I’ve been obsessed! Obsessed with this last make.
If you’ve read this blog for any period of time you know I’m an active member of the local chapter of the American Sewing Guild (ASG). And while we have events and workshops throughout the year our October luncheon this year was a little special. This year’s theme was “It’s a Wrap!” And it was a celebration times 3! First, we were wrapping up this year of events. Next, it was our chapter’s 10 year anniversary. And last but not least, 2014 is the 40th anniversary of the Diane Von Furstenburg wrap dress.
There was a lot to celebrate! On top of all of that … we had a contest … a wrap challenge! I’ve never participated in a sewing competition. There were three categories.
- Wrap Garment (Included wrap dresses, wrap skirts, wrap shirts)
- Outer Wrap (coats, jackets, capes)
- Gift Wrap (PRESENTS!!!!)
My goal was to make a wrap dress. But … I was scared.
Why? Because up to this point, I haven’t really sewn a dress. Yes, I made a tunic. And I’ve made Sewaholic’s Saltspring. But really … those aren’t real dresses. Dressy dresses. A dress that I could wear to a meeting at work that demands I be taken seriously. And if I’m being completely honest with myself … I’ve been afraid to make a dress so far. Fitting is still my nemesis. But, I really wanted to attend this event, and I really wanted to make a wrap dress … I was just scared. But I had to bite the bullet and decided on Vogue 8825.
The pattern required a knit fabric and didn’t find anything locally … not even at my favorite spot … Fabrique. So … I was off to the web. I’m cool with shopping online. My closest friends think I’m addicted to online shopping at QVC. I did just click over while typing this message to see what the Today’s Special Value was … Ha! Back to sewing!
Lesson learned with this make … not all knit fabrics are created equally. The absolute best thing I did when evaluating fabric was ordering swatches and not ordering the first fabric I saw. I’ve ordered fabric online before … and I’ve learned the fabric description is EVERYTHING. It’s really all you have since you can’t physically touch the fabric. When I received my swatches I was surprised at the difference with the weights and amount of stretch. Some of the knits were so thin. I’m cold natured … so I wanted something I could wear into the cooler months and not freeze my butt off. I finally settled on this knit Kaufman animal print from Fabric.com. It had the perfect amount of stretch and it was the perfect weight and drape for fall/winter.
Based on the my measurements and the pattern pieces, I made a few flat pattern adjustments and sewed the size 16 as my test garment.
- Shortened the bodice front and back by 1 1/4″
- Shortened the skirt length by 2 1/2″
- Shortened the sleeve length by 3″
- Reduced the cuff size by half
My test garment was too large. It just hung from the shoulders … and not in a good way. I was sewing the smallest pattern size on the pattern envelope, so I decided I would take in all of the seam allowances by 1″ to see what would happen. It worked. With that, I went back to my flat pattern and made the necessary adjustments. The other change I made was I eliminated the 1 1/4″ that I took out of the bodice front and back and went back to the original length. I usually have to adjust the bodice length in some way because I’m so short-waisted. It looked a lot better when I added the length back in.
I did purchase a extra yardage because I knew I’d need to match the stripes. And to help in this process I cut the skirt front and back on the fold. The pattern called for the skirt back to be two separate pieces. While is was smack dab in the middle of the stripe matching process … I realized I didn’t fully consider my stripe placement.
I was so focused on matching the stripes in the front and the back center, I really didn’t consider the stripe matching on the sleeve seam until after the fact.
You can see from the picture below, my stripes don’t match on my sleeve seam. I didn’t realize this until I’d finished cutting out the bodice back. I then proceeded to cut out the back again, but I couldn’t get the lines on the skirt back to match the bodice back and have the sleeve seam match as well. Does that make sense? So my question is how do you handle situations like this? Should I have started matching my print at the sleeves? Maybe I should have cut the bodice back on the fold? I don’t know where I should have started the stripe matching. Any suggestions, please leave them in the comments. Maybe not having the stripes match on the sleeve seam is okay?
One additional change I made after my test garment was to lengthen the cuff back to it’s original length. I don’t know if it was the print or what, but the sleeves looked a little dumpy in this fabric with the cuff shortened.
Overall the pattern was pretty straight forward. The most challenging part of this piece was matching the print. The pattern instructions were straight forward. And honestly I haven’t had a single problem sewing knits when using my walking foot. In retrospect I probably should have sized down in this pattern. I’m on that 14/16 cusp for sewing patterns and usually that’s where the pattern sizes separate. I’m coming to realize that I’m probably purchasing and making my patterns too large. I’ll discuss that more in an upcoming Lessons Learned post.
Back to the ASG Luncheon. You probably want to know if I won. Or if I placed. The answer is no and no. But isn’t it all about perspective? In my mind I did win. I finally have a great dress that I made. And yes, I have a formal meeting later at work this month that I’ll be wearing this dress to. If you want to get a peak at what happened at our luncheon click here. There’s a picture out there of all of the wrap contestants!
As always thanks so much for stopping by and I look forward to sharing my next make with you.
Well done! It looks great. I made a zig zag striped top and had the same problem with the sleeve seam too. My answer was to sew on a very thin black ribbon on top of the seam line by hand stitching. It worked for me! As I couldn’t cope with it not matching up!!! There are photos on my blog if that makes it clearer!
AMANDA!!! Great idea. I would have never thought about adding ribbon or a decorative trim to break up the pattern. Great job on that top by the way. I love it and the chevron fabric!! BRAVO! I’ll definitely start looking at some options.
It turned out so great! You did an amazing job! And wonderful stripe matching! And here you thought you needed my help – you know more than you think you do!
I’m not sure how to tell you how you could have matched the sleeve stripes on that seam without seeing the pattern pieces. Sometimes, it’s just not possible on sleeves and I actually don’t mind the mismatch with this print. You were consistent and everything is even, so it took me a minute (plus a “click-to-enlarge”) to even figure out what you were talking about. I seriously wouldn’t worry about it. =)
I would definitely start buying size 14 patterns when you overlap sizes in different envelopes. Since you make mockups, you don’t have to worry as much about being able to make something bigger. If you fit your shoulder to the best size, alterations will be so much less work.
Brooke!! Yes you’ll still be helping me!! I totally don’t have this thing figured out. (LOL!) Okay I think 14 is the way to go on the pattern sizes!! I look forward to hanging out soon!
Beautiful, simply beautiful.
Thanks so much Faye!!
Love your blog and I love this dress!
Thanks so much Sheryl!
Very good looking dress! I love the choice of fabric. and I think this could very easily go from work to a hot date! I don’t think the sleeves have to be matched up! I honestly didn’t notice it until you said something. but whatever you like best you know? that’s why we sew… cause we can do anything we want!!!
Hey! Thanks so much! Hot date. Love it. I’ll definitely keep this in mind for that. I like that mindset of … if it works for me. Then what does it matter. Cool!
Nisha, I’m enjoying your blog. I wouldn’t give the stripe matching on your wrap dress a second thought. It’s a beautiful garment and on a animal print you don’t even expect the sleeves to match.
Lovely girl, lovely job.
Wash your stiff denim in 2 cans of real coco cola NO SOAP and you will be happily surprised how soft your denim will turn out. I did some jeans and was happily surprised. It worked! Lovely creations!
Wow! Thanks! I have two yards of that denim left. I will definitely be washing it with coca cola! I love tops like this. They help me immensely. Thanks!