Happy New Year folks! Yes, it’s me! Well, that was an unintentional hiatus away from the blog and social media! I must say it was rather pleasant once I got used to it, but I’m definitely happy to be back with a new garment today. It turned out that, in the end, my ankle was significantly more damaged than we initially thought and so I had to sit out most of November and early December until it really started healing properly. Then we went away for Christmas to visit my mother-in-law, which was lovely, but craft-free. I also have some big old life news that has taken up most of my bandwidth the last two months, but I’ll write more on that in my next post. For now, here is a fab new dress from Seamwork!
I don’t about where you are, but here in Washington state it’s been grey, grey, grey. Pretty standard for this time of the year, and so using a brick red rayon challis for this dress was such a breath of fresh air! WHAM! Put that in your depressing, dreary-ass pipe and smoke it, January! I really need to get out more.
Pattern and Fabric
I am loving this Taylor pattern from Seamwork for February. It’s a beautiful woven wrap dress with princess seams and a panelled skirt. It also has a really cute gathered detail at the sleevehead, which I cinched up tight to add to that 40s poof, which is the vibe I was getting from this pattern/fabric match.
Speaking of the fabric, this is a glorious rayon challis from Style Maker Fabrics that I bought last summer. It’s called “Painterly Scatter Dot” and appears to be out of stock, but it may be back soon! In any case, it’s very soft, with a crepe-like finish and quite a bit of natural stretch, particularly on the bias sections, so I made sure to staystitch those sections and handle them carefully. It sewed like a dream, although my new Pfaff just makes life easier when sewing various fabrics, so I’m sure that helped too!
The Taylor has long gathered sleeves that are cinched at the cuff with an elastic insert and I really like them! The bonus version of the dress has really cute short sleeves with a unique shape. I’m quite tempted to make a version with those now and you can see them on some of my fellow ambassadors’ projects on Instagram.
Sizing and Adjustments
Seamwork patterns come in two sizing ranges: a C cup range which spans sizes 00-16 and the DD cup range, which spans 12-26. I’m a D cup and could go with either range as I’m right in the middle, but I find that I generally get better results with the smaller range because of my frame. Therefore, I made my standard size 14 and did a 1″ FBA on the princess seams to account for my D cup bust. This was a princess seam full bust adjustment and my favourite method is still the one from my Craftsy Cashmerette FBA class. Definitely worth a look!
After making the adjustment, I then lowered the bust apex by 2 inches. To be honest it seemed even lower, which was slightly alarming, (have my boobs dropped THAT MUCH in a year?? Is that what staying in all the time does to your nipples??) but I stuck to 2 inches and I like the way it ended up. The princess seams are in the right place and the line over my bust works well.
Even though I made these adjustments right off the bat, I decided (shock horror) to make a muslin and I strongly advise you to do the same. A few of my fellow ambassadors who were ahead of me had reported a little gaping around the neckline. A woven wrap neckline is notoriously hard to get right, and especially when you’re curvy, as that just exacerbates the challenge of your boobs
not falling out being suitably covered by your dress. But honestly, it’s a tough one for any shape and/or size – so muslin it was!
I will spare you the pictures of my muslin as they’re frankly
obscene unhelpful, but suffice it to say that the V neckline of the bodice was lower than a snake’s belly in a wagon rut (I thank you, my adopted country, for that delightful saying). Okay, maybe not that low, but you could certainly see the entire bridge of my bra and rather a lot of what was harnessed inside said bra. I remedied this by adding an inch to each side of the front neckline, producing a higher crossing point and – let’s face it – it’s hardly prudish now, but much more in my wheelhouse.
I also added a little to the length of the centre front of the bodice, but that was unnecessary as the addition of the skirt pulled the bodice vertically more than I anticipated and you can see a little bowing in centre front now at the waistline. So actually the pattern was fine as is, length-wise, i.e. I should have maintained the horizontal line at the bottom of the pattern piece above.
One thing that’s easy to forget is to make the changes to the other pattern pieces that are affected by your initial adjustments. I needed to add length to the front facings to match the front bodice, and I ended up just redrawing them, as the shape changed quite a bit. I also needed to increase the skirt pieces to match the extra width in both the front and side bodice pieces. I made sure to increase the same amount in the corresponding front and side skirt pieces, so that the princess seams still matched up at the waist.
Finally, I took a massive 3 inches out of the sleeves after measuring the pattern piece against my body. I thought I was giving myself some leeway, but actually they’ve ended up just slightly short, so I think 2.5″ would have been better. I do have rather short arms, but I’d check for yourself anyway.
The instructions for Taylor were impeccable in my humble opinion and I knew exactly what I was doing at all stages of construction. Staystitching, understitching and grading of seams were all present and correct – and once I got going, the whole thing came together rather rapidly.
I even changed my serger threads to red for finishing the seams and ain’t it pretty?? The front edges of the dress are finished with a facing and one thing I can always say about Seamwork is that all the parts of the pattern always match up beautifully, which is not always the case for all designers in my experience. Despite my alterations, the facing went all the way around the dress perfectly and topstitching from the right side went without a hitch. I traditionally have problems with that and have recently started basting the facing down, but I thought I’d give just pinning a go this time and it was great! I have to say I think it’s got a lot to do with my Pfaff.
Someone asked me recently what was really the difference between my old (and much loved) beginner’s machine and my new (expensive) Pfaff. It’s hard to answer on the spot, but this is the sort of thing that makes such a difference. With my Brother I’d have got puckers and probably had to rip the facing out. The Pfaff auto-corrected the tension and it went so smoothly, with beautifully neat stitching. Such a pleasure!
Overall, as I’m sure you can tell, I really love my Taylor! A few notes:
- This is a must-muslin dress. Just a quick muslin of the bodice (took me 10 mins) will help immensely
- I need to bring the shoulders in further – about 1/4″ to 1/2″ – must remember that on future patterns!
- The armhole is a little deep for me – raise by 1/2″
- The neckline is just very slightly gaping, but I think the other adjustments will help that and I also reckon it will snap in a bit when I wash it as it’s hard not to stretch the bias neckline even a little when applying the facing
And there you are! A bit of a va-va-voom dress to bring in 2022 and a good start! Also the perfect red dress for February and a potential dinner occasion that comes around featuring a lot of… y’know… RED (hint hint??). Don’t know why I’m bothering – the husband doesn’t even read this, haha. Hope you are all well and I’ll try to catch up with some long-lost blog posts in coming weeks. Bye for now!