Sunday, October 5, 2008

Problems with Butterick 5210

I’ve started on this dress (view B), using the combo of brown and blue batiks that I test-drove in my fave housedress recreation.

Want to make sure it's a keeper before cutting into my good fabric.

I’m this far into construction:

Side seams are basted for initial try-on, and the yoke and shoulders are done (including hand-sewing facing inside, done while watching a Netflix movie last night) arms not hemmed yet. It will have a blue band at the hem, too, eventually, but I’m going to make sure the rest of it is okay before adding that.

I’m thrilled with the boat neck yoke. It was easy to do, looks even better than I’d hoped, and sits perfectly on my shoulders. Yay. THIS part of the dress so far is a great success:

It’s THIS part that’s the problem:

You can’t see it well, ‘cause the batik print is camouflaging the folds, but the pleats at the front yoke are causing a poochy bubble of fabric over the ribs and belly. I’m poochy enough in that area on my own, thank you, don’t need any additional pooching from my clothes!

Here it is from the side. Sorry for the crappy shot, but you can see the problem:

My fabric is partly to blame, I think. I love the look of batiks, but they’re on the stiff side. Probably a nice drapy rayon or wool challis wouldn’t hang so horribly, but I live in Hawaii and challis of any kind is just too hot.

I wonder what kind of fabric the dress in the envelope photo is made from? (I notice neither the photo nor the fashion sketches show an alarmingly unflattering fabric bubble in the belly area; thanks for leaving that detail out, Butterick.) Does it look ghastly from the side on their skinny model, too, or is it just me?

I concede that the bubble might also be due in part to the fact I’ve got a few more curves than the typical model. But hey, my measurements exactly match the size I’m making (not telling you what size that is, but according to the chart I’m a perfect size [XX]). So shouldn’t this dress fit a little bit better?

If I didn’t like the dress from the front so much I might just give up at this point, rip out the side seams and reuse the fabric for something else (placemats?). But from the front it’s so nice, simple yet sophisticated. Comfy, too. I really want to love this dress.

So, I’m gonna try to fix it. As a barely-above-beginner seamstress this threatens to be beyond my capabilities. I hardly know where to begin.

Add a bust dart to the side seam?

Taper the side seams more?

I’m realizing how much easier redoing this would be if I had a dress form.

But I don’t. I’ll have to wing it.

I can already see two issues I’m going to wrestle with:
1) Although this is essentially a loose and roomy dress, it’s not voluminous. There’s some wiggle room in the side seams, but not enough for major reconstruction, especially if the solution is to let a seam out more.
2) I skipped the center back seam and zipper, and just cut the back on the fold. (Lost a teeny bit of shaping there, but not much, and the back looks fine. It's the front that's the problem.) I checked with a measuring tape before cutting: unless you have a ginormous head or Dallas-sized hair this can be a pull-on. But now I’m limited in how much I can take in anything at the sides if I’m gonna be able to get in and out of it. I could, if I have to, split the back and put a zipper in, but that would be a pain in the tush and I don’t want to.

I’ll keep you posted. Hate to put this dress in the UFO pile – had thought I’d just whip it up over the weekend – but other things demand my attention. I’ll get back to it, but not today.

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