Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Completed: Another McCalls 5974!

Okay, we're probably all a little sick of the muslin madness happening on my blog lately, so let's take a breath. Phew!

Remember the lilac fabric I used in my Cool Cowl Tank? This dress is the reason I bought it- the Cool Cowl was just a bonus make. I love being sneaky and getting more out of remnants, though usually I don't like the idea of having the same fabric twice in my wardrobe.

I really love the colour, and knits are my sewing happy place (so much easier, lol! Actually, I feel like I'm cheating when I sew knits, they're so low-fuss!). Plus, I'd already used the pattern once before in grey merino, so I knew I had a high chance of success.
I did worry that the thin, drapey qualities of the knit would make it sag down and also cling unflatteringly, but it's actually not too bad. I'll definitely wear a half-slip though, just like with my previous version.

I'm interested to see the longevity of the garment. This is just from experience with RTW clothing, but I think knits tend to get saggy and sad quicker, especially the thin ones- anyone else find that? It does have a small percentage of spandex in it, so that could help.

Ooh, let's get to the fun part- the sleeves! I'm proud because I frankenpatterned it! I think this is my first frankenpattern actually! Ooh, I should add that as a post label. Frankenpattern, what a great word.
I used the flutter sleeves from New Look 6808, which I haven't actually used before in any of my versions of the pattern.
To get them to fit, I measured along the seamline of the dress armhole, and compared it to the seamline of the sleeve pattern.
I'd also checked out the original dress sleeve- it has about an inch of ease in the sleeve cap. I have read that you don't really need any ease in sleeve caps for knits, due to their stretch properties. However, it certainly wasn't hurting anyone, and knit are SUPER easy to ease in, as you can just stretch the two layers as you sew.

So I decided to go for an inch of ease in the sleeve cap. Here's how I altered the flutter sleeve, I just overlapped the excess at the seamline, while leaving the hem undisturbed. I suppose that proportionately gives it a little more flutter, as the pattern piece is now more curved, but no big deal. Works for me!

I marked in the notches and marks to make lining up the pattern pieces easy when sewing. I did it by walking the sleeve pattern on top of the armhole and marking my notches on my sleeve as I got to them on the armhole. Walking the pattern is where you put one seamline on top the other and "walk" it to see how their lengths match up. Terrible explanation, I know. I couldn't even find a decent tutorial for people who don't know what I'm blathering about. Google, you've failed me!

You know what, I could probably have fudged the sleeve in there without all that fussing, as knits are so forgiving. But that's not my style. I like to make it the way I feel to be right.

But yes, I'm really proud of my first frankenpattern, lol! This is such a cute sleeve shape, and it suits the lightweight fabric nicely. Don't look too closely at my sleeve hems though, the machine decided to do some wobbly stitches... lol. I couldn't be bothered fixing it either, it's fine. Imperfections are still very much part of my sewing, even when it's with knits :)

In my first version of this dress, I pointed out the MANY things I changed about this pattern in terms of fit and construction, so please take heed if you want to make this pattern!
This version I didn't change much, but I did create a much curvier centre back seam, taking it in at the waist a chunk, going to nothing at the butt and mid-back. This is sort of a full butt adjustment in my eyes. It was also an inch shorter in the back when leveling the hem, which again is my butt taking up the extra fabric. I wonder if I should slash the pattern and add length at the hip level on the back pattern piece for next time? That seems like it'd be the "proper" way to do it, rather than leveling the hem. Something to try perhaps, though maybe if it ain't broke I shouldn't try to fix it!

I'm not convinced in the all-in-one back piece. I think it would look better with a midriff going across both front and back, and pleats on the backside too. Is it mod time? :)

Back view- I think the slip is making the butt wrinkles here. That's why I was unsure about such a lightweight knit.
Also, another reason I had to make this dress, was because I felt it would go really well with my Georgina Cardigan, which is a little bit of a wardrobe orphan currently. And I'm pretty pleased with them together! Pastels and greys are so nice together.

I can see myself making more versions of this pattern. I think it could really go to the next level in a high-quality double knit, not that I have any. And it occurred to me that it's similar to my Cake Patterns Tiramisu dress, but I like it more because of the pretty pleated details. It is more complicated to make though, I'll admit. Pleats in knits can be bit annoying to be honest, lol!

I really love sewing knits, but there's something about wovens that feels more lasting, so I guess they're worth the extra hassle overall. I really enjoy the structure they give a garment. There's definitely a place for both in my wardrobe though! How do you guys feel about knits vs wovens?

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