Category Archives: Finally Finished

Simplicity 1612 – Another Summer Dress

S1612_Planning

I bought two patterns from Simplicity during their last online sale and this is the second pattern from that purchase. The pattern is Simplicity 1612, View A. It’s a knit dress pattern with a twisted front detail at the bust, a twisted back panel, cap sleeves and view A finishes at the knee. I used a retro white/orange/brown printed poly knit that’s been in my stash for yonks. I remember loving it at the time but then I realised the print ran the wrong way (selvedge to selvedge not lengthwise) and it ended up buried in the cupboard. Time to stash bust! 

S1612_FinalDressThe pattern went together easy enough, from cutting to hemming it took me an afternoon, about three and a half hours. I was anticipating some modifications so I didn’t use my nicer fabrics. It was made in a size 26W and for something straight out of the packet it’s turned out well enough to wear around the house BUT you can see my bra at the back so I won’t be wearing it in public. That’s the biggest change I need to make to the paper pattern if/when I make this up again ‘cuz my bra is visible and that’s not a good look! The twist at the bust worked out much better than I thought it would. It covers enough of my chest so that the front of my bra is covered but it’s still a nice steep v-neck. 

On to the list of modifications, none of them are essential but I like to aim for better each time I make something. I will add extra width to the lower inside curve of the back twisty piece and shift the notches on the skirt to match. I will probably cut about 5cm off at the hem to have it sit at or above my knee, it’s a touch too long at the moment (or alternatively I will make it a maxi!). The next time I make it I will shift the shoulder seam back by 1-2cm, I think it sits a bit too far forward. I’m also considering combining the back skirt and back twist panels into one simpler pattern piece for a faster style option. I like the waist shaping through the back so I’d leave the centre back seam. I know that sounds like a long list of changes but they’re all so minor and they will be quick to do. S1612_FSB

I wanted to break this up into a few posts but life has been a bit messy of late so I’m just putting up the finished project.

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Simplicity 1800- The Finished Dress

S1800_FinalThe dress is finished and I absolutely love the style. I’d happily make two or three more to see me through the summer. I’m glad made the necessary changes to the paper pattern before cutting in to the fabric. I’ve ended up with a great pattern I can re-use and know it’s going to fit just as well as this dress does. The drape and weight of the fabric is perfect for this style, it’s so comfy and cool to wear. It is a bit bright compared to what I normally wear so I am considering hunting down a cropped short sleeve cardigan in red to wear with it while I get used to seeing myself in something other than solid colours. I discovered I have a pair of shoes that match the dress almost perfectly. How cool is that?

2013-09-22 10.09.49I changed the pattern to a lined bodice and sleeves instead of using the facings. I like how the edges of the neckline and sleeves are finished because of the lining. There is one thing I’d tweak next time around (and there will be a next time!) and that’s the curve of the princess seam. It’s a little bit pointy and sits a bit low, a smoother and higher curve would suit me better, I think.

S1800_FinalFBS

Style Arc’s Linda Stretch Pants- Plus Size Goodness!

I made up the first version of my Linda pants in a size 26 about a week or so ago, in a black poly ponte. I went by Style Arc’s size charts and bought it based on my hip measurements but the waist needed a lot of taking in.

Apologies for the lack of detail- the camera in my phone doesn't like black!

Apologies for the lack of detail- the camera in my phone doesn’t like black!

I bought a size 26 pattern to fit my hip measurement and took a 5cm wedge (10cm total) out of the centre front seam so that they fit my waist. I need the room at the hips for the low belly fluff but my “waist” is tiny in comparison. I like them, but there’s some fitting to address next time around. Oh- and I’ll remember to buy some wide elastic. These were made in a hurry so I skipped it, and I could kick myself for not using something stronger than just the ponte as a waistband.

The drag lines at the back I think needs two things- more back crotch length and less inseam length… I think? With the extra back crotch length I think the front should also lose the tiny smiley. Suggestions welcome!

These will be presentable house pants (I’m an Aussie, I don’t mean knickers!). Without the elastic in the waist I wouldn’t want to be bending over too much out in public.

I’m impressed with this pattern company mainly because of their sizing. I am currently a RTW 24/26, definitely plus size, and most of the big companies size charts have me at a size 32. Very few patterns go up to that and the ones that do aren’t as stylish or as flattering as the patterns from Style Arc. My only criticism is that they don’t offer multi-size patterns *sobs*, so as I continue to lose weight I’ll need to repurchase the patterns I like.

BurdaStyle Francesca Final

I’ve finally finished the real Francesca Variation yesterday, and I even wore it out of the house! It took much longer to assemble it than I thought it would, almost two full days of cutting, pressing and sewing. There were 24 panels/pieces to sew together , excluding facings and interfacing, so I can see where the time was spent and why I wouldn’t have been able to make it up in an afternoon like I had hoped.

Burdastyle Francesca

I decided to alter the back skirt panels the “proper” way, letting it out at the seams and shaping it to the hem, and I also tweaked the sleeves to get rid of the excess from the last toile. Sadly, the sleeves were a bit too snug after my tweaking so I made a cut-out where the ties are sewn and bound the cut edge with some green bias binding I had in my stash- it’s a passable fudge but I’ll modify the pattern to account for that for next time.

BS _Francesca_Detail

I pinched out 1-1.5cm on the lower shoulder seam, at the outer edge, tapering back to 0cm at the neck edge. I took a similar amount off the sleeve head as well to make it fit. Those adjustments took care of some of the wrinkling across the shoulders BUT I should have checked where the bust panel notches were before I sewed them on, they’re slightly uneven and I think it’s because of my uneven shoulder height. All those adjustments aside, I really do like how it turned out. I like the shape and the colours and the fabric. I love the rolled hem on the overlay and the pleated panel under it. I plan on making it again but will probably make two more at the same time to make it worthwhile- set it up as an assembly line, much more efficient!

BurdaStyle Francesca Toile #1

First toile made and pattern modifications have been noted down so I can alter the pattern pieces today and cut a second toile.

Bustrastyle Francesca Toile 01

I need to let it out (more than I thought I’d have to) across the hem, I’ve split it open down the front and back to give me an idea of how much I need to add. I’ll add it evenly throughout the panels. I think a total of 16cm will be enough.

I need to add some length to the front bodice and remove some length on the back bodice- the band under the bust is tilted. Fingers crossed- removing some length on the back bodice and adding some width will be enough to remove, or at least minimize, the wrinkling you can see on the back skirt panels (I’m sure some of the wrinkles you can see is just from bad pinning).

might lower and widen the neckline a small amount. It’s a nice height now without the contrast detailing but if I’m adding more fabric with the contrasting bust panels I can do with enlarging the neckline.

I haven’t added the sleeves to this toile and I’ve left off the contrasting fabric too. I will add the sleeves to the next toile but I think I’ll skip the contrasting fabric again, it’s not needed for tweaking the fit.

I’m going to transfer all the alterations to the pattern pieces today and if I have time cut out the second toile. If all goes well I should be able to sew it up by tomorrow and then go fabric hunting this weekend for the final version. I’ve already seen some gorgeous printed cotton voile online and I’m hoping they have it in store.

As pointed out on The Sewing Forum, I do have wonky shoulders and I know I need to fit for that. Generally I just pin out the excess just before I insert the sleeves but someone made the suggestion of using a small shoulder pad. It’s something I’ll mill over while I make the next toile.

Tutorial: Dressmakers Pattern Weights

Cutting out patterns is one of those things that doesn’t need to be so tedious. Pinning out paper patterns is a pain! Have you ever considered weighing patterns down instead? You should!

Since college, I have hankered after a set of pattern weights or cloth weights for my own personal use. Unfortunately, like a lot of the cooler items I used during my course, metal pattern weights (like these, or these) are not available on the retail market in Australia and the cost of shipping them here from overseas is crazy.

You can buy home-use sets which are basically small metal washers with a nylon coating- or you can raid the pantry for tins of food. They’re all adequate substitutions- but to me, it felt like I was being “cheap”, not “thrifty”. Being thrifty is about doing a good job with limited resources. I wanted to look forward to laying out my patterns and perhaps feel a little extravagant when using them.

After some brainstorming with Mr Thrifty, we headed off to our local Bunnings hardware store for supplies. My first stop was metal washers. I’d seen retail versions of weights using washers as well as DIY tutorials for covering them, but I wasn’t overly impressed by the weight of them or the sizes available. I’m sure they work but they just weren’t doing it for me.

When I explained what I was thinking to Mr Thrifty, he showed me what he had found further down the aisle and I was overjoyed by what I saw! He had found some metal plates or brackets (or whatever the heck they’re called!) similar in size to the small Morplan cloth weights. I will admit, I got a little excited… The smallest Morplan weight is 20GBP, that’s close to 30AUD. My bargain hunting brain went in to overdrive as I scanned through what else they had in that section.

One shelf up and two places across I spotted a wider bracket. It was the same length but twice the width and half the thickness. I grabbed four of the large ones because I wanted to stack two of them together so they were double the weight of the small ones. And I grabbed six of the narrower plates because half a dozen sounded like a decent number to have in my stash.

Cost so far: $37.30 AUD

Technical note: both sizes of the brackets weigh just under 500 grams (1 lbs). The smaller plate is 20cm x 5cm (8in x 2 in) and the larger plate is 20cm x 10cm (8in x 4 in).

On our way home we stopped in at Spotlight (a necessary evil one has to face when needing fabric) and picked up half a metre of “fake quilt” fabric that was $12.95pm. I’m not a quilter and I’m sure a quilt fanatic would frown upon its use but it was lovely fabric and I’m glad I bought it. After Spotlight, we stopped off at one of those discount variety stores and I found a roll of cream coloured grip map for $2.50. Grip matting wasn’t a part of the original plan but it ended up being a nice addition to the finished weights. It cushions the fabric from the hard edges of the metal plates.

Cost so far: $46.25

You know what you need and where to find it, now all you need to know how to make them!

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