seen some hacks like that that I really like. I’m just not really a shirt-collar person, I guess.

The front patch pockets are teeny weeny. I was a good sample maker and resisted the urge to skip them, but I did add some side-seam pockets, suspended from the gathered skirt seam at the top. This holds them in place a little more nicely than just side pockets.

The construction went pretty smoothly, without any major and unfixable snafus. Unlike my last class sample. Still kind of reeling in horror from that one, honestly. For the arm facing, I used a bias tape I had made previously, and while I cut my pieces the same length as the pattern indicated, I think because I had already stretched the tape out going through the bias tape maker, they didn’t have as much give as if they’d been freshly cut that length. So it took some finessing to get them in properly, and it’s still not my best job ever. A half inch longer would’ve been perfect.

What I completely failed to take was progress and detail shots, except for the one lone pic of the pockets underway. It’s too bad, because I like how the side pockets went together, and I actually managed some very nice inset corners, if I do say so myself. And the hem turned out really nice, too, if I do say so myself. I guess you’ll have to take my word for it…

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Class Samples: Betty Dress

I wanted to do a class for a classic fit’n flare, fifties style dress. Well, really, I wanted to do Butterick 5748, but the quilt shop doesn’t stock big 4 patterns. So I hunted around and eventually landed on the Sew Over It Betty Dress. It looked, at first glance, like basically the same pattern, minus a few options.

On trying it out, a few subtle differences showed up. For one, it’s finished with facings rather than a lining. This was neither here nor there for my purposes, though lined might’ve been better in a white fabric. The most interesting thing is that, while the skirt is indeed a full circle, it’s not evenly divided front and back. The front portion of the skirt is somewhat larger than a half circle, while the back portion is somewhat smaller. I’m not sure what the consequences of that are, but it seems to work out.

I altered the construction for my favourite sleeveless method, where you stitch the facing to both neck and armscye, then turn it right side out before sewing the side seams.

And added piping to give at least a tiny pop of colour to my white and grey fabric. It’s purple, though I’m not sure you can tell. Isn’t this fabric fun though? I had wanted something colourful and novelty for this sample (something about these fit ‘n flare dresses is perfect for a novelty print quilt cotton). I didn’t find colourful, but the novelty was too perfect! I’m very tempted to take some fabric paint to some of the outlines, but I’d hate to blow it at this late stage.

The back is a smooth V

The fit seems surprisingly good out of the envelope. I made a straight size 10.

I added pockets to the side-seams, which worked out well except that I appear to have mis-traced the notches I was using to align the pockets to. So I had to unpick both back pocket pieces (including understitching and serging) and move the pieces up. I’m pretty sure this is a tracing error—it was not the easiest pattern to trace, I will say that, as the lines are all the same solid line, without different dashes for different sizes.

I finally gave in and made a pocket pattern piece out of cardboard. Hopefully I can keep track of it to use again and again.

I tried it on after the skirt was attached, expecting to need to do a swayback adjustment, and to my surprise it didn’t seem to be needed. Looking at the photos, I think a very small adjustment might’ve been good (1/4″ or so?) but it’s still a remarkably good fit right out of the envelope.

That fabric is such a lot of fun!

I am a little disappointed it didn’t come with pockets, but they aren’t at all hard to add, and I’ll be happy they’re there every time I wear this.

I took a lot of these pictures with my Very Fluffy Petticoat, which is an old square-dancing petticoat and way too ridiculous for normal wear but makes great photos! The less insane photos have my black “everyday” petticoat.

So all in all, I’m really happy with the pattern. It’s basic but a great backdrop for fun fabric, and I can imagine lots of fun mods. I’m still not totally sure about the unequal circle portions in the skirt (it just seems untidy to me) but I didn’t notice any issues once it was together—presumably the side seams fall towards the back a bit, but you’d have to look really hard on a circle skirt to notice that. And I’ve got some novelty Hallowe’en fabric in stash that would be just perfect….

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Class Samples: Underwear!

I’ve wanted to do an underwear class for quite a while. It’s one of my favourite things to make, it’s fast, the materials are minimal, but there are lots of little helpful techniques that can be hard to pick up on your own.

Picking a pattern, though, was harder than I thought. My go-to is the Watson Bikini by Cloth Habit, but a) it’s only available as a PDF, and b) while I love the bikini style, I wanted a pattern with other options. And I didn’t want to do the bralet!) There are lots of free underwear patterns out there, as well, but again PDFs are awkward for teaching—they can’t be easily sold by the store, but more than that, half the class can end up being about “how to assemble a pdf pattern”—which might be a class in its own right but isn’t what I want to spend time on when we only have 3 hours. And most of them have limited sizing and styles.

Finally, I decided to go for an oldie I’ve been curious about for a while, Jalie 2568. This has five different styles and the usual Jalie wide range of sizes. I don’t know if anyone these days still wants matching mommy ‘n me underwear (like my grandma used to make for my mother and I for Christmas every year) but I think it’s an adorable idea, anyway.

And with the range of styles (basically high cut and hipster cut with both high and low rise options for each. We won’t go over the tanga pantie view if I can avoid it), I’m hopeful everyone will at least have something in their ballpark.

The camisole is cute, too, although I don’t love how it’s drafted specifically for the wide lace at the front neck. I do like how they use the same techniques for finishing the cami as for the underwear, at least from a teaching perspective.

My one disappointment from a construction perspective is that they’re single crotch seam underwear. While I do like this look, I prefer the sewing and finishing of an enclosed crotch. Not that it’s hard to convert one style into the other, of course.

The pattern suggests a simple hemmed option for the hipster cut, so I did try that out, but I’m dubious about its merit. My kids have a few RTW undies with a similar finish (cover stitched) but I fear that a) a coverstitch stitch is stretchier than a twin needle, and b) even the RTW versions basically wedge up your butt instantly.

For myself, I will not be remaking the high-waisted version, but I might give the hipster cut another try. I will probably lower the CF about an inch (which I usually do the Jalie pants, too). I should do a no-seam-allowance version to try the FOE, too.

If I ever get done these class samples!

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(A)rum-ination

I didn’t really think the Deer and Doe Arum dress would be my first stab at a D&D pattern. I’ve been in love with their Fumeterre skirt since it first came out, among others, but I hadn’t really noticed Arum.

Until last winter when I went looking for a basic dress to teach a beginner garment-making type class at Periwinkle Quilting, the local shop where I’ve been getting to do some teaching this past year. I loved the slender silhouette and the simplicity seemed perfect for a one-day class.

And, having made it up, I think I was right, on that front at least.

I’m a little less at ease with my choice of fabric. It’s a muted greeny blue that I LOVE but combined with the simple cut it reads dangerously close to hospital gown, which is not helped by the fact that the fabric (a cotton-linen blend) really has a bit too much body for the design. But I’m a sucker for linen.

I added some lace motifs at the neck to hopefully distract from this.

I blended from a 38 in the upper body to a 40 at the hips, and did a swayback adjustment, which I think helps but it’s a bit hard to assess given the loose shape.

I have mixed feelings about the dolman sleeves. On the plus side they’re super simple and quick—on the minus I think they’re a bit low under the arm (duh, that’s how sleeves like this work). I might try playing around with raising them and adding a gusset in the future, but I didn’t want to go too far off the grid with a class sample.

Also did I mention it is SHORT? Ok, again in the pattern’s defense I did a one inch hem instead of 3/4″, so it might be slightly shorter than intended, and I am technically taller than most patterns are drafted for… but I rarely have to add length to skirts. It’s technically mini length, but because of the style of sleeves it comes up quite a lot when you raise your arms.

Maybe some lace around the bottom to add a wee bit of extra length… things I will think on later, after the class is done.

In the meantime I might have to try another. It was seriously quick and fun to put together.

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