trouble I had unimaginable problems with this dress. It was only dogged determination that kept it out of the garbage because I refused to be beaten ……mostly because I loved the fabric, the style and especially because I love the rest of the patterns in the book. I wanted it to work…it had to work!
At the end of the day I arrived at the conclusion that this was a ‘fitting me’ issue, not a pattern issue. And I think this is probably the first time in my sewing career that I have actually confronted my ineptitude at making the necessary adjustments to get the fit right. Not laziness on my part, just plain ignorance – I have never really understood how to fit properly. And that’s probably another reason why I duck and weave around the toile. I mean, what’s the point of making a muslin when you don’t know how to fix the fit anyway?
Although my daughter is modelling the dress, it was made to fit me (it is bulldog clipped at the back). So disregard the fact that it looks a little big on her.
The Book– I found this book at The Fabric Store in Sydney and fell in love with it. I asked the girls in the shop if they had ever used the patterns. They had not but said they’d heard some pretty good things about it. That was enough for me. I have the utmost faith in those sales assistants. Every thing they have ever told me has turned out to be sewing or fabric doctrine! At $30 for a book of 35 patterns it was definitely worth a shot. I’ve already had more than $30 worth of entertainment just looking at the pictures.
Drafting the pattern- This was the point at which the book became a whole lot less attractive! There are 6 pattern sheets and the pattern pieces for this dress were spread over 4 (I think) of the sheets. I had to do a bit of digging to find them and when I did find them, I had to really squint and concentrate hard- the line drawings are superimposed over each other and it looks a bit like a very complicated topographic map. But I did manage to trace off the pattern eventually ……(using small sheets of baking paper sticky taped together- a ridiculously painful way to do it …but the shops were closed and I wanted to start!)
Seam allowance- There is no seam allowance included in the pattern. This is not a problem if you have your wits about you. I ended up cutting out two bodices (4 pieces altogether). I forgot the seam allowance the first time,
Construction – My fitting issues aside, the pieces of this dress came together like a dream. I would have to give this pattern 20 out of 10 for accuracy. In all my years of sewing, never have I experienced a garment coming together so well.
Instructions- very brief but I was fine with that. There is quite a bit of knowledge ‘assumed’. And I think that’s a good thing….cuts down on unnecessary detail. The diagrams were excellent and clear.
Fabric- A beautiful ash linen from The Fabric Store contrasted with a white linen I had at home.
Fitting issues –All things considered, this was a good exercise. I learnt a lot. If you look at the white contrast around the neck and compare it with this image, you will see there is quite a big difference between the two.
The black contrast in the above image is much longer than the white in mine. This is because the first version of my dress gaped by about 2 inches on each side. I don’t really understand why but correcting it was some challenge. Like I said, I was determined and eventually I managed to get the neckline to sit flush on my chest, but only after I made major changes to the actual curve of the neckline. Interestingly, the fitting issues did not stop there. Given that I am larger on my left side than my right, the curves on both sides of the neckline are different. But this is not noticeable to the naked eye. In hindsight, I should have addressed the problem via the shoulder seam…..live and learn. If my mother was around she would have said, “Jane, I would never tackle a dress with that neckline. It will be very difficult to fit.” Mum is right again.
Now that the dress is done and dusted, I am thrilled with it. It is beautifully comfortable and matches my boots perfectly! It will be a great ‘in between seasons’ addition to my completely over stuffed wardrobe. And I can’t wait to do the next Yoshiko Tsukiori…….with a different neckline.
Enjoy the rest of your week.