Monday, February 14, 2011

Puerto Rico Wardrobe, Butterick 5211 and 5225 (Part 7)

I decided to go ahead and make this dress in spite of receiving a warning about it. The chemise style appealed to me as something comfortable for vacation wear. I chose the embroidered fuschia linen-look I recently bought at Hancock's:

However, I tweaked the pattern as a result, and I think the changes improved it a lot. In addition to my usual habit of cutting the neck and shoulders size 10 and the rest size 14, I did the following: added a FBA, decreased the width of the neckline opening, eliminated the center back seam and neck opening, and pegged the lower edge.  A lot of changes to a simple dress, but needed since I'm not built like a coat hanger (yay!).

And I eliminated the inseam pockets. In a chemise dress? Really? IMO, nothing but a source of distortion waiting to happen.

I also added a facing and lining combination to protect the back side of the embroidery from snags. I also think a lining generally improves the way a garment hangs and wears. In addition to the neckline, the lining is attached at the sleeve edges but the rest hangs free. The lining is plain rayon challis, which is also in the picture above.

Overall, I'm pleased although I think labeling the dress with a "1 Hour" label was totally misleading. Granted, the label refers only to sewing time, but it leads inexperienced sewists astray as they equate "fast" with "easy." The pattern instructions leave out several steps that would result in a better finished garment, such as staystitching the neckline, underlining the neck facing, and reinforcing the curved underarm seams that have to be severely clipped to lay flat. The pattern also referenced markings that didn't exist.  I've got years and years of sewing experience under my belt, so I wasn't phased by these omissions. I really have no problem calling this a "Fast and Easy" or "Fashion Express" pattern, but dumbing down instructions to make them fit an artificially short sewing time ends up frustrating and discouraging inexperienced sewers who may not realize that extra steps are needed to obtain the best results.

No pictures yet, because I still need to complete the final step of topstitching the neck and sleeve edges. I'm going to see if I can locate some rayon thread that'll match the decorative embroidery on the fabric. It'll look better as a finish than plain sewing thread.

Meanwhile, I started cutting out the next project for the Puerto Rico Wardrobe, the Butterick 5225 dress. This one is another Fashion Express pattern with a "2 Hour" estimate. I dunno, it looks very simple, but I already know to take the guidesheet with a generous grain of salt!

I'm using this rayon print:


BetsyV said...

I can't wait to see this dress! It was SO BAD on me! Glad you were able to do something with it. It's the perfect hot-weather dress.

sdBev-NL6538 said...

I have to agree with you about the time estimates. Maybe you could finish some of these in an hour if you've already made them a dozen times. But one hour? The first time? Not likely; and really unfair to the inexperienced sewists.