Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Skittles Dress II

Last time, I left you lamenting over how I couldn't eat Skittles (I checked - the recipe has changed and Skittles no longer uses gelatin, though Starburst still does) and with a convoluted tale of how I chose the fabric for Butterick 4790. I stated, off-handedly, that the sewing of the dress would probably end up being shorter. Oh boy, when will I learn not to open my big mouth?

First up: since I was making the dress in view A, I needed a fabric for contrast. Plain black wouldn't have worked here, I thought. It seemed too stark. I did have a matching pink (JoAnn's calls it flamingo), leftover from a Daisy-Head Maizy costume I made for a coworker. Apparently it makes a comfy cat bed.

Butterick rates this pattern as "very easy". Erm. I would say it's "very easy" for someone who already knows how to sew. The first step is inserting darts in the front and back, with no instructions other than "sew in darts". This is the front:

I've seen fewer lines on a road map. Note that the lower dart actually meets up with the bust dart! Sure, since I can put in darts with my eyes closed, this wasn't a big deal to me, but this alone would probably bump a pattern from the "very easy" category. Harumph #1.

Because the skirt of the dress is cut on the bias, this dress has to hang a while to stretch out. The instructions say 24 hours, which I found weird. Usually they say overnight or eight hours, but whatever. This style of is called a walkaway dress because you can sew it quickly in the morning and walk away wearing it that night. Doesn't seem possible if you have to hang it for 24 hours.

The next few steps involve putting darts in the back, joining the back and front, and then hemming the skirt. If you can handle the darts from the first step, this should be no problem. However, the next step involves bias tape. I won't treat you to my rant on bias tape, but I will suffice it to say that I made my own (as I always do) out of the leftover fabric from the front. The instructions at this point are "enclose the seam in bias tape" - er, what? Again, I am experienced at this, but for "very easy" I would have expected more. I have several Simplicity patterns of a higher difficulty rating that feature step by step instructions on using bias tape. Harumph #2.

After the bias tape is applied, sewing on the closure is the final step. The pattern states to use sew-on snaps (overlapping the front) and then make a loop for buttons out of bias tape. I did not like the look of the overlapping front. It added bulk to the waist and just looked sloppy. Also, I don't trust stretchy bias tape with two buttons to keep a dress closed. I decided I would have the bias taped edges just meet in the middle and use actual buttons with buttonholes for the closure. I toyed with sewing a flap to the inside edge, sewing buttons to that, and flipping it over (does that make sense to anyone but me?), but in the end, I sewed the buttons to the actual inner front (the pink part) and the buttonholes in the outer dotty fabric. That should also ensure that the dress doesn't slip around too much.

The color combination reminds me of watermelon. I flipped the front around, buttoned it, and then added a hook and eye to ensure the dress doesn't pull too much at the buttonholes.

Here's the back and side:

Looks cute, right? I showed it to my husband and he said "wow, that's a lot of pink!" This from a guy who is always trying to get me to wear more color (to which I say: "I wear exactly as much color as I want to"). This was immediately followed with "hey, your bra is showing through!" - I guess I'm either going to have to get a beige color bra (ugh), line the dress (ugh ugh), or wear a slip (ugh ugh ugh). Harumph #3 (though this one is my fault).

I twirled around a little to make sure the fit was good and immediately noticed a problem. Scroll up to the picture of just the front with the buttons; the back of the sheath isn't sewn to itself or anything, and the only thing keeping the back of the dress in place is static cling. When I wore it, the sides immediately fell down to the level of the buttons, exposing my bra and ribs. A quick fix was a small piece of elastic and some Velcro, but sheesh. This dress would be utterly unwearable if it was constructed according to the directions.

So, it comes down to this: though Butterick might rate this pattern "very easy", if you don't already know how to sew in darts and enclose seams in bias tape, I would shy away from this one if you're just starting. If you're not comfortable with making major modifications to make a garment wearable, steer clear. Simplicity has a better collection of learning to sew patterns.

One more thing, regarding the waist: since this is going to be tight around your waist, double check your measurements! I saw a lot of people whining about how there must be something wrong with the pattern to gap or overlap in the front so - nope, you either sewed it wrong, cut the incorrect size, or you aren't the size you think you are. A lot of people measure once and then don't bother doing it again after significant weight loss or gain, and then bemoan how sizing on their patterns are wrong. Listen, if your purchased garments don't fit after weight change, why would sewn garments? Harumph #4.

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