Thursday, June 7, 2012

Circle Skirts and Stripes


So all that whining I've done lately about not having time to sew... 
Well, I managed to make two dresses last week.  Two!  I can't believe it.  I was determined.  Friends of ours got married over the weekend and I needed something for the rehearsal dinner, as well as the wedding.  There's nothing like the fear of shopping for a dress to make one sew, right? This is the first dress I made, the one I wore to the rehearsal dinner.


This particular dress was already planned out in my mind.  Do you remember the muslin that I gave up on a while ago?  This is actually the dress I had in mind when I started that project.   The fabric is cotton seersucker.   I used a McCall's pattern from 1986.  Doesn't really look like it's from the 80's, does it?  I'm not really sure what made me buy it.  I've never really been a fan of circle skirts on my own person.  But I liked the idea of having a fitted bodice with a full back paired with a circle skirt.  I guess I thought I'd give circle skirts another shot.  And I really liked the button front and subtle sweetheart neckline.


 I could not, for the life of me, picture what would happen to stripes in a circle skirt when I first started this dress.  I googled it.  And looking back on it, there were good pictures.  I just couldn't visualize it.  Anyway, just in case you are wondering how stripes will fall when you cut a full circle skirt...

  

Of course if you rotated the pattern piece, the stripes would fall vertically in front and horizontally on the sides.  

The dress was super comfortable to wear.  I was very happy with the fabric choice.  Unfortunately, the fit was not the best, at least from behind.  I'm not really sure what happened.  I know my muslin didn't have major back issues like this.  Could be that the seersucker was a much stiffer fabric.  There is very little drape and some mechanical stretch.  I also could have stuffed up the fit with my lining job.  The pattern didn't originally call for a lining.  It had those awful facings.  I scrapped the facings and lined the whole dress with muslin.  I did put a waist stay in, which I'm glad.  I think it definitely helped with the weight of the full circle skirt.  I cut the skirt lining a lot shorter than the shell, mainly because I didn't have a lot of muslin to work with.  It kind of acted as a petticoat.  I think it gives the skirt a little more fluff.


It was a fun dress to wear, even though I wasn't totally comfortable with the silhouette.  There was a part of me that felt slightly costume-y.  And, yikes, that back view looks pretty rough.  I put in two neck darts to help with the fit.  And some of those wrinkles in the photo are from the awkward way I'm standing.  I shove my shoulders back when I take photos.  In real life, I tend to hunch over.


And yes, there's one pocket.  One.  I know that's a little ridiculous.  I was planning on having two, but I could not figure out how to put in the other one around the side zip.  I know there's a way, but I had a deadline.  So I left one pocket in.  I figured one is better than none.

Look at that stripe matching! ;)

I made button holes, but in the end I didn't cut them open.  I just stitched the buttons on through both pieces.  I was worried about gaping.

I'm so happy with the finish on this dress, I just wish the darn back fit better!  I think I'm coming to grips with the fact that I need to draft my own bodice block. That it may be totally necessary for me.   I had back fit issues on the second dress I made also.  Actually, I always have back fit issues when I make dresses.  Not so much with tops and blouses.  Any idea why that could be?  I suspect the fact that I've been ignoring that I might need a slight swayback adjustment may have something to do with it.

  
Obligatory full circle shot.

Has anyone out there drafted their own bodice block?  Any good resources?  I've been reading through Winifred Aldrich's Metric Pattern Cutting for Women's Wear.  I think I'm going to start there.



29 comments:

  1. Too bad you were totally happy with it, it looks really nice. Maybe (in a different season) if you wore a jacket or cardigan with it so the back didn't show? Cardigans always make me feel better about dresses I'm uneasy about (thankfully my office is always freezing!)

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    1. I actually wore a cardigan for a little bit that night. It definitely made me less self conscious of the fit.

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  2. Your dress is so lovely! I agree, there's nothing like facing the prospect of *shopping* for a dress to get me sewing...

    You might smooth out those wrinklies if you pinch down the bodice at the CB waist seam, tapering to nothing at the sides.

    I use the Maria Martin pattern drafter... I don't know if you read my blog back then, but I tried several drafting methods and they all kind of tanked on me for two reasons- 1) they need a million precise measurements, some of them in awkward to reach places and 2) I was doing it on my own, no other pair of hands to help me pin stuff or show me where the big issues were...

    If you want to talk about working on a bodice block together, email me... I've been thinking of doing them, and I have a few on the go right now...

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  3. Oooh, pretty! I love those stripes and the way the skirts falls on you. I always think this is such a flattering silhouette, even if it does have a tendency to make you/me feel a bit overdressed. I'm currently making something similar (full, full skirt -- so comfy, but I wonder why it feels so "formal"). I really need to get me some seersucker, I bet it's lovely to work with too.

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    1. I want to get more seersucker now. It's so nice!

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  4. You have used those stripes to really interesting effect!

    I have tried the Winifred Aldrich sloper, the Bunka sloper and the European Cut sloper...none of which is perfect, but each is okay.

    You can see where another blogger tested it out
    http://www.flekka.com/words/sewing/comparing-close-fitting-slopers-bunka-vs-aldrich-part-3/

    and

    http://www.flekka.com/words/sewing/comparing-close-fitting-slopers-bunka-vs-aldrich-part-1/

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    1. Ooh, thank you for this! I will definitely check out these links.

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  5. What a beautiful dress it's gorgeous.

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  6. Cute! Love the stripe matching on the top!

    As for the back issues... it does sort of look like a swayback problem because of the way the fabric is bagging out. I have bad swayback issues as well, and the typical thing to do is take a wedge out and taper it to nothing at the sides so the side seams match up. I notice when I make dress patterns the poof seems to be higher than when I make coat/jacket patterns, and so usually when I make a muslin I just pin out the area where there is the most excess and then adjust the pattern accordingly. I sort of did this on a dress earlier this year:

    http://sewskateread.blogspot.com/2012/02/burda-dress-muslin-and-some-more-fabric.html

    If you scroll down to the 4th picture you can see where I had to pinch a wedge out of the back (and also how much I had to take in the side seams, but that is a different issue). You might try something like that to help minimize the back fit issues.

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    1. Thanks for the link! I think I need a swayback adjustment when I'm making dresses with a fitted bodice, especially in a non-stretchy fabric.

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  7. Ohh, so gorgeous!! Stripes are really fantastic! I have a lenght of striped fabric in my stash, need to put it to a creative use soon.

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    1. I've never met a stripe I didn't like.

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  8. I love your dress!! I agree that it doesn't look like it's from the 80s, it's more 50s to me, and I do like the photo of the insides.

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    1. Thanks! I think the pattern must have come out during that 80's does 50's/ Dirty Dancing time.

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  9. Cute cute cute!!! I love the stripes & how they work in a circle skirt ....now I have to ask .... did you do lots of twirling in it? It certainly looks the perfect dancing dress :-)

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  10. It looks lovely!! I love the seersucker stripe, very classy - great job. I love it when you find a good 80's pattern that is non-80's? such a triumph and always a little nicer to the ol' bank account :)

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  11. Great dress, I have a circle skirt on my must do list lol. Been dying to make one. Made a half circle.

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  12. What a lovely dress! The bodice is very pretty, and I love the stripes on the circle skirt and how fluffy it is! :)

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  13. And I just noticed, it matches the colors of the pillows in your header.

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  14. This is fabulous! I would never ever have guessed this was from an 80s pattern if you hadn't mentioned it in your post. Looks so cool and summery! :]

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  15. This is such a lovely dress - I don't think it looks costume-y at all. It's a great balance of vintage and wearable. Definitely looks more late 1950s than 80s!

    Consider making your own bodice block as a time investment - it'll take ages and will use a lot of brain work, but it's definitely worth it. Not only to get a proper fit but also to feel like you are more "in control" and have a better grasp of how patterns work. Or that's how I felt, at least!

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  16. Nice, nice, nice. Metric pattern drafting is cool but I would recommend anything by Lucia Mors de Castro as the be all (but not end all) of drafting awesomeness. I've drafted bodice and skirt blocks a couple of times (and made two skirts form them-woot) but so far the bodice block has only seen use for adjusting commercial patterns with (as a sloper basically). XD

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  17. What a fun dress! And yes, I am impressed with your stripe matching at the bodice buttons.

    I have not developed a bodice block per se, but I have a plain darted bodice that I have altered to fit me that I use where appropriate. You don't necessarily have to start from scratch. If there is a pattern brand (for me, Burda magazine) that is close to fitting, it should only take about three iterations to get it perfect. And agreed with all who note that if you shorten the back at CB, tapering to nothing at the sides, it will go far to getting you a perfect fit. But really, the back is not at all bad!

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  18. Great job! The back looks fine to me, but then again, I have never made a skirt before. The fabric is darling.

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  19. I love this dress and the fabric you chose ~ good job!

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