Tag Archives: sewalong

Swing dress sew-along – cutting and fitting the paper pattern

12 Feb

GGGGRRRRRRRrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr <—— very loud, very frustrated growl.

1) What is with the 1/2 inch seam allowances? Every other pattern (well, in my experience anyway) apart from the occasional lingerie one, has 1.5 cm seams interchangeable with 5/8th inch seams. What on earth is a half an inch in metric anyway?
And I like having 1.5cm seams to play with, it makes vagaries of fitting different drapes of fabric so much easier to manage.

2) The pattern totally lacks any markings such as waist, hips, bust point. It lacks nape-waist markings or measurements.
These two factors, combined with this piece of information in the pattern notes have me totally frustrated:

The bodice is designed to accommodate long-waisted ladies – those with a nape-to-waist measurement of 17″ to 18″. If your nape-to-waist measurement is less than this, you will most definitely need to shorten the bodice pieces.

Huh? What? When your nape-waist is 14″ a variation of 1″ is waaay too much. NOT IMPRESSED. I might as well go buy an RTW dress. With no pattern markings telling me where the waist is, let alone the nape, how on earth am I supposed to work out how much to shorten the bodice by? The whole thing is made even more impossible by the fact the shoulder seam does not sit on the shoulder, nor is there a shoulder point mark.

On a related subject, how much am I supposed to shorten the skirt by too, when there is no waist, hip – or heck, even the nape – markings?

I know I know. “Make a muslin” BUT, I have always found muslins work best when it is a bit of a tweak here or there, not practically re-drafting the entire garment to fit. After all, isn’t the point of a paper pattern so that you don’t have to do that?

Not impressed.


I don’t remember having this issue with the Regency gown. Mind you I did buy the Simplicity print of the Sense and Sensibility pattern, not the pattern direct from Sense and Sensibility. I just did my usual height adjustments, and straight back adjustments and it is fine.

I did consider the possibility of simply cutting it out as it was, and fitting the length on the muslin as best I could. But I find it almost impossible to adjust a muslin for my straight back, which needs a longer upper front than upper back, while still making the side seams match up. That really needs adjusting at the flat pattern stage, and needs the same reference points as to adjust the nape-waist length.
So I figured I would give it my best shot at getting the length and straight-back fitting issues resolved by tissue-fitting the pattern a la Palmers Fit for Real People. This isn’t really my favourite method of fitting as without a helper it is very hard to make sure everything is sitting on the body the way the finished garment would have fallen. And something like this dress is so involved, my Fitting Consultat aka mum won’t do it. (And I didn’t have the energy to bribe her with doing a bit of sewing for her in exchange!)
It is also not exactly easy to gather the printer paper up, and two seams needed it for this method for this dress. O_o
So I just tissue-fitted as best I could. I will cut out the seam allowances at 1.5 cm so I have that bit of playing room with the muslin.
I still have to adjust the skirt – the lack of waist marking is making that a bit hit-and-miss as well. But thankfully the muslin can sort that out easily.
Next up – muslin.

Swing Dress sew-along – cutting the muslin

26 Jan

Cutting the muslin

Casey of Elegant Musings, who is running the Swing Dress sew-along made a button for it. Not sure what to do with it (I am woefully ignorant of Blog-land stuff)
Here it is anyway!

I got ahead of rest of the sew-along, having just cut out my muslin. After stressing so much about the paper-fitting, I just wanted to see how it would turn out.
I am also going to Brisbane in a week, for a week, so won’t be able to work on it.
When I got to pinning the front piece I discovered there was no grainline marking. I am done with tearing my hair out about the pattern. I want to enjoy it, not whinge. So hey, who cares? I took a punt on the grainline being the front edge of the crossover bit. After all that is what muslins are for, aren’t they?

Swing dress sew along – adventures in home printing patterns

20 Jan

Printing the pattern
I had an amusing time with the Swing Dress e-pattern…

Apart from the odd small craft pattern, this is my first try at an e-pattern. I downloaded it, printed it out and stuck it all together.

There are no matching up marks as there are in the Burdastyle e-patterns I downloaded at the same time, but as the pages printed up in order from right to left, bottom to top, and it came with a printout of the entire layout, it was a lot easier to work out than I feared. There were the odd bits that didn’t quite match, but not so bad it will throw the finished garment off.
I used up heaps of stickytape, and it was like a grown-up version of kindergarten. My inner child had lots of fun! And it really wasn’t as big a job as it looked at first glance.

But half-way through I did get frustrated wrestling with the wind from our always-turned-on ceiling fans. I had the airconditioner on too, but the fans make the aircon’s capacity to cool just that much more effective (and friendly to our electricty bill and environment).
So when my fiance mentioned at his work they are always printing up large-sized plans at the copyshop, and it doesn’t cost a lot, I decided to just get it printed on one big sheet of paper there, along with the 3 burdastyle e-patterns I bought at the same time.
I sent it to them to print, and the copyshop had NO idea how to get the swing dress to print on one big sheet. So  I checked the FAQ’s on the Sensibility site, (only then, of course, not beforehand) and discovered it simply couldn’t be printed out like that. The only way was the stickytape and A4 sheets, as I was already doing.
Oh well.
However… the lovely girl that helped me out at the copyshop asked me where I got the pattern from. Her grandmother had just recently given her a sewing machine, and was in the process of teaching her how to sew (how awesome! Just like my Granny and mother did for me) And loved the patterns and wanted her own.
So I gave her the URL to the Sensibility site, BurdaStyle and a few other places I have found. Sadly, I discovered I knew the URLs off by heart I visit these places so much.
I hope she has much fun with them all.

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