OK, here are some pics - but they really don't do the dress any favours. Why is black such a bitch to photo?? And why are the days so freakin', depressingly dark? Needless to say I've lightened the crap out of these photos, largely to no avail. See the updated section at the bottom to see what I've learned from a day of wearing a wearable muslin.
|Yeah, peeps, it isn't 6 p.m. and it's pitch black.|
For starters, OMG, I actually sewed something. Given that my output for the last 6 months has been approximately one garment a month, I think that deserves a round of applause and a glass of wine.
What I sewed was this: the Tiramisu dress from the newly-formed company, Cake Patterns. People, we live an in enlightened age, one in which increasing numbers of young, independent (female) designers have taken the risk in starting their own pattern lines. Sewaholic and Colette come to mind, but Cake Patterns is an early cohort. And the woman who's formed it is but a young fawn, to my mind. Goes to show how creativity really is the purview of youth.
The thing that impresses me most about this pattern is the lightning sharp drafting. I mean, we have Tasia designing flatteringly for the "pear-shaped" among us and Colette reinventing the concept of cache in home-sewing, but there's something so smart - and almost incomprehensibly complex - about the 20 unaltered bodice sizes one can mix with a variety of waist sizes - that Steph's pulled off with this pattern. (Read more about it here...)
Having followed her blog for a while, I'm not surprised. It was really a joy to assemble this dress. There wasn't one unintelligible element. Furthermore, Steph got all of the instructions onto one piece of paper (double-sided) and they are clearly, visually-presented. This isn't an introductory beginner pattern, IMO, but one that an enthusiastic newbie could reproduce.
OK, onto my particular experience:
I find it amusing that, despite 20 unaltered bust-size options, I fall into the category of those who need to modify the bodice aka do a full bust adjustment (of sorts). Don't panic! Given the genius construction of this pattern, it is actually fun!
Why did I, of all peeps and the only one who's written about this so far (as far as I know), find myself in this position? Well, cuz I'm at the smallest end of the upper bust measurement scale (what's known as the 30 category) and above the largest end of the (proportional) bust circumference measurements, which align with the upper bust, what's known, kind of confusingly as "D cup". The cup terminology is confusing because it doesn't actually accord with a bra size D cup in any real way. The "D cup" is simply proportionately aligned with the various upper bust categories, larger than the A cup, B cup and C cup that precede it. Personally, I would have referred to the full bust circumference measurements by terms other than well-known, and rather meaningless in the scheme of things, bra-sizing terminology. But it matters not.
On the diagrams below, I am at the top left of the upper chart and mid-way down the second chart all the way on the right side:
|Photos courtesy of Steph's Blog...|
Those of you who can go straight across, on the same row, should be able to make this without a bust adjustment. Given the numerous options, I sense you are in the majority. Those of you on the diagonal skew, well, welcome to my world.
Now the fab thing about this is that there's a diagonal line that more or less bisects the pattern (the one to the left of the grain mark with the arrow) that allows you to increase the bust size without undertaking much effort at all:
I widened the pattern 0.5" (at the base) and there was barely any true-ing to be done.
Arguably, this pattern is very generously sized i.e. it fits really large and calls for much more fabric than you need, IMO.
As an FBA-doer, here's how I can advise the pattern will likely also need to be altered in terms of construction:
- You'll need to increase the width of the gather zone on the front bodice. The pattern makes it 2" wide (at least in the 30D size). I ended up adjusting it to be 5" wide because I needed more gathers a) to span the width of my lower bust and b) because the FBA made the bodice larger than what I required, arguably, so I needed to diminish the width by gathering over a wider span.
- I had to take an extra inch off of the side seams (.5" on each side) to get a fitted dress. Chances are, if I had made an unaltered 30D and hadn't taken in the side seams in that extra amount, I would have been fine.
- Steph is obviously designing for a short person with a short-waist because I didn't need to take any length out of the waist - or off the bottom of the bodice piece (that attaches to a waist piece that runs approximately the length of one's full waist).
- Furthermore, in terms of the skirt length, I think it's kind of perfect. I hemmed it by 0.5" (which, in a stretch fabric, doesn't really need a lot of finessing, despite the fact that the skirt is very full). I used a firm, good-quality ponte knit that doesn't have a lot of stretch. In a flimsier, stretchier knit, I sense the hemming might be a bit trickier than I found it.
- Let's talk about the pockets: I know that Lauren said she doesn't mind the fullness imparted by them (and which she attributes to a stretchy, thin fabric). I used a totally different weight of fabric and I also found the pockets gave a very full profile - not just at the supposed-to-be-curvy full hip, but from where they start right under the waist - at the high hip. I believe it's the nature of the positioning of the pockets. What I'll say is that I might try inserting them again but, next time, farther down. If I get the same result, I'll omit the pockets going forward. I don't find the fullness flattering - and I'm not particularly large-of-hip.
Updated fitting info after wearing the dress:
OK, this bodice is nowhere near as ready-for-wear as I originally imagined. It's too big in some spots and too small in others, namely:
- I sense I didn't need the FBA. There's just too much fabric over the breasts which then gapes when I sit down or move in certain directions. While standing and walking everything hangs properly, but particularly above the bust apex, it's too big.
- On the flip side, the bodice is not long enough. I could make it another .5" - 1" longer. It's not very observable because a) the dress is black, b) the depth of my breasts is kind of deceptive and c) the gathers do hit under my bust - just not at my under bust rib cage.
- I either need to dart out the gaping fabric or revert to the original 30D size - but either way, I need to make the bodice longer overall.
- I really like those pockets so I think I'll have to find a way to keep them. They're surprisingly swishy-comfortable to put one's hands in.