Friday, 29 November 2013

Completed: Polka Dot Pendrell!

So this garment kind of happened accidentally. It was this project I kept going back to work on while I was procrastinating other projects! I kept being mysteriously drawn to it...I just found myself cutting it one night out of the blue!
I didn't feel too "precious" about it either, since it's mystery fabric (no doubt polyester). I found it at an op shop, or "thrift store" to American readers, right?
And once again I'm wearing all Sewaholic- that's my Hollyburn skirt. An obvious match!

It's been a long time in the making though; I've intended to make the Sewaholic Pendrell for ages... it was one of the patterns that first caught my eye when I started following sewing blogs. Ahh. so long ago, when I was too sick with CFS to sew!  (So happy those horrible days are over). Therefore I'm really happy I finally achieved a version of this garment I can be proud of (I made a hideous, hideous attempt at a wearable muslin last year and I'm glad to say I learned a lot from that). I fixed up the fit a bit since that disaster. There was sagging at the back, which I fixed with a tuck/wedge combo. I love princess seams for the ease of adjustment. 

I pinned out the excess droop and transferred it like so:

Saggy back- diagonal lines coming from side seam and too much length in back. I think sway back is the cause.
Pin out droop. (obviously not just on one side)
Confusing pic- ignore the pattern piece on on the left. On the back pattern piece I made a horizontal tuck (not in pic). On the side back, you can see I've taken out a wedge going to nothing at the side seam. The back tuck is equal to the side back's reduction where their seamlines meet.  I am confusing you with my bad explanation, yes? You can also see my other previous adjusments such as the length I took out all the way around for my short waist, and on the back shoulder, excess fabric was folded out from the armhole. OMG this picture is confusing, sorry! Also, the vertical overlap you see near the hem is just where I pieced my tracing paper together! Phew, and deeep breath.

I was almost tempted to make another muslin, but saw sanity and accepted the fit would be fine, even if the back adjustment went screwy! Thankfully it didn't! Yay, so satisfying when a fit adjustment works! The other adjustments were pretty small, involving the armholes mainly.
So obviously, now the back fits nicely, I have gone and tucked it in so you can't see the good fit at all. You're welcome!

Another shot - check out the sleeve fullness at the back!
Overall, I'm wearing a smaller size than prescribed (I'm somewhere between 6-8 on Sewaholic's size chart at the waist.) For some reason when I first made it I started with a size 2. That takes out a lot of wearing ease, but I can still pull it over my head, which is great! A snugger fit, and interestingly, it's not too small in the shoulders. I did have to add width to the bottom at the back for my rear end though!

As many people mentioned, it's very long as drafted! I took out about 3" of length from the hem, on top of my usual shortening of the waist! Oh and the neckline is a bit snug. I have to wheedle it over my head to get it on, so I'll probably widen it next time.

When I cut this out I didn't pay any attention to the polka dot print and realised AFTERWARDS, oh heck, I should probably have thought about matching this up in some way! Thankfully it seems that there are no glaring bits of weirdness along the princess seams, at least to my untrained eyes, but I'll remember to think about it harder next time.
I did end up re-cutting one sleeve though as I realised the hems sat in a different places in the print, which bugged the heck out of me!

The polka dots don't line up the same on the sleeve hem. Unacceptable!
Speaking of the sleeves, these are very full sleeves! I found my fabric actually has quite a bit of body which keeps them puffy! I like to think they don't give me too much of a football player vibe as I have petite shoulders. However, the puffiness is much more pronounced in the back. This makes sense as the pattern piece is symmetrical for front and back, while my body is not. The back of my shoulder is much flatter of course. If I make this view again I will probably experiment with altering the back of the sleeve to be flatter (I can't resist tinkering...alllllways with the tinkering). A softer, drapier fabric would make a big difference though.

Look how puffy my sleeves are! So much puff!
The sleeves are drafted to be cut double and be folded at the hem. However since this fabric is a bit sheer, and also has plenty of body, I cut a single layer and made a hem instead. I'm really glad I did that! They'd be so bulky, and you'd see the polka dots coming through from the other side, ick! 

I simply faced the sleeve hem with bias in the same way as the neckline and armholes, though I suppose I could have folded them up in a regular hem. Instead of using the polka dot fabric, I used the same white cotton I used to line this dress. My logic was to give more softness and less polka dot show-through.

White cotton for bias facings.
One thing that tripped me up what with all my faffing around with the armholes, was that the pattern pieces for the binding no longer worked for me (why does my fitting always compound my pattern alteration woes? Ack!). I ended up just cutting them extra long and applying it as I went. I'd like to redraft the binding pieces for next time I make it. 
At first I thought that the binding should match the length of the seamline of the garment, but then I realised as I worked, the binding should be as long as where it is folded down to, once it's folded to the inside of the garment! (Does that makes sense, or am I talking crazy? Haha!). If the binding matches at the seamline, it will be shorter than the garment when it's folded in, therefore puckering the garment a bit. One of my armholes was done this way before I realised this, but I was lazy and left it. Heh :P

Oh and guys, guys, guys!!! This garment contains my very first overlocked seams! Wowsers! Oh... did I mention I got an overlocker? I'm still scared of it, but I'm sure it'll be great.

Gosh, I guess you could say I learned a lot making this, so yay for experimentation when sewing! I felt like I applied a bunch of "bonus" techniques, considering the properties of my fabric, playing with fit, and gaining understanding of how pattern pieces are put together. So this is a win for me. I hope more and more of my garments turn out like this. As in, learning as I go but still getting something nice at the end of it instead of a dud! Haha!

Oh, I've been blathering on for so long about techniques I forgot to add, can we all just agree how amazing polka dots are?? More polka dots please! :)

And more cute sleeves.

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