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Saturday, December 12, 2015

The Big Shirt that wants to be a Dress - Butterick 5897.


I have to admit I am not sure whether I like this dress or not, but I made it for a reason.

(AND, I only noticed after I had taken the photographs that I did not straighten the collar. But I am not going to take these pictures again...).

The pattern I used was Butterick 5897 now OOP.

B5897, Misses'/Women's Top, Dress, Belt, Shorts, Pants and Slip

I decided to make size 8, because the garment had generous ease.   I tested that this would fit me by making a quick muslin down to my hips - I've tossed that, because I am trying to tidy the sewing area every time I finish a garment.

I cut the pattern to exactly the size 8, including length.  I hoped that the dress would be longer on me than shown on the pattern envelope.  I am shorter than 5'6", which is the height patterns tend to use.  I was using a piece of craft cotton that I did not really like, but with this garment, I was also going to use a technique I had not used for years.  So this was, once again, a technique practice garment.  The technique I wanted to relearn was how to make a placket front shirt, because this can be handy if you want to hide buttons - necessary sometimes, if you can't find a nice button.

I could not cut it longer because I only had 2.3 metres, and I needed about 2.5.  I didn't have enough for the inside yoke, so I used a piece of lawn for that, which is a bit lighter in any case.

I made View C, but did not have long sleeves, but shortened them.  I hate roll up sleeves for summer dresses - I prefer a loose and cool sleeve.  I did not do the chest pockets, nor did I add tabs anywhere.  I did add in the side seam pockets.

Now, craft/quilting cotton is not really manufactured with dressmaking in mind, but unfortunately, that is what the market is flooded with nowadays.  It is harder and harder to get quality dressmaking fabrics, so I may have to come to terms with using this stuff from time to time.

I  had an inkling that it handled differently when I made up my Bubbly Pants.  There seemed to be a bounce to the fabric.   But for the Bubbly Pants, it did not matter - the seams were minimal and straight. However, I found out quite a few of the idiosyncrasies of craft cotton when I made this dress.   I'll tell you what they are as I post:

Details:

Showing collar, yoke lining, front yoke gathers, collar and stand, and fly-front placket opening:



Inside the fly-front placket opening:


In the picture above you can see a few things - that craft cotton is often printed on the right side, and is quite white inside.  And if a thread pulls, as it often does with buttonholes, a white mark is left.  See top buttonhole.  Inside a placket, this does not matter, but it would on an exposed buttonhole.  I used a blue pen to go over this after I took the photo, so it doesn't annoy me.  The buttons are just cheap, shiny, plastic things and are black, quite horrible, but it was all I could get that would anywhere near work with the fabric colour.


In seam pockets.  I did not have enough fabric for these, so I used a black poly-cotton.  I usually line a pocket with this to reduce bulk, but this time I had to use it for both sides.  I chose black because there is black in the dress, and they won't show if the pocket opening gapes a bit.

If I was using craft cotton again, I would choose an overlocking thread that matched the inside - I wasn't thinking, and so I have black against white, which annoys me a bit, because I like seam finishes to disappear. But this is what a practice garment is all about. Finding out how to do it better next time.

And the hem - I had to do this very neatly, as I normally do, but in this case it was important, because the hem shows.  And if you look to the hem curve at the left of the shoulder, you will see small puckers.  This is craft cotton behaving like craft cotton, because I found out it really did not like doing layers or curves.  I believe it has been designed for quilting quite specifically - quilters cut small, straight shapes, and like straight seams and no flop or drape - nice crisp, straight, lines.  Dressmakers like easing, and shaping and manipulating seams - so the fabrics have to be able to do this.

Of course, young sewers like these quilting cottons because they come in all sorts of cheerful prints.  And beginning young sewers like dresses with straight seams - fairly simple lines.  Not curves and plackets and details.




I found that this fabric really liked to pucker when it hit these sorts of details.  I used all my usual techniques and don't normally get puckers.  Bobbins are also not wound at high tension, another source of puckering sometimes.  And this was confirmed when I made my next dress (to be blogged next week) out of another very basic cotton broadcloth.  Minimal puckers.

I'll show you what I mean in the next photo:


See all the puckers down the fly front placket?  And just around the hem.  I also got puckers when I eased the sleeves in - and I usually do not have trouble with plain cotton when easing sleeves.  Mind you, because of the gathers on the front and back yoke, the sleeve sort of matches.  So I can live with that.

I did check a RTW shirt with a fly front placket  in my wardrobe that is made out of poplin, another fabric prone to puckering - and it had more puckers than my dress did, so that made me feel a bit better.

But still...PUCKERS....

The side seams, which are straight, had no puckers at all, which makes me think again that quilting cotton is made for straight sewing and for quilts and crafts, not dressmaking.


Now lets look at the dress:






Well, I am still not sure about this dress - it is a bit short at the front, hence my post title about this being a big shirt that wants to be a dress.

And a bit baggy.  But then it looks just like version B, unbelted, on the pattern envelope.

I did make the belt (it has puckers, of course, but my next belt, in basic broadcloth, didn't...)

And this is the dress belted:





I think I still need to reduce the shoulder width slightly if I make  this dress again.  And, I would lengthen the front - it is uncomfortably short for me at the front.  But then, it does look like the picture.  And this is all the fabric I had.

A Sunday dress!  And also, a dress that can be worn over leggings in Autumn.    So, although I don't like the puckers - I suspect from the properties of the fabric - and some of my RTW's also have more puckers, I think I will get some use from this dress.

And I have learnt a lot.  Next time I use craft cotton I will work within the limitations of the fabric.  Simple, straight, lines.

Who knows, I may even get to like it:



Until next time, keep well,

Sarah Liz


27 comments:

  1. I like your dress. Yes it is a little short in front, but that is something you can fix next time and on the dark fabric the puckers aren't really that noticeable. At least not in the photos. We really are too hard on ourselves but I know how you feel. I am very unhappy about the dress I am making but a non-sewer will probably never notice what is bothering me.

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    1. Hi Kathy, you are right, we are too critical - and when I compare my puckers to some on RTW garments, they are nothing! Sorry to hear your garment causing problems. And next time this dress will be much longer, but this is okay for home.

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  2. I really like this on you. It fits nicely and the silhouette is very cool and comfortable, it looks quite easy to wear. I like easy to wear garments.

    Good notes about the quilting cotton. That makes sense that it would not like too much manipulation.

    I also love the hidden placket. I have to try that sometime :)

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    1. Hi Nakisha, yes it is easy to wear, which I love as well. It also is pretty much drip dry, which also means fabric has been treated, which makes it harder to sew as well.

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  3. It doesn't look too short to me but you have to sew for your comfort zone and if you don't like it, that's all that matters. The hidden button design is a very good one if you are new to buttonhole making (like me) and need additional practice to get them all identical. I'll have to search out some of those patterns.

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    1. Hi Barbara, yes, hiding buttonholes can be a big plus. And I am noticing a few shirtdresses are quite short at the front at the moment, so I will get away with it this year :)

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  4. This is a lovely style on you. As for craft cotton - it does have its limitations.

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    1. Thank you Irene. Glad you confirm my opinion of the limitations of craft cotton.

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  5. Very versatile dress, and be fixed up or down. I like it both ways with and without the belt, looks great on you! I have to agree with the cotton material now days, I have tried to find a nice polyester/cotton blend which I have found hard to find.

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    1. Hi Dianne, thank you :). Its very hard to find decent cotton rich poly cotton with a nice feel and handle, I agree.

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  6. Really a good silhouette on you, and a nice fit. I cannot see any puckers. :-)

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    1. Thank you Mary. Puckers not so obvious in photos. I am finding that they are lessening in garment after a few washes,so perhaps fabric is softening.

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  7. I really love your dress, Sarah Liz. It suits you beautifully :)

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  8. I like your dress. It suits you. If you hadn't said you were uncomfortable with the length, I wouldn't have seen the need for a change. A while back now, I had a fabric that didn't ease well and showed puckers; that was the first time I realised that fabric as well as technique could be important.

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    1. Thank you Anne - and I have come to terms with the length after seeing quite a few dresses with hemlines at this level. Yes, fabric is important to finish as well.

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  10. Sarahliz, I love your dress. It looks nice on you and really comfortable . I like the belted version. Sorry the front is too short for your liking..
    Hope you will wear it, it is nice.

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    1. Thank you Judy - it is nice and comfy, and rest assured, I have come to terms with the length :)

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  11. This is one of my favourite makes of yours. I love the optional belt. No belt for hotter days and with belt for a smart casual look!x

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    1. Thank you Dawn - yes, the belt will go on and come off according to temperature or activity :)

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  12. I don't think the puckers notice, you'd have to be up close and staring! The shirt\dress looks good, I think it really looks great with the belt. Great work.

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    1. Thank you Louise - and I have found that the puckers are less obvious after a couple of washes. I think the fabric is softening and they are softer puckers, if that makes sense.

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  13. I had to stop by and see the details. I am planning on a denim shirt dress sometime next year so I love looking at the details. I think you did a great job! It looks good on you!

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    1. Hi Linda - glad you did stop by. I'm going to try and get a Wordpress site up and running for you Wordpress bloggers next year. A denim shirtdress will be wonderful

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  14. I like this dress on you! Personally I like the belted version best, but then I'm a 'belted' person for the most part. As far as the hem, I like the shorter front length on you, particularly for a fun, summertime, casual sort of look, though the high-low hemlines are so popular now. You look great!

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    1. Thank you Lisa - yes, the belt makes the dress much smarter, but for high activity chores, or in the heat, off it comes!! I agree, this is a fun sort of dress, and as such, the length is fine :)

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