Saturday, February 14, 2009

Red One

This poor pattern.

I suspect it was someone’s hated Home Ec project from the way each piece was haphazardly cut out. Many of the notches were cut off and the cut-lines were missing (or cut crookedly) on several pieces. Plus, it was shoved back into the envelope without any care. The pieces were so crumpled that not even gentle ironing could get them to completely flatten out. The main piece was so brittle that it tore several times (in the darts!) while I was trying to pin it.

Does anyone know a good way to repair torn patterns? I’m tempted to use cellophane tape, but I’m a little afraid. Any advice will be gratefully accepted.

It’s too bad that someone so obviously hated this pattern cos I love it!!! I used leftover red broadcloth from this project. Unfortunately I didn’t have enough for the jacket, but I wish I had. The jacket is too cool!

There is only one main piece for the dress and two more small pieces for the facings. It really couldn’t be any easier to cut and assemble (which makes me wonder why it took, like, 5 hours from start to finish. I think I’m out of practice.) The only major adjustment I made was to shorten the bodice to accommodate my weirdly high waist. I also shortened the skirt a bit as mid-calf doesn’t look that great on my short stubby legs.

For some reason, there is no facing piece included for the armscye. The pattern instructs you to make one out of bias tape. Instead, I cut a strip of fabric about an inch wide. It worked out okay, but not great. The facing keep flipping out flat under my armpit. Not enough to come out of the hole, but enough to rub uncomfortably.

I was afraid of the collar at first, but it worked out very well. I’ve heard horror stories about making collars, so I’m glad this one was easy to attach. I might even be brave enough to try a making a shirtwaist now. Although, the thought of making a shirtwaists' worth of buttonholes still horrifies me.

My one regret is the fusible interfacing I used around the neck. It’s entirely too heavy and I had a heck of a time getting the neck facing to lie down. I eventually had to topstitch it flat.

The zipper is, as usual, a nightmare. I still don’t quite have the hang of zipper installation. The good news, though, is that I used my new Viking double-sided zipper foot for the first time and it’s a dream and a half. It’s got a clip on each side so you can just snap it in place and its reversible, and can be turned to accommodate whichever direction you need to sew.

Here's a picture of the finished dress. I like!


  1. I use tape all the time. It will tear a pattern if you don't place it right the first time.

    If you're really worried, iron on interfacing to it, or retrace it. Those are the only methods I know. I'm lazy, I just use tape.

  2. The dress turned out amazing! I love it!
    What type of fabric did you use?

    I wish someone would invent patten tape. I use scotch tape too, but you have to be careful because it will melt under the iron. Some of my favorite and often used patterns I have traced off onto sturdier paper (I like to use drafting tracing paper. It doesn't tear as easily as tissue paper, but you can still see through it. Great stuff!!)
    The interfacing trick is a good one too: you can either use fusible interfacing to mend the existing pattern or trace the entire pattern piece off onto non-fusible.

    How are you installing your zippers?

  3. ooh, i like! very nice!

  4. Thanks Moxie! I used plain ol' cotton broadcloth. I use cheap cotton broadcloth and cheap quilting cottons almost exclusively. Pretty much everything I make is a wearable muslin.

    I have a ton of fusible innerfacing scraps lying around so I think I'm going to try using that to fix my pattern. Thanks for the advice all!

    How do I install my zippers, um...I think the best way to describe it would be: WRONG. I need to learn the right way to do it but I really don't have the patience.

    I like to buy the invisible zippers and then stitch them in as you would for a non-invisible zipper. Stupid, I know but that's the way I do it.

    I did discover recently that if I pin the zipper in on the wrong side of the fabric, but stitch it on the right side, it looks a little less crappy. Baby steps!

  5. Hi,

    I suggest either art or archival tape. Both work well and won't hurt the pattern. It's history after all. And I love patterns!