Thursday, October 10, 2013

Vogue 1241: sew along day #1

Today you should cut out your pattern pieces. I won't walk through the details of grainline, selvedges, etc. because you likely already know these things. If not, read through the last few sew alongs for links and details.

The fit of this dress is weird! Your measurements should tell you what your pattern size should be. My measurements put me around a size 10. Take a look at the finished pattern measurements (the circles with crosses in the middle on the tissue paper itself - for example, the finished bust measurement is on pattern piece 1). They are ENORMOUS (at least on the top half of your body) relative to your actual measurements. Because of this, I sized down to an 8 before cutting, and I also had to take the dress in about an inch in the back. Ultimately this was too much from my hips down, so I had to take it out at the sides along my legs. 

Do you see the circles with a cross in the middle? These list the finished garment measurements at the bust, waist, and hips. There is also a bottom finished measurement. Check them and compare to your actual measurements. You're most likely going to have way too much ease. Size down.
Making a muslin (checking the fit of the dress by basting it together with a cheap fabric) would have eliminated these problems, but I was in a rush this time because I wanted to wear this dress to a wedding. Also, this muslin would have been a little more complicated because the lining and outer fabric are different. Just make sure you look at those circles with the crosses on the actual pattern and adjust accordingly. In retrospect, sizing down was the right choice, but I shouldn't have taken the dress in at the back all the way down.

This pattern has a lining as well as the visible dress part. Because of the way the dress is assembled, the lining pieces are different shapes than the main dress pieces. If you choose to make a muslin, you should do so out of the lining pieces.

In addition, the front panels seem to be built for someone with DD breasts. I'll show you now how to make a quick change to fix the way they lay if you are smaller- (or normal-) busted and also how to make the criss-crossing panels cover a little more. I'm certainly not the modesty police, but even after sewing the top panel to the bottom to prevent shifting on my finished product, this dress revealed a little too much.
Step 1: measure ~1" just above the notch on pattern pieces 1 and 6. The amount you want to alter probably depends on your size. I would recommend about an inch for a small size (8-12), B cup. If you are bigger busted, you probably don't need to do this step. Now using a marker, draw in the triangle shown in red. Make sure it is identical for pattern pieces 1 and 6. Fold the pattern along the center of this triangle and then either up or down (like you would after sewing a dart) so you can basically eliminate that 1" from the pattern piece. You're folding out in a triangle - don't take an inch out all the way across, that would just shorten the pattern piece and not change the way it lays. NOTE: YOU ARE NOT MAKING A NEW DART (though you could do it this way, too). YOU ARE JUST ELIMINATING THAT EXTRA FABRIC BULK FROM THE PATTERN ITSELF.
Step 2: Place a piece of tissue paper (or any paper) under your pattern piece. Tape it in place. Measure ~1/2"-3/4" along the bottom to extend the crossover piece. Keep in mind that this pattern includes seam allowance, so the built in crossover is pretty tiny. It results in a V that goes all the way to the bottom of your bra. Now extend from the new point toward the top of the pattern piece, following the curve. Make your new line come in an inch or two below the circle cluster on the pattern pieces (like I did with the red line in this picture).
Because of how you folded the paper, it will no longer lay flat. I would recommend tracing the whole thing onto a new piece of tissue paper and treating that as your pattern piece.
I did not make these changes to pattern pieces 1 and 6 when I made the dress. It's still ok, but I will definitely make these changes before making the dress again.

When you actually do cut out the pieces, make sure you pay attention to the direction of the grainline as well as the direction of any designs on your fabric. My chosen fabric did have a direction, and if the side pieces went in opposite directions, it would look silly. If you're not familiar with cutting out a commercial pattern, check out this last sew along for more information.
This pattern encourages you to open the fabric (unfold) to cut out some pattern pieces. Remember, when you cut on folded fabric, you get two pieces for each cut. If you cut with the fabric open, make sure you're going in the right direction for any prints My fabric had a subtle vertical directionality to the pattern, and if I had flipped the pattern piece around, it wouldn't have matched. Make sure you're consistent with all pattern pieces.
After cutting, make sure you transfer any markings to the fabric - circles, squares, etc. with a fabric marker.

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