Now that I have a master pattern (well, at least the bodice) I felt it was time to test it. I decided to make a simple sleeveless dress with circle skirt. I also had a small amount of yarn and tested my luck by making a short cardigan so I could feel comfortable wearing it to work.
Let’s look at how it went.
I started out with the cardigan. I had the idea of doing it waist length (cropped) with short, gathered sleeves. I wanted to do a lace pattern as I felt that was a bit more summery and chose a simple eyelet pattern. Halfway into it I thought a little bead between the eyelets would have been a nice touch but I was doubling the yarn and wasn’t sure if I even had enough, so I filed that idea away for a future pattern. The yarn was unraveled from a man’s sweater I got thrifting. I think the fiber content is wool.
There weren’t any surprises knitting this cardigan. Everything went according to plan, except the gathered sleeves. I wasn’t sure if I’d have enough yarn so I made the a simple set-in cap sleeve. Turns out I could have probably done the gathers but I still like it.
The finishing touch was a handmade Dorset button.
Let me just say, this dress fit me like a glove. Yes, there are some slight modifications I will need to make to the pattern, but overall, I am incredibly happy with the final product. Even though I drafted a circle skirt pattern, I did not have enough fabric for it (circle skirts eat up fabric) so I decided on an 8-gore skirt. I measured the waist on my bodice and used that to draft the skirt pattern. Gored, circle and A-line skirts are very easy to draft and would recommend them if you are just starting out in patternmaking. The fabric is a quilting cotton that’s been in my stash for awhile. I think it was given to me.
- Incredibly my side seams and dart lines of the bodice and gored skirt matched up perfectly even though I didn’t plan it that way. Unfortunately you can’t see it because of the dark print.
- I skipped facing my armholes and used bias binding instead which resulted in a nice, clean finish.
- Thanks to The Closet Historian I was able to – for the FIRST TIME EVER – put in a zipper that looked good.
- Also thanks to The Closet Historian’s suggestion, I cut bias tape from my dress fabric and used it to hem my dress. She uses it on circle skirts but it worked just as well on the gores also. If you are making a straight skirt you can hem it the normal way by turning it up but once you are working with any sort of curve, bias tape makes the job so much easier.
What I would do better:
- While my gores lined up perfectly with my side seams and darts, somehow the gores for the back seam (where I inserted my zipper and which were the same size as all the others) were about 5/8 -3/4″ too wide. This is because my back bodice is not as wide as my front. To fix this, I measured in at the waist 3/4″ in and then took a yardstick and connected that point down to the hem, creating a long, narrow wedge shape piece that was cut out. While just taking 3/4″ off the entire seam would have probably worked just fine, I wanted to keep in as much width as possible because I like flowy skirts.
- For some reason I decided to face my neckline instead of using bias tape like I did on the armholes. I had to cut my facings out twice because the first time I didn’t account for turning under my edges to finish off where the zipper was. Once I got that all straightened out, I felt the facing was too wide so I cut off an inch.
- Speaking of facings, when I was sewing them in, I didn’t bother to pay attention if they lined up at the zipper. They don’t and it was a detail I could have easily fixed if I had caught it soon enough.
- Although I got my zipper in nicely, I wasn’t sure how much space to leave at the top. I think in the future I’ll put the start of the zipper 1/2″ down from the top, which once the neckline finishing is put in, the zipper will be right a the top.
- I need to add about 1-1/4″ to the side seam so it sits at my natural waist. I’m short waisted, just not that short waisted.
- I also noticed some fabric pulling at my armhole so I’m going to try dropping it about a half inch. In it’s current state I still have total mobility but the extra half inch I think will just let it sit better, especially if I decide to add sleeves.
Overall, this is a comfortable, well-fitting dress and cardigan. The organization I work for announced we will be returning to the office in April. It will be on a rotation basis so no more than ten people will be in the office at a time, which means I’ll be there about once a week. It will be nice to have some cute clothes to wear, because let’s face it, we’ve all been in our pajamas the past year, haven’t we?