Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Queue Jumper

Remember this new pattern? It arrived last week. I was wondering how I would ever get around to making it with the queue of (no joke) 60 other patterns - at least 15 of which are serious contenders.

I decided that the easiest course of action would be simply to make it now. Then I won't have to worry about where to slot it in!

The little niggle of interest infected me one day last week (around the same time as the stomach bug) and it's all I've been able to think about since.

The construction of the pattern fascinates me. Those fold tucks (sewn on the right side, by the looks of it) are carefully interspersed with darts (the only other shaping tool) that are sewn, naturally, on the wrong side. There are no closures (yay!). You can pull it on because it's made in a stable knit. Of course, you know one can't really make an accurate muslin with a knit. Well, one can, but one needs to use the same fabric (s)he intends to use for the finished product. Which means one's often just making a wearable muslin first time out.

I've heard conflicting reports about the fit of this dress. Some say it runs large. Others say there isn't much ease. I decided, on the information that Butterick seems to cut large, that I would initially review my paper pattern to determine the amount of built-in ease (by measuring each piece individually), then factor in my fabric ease (a stable knit, about 2 inches IMO) and compare those against my actual measurements. It's a sound strategy but this pattern is so asymmetric on paper and oddly formed that I don't know if I can trust the measurements against those indicated on the package for the finished product. The actual measurements, in as much as I could figure out where to take them from, are quite a bit larger than my own dimensions.

To add to the challenge - I bought the size 14 - 20, not the 8 - 12, because I felt it would be safest to make the 14 based on sizing indicated on the package. Having said this - almost every time I make a Big 4 stable stretch pattern, I end up having to make it smaller. (This is the reason I've decided to start measuring the actual patterns going forward.) I'm beginning to think I'm a 12, package info notwithstanding.

On a related note: It drives me nuts when they split the pattern between a 12 and 14 because I don't have the luxury of reviewing both sizes and choosing the closer one. I'm stuck with one that's likely too big, or another that may be too small, unless I want to buy both size packets. Yes, I know that's why alterations exist. But not all alterations are created equal and I like to choose the easier path.

Oh, and while I'm bitching, has anyone else noticed that there's an error in the size 14? There's no interfacing piece 5! They printed piece 5 in the size 16 twice and omitted the size 14. It's not a disaster - I'll just have to adjust the facing piece in the 16 to meet the dimensions of the neck line, but that is kind of irritating - esp. given the weirdness of this paper pattern. It took me an hour of running around like a chicken before I figured out what was going on.

Happily, I have a lovely fabric for this - a burnt orange (but still rather bright) double knit.

My next step will be to trace the multi-sized pieces (all but the facing) and then to cut the fabric. Marking the folds and the darts with accuracy is de rigeur here. I'm intrigued to see how this progresses.

More to come...


  1. Burnt orange! Ooh, that is going to be lovely.

  2. Yes...I noticed the missing facing! It irked me too. I'm on who thinks the finished pattern is pretty close to the actual measurements listed on the pieces. I made a 14 with 1/4 inch seams and it just fits. I normally take in Butterick patterns but then again, I think maybe they have reduced some of their ease in patterns. If you make a 14 you may need to take it in a bit depending on how much ease you want. I can't wait to see your version. I have plans to make it in the sleeveless version in a navy blue cotton knit for Spring.

  3. Burnt orange sounds lovely. I'm intrigued.

  4. The color sounds wonderful, and I think the dress will look great on you.

    AmidPrivilege suggested I learn about body types at Inside Out Style and do the mini-makeover at AlreadyPretty. I'm an H, so that dress wouldn't work for me because it draws attention to the waist. In the mini-makeover, there's lots of questions having to do with every aspect of style, including color.

    I am thinking reds and oranges might be good, so I can't wait to see a photo of your fabric.

    It's really hard for me to believe you're a 14! You look so tiny to me.

  5. Bel: It's a really lovely fabric!

    Kim: Thank you for validating that! I thought I was going crazy :-)

    Mardel: Apparently, bright colours are the new palette :-)

    Susan: Thank you. I hope so!I need to check out the mini-makeover post at Sally's site. I'm a 14 pattern size (which is not the same as RTW sizing). In RTW I'm generally a size 6. Interestingly, I think a 14 pattern corresponds more to an RTW size 8. (Of course, there's no standardization in RTW so it's really hard to judge this.) I have used the 14 size to better accord to my full bust measurement, though I'm starting to think, in many instances, it might be overkill. The other thing is, I notice, each pattern does its own thing. Sometimes I can be a 14. Sometimes I can be a 10. Weird.

  6. I love that dress. I know yours will be lovely.

  7. Faye: Isn't it so elegant? I hope mine will be lovely, but it's a pain in the ass to ready for sewing. I'll post on that part soon...

  8. yay! i love that dress! I saw it in white not too long ago - I can't remember where?! Lovely!

  9. Wendy: Isn't it!?

    Patty: You should make it too!

  10. Looking forward to seeing yours. I made mine in red. It took a while for me to figure out how to best transfer all the pattern markings, but once I did, it was a pleasure to sew. And now, its a pleasure to wear! It gets LOTS of very positive comments!

  11. Yvette: I read your post before I started and it was very helpful. Love your finished product. It looks great on you.