Tuesday, August 12, 2014

I want to sew all the dresses!

After surviving the regimented sewing of July as I completed my mini-wardrobe, I decided to motivate myself to sew using another series of short-term goals. Originally, here's what I wanted to sew for this month:
  • A ruffle skirt and set of bloomers for my toddler (done--will post pictures when I get a chance).
  • The HotPatterns Cote D'Azur dress (I made the top version of this a few years ago, but pulled the pattern back out because I wanted a dress version. This is in progress, will be done in a few days.)

    HotPatterns Cote D'Azur
  •  A Sally Romper by Green Bee patterns:
    Sally dress and romper by Green Bee

  • A denim skirt (probably via the Cake Hummingbird skirt)
  • Another Mimosa blouse.
But right now, I really want to sew dresses, after I finish that adorable romper, of course. We've been having a really stinkin' hot and dry summer in Seattle, and I've been wearing both of my Moneta dresses every laundry cycle. While the denim skirt definitely fills a hole in my wardrobe, what I want to wear Right Now are casual dresses that I can just throw on. At the moment, I have FIVE dresses in various positions on the covet/sew scale. Here they are, in alphabetical order:

Alder Shirtdress by Grainline studios

This dress and the Colette Myrtle are really the "in" dresses in the online sewing community right now, aren't they?

Grainline Alder shirtdress
I fell in love with this pattern as soon as it was released, although I didn't pick it up until I had a chance to get it as a freebie as a "thank you" for managing a PatternReview contest. I'm going to need to do a lot of alterations to get the Alder to fit--it's drafted for a B-cup, so I'll need a sizable FBA, and I'm not sure where I want to rotate the resulting Big Honkin Dart yet--maybe to the shoulder as gathers?

Catalina dress by Blank Slate Patterns

Melly at Blank Slate has been releasing an increasing number of women's patterns (to supplement her awesome children's line) in recent months. I haven't bought this one yet, but it looks pretty much like my idea of a perfect maxi-dress.

Blank Slate Catalina dress
This dress ticks a lot of "wants" for me that you don't always see in maxi-dress patterns:
  • Shoulder and bra strap coverage
  • Shaping via elastic/drawstring waist
  • Pockets!
  • Easy-but-non-baggy fit
Comino Cap Dress/top by Kitschy Coo Patterns

 I blogged about this one a while back, and it still hasn't fallen off my radar.

Comino Top and Dress by Kitschy Coo
I'm starting to see versions of this pop up on the blogosphere, and they're just reinforcing my desire to make it. T from u & mii and the Curvy Sewing Collective recently blogged her version, and it's very cute and flattering. I really love the sweetheart neckline, though, so I'd probably make that version. I know that sweethearts can be bust-emphasizing, which isn't what I want, but I think if I did a darker color/print on the main body and a lighter colored fabric as contrast, it would even things out.

Hawthorn by Colette Patterns

I know that I'm one of the last sewists on the internet who hasn't made up the Colette Hawthorn dress, but I still really want to make this. I want to make it so badly that I've purchased four yards of a really lovely, drapey charcoal chambray to use for my "good" version once I get whatever fitting issues ironed out via muslin.

Hawthorn by Colette Patterns
I know that I'll need an FBA on this one, but the lack of an already-present bust dart makes this easier to deal with than the Alder. For the Hawthorn, I'd simply do a traditional FBA and leave the bust dart in place.

Myrtle by Colette Patterns

The Colette Myrtle is the other big dress pattern of the moment.

Myrtle by Colette Patterns
I have the perfect fabric for at least one of these dresses in my stash (a super drapey cotton-modal jersey with an abstract print), the dress has looked great on the curvy sewists who have made it so far, it has pockets, and it's a fast and easy sew.

I don't see any way that I'll have time to sew up all five of these before the weather starts cooling off, but I'd like to make at least 2 or 3 of them (if not 3 or 4). Have any of you made any of these patterns up yet? What did you think of it? Or are there any of these that you're really dying to see made up on a curvy, plus sized body?

A final note about the internet being the internet

Thank you for all of your heartfelt comments on my post from last week about random negative comments, body image, and taking things personally. It's frustrating that to share how a garment looks on a curvy or plus sized body with fellow sewists, you essentially open yourself up to negative comments, whether intentional or not. And yeah, you can "grow a thicker skin", but when someone hits upon something that you're already self-conscious about, that's hard. And besides, you're not the one with the problem; the commenter is.


  1. Warning ... I may end up commenting a few times because I'm intrigued by the alterations. :-)

    For the Alder ... what do you think about converting the HBD (honkin' big dart) to a shoulder princess seam? Which would then line up with the bottom front "panel"?

    Or, it looks like there's already a side dart there, and if you're going to add the pockets, just stitch your dart longer than you usually would so it ends smoothly and use the pockets to cover up the end point. No one will ever know. And if you're thinking, "No way for pockets on the girls ..." use a print and match the print so the pockets don't actually contrast.

    I like this dress, but only in theory for me personally because I look terrible in shirt dresses.

    Hawthorne - isn't that the one with a multiple of fitting problems by the masses? Or am I confusing it with another Colette? On the one hand, I like a challenge so that might make ME make it ... but then on the other hand, I love me some instant gratification sewing so that might put me off it. Decisive, aren't I? lol

    If leaving a traditional bust dart in place doesn't work, I can see a princess seam on this one too since the waist dart is already there and I like the vertical line from a shoulder princess. But that's me. I think this style would be really pretty on you ... the open-ish neckline would highlight your face and awesome smile.

    The one I want to see the most is the Comino and definitely with the sweetheart neckline. Otherwise, it's just pretty much a Skater. I also think this might be one of the faster ones to make/fit. Don't forget you can use that yoke seam as a dart rotation point (some of the rotation goes to each "half" of the seam) or ... use the SBCC tee as your base since it fits and morph the sweetheart yoke onto that.

    OK ... that's it for now. Not promising no more thoughts though. :-)

    1. Thanks! I like your suggestions of converting the darts to shoulder princess seams on both shirt dresses. On the Alder, I'm planning to use a dark colored fabric with a small print for my "good" version, so if I didn't do a shoulder princess, the fabric itself would be good for hiding the Big Honkin Dart as well. I'll probably use the pockets, too. I think in both cases, I'll see what I think makes the most sense after making up my first muslin.

      FWIW, the Peony is the Colette pattern that seems to have universal fitting issues. (That's the one with the weird drafting at the back.) With the Hawthorn, it seems like it's mostly people needing the usual FBAs or SBAs. The Pastille (from the book) also seems to have some fit issues related to drafting.

      And yeah, for the Comino, I'll compare it to my SBCC tee and see where I think I need to go from there.

    2. I just wanted to add a quick comment about the honkin'-big-dart-to-princess-seams idea. I recently did this on New Look 6407 (button-front blouse) and LOVE how the front fits. I'm no longer afraid to try darted fronts now because I know I can convert the altered front to princess seams. I've been out of town the last few days and haven't had the chance to blog about the process. I definitely intend to do so soon.

      I also intended to comment on your last post, but got sidetracked. I had more to say, but the most important thing is this: as I've aged, I've grown most comfortable with telling people to f@#k off. =)

    3. L, please do post that tutorial! I know in my head how to do it, but I've never actually done it before and would love to see if there are any "gotchas" that I'm not thinking about. (Just rotate the darts, round things off, then add SA's, right?)

    4. Thanks for the correction on the Hawthorne v Peony fitting issues. I did go and look at PR for Hawthorne after commenting and dang if you aren't right. LOL Looking forward to seeing what you decide to make first ...

  2. First I want to thank you for your previous post... I didn't comment because it was too painful. Guess that answers your question about taking things personally :) Thanks for being so stinkin' brave. There is a special level of hell (Dante forgot to mention it) for people who say or post the kind of comments you talk about, and the people who say get a thicker skin are usually the worst offenders, I've found.
    On a lighter note, I have the Myrtle pattern but I'm nervous about sizing- I need to add to the waist, as I don't have one, and I'm stuck deciding how much to add... I'm chicken, frankly.

    1. Thank you. I thought that the comments that followed that post were interesting, in several ways. But I think it's a good dialogue to have.

      FWIW, as far as the Myrtle is concerned, the early reviews seem to indicate that it's got pretty generous sizing. This is probably one of those times where it'd be a good idea to use one of those knits from FabricMart of fabric.com that were much thinner than we'd anticipated and make a muslin.

    2. How about the knits from Girl Charlee that are much thinner than I thought they would be :) ? I'm very much an online fabric buying novice... I bought 5 different knits from them and they are all so different than I thought they would be! I thought I knew what I was doing- definitely a learning experience :) . I may actually have to put on my big girl undies and make a muslin. I certainly have enough fabric now!

    3. Haha, yeah, I've thankfully only encountered that a couple of times--I seem to be one of the lucky ones. (Or maybe I just have a good feel for the ozs/weights that they list with their fabrics?) Maybe I should write up a post on how I navigate the Girl Charlee listings. (But even that wouldn't save a person from the dye disaster that Jenny just posted about with her bombshell swimsuit...)

  3. If only we had more time to sew all of the things on our lists! The only patterns I've made on your list is the myrtle and the hawthorn. The myrtle will look spectacular on you as will the hawthorn. The hawthorn is one of my favorite dress patterns and definitely made for curves. I really like that hot patterns top and have been looking for something like that. I have yet to make any of their patterns, so I guess that would be a good starting point!

  4. So, another vote for Hawthorn, then. ;) I wasn't able to sew one right away when it was released because we were in the middle of our move prep/move, but that pattern has been on or near the top of the stack of patterns of my sewing desk ever since it arrived.

  5. Thanks for this post, I have been wanting to make a dress, but couldn't quite decide which ones to even consider. This post has helped a lot.