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31 July 2016

A blouse from 1937, Eva Dress 573

I finally got around to making one of the Eva Dress patterns that I won as the random prize winner in the Red Dress contest at Pattern Review. The final motivation came from, what else, another contest; the Vintage Pattern Contest 2016 at Pattern Review.

The pattern is #573 originally from 1937 and it is actually for a dress. I didn't have enough fabric for the whole dress (fooled again by a 45" width!), so I had to settle for a blouse this time.

This is the first time that I use a pattern from Eva Dress and I was very pleased with the quality of the pattern paper. It is heavy bond paper, none of that tissue paper so prone to ripping! You do need to cut out the pieces from a giant whole sheet of paper, but that is no different than for other pattern companies. The only thing that I found a bit difficult were the notch markings. For some reason each notched is marked not with one, but two parallel lines. Since there are multiple sizes printed together, the notches come often on top of each other. So to have twice as many lines as usual is really too much. Perhaps that is how they were in the original 1937 pattern? Anyway, that is the only thing I can find to complain about so I'm being a bit picky. For the rest the pattern pieces are very carefully and clearly marked.

Along with the pattern pieces you receive a leaflet that contains very clear copies of the original instructions. These include everything you need: the croquis of all the pattern pieces, the pattern layouts for the various sizes and fabric widths and then the step-by-step instructions clearly illustrated.

So the pattern was a pleasure to work with, but the fabric on the other hand... I used a silk georgette because I fell in love with the colorful print (what else is new!). But I had forgotten how tricky it is to sew with silk georgette. Give me a lovely wool any day! If I was ever so lucky as to work in a couture atelier I think tailleur would be the side for me, definitely not flou. But I complain too much. Careful handling of the fabric and sloooow sewing saw me through.

I sewed french seams throughout, and turned all hems over twice. The instructions say to finish the sleeve hems with a bias strip, but I skipped that and just turned them over as well, to the outside to "fake" the bias binding look. Please don't look to closely at my stitching... tailleur is my thing I tell you, not flou.

The pattern shape is lovely. It "hugs" the waist and creates a blousing effect at the back also.

I made size 18 which corresponds to a 36" bust and should be my size. The fit at the waist is good but I think the shoulders are too big, because the shoulder seam falls over my shoulder by a centimeter or two. This is not uncommon for me, as a pear shaped my shoulders are the smallest bit. For the next version I think I will try going one or two sizes down at the shoulders.

The sleeve has three tiny darts that shape it very nicely, so it is worth letting the shoulder line fall where it should.

The front of course is where the main action happens. There are two pieces for the waist, two side "flange" pieces that form the shoulder and armhole and the two scarves that make up the draped front before wrapping around the neck and back to hang at front.

I have to say that IRL there are not as many gathers and not as much fabric as is shown on the pattern drawing. The only thing that I changed on the front was sewing the two scarf fronts together rather than use loops and buttons. Too much work for this flou-handicapped seamstress. Plus I get the feeling they would have been too heavy for the georgette.

Still, I'm quite happy with my new silk blouse.

One thing though, before I think about making the full dress I'm going to wear this blouse a couple of times to see how the tied scarf feels and behaves when worn. The georgette is scratchy enough that the scarf doesn't quickly become loose, but I suspect that a silky satin would be more slippery.

And of course, I submitted the blouse to the Vintage Pattern Contest 2016 at Pattern Review.

2016 Vintage Pattern Contest

01 July 2016

Navy scuba dress, Vogue 8685

Today I want to show you a dress I made a while ago. September 2013 according to my notes; yikes I didn't realize it was so long ago!

I've been wearing this dress quite a lot because it is sooo comfortable and totally wrinkle proof and that is all thanks to the fabric. At first I thought it was some microfiber ponte, but now that I have handled many more neoprene/scuba fabrics I think this one might be a skinny, very fluid scuba. In any case it has a lot of stretch which is super comfy but wasn't always good while sewing as you'll see below.

The pattern is Vogue 8685 and I made view F with the wide skirt and elbow-length sleeves. The original pattern has a much wider neckline but I prefer mine closer to my neck, so I raised it significantly; basically I made it just barely big enough to put my head through. I also lengthened the sleeves (by 4cm), but I actually wear them old them folded just above my elbow. I probably should cut them and se a proper hem at this length. All the seams are topstitched because I love the look but also to keep the bulky seam allowances from folding every which way they want. I also skipped the back zipper, yoohoo!

The skirt is quite wide so I didn't have to do my usual blending to a larger size for my hips.

The very stretchy fabric caused problems in two places: the hip yokes form a point when the front and back are sewn together and for the life of me I cannot get that to lie smoothly.

I trimmed and graded the seam allowances to minimize the bulk, I topstitched ever so carefully to avoid any stretch. Even hand basting wasn't helping! In the end I actually sewed the few centimeters around the point by hand! And still this is the best I could do... It is visible if you know where to look, but nobody notices except us sewists, right?

The second problem was with the neckline. To finish it I just used a strip of fabric cut at the crossgrain and folded widthwise. The fabric is too thick and the edges don't ravel so I didn't try to fold the edges to the inside, I just left them exposed. It took me three tries to find the appropriate length of the strip that would not ripple or gather the neckline. In the end I went with a 45cm strip for the 48cm neckline circumference. I'm happy with the result but as you can see in the photo the strip does stand up and away from the body. Again one of those things that only we notice, right?

I leave you with a full 360° view of the dress. Forgive the high boots at the end of June; we've had lots of rain and highs of 18°C (63F) so it would appear that our summer was a weekend back in May and now we've gone straight to fall... (that stain on the skirt on the back view is water from my bike seat, I had just come back from the office and I wanted to take advantage of the fact that the rain had stopped to take these photos)

I also wrote a review of Vogue 8685 at Pattern Review.