Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Plaid, plaid and more plaid!

For my second time on the Fall Capsule Sewing Along, I'm doing dresses!!  I'm going to apologize in advance but this turned into a super long, wordy blog post.  You can skip ahead to the pictures if you want, no judgement.

I love fall!  Well almost- it is the bearer of bad news- winter is coming!- so its a mixed blessing.  Still since moving to the East Coast of the US, I'm loving the change in the air when fall finally hits.  I grew up in season-less California, which I miss whole-heartedly.  Still the leaves and crispness in the air bring me back to my college days in Williamstown.  Love to see the seasons change.

So in honor of that Fall change I must wear plaid.  Its really a necessity if you're channeling your College days or what you see when you live too close to LLBean territory.  Luckily for me, plaid is in.  So at least for this year I'll be in style and loving it.

As part of the list for the GYPO Fall Challenge was this lovely plaid dress.  I love it.  But I'll admit I looked at the buttons down the front and balked.

Buttons don't actually scare me- especially after getting my Viking SE working again.  And I had made 3 plaid shirts last fall on my 3/4 Janome with a 3 step button hole feature.  Its just that this lovely one is still hanging in my sewing room waiting.  Yep, buttons purchased, hems sewn, I even have these wonderful thrifted Turquoise cords that match beautifully hanging there.  LOL  Maybe that will be today's project.  

So of course I was on the hunt for a pattern with no buttons.  As I searched through my endless collection of patterns I found one I had never made, the Schoolhouse Tunic.  Truthfully I hadn't made it because I wasn't real sure it would work on me.  I couldn't decide if this was a top that needed very light weight or very heavy weight to work.  I have a belly and this style will either make me look pregnant or be flattering.  Just all depends.  I really wanted something I could wear with leggings or without and that I just just pull on for ease of dressing.  I decided to go for it with my heavy flannel from JoAnns.  This Plaiditudes flannel is really heavy and soft.  So far its washed up fine, we'll see over time how it holds up.  I also have shirts for the boys in the works with it.  

 So lots of talkie, talkie and little sewing.  There a ton of reviews on the tunic across the internet.  Its been out for a long time.  Its a very simple sew.  I made a few fit adjustments, one major and one minor.  I did change up the sleeves and added pockets.

Starting from the top- the pattern is on tissue paper which is a bear to trace but I did not want to cut out the pattern at this time, very good thing.  I went with the 18/20 based on my measurements, which put me at the bottom of the 18.  I thought about sizing down as this is a loose fit but I was working with heavy flannel so I didn't want to make it too small.  I did add about 3 inches to the length of the sleeve.  And I pulled the pockets from Jocose's Wide Leg pants to use here.

The top was super easy to put together.  I did try it on at this point, it seemed to fit fine.


So then I basted the skirt on and tried it on again. Sorry about the dark pictures, it was nighttime and I sew in the basement.  The whole thing was huge!  From the front it wasn't too bad but the back was a bag.  In the last picture here I've pinned out what I thought would work to make it less of a shapeless bag.  The problem of course was that I couldn't get it off that way.

After putting it down and sleeping on it.  I decided to take in the CB on the top and make the pleat under it bigger.  I didn't want to loose booty room but the top was hanging off.  Coffee in hand, I pinned.  If you don't know me, its really unusual for me to pin.  If I had had any more fabric I would have recut the back.  Next time I'll use the back bodice piece for the smaller size.  Not sure about the front, may or may not size that down.

Much better, still loose but thats the style of the pattern.  I also moved the front pleats closer to the side seams so the front is flatter.  I could probably go down a size all over.  In this heavy flannel its hard to gauge.    

Lastly I decided to add cuffs to the sleeves as them were just a tad short.  Super easy, just a rectangle a smidgen shorter than the sleeve so that I could pleat the sleeve into the cuff.  I cut them on the bias to have a little give when putting them on and off as I did not add a button!

Ta-da!  All done.  Looks like I may need to add some length to the front bodice in the center.  Well I'll keep that in mind if I make this again.  

Oh and I really couldn't stop there, which is weird since I'm not a dress kind of girl.  I'm not sure what I'll do with 2 dresses (well three but that is a different post) in my closet!  I would say church but I've started teaching Sunday school to toddlers so dresses are hard to wear when you're sitting on the floor.  Still I had just received this wonderful plaid cotton/lycra that I knew needed to be a dress.  

In fact it needed to be the Uptown/Downtown dress that was recently released by Sew Straight and Gather.  I have the girls' version and love it on my daughter.  Looking at the pictures for the women's version I was in love.  Mostly because the designer looked to have a similar figure, at least proportion wise.  When I looked at the size chart I knew I had to try it.  Finally a pattern where my waist wasn't 3 or 4 sizes bigger than my bust!  I am just shy of being a perfect XL in this pattern.  My waist was at XXL but those that have a belly like me will understand how great that is.  Easier to grade the waist up one than 3 or 4.  


Its a really easy sew, simple lines but does hog quite a bit of fabric.  I used just over 2 1/2 yards of 60 inch wide knit for mine.  One thing I didn't like was that the pattern was hard to put together.  It was a combination of my printer acting up and the fact the pages have no numbers on them.  For whatever reason my printer omitted the little circle corners- that would have been helpful- and then my printer spools backward so that it prints the last page first.  Since I used the print guide to only print the XL I had all these random stacks of pages.  It would have helped had they had numbers or some sort easy way to put them together.  It was a jigsaw puzzle.  Definitely a reminder to me to stick with paper patterns for adults.  Oy!

After that it was smooth sailing.  I graded out the front waist to a XXL.  Also I did a backwards swayback adjustment before cutting.  I googled how to do one with no Center Back seam and found this tutorial from Pattern Scissors Cloth.  When I took my measurements I found that the CB length was fine but the side seam to waist length was too short.  So I added an inch there- turns out the same as above but just backward.  I kept the waist on the back piece at the XL.  No pictures but I will take some comparison shots next time I make the dress (need to order more fabric!).

No construction shots as this was super easy to put together.  You'll notice on my side shot that the dress dips in the back- I forgot to take out the extra length there.  Plus it seems to want to pull up over my belly in the front, see how the line is not perpendicular to the ground at the waist.  I'm thinking a full belly adjustment may be needed.

I could probably make my sway back adjustment a little bigger- I need more bum room right under the pool of fabric though.  So it may just be that.  I have to say I really like seeing the lines on the muslin so that helps me see where the fabric is hanging funny.  I may need to make all my muslins with checked fabric!

So after fixing the back hem, I'll be stylin' all Fall in my two new plaid dresses.  Yeah!  Bonus my Walmart scarf matches with both dresses.

Tune in next time for a discussion the Greenstyle's Katie dress!  That was going to be my fall dress post but its still a work in progress.


Courtney Zadik said...

Love your tunic! I have that pattern also, but have yet to sew it up. And I tested the UTDT and it fits AMAZINGLY!!!!!! Great sews.

Allison Sews said...

Great job! I still need to make the swayback adjustments to my U/D pattern and try another muslin before cutting into good fabric. I definitely agree though that using stripes or cecks helps point out the problem areas!

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