Monday, June 20, 2011

I'm too close...

...or Butterick 5620 - Part Deux

Okay I couldn't leave well enough alone...I mean it was really bugging me that I couldn't get B5620 to fit.  So what do I do...I go to the nearest fabric bin (the one in my bedroom) and pull out another piece of fabric (woven silk from Fabric Mart a few seasons ago) and proceed to make another dress.

The first thing I do is cut the pattern pieces down...size 2x on the top (it was so obviously loose on the 1st version) and a 3x on the bottom.  I lay the fabric down and cut it out.  I proceed to sew it up.  Already I can tell that this is a much smaller version...that's good, right?  Since I'm not using a border print and I've just made this dress, the construction is fast.  I mean about 2 hours worth of fast.

I slip the dress on for the first fitting and WTF!  Seriously, the dress is still too big in the bodice and too tight in the waistline.  Pulling out the pattern instructions, I see that the pattern has made an allowance for this possibility...I should take in the upper bodice seams and let out the waist area seams.  So I do this.  And yeah right...that's still not working...

At this point I'm disgusted and head for bed.  A good night's sleep always makes these problems solveable.  So after work Friday evening, I'm ready to tackle the challenge again...how to make this dress fit.  I remove 1/4" from seams...I add 1/4" in other places...I try the dress on...no good.  Something is off here.  So I pull out one of my favorite princess seam flare dresses, Vogue 9220, to compare and right away I notice that the front seams that go over my bustline are slightly off in the Butterick dress.  Because of that I'm missing the bust definition that I need.  Also on the B5620 dress, when you stitch the side fronts to the front piece, they form a cupping almost like bra fronts.  When you hold the piece up, it's formed like a mannequin...ummm this is a little off-putting.  Because when I made the V9220 dress, I did not have this experience.


Now I'm disgusted and feeling like I just can't sew...and it hit me...this must be what newbies feel like when they make a garment and it doesn't look like the pattern envelope.  It's been awhile since I've felt like this...there really was an anguish that washed over me and made me feel incompetent.  I swear I had to go and physically touch the last few garments I've made to realize that I do know what I'm doing.

So what to do?  What to do??  Well, my thought is that I'm gonna salvage this dress.  I've got almost 4 yards of fabric invested...that I could just let go of...but I don't want to.  It is obvious now to me that something is off with the pattern drafting.  It is also obvious to me that this is why I use TNTs so much...but I digress.

Another night's sleep and I fix the dress as best as I can...even tho' there were some serious moments when I thought about taking the scissors to it and making it a skirt...I realize that a cardigan can camoflage alot and I'm working the camoflage for all it's worth. 

Here's a few pictures of the dress as it is now:

A hand on the hip always
makes a dress look better


Except two hands on the
hips are even better


No spanx, no holding my breathe
...reality speaks and it sucks!

As you can see I added some sleeves...tho' I'm not sure about them.  I may take them out and just add more binding to the armholes...but I don't know.  What I do know is that I'm too close to this dress.  I need to let it sit.  I've done what I think I can to fix it and it's still not working...and I wonder if Connie Crawford's patterns aren't designed with apple shaped women in mind. You know women with large shoulders and large bustlines but who are slimmer through the waistline and thighs unlike this pear shaped woman who carries all of her weight in her stomach, butt and thighs.

So I am running, not walking, not stopping to think to hard about this to my TNT patterns.  I have a wonderful floral print on the ironing board (last step in the pretreatment process) and a coordinating linen blend.  I think a nice jacket and dress from some TNT patterns will help me focus.

Then and only then will I come back to this.  Maybe it should be sleeveless.  Maybe it should be cut off and made into a skirt, to salvage some of the fabric...but it's not working as is...and I know that if I'm not comfortable in it, I won't wear it.

Finally, please don't buy this pattern.  I really believe that something is wrong with the drafting.  Your comments were very kind and very real (Rachelle! *LOL*) but the first dress is ill-fitting and I'm well aware of that fact.  I may go back in and run one more line of stitching down the bodice front to get rid of some of the excess fabric...however, I'm happy wearing it with a cardigan.  I love the border print and the flare of the skirt.  As many of you noted, it really is the dress' saving grace.

Next up...questions and answers!  There have been a couple of questions left in the last couple of blog posts and I really should answer them, right!  *LOL*

...more later!

34 comments:

  1. For the red spotted dress, maybe no sleeves. For a one-colour fabric, add sleeves that suit your style. I know this dress isn't perfect, but you make this dress look great - and no cardigan.

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  2. I'm sorry you had a day of sewing that made you doubt yourself. That is never any fun at all.

    Hope the TNTs help boost your confidence. g

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  3. I think your Vogue 9220 series clearly shows that you can wear the heck out of a princess cut. That said, it's too late to save me from buying Butterick 5620, but you sure will make me look twice before I throw good time and fabric away on it. I've had troubles with the Crawford patterns as well- but it's hard to resist a line that puts me right smack in the middle of the size range instead of a couple grades up from the largest cutting line.

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  4. Based on the picture on the pattern jacket, I don't think the dress really fits the model all that well. The way she is standing probably hides some of it, but I can still see it. I'd say the pattern just has issues.
    That first dress really is great. The print if fabulous and the cardigan is a great touch.

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  5. Thanks for reminding me that sometimes the pattern just doesn't work. I have had a weekend of trying to fit a princess seamed jacket and spent many hours on it to only get a so so fit. Yes some of the errors were mine but on the whole me and this pattern just weren't geling!! I went to bed last night feeling so disheartened and whilst I am sorry this pattern wasn't great for you it was a good reminder to myself that even great sewers experience terrible patterns.

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  6. I have only tried one CC pattern, and I'm really a 14 shoulders with a 16 waist and 18 tummy. It was a princess top and it was terrible. I am not sure how those patterns are drafted, there is obviously a market, but she is not the designer for me. I think the red sleeves are too long. I can't remember whether you have tried a cap sleeve? I think it would look nice on that dress, maybe with White binding. Keep on posting, I love that you share your disasters and your fixes. When my Mother sewed with me, she would say, "it's OK, it's just a little puckerment" when something went wrong. Then she would fix it! Gosh, I still miss her!

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  7. Looking at this dress on it's own, I would think it was fine, but when you compare it to the Vogue dress you can really see the difference. It's really true that some patterns are just not as good as others. At least you can give others a warning before they have trouble with the same pattern. Looking forward to seeing your next tnt dress.

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  8. Okay Carolyn...stop already. To be such a smart sewer you are being very stupid here by not realizing the one thing that is obvious to me. It's not you, it's Connie Crawford's "Ready To Wear" sizing. Remember my post about the blouse from Hell. I don't know how she came about her sizing but it's just bad. Throw that pattern out and stop torturing yourself because if you sacrifice one more piece of fabric on it you'll make me pull this car over and thrash you!

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  9. You're a better woman than I am. I would have given up after the first dress. I remember reading somewhere CC's patterns are drafted like RTW - whatever that means. I was a little wary of them before. Your experience with them does nothing to change my opinion.

    But then again, I won't be surprised when you work it all out and have a fabulous dress.

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  10. Vogue wins hands down in this comparison. Sometimes it isn't the sewing that is frustrating but the patterns themselves.

    On this dress, could you shorten the sleeves a bit and add a white tie at the neckline, with longer ties? It would like cute with a cardigan or jacket, maybe. Just thinking and typing. Good luck.

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  11. Have you though about putting your TNT against a new pattern to check shoulder width before you choose a size? I think that is how I would approach it - compare shoulder and then underarm body with. The rest can be taken in or out. Sorry if I am stating the obvious (cos you are far more experienced in sewing and of course your body..but just in case...). Sitting here looking at it, it looks sweet, just too wide across the shoulders. I love the white neckline, but the sleeves not so much. I can see it with a white cardigan and red shoes. Gorgeous.

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  12. I agree the fit in the shoulders could be better but it's such a lovely fabric it would be a shame to relegate the dress to the back of the wardrobe. I like your idea of turning it into a skirt, it's a great summer print.
    One thing I did notice was how flattering that depth of scoop neckline is on you. It shows off your collarbones nicely without being too low.

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  13. I haven't had luck with her patterns either. I seem to have the best luck with Sandra Betzina's and Khaliah Ali for Simplicity. I've only had one non success with Khaliah Ali's patterns. I've probably made 8 or 9 of her patterns. Sandra Betzina's I've had luck with but she make's close fitting garments which are not my cup of tea. I've made a couple of the Connie Crawfords and they have all been duds. Her shoulders are huge. I am an apple -skinny arms and legs in proportion to my very round middle and large bust. I have tiny shoulders so often have major problems fitting in that area. I think the worst part of Connie Crawfords patterns is they are so boring and not fashionable. Hello just because I'm fat doesn't mean I want to dress in old lady clothes as my kids would say. The dress looks cute in the pictures but if it doesn't feel right we never wear them. Good luck saving the dress.

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  14. Sorry last post was from me not my daughter. I guess she had signed in on my computer and I didn't notice. Beth

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  15. Hey Carolyn..I know it is hard to tall with pictures, but I much prefer the first dress from this pattern, altho I guess with the second dress you can better see the fit problems. I still think the first dress, in the fabric you used, looked just awesome on you. Hope you can salvage one or the other, I know first hand that wadders sit and stare at you from where ever one has stashed them! LOL

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  16. I have a couple of Connie's patterns in the stash - maybe I should put a sticky note on them to really check the sizing (if I ever get as far as using them). I'm really sorry to read you've had such issues with this pattern, Carolyn (and the commenters also). And such lovely fabric was used for both.

    And yes, that's just how I feel when a project doesn't work out, and I can't see what I did wrong. I'd run for my TNT pattern too, if I had one.

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  17. Hi, Carolyn! I am still just learning, and between learning basic sewing skills, and learning how to grade patterns, I get so tired of working so hard on something only to have an unwearable garment in the end! I feel your pain on this one... What pattern is the black dress with the tie in the front? I really like that a lot.

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  18. Someone mentioned that this was a Connie pattern. I have had such a hard time getting them to fit in the shoulder/neckline area that I have given up on her patterns. Sorry to hear you have had such a negative experience also.

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  19. I don't know if it is the difference in fabrics from the first to this one but I can see the fitting issues better now! Especially when you put it next to the fabulous gray dress! You will work it out in the end. I don't doubt that.

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  20. IMHO, if you can't make this work, then the pattern is to blame. Oh and yes, that's what us new/medium-new sewistas feel like sometimes! LOL

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  21. I like the dress. I'm thinking maybe adding the white bias trim to the sleeves and hem. Pull the dress together, so to speak. I like the sleeves, but I'm a sleeve kind of girl! The dress looks fabulous on you - I think you just need the dress to feel fabulous on you. I agree with KMQ - you (we) are just not "ready to wear" people - we are unique. Make this dress YOU! Love the blog!

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  22. Oh, I feel for you. You said it: that's exactly how newbies (and oldies like me with greatly changed bodies) feel when you just can't get the thing to fit. It's not just the fabric, it's the picture in your head of wearing a great new dress that's the problem. So disappointing.

    I'd be tempted to whack it in half and make a skirt out of it, then add a white topped trimmed with the red, then buy it a hat, but that's more my style than yours.

    If you can't make this pattern fit, then it's not worth buying. No Connie Crawford for me; I'll stick with Vogue.

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  23. This is why I enjoy your blog, you give the real info on fit and style. The red print is not as flattering on you as the border print dress which you wore very well. You are an excellent seamstress and should not even doubt your ability.

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  24. It doesn't look terrible in the pictures - really. But if you are not happy with it, don't waste any more time with this piece of junk pattern and move on!

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  25. After taking a closer look at the first dress and comparing it to the second one, I see that the shoulder area appears too big and somewhat of what you refer to as the bra cup issue. As for the sleeve, I think if you make them the same as the first dress all will be good. I also like the idea of white bias trim at the bottom. The fabric is too pretty to trash... tweak it a lil more and then cardi the dress.

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  26. I agree that this dress isn't flattering on you, despite your best efforts. But, I wouldn't assume the pattern is misdrafted. . I've sewn this pattern and it fits me perfectly. No alterations, which is surely a first for me. I love this pattern. You're an amazing seamstress, far better than I am, but it may not work with your build.

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  27. Hmmm. I agree, the Vogue looks fabulous on you. This CC, I'm not so convinced about either and maybe stepping back a bit is a great idea.

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  28. It makes me feel so much better that a wonderful seamstress like you struggles some times. I will remind myself of that when I am stumped on a project. It will definitely make me feel better!

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  29. I'd love to see the sleeves shorter or gone. Lovely fabric, and thanks for the pattern tip! I'm another pear girl.

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  30. With princess line patterns the distance between the bust points is crucial since everything flows from that. I have clients with the variety of distances from 7 inches to 14 so using an existing pattern would have helped narrow down that set of points right away. It is too bad at this point that you cannot just take a tuck or seam right down the front to move everything towards center and get those points perfect. Considering how long it takes an experienced sewer to get her master pattern just right like you have with your TNT, this one will be a challenge too but once you find your size in CC which is close to RTW it may be easier. Fingers crossed.

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  31. I just made Simplicity 5189, a princess seamed dress, with the seams coming from the armholes. I did a FBA, and my front DID have bust 'cupping', which GAVE me bust definition. The seams do not go over the bust points, and since there are no bust points on the pattern I don't know if that's how it should be or not, LOL. But it definately cups over my bust (I did take a bit in through the waist front seams).
    Also, I have to respectfully disagree with your description of an apple shape. They have large waists and bellies (shoulders and bust can be large or small). Large shoulders and bust means an inverted triangle...opposite to a pear. I am a definate apple, with a large bust but small shoulders. It's interesting how different patterns are designed for different shapes when aren't they supposed to be designed for the standardized size charts?
    Last year I had a lot of trouble with having items turn out not looking like the envelope, and then I learned they're designed for B cup women. That changed a lot for me, but I'm still so far from having a TNT dress pattern I'm getting fustrated!

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  32. Thanks for sharing your experience with a project that doesnt fit. I just returned to sewing after many years of buying RTW and my biggest frustration is fit or lack of it. I found it very encouraging to read your post because fit is my biggest issue and it feels good to know it is not just me.

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  33. Love polka dots...such a fun print! Your blog is so fun & like I tell the little ones.....the smile always makes the outfit shine and your smile makes your personality shine to your followers :)

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  34. I love you so much right now. I went online to find out why the pattern that I bought didn't fit me at all, and stumbled onto your blog.

    First off you are now a favorite, and I think I will end up spending my day going through and seeing what you've been up to.

    On to the dress, I also cut it based on my measurements, and so I was a 3x on top, 1x at the waist and 3x on bottom. I'm an hourglass BTW. When I put everything together it draped way to large, so i began to bring in here and there. It just doesn't sit right at all. I've even gone so far as to sew some shirring under the bustline to try and get the shape I need, but ripped that out almost immediately. Thankfully I used scrap fabric to put this together, so I'm not out much for this attempt.

    Last night I got so disgusted with this dress that I threw it across my sewing room and declared I'M DONE!! LOL guess I needed a break.

    I only paid .99 for it on sale, so I'm glad it's not been a huge cost.

    Love you and your blog! Keep sewing so I can keep reading!

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