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Why Stand When You Don’t Have To – Simplicity 2907 – Part 2 of 2

P1030696Since I didn’t want the little dress I had started in my last blog post to become a UFO (Un-finished Object), I decided to get started sewing again on this project sooner rather than later. My wounds from the collar are still fresh but I wanted to complete the project and move on to something new.

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With the bodice part of the dress sewn together, it was time to sew the buttons and buttonholes. As I looked at the plain yellow front of the bodice, it was too bland in my opinion, so I decided to add a pocket. I dug through the remaining scraps of cat fabric and found a whole cat to use for the pocket. Because I did not want just part of a cat on the pocket, the pocket came out larger than I would have liked, but I stitched it to the bodice anyway. Luckily before I started to make the buttonholes, I noticed that the pocket was in the way of the fronts of the bodice folding over. When P1030755I folded the front over as though buttoning it together, the top front was on top of the pocket. ARRGHH! So, my choices were to unpick the pocket and make it smaller, unpick the pocket and move it to the other side of the bodice, or to fold the fronts of the bodice the opposite way as if it were a boy’s shirt. Since I was quite flustered with this whole project already, I chose the last option and placed the left front over the right and left the pocket alone where it was. I was smart enough though to run the buttonholes vertically rather than horizontally so that the big pocket was not in the way of the buttonholes stitching.

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The next step was to make the skirt. I decided to line the skirt with some black tricot. The skirt was a simple sew even with the lining and it was done quickly and P1030754ready to be attached to the bodice. There were no sewing problems when attaching the skirt to the bodice but after it was done, I realized just how much of a dropped waist the skirt was and just how thin my yellow fabric was. Ah Crap. You would be able to see the top of the little girl’s panties through the yellow fabric because of this. Here I had done so good about lining the skirt to hopefully solve this problem, but I did not even think about the top part. So, my choices were to try and add a lining to the completed bodice, make a camisole to wear with this dress, or just give the dress to the little neighbor girl and let her mom solve the see through problem with a camisole or undershirt that the little neighbor girl probably already owns. And since I just wanted this project to be done, I picked option number three again. I will ask her mom if she has a camisole to wear under this dress. If her mom says no, I will consider making one. But, since I am not really pleased with the whole construction of this dress overall, I am not excited to put any P1030753more time and effort into this project.

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With this dress completed, my first thought is to just throw this pattern out, but the dress turned out really cute and I still like the style of it. So, I have decided to keep the pattern for now just for the skirt portion of it. If I make this style of dress again, I will find a different pattern for the bodice, one that has a “real” lapel collar and facings but use the skirt from this pattern. I will also pick a larger piece of fabric to start with, make the pocket smaller or just skip the pocket, and line the dress appropriately. Yes, that sounds like a plan, but a future plan, and not one I am very anxious to start right away. But with most of my sewing projects I learned a lot and have taken lots of notes for future projects.

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See you next time and don’t forget to Sew forth and Sew on!

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Why Stand When You Don’t Have To – Simplicity 2907 – Part 1 of 2

S2907 - Version 2In the spirit of trying some of the new patterns that I have purchased, I pulled Simplicity 2907 from my pattern stash to try next. This pattern looked to be simple and cute. It looked like a fun easy sew, but as you know, looks can be deceiving. This was a complicated pattern that took far more time and effort to construct than I felt it should have. Now, not all the blame for the complexity of this project is with the patterns design. Some of it was my fault of course, but I am still placing a lot of the blame on the patterns design problems. Because of the problems this project did not end up being the fun, easy, simple, cute sewing project that I had originally thought it would be. Want to hear more of the story? Hang on, It’s going to be a fun ride!

Since I was once again trying out a new pattern for the first time, I decided to follow the pattern guide closely. I traced the pattern with all the markings and cut it out. Next, I picked the fabric to use. The pattern said I would need over a yard of fabric to make this dress. The piece of fabric that I chose, the black cartoon cat fabric, was just under a yard. I laid out the pieces of the pattern on the fabric and they all fit. At this point I started wondering what I needed the extra fabric for? And as I started cutting I found out that the pattern was indeed correct on the yardage needed. If I wanted a back and a front to the skirt out of the same fabric, I would need more. Being as the cat fabric was a scrap and I had no more of it, I pulled out a solid yellow cotton broadcloth from the scrap box to make the front of the bodice of the dress.

With all the of pieces cut and the interfacing applied, I started to sew. Step one was to fold and stitch the facings. I read the pattern guide and then I turned the facings of the front pieces and stitched them as the guide instructed, and what I got was a huge mess. What? Did I misread the pattern guide? So I unpicked the mess I had, reread the pattern guide and tried again. The result was just a different mess. So P1030699I unpicked it again. This time I pinned the folded facings down while reading the pattern guide again and figured out what was going wrong, then I stitched it again. But this time it turned out alright. Wow! This sure was an odd design. The facings folded like I was making a collar with a stand, but then you sewed and snipped the edge for a collar without a stand.

Odd.

Next came the shoulder seams and then sewing on the collar. While once again reading the pattern guide carefully, I sewed the collar just as instructed, starting the side seams of the collar 5/8″ from the edge. Once again the collar was stitched on like a collar with a stand but it was not a collar with a stand. Now, I have made a couple of shirts that have a stand collar and I have a made many shirts with a “camp” lapel collar, so I can say that applying a lapel collar like a stand collar is stupid. But then with the facings done like a stand collar there was no other way to sew on the collar other than like a stand collar.

This was crazy I thought.

Stand collars are not an easy sew. They require a lot of accuracy and precision sewing to look neat and professional. So, why would the designer make this dress pattern so difficult to sew together by making its collar like a stand collar when its not a stand collar? Why not design it like any other “camp” style lapel collar and facings? The only conclusion I could come up with for this design was the amount of fabric needed to make a lapel collar and facings versus a stand collar and facings. The lapel collar and facings would have required more fabric to make, and leave you with more useless scraps. Now, if the fabric you choose to make this dress was $10 to $15 a yard, then yes, less scraps would be better, but in my case where I was already using scraps and probably paid $1 a yard or bought the scraps at a thrift store, plus the fact this could have been an easy fun project, I did not like the way this pattern was designed at all. I spent many P1030703hours of precious sewing time trying to figure out the facings and collar of this little dress, plus the time to carefully and accurately sew the facings and collar. It was not a good sewing experience. This pattern could have been designed to be so much simpler to make.

The sleeves were also a pain to put in. They are very fitted and had to be gathered before inserting them. I am not very skilled at inserting sleeves like this, so it took a lot of work and time for me to insert the sleeves. The sleeves were also very short so I made a very small hem to finish them up. Once again, the only reason I can see for the short length of these sleeves was to save some fabric.

Due to the complexity of this little dress, I am setting this project to the side for a moment. I will finish this dress because I have too much time and sewing into it not to, but for now I need a break. So stay tuned for the conclusion in Part 2.

McCalls M6274 – Puffy Sleeves

IMG_0046If you keep up with the Joann’s Fabric and Craft ads, you may have noticed several great sales on patterns over this last summer, and like any good fabric store shopper, I could not pass up a great sale on patterns. I did my research before going in. I studied the pattern web sites and made lists of my wanted patterns. I decided on the styles and sizes I needed before entering the store. I took the husband with me to Joann’s on purchase day so he could search out the patterns as I called out the wanted numbers. At the check stand, I delighted in the saving at the bottom of the receipt. I hurried home with my new patterns, and promptly poked them in the closet. But, the other day I just was not in the sewing mood to begin altering my second pattern for myself. And so I pulled out these bags of fun new patterns instead, and I decided it was time to sew some of them up. I quickly chose McCalls pattern M6274 as my next project, a size 4 girl’s shirt with puffy sleeves.

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Puff PatternI started by reading the pattern directions. Since this project was to try a new pattern, I decided early on that I would be good about following the pattern guide in making this shirt, and not deviate from the instructions and improvise my way through the sewing as I usually do. So, as I traced the pattern and cut it out, I was careful to add all of the markings from the original pattern. Being the first try of this pattern, I did not want to use a favored piece of fabric for this shirt, so I checked out what I had in my scrap boxes. I picked this purple and white stripe for it, but I debated a while about using it because of the stripes. I was already trying a new pattern. Did I want the added worry of aligning stripes too? But since I’m a daredevil like that, I finally decided on the purple and white striped fabric for this shirt.

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P1030582Cutting out the pattern was no problem and soon the sewing had begun. After sewing the shoulder and side seams, it was time to make and insert the puffy sleeves. Because I had decided to follow the pattern guide more closely than usual, I read the pattern guide carefully and had the markings for the gathering stitches and the tab all in place. This all worked to my advantage. The construction and insertion of the the sleeves when smoothly. Much more smoothly than I had anticipated. Even the gathering process went smoothly. Maybe I’m getting better at gathering? I was very excited. The sleeves had even worked out great with the striped fabric. I had worried that with the gathered sleeves that the stripes would look askew but they lined up fine. I did use a double needle on the hems of the sleeves. This was a little tricky with the tab, but in the end it worked out great. I did deviate from the pattern in one spot. I decided to not make buttonholes in the tab, but to just sew the button and tab to the sleeve. I saw no reason why the tab would ever be unbuttoned, so why go to the extra work of a buttonhole. I did notice right away that these sleeves were the shortest short sleeves I have ever made. It seemed like the hem was almost to the armscye. At first I thought about lengthening the sleeve but then decided not to. I was following the pattern and this was the length the pattern said to make the sleeves. Plus these are cute little puffy sleeves, and lengthening them may take away from that look.

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P1030751After inserting the sleeves, all that was left was to finish the neck and bottom hem the shirt. It all sounded pretty simple but as I held up the shirt with the sleeves attached, I noticed the size of the neck and especially the drop in the back of the neck. The front and back of the shirt are almost at the same level. And the neckline is huge. The shoulder seams are so tiny. How is this going to fit? Will it always be falling off the shoulders? Not wanting to turn the neckline down any more than I had to, I serged and turned the neckline once and stitched it down with the double needle. This was not the cleanest look. I would have preferred to hide the serging with the another turn but I did not want to make the neckline any bigger and I wanted some shoulder seam left.

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P1030750With the shirt finished, I decided that I could not make a judgement call on whether I liked the pattern or not until I gave the shirt to the little neighbor girl and I heard back from the mom on the wear test. Did it hang off her shoulders? Were the puffy sleeves too short and made it hard to move around in the shirt? I am going to have to ask her mom to be very honest about the fitting points, not just say oh its cute, and she likes it. I need to know how it wore so I know if I want to make another shirt from this exact pattern again. Or will I want to modify the neck line on it, or if I would even make the shirt at all again. So, after I find out the results of the wear test, I will decide if my great sale pattern was even worth its terrific price, or will it be removed from the pattern stash in the closet forever. I will report back on those decisions later.

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Well until next time, happy sewing and crafty dreams!