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.