Happy New Year! and my apology that I've been slow to respond to comments on the blog. Busy time!
I was so excited to get back to sewing after all my visiting with family - because I found a new pattern one night, while watching The Christmas Story and cruising the web.
This is Linda Lee's Cityscapes dress. I think it was first released around 2002, along with an apron-like topper. And now the dress, by itself, is available from The Sewing Workshop as a PDF download.
My first Sewing Workshop pattern!
It has great lines - simple, symmetrical and definitely Lagenlook:
The original release reminds me of Sonia Rykiel's Vogue 1379 Sandwich Dress from 1976.
My fabric is deep brown and does not photograph well, so I lightened all the pics a bit. Squint please.
Sewing this pattern was so much fun. It's a little quirky, but goes together beautifully. The pic below shows the basic layout of both the front and the back. I had to sit and look at it for a while. I knew the dart was continuous, bust/upper back to hem. But part of the dart, the 'bell' curve, is removed when the pattern is cut out, not when it's sewn.
Once I played a mental game of connect the dots (there are a generous number of them, defining the dart sewing line), I was OK. There are four sizes on the pattern, so I just had to be careful not to stray out of my size.
I used a tailor tack at each dot, and then drew the sewing lines with a chalk marker. Perfect and not difficult at all.
A couple pics on Emile. The inside - I was very short on fabric with only 3 yards, so I cut the front in two pieces instead of on the fold. The center front seam is pressed opened and topstitched down.
And the outside. I could have cut the back in two pieces instead of the front, but I try to avoid center back seams on a knit dress. They tend to stretch out at the stitches and just don't wear well.
A few more notes on sewing and finishing:
- I sewed the size Medium, which was perfect. The sleeves and the hem were long enough for me (I'm 5'7"), so both might be a little long on someone shorter. However, the pattern has lengthen/shorten lines in the sleeve, torso, and skirt, so alteration would be easy.
- A few sewists mentioned a concern about the width of the hem and ease of stride. So I added 4" at the hem (1" on each side, back and front) and cured it back into the pattern about 12" below the waist. It worked great, and I'm glad I added to the width.
- The shoulders were a little wide on me, so I trimmed off 1/2" at the outside of the shoulder and redrew the armscye to accommodate the change. The sleeve cap was fine without any changes.
- The pattern uses a neck band, but I bound it instead - binding is just more comfortable for me. I also trimmed about 5/8" from the neckline first. I might have a big head...
I used a very lightweight rayon/lycra knit with 4-way stretch, which is heavenly to wear, but requires some careful finishing. Particularly because it wanted to run if I pulled at the cut edges. What!? I picked this up from Fabric Mart's pre-cut fabric sale for a couple dollars a yard. It's not great fabric, the color is a bit uneven, almost stippled. But it was perfect for this muslin version of the pattern.
- My shoulder seams have a enclosed strip of knit tricot fusible, cut with the grain to reduce stretch in the fusible and stabilize the seam. I finished the seam with a flat fell on the inside and topstitching outside.
- I used an elastic stitch throughout, including the darts and hems. And serged/cut all the long seams together at about 3/8". The armscye seam is pressed toward the dress and topstitched (visible in the last pic).
Time for a view of the back - pretty sassy :-)
Borrowing an expression, I'm pretty chuffed with this dress! And I plan a follow-up soon, in a nicer fabric.
A little parting tip: Knits, whether in a dress or a tee, can invite a wardrobe malfunction for anyone who wears unpadded lingerie. I love these thin foam bra liners :-)
And I'm off to watch the Parade of Roses. Ciao! Coco