Friday, July 4, 2008

My First Patrones

While I loved almost everything in issue 253, February, 2007, I decided to make this really cute dress, no. 45, for my first project. I chose it because, aside from liking it a lot and thinking it was a good simple style to start out with, it told me it wanted to be made up from some brown and white Italian cotton that I bought from Metro Textiles last summer. It's been waiting all this time, and it's almost been made into several different things, but each time I stopped because I thought the pattern was too big, or the color wasn't right, or something. Well, now the color's right, the pattern's a good size to be spread over a longer dress, and I have enough white batiste left to line the whole thing. I think the instructions say just to bind the neckline and armholes, but I'm not that neat and my fabric's a little light, so a lining was the way to go.

I cut out the pattern in a size 40. I'm generally a 38 in BWOF patterns, and that's more or less the equivalent of a Patrones 40. I cut extra-wide seam allowances, just in case. First I cut out the bodice in the lining fabric - muslin as lining, or lining as muslin, however you prefer it. I basted the pieces together and the fit seemed good, so I used my muslin to cut out the fashion fabric. I didn't want any topstitching on the bodice, so I attempted my first closed lining and sewed the lining to the fabric at the neckline and armholes and turned it right side out, then sewed the shoulder seams of the fashion fabric on the machine and then hand-stitched the lining closed. I've seen this technique before but always thought it seemed like too much trouble. Except when it was exactly the finish I wanted, and then it wasn't any trouble at all. Go figure. It's all in what you want to do.

Although this dress looks very simple, it's very nicely designed. The skirt, both front and back, is a center piece and two side pieces, and the seams line up with the front and back darts. This was something I only noticed when I was puzzling out the instructions; since the photographed dress was all white I really couldn't see the details that well. Besides, I was too befuddled by the ball fringe they used for trim to look closely at anything other than the lines of the dress.

The fronts and backs are sewn separately - top, waistband, skirt, and then sewn together. This gave me plenty of opportunity to work on fit before putting in the invisible zipper and closing up the seams.

I had issues with the waistband. In the same fabric, it just looked busy. I had some solid brown cotton on hand, but it wasn't quite the right brown to use for contrast, so what I ended up doing was edging the waistband with the brown. I also doubled the length of the front waistband and gathered it back to the original length before putting on the edging. I thought that added a little interest and also cut the size of the big flowers around my waist.

Now's where the fun starts. I got the fit pretty much where I wanted it and opened the zipper drawer. No long white zippers. Only thing I had was an 8" white zipper, which I really didn't think would do the job. Pinned in a 22" brown invisible zip - long enough, but it showed through the fabric, so no. Pinned in the too-short white zipper and wiggled into the dress. It worked, though a longer zip would better. But the instant gratification sewist was at the machine, so short zipper it was.

I got the zipper in in record time, and thankfully the invisible zipper foot for my poor disabled Singer fit the Juki machine, so no problems there. Then I closed the seams around the zipper and sewed the lining seams. No problems, right? Then I tried the dress on. Or should I say, I attempted to try the dress on. It wouldn't go over my head. I got stuck. I pulled it off, tried it again, got stuck again. (Did I mention it was after midnight?) Pulled the dress off again, sat down to try to figure what went wrong. It became obvious in a minute and I wanted to smack myself in the forehead with a sleeve board. I'd sewed the seams of the dress closed around the zipper, but I'd sewn the entire lining seam shut. So I had a zipper opening, but no corresponding opening on the inside of the dress. I think that's carrying a closed lining a little too far!

This morning I picked out the stitches in the lining and tried on the dress again. It fit, and the short zipper would be okay, except. it. broke. Dammit. So then I had to pick out all the zipper stitches, and then I picked out enough stitches so that when I go back to work on Monday, and walk down to the store, I can buy a new LONG zipper and do it the right way. And hopefully the sewing gods will stop snickering at me. I know they enjoyed this one.

I was really excited about working on this dress. With a 3 day weekend to work, I'd planned on finishing it up and wearing it to work on Monday. Oh, well, instead I'm finishing off my denim shorts and attempting to find out what's wrong with my Singer machine. All I know is that the feed dogs are down and they won't come back up, no matter how much I curse, coax or cajole. I think I'll be taking a half a personal day next week to take Mr. Singer to the doctor. It's my backup machine and my favorite for buttonholes, and last time I checked, almost everything needs buttonholes. And if the machine doesn't have the capacity to move the fabric, buttonholes are going to be a little hard to come by. Dammit again.

On to something else, like finishing the flooring in the room that will become my closet. At least if I do that, maybe I'll sweat out some of the crankiness.


I leave you with a July 4th photo of Vladimir Putintat, the stray tomcat who lives on my front porch, celebrating his freedom to do whatever he pleases, whenever he pleases. So what if I have to step over him.

16 comments:

CherylStillSews said...

That is one gorgeous looking dress - love the waistband treatment.

Claire S. said...

Congratulations on your first Patrones, I've only made one traced pattern, Ottobre capris that didn't fit, so I've lots to learn. Your dress is absolutely gorgeous, I love the fabric !

toy said...

cute dress, I love the fabric, its beautiful

Sewer-Sewist said...

Hehehe... Your zipper story made me laugh---I have done so many silly things like that, I can't even count them all... The dress looks fab!
~Sarah

Lindsay T said...

This is looking really good! Perfect for summer, right?

Sheila said...

Lovely dress and great print.

Isabelle said...

What a fun post - sewing this dress turned out to be quite an adventure.
What a bummer about the zipper - and the Singer.
It is looking gorgeous, though. I'm sure all the cursing ang unpicking will be forgotten instantly when you first get to wear your beautiful new dress!

Now that is quite a tomcat you've got there. He has a headstrong look even in his sleep!

Alexandra said...

Gorgeous dress! I love the fabric and the waistband treatment!

renee cidell said...

When you're done, I'd love to see a photo of the inside. I also really like what you've done with the waistband. I have a dress with a too short zipper and one of these days I'll pull myself together and put in a longer one. One of these days.

Kat said...

Karen, I'm always so impressed with your sewing skills! You make wonderful garments. This dress is absolutely lovely. It's kind of the same style as that Michelle Obama dress everyone is talking about.

Tina said...

I love the kitty! You should take him to get his shots so he doesn't catch diseases - and then take him in and give him a home! He's lovely!

Adrienne said...

LOVE your dress!

Carolyn (cmarie12) said...

I love the brown trim on the dress...it really takes it from ordinary to extraordinary. Had to laugh at the zipper escapades...ummm been there so now I keep a stock of zippers on hand - in all colors - just because!

Glad that you are continuing to enjoy your love affair with the Patrones patterns and can't wait to see what else emerges from those pages!

Claire said...

The dress is beautiful and I too love the waist treatment. I'm sorry about the zipper and your machine. Hopefully the machine will be as easy a fix as the zipper.

Marita said...

Karen, your dress is very pretty and that waistband solution is really good.

Welcome to the world of Patrones, they're so addictive, I can totally relate to everything you said of the mag. Hope you get lots of joy of it. :-)

Marita said...

Forgot to add about Vlad, he looks like he's The Man, is he really tha deep dark brown in color, he is so handsome, I call one of mine Paavo Lipponen, who was a former prime minister of ours, LOL!!!