Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Rowe's Tunic Dress - StyleArc

Northern California weather is erratic. We can switch between wearing flip flops and fleece-lined shoes in the same week. The only thing we don't wear these days are rain boots. This teeter tottering of temperature (ranging from freezing to 75 degrees fahrenheit) has allowed me to sew garments covering three seasons: late Winter, Spring, and early Summer.

This new dress is another StyleArc number. I didn't bother with a muslin (tricky I know), especially since the last pant pattern came out a couple sizes too small. It's not really the fault of the pattern or designer. It was my choice to not use the recommended stretch fabrics and thus lose all the ease. I'll report on those pants a little later.

So here's the pattern... It doesn't look like a lot of ease, and my fabric of choice doesn't have a lot of stretch... But I am darn set on using it.

Now look at my dress... It came out pretty close to the pattern style, and this is after I added quite a bit of ease to the dress (see bottom pictures for pattern adjustments).

I used a combination of four types of fabric: a lovely fleece meshed lace...yes, you heard me correctly. Let me repeat: fleece meshed with lace! It is freaking gorgeous. There's some stretch, but not nearly as much as a jersey. For the sleeve and neck and arm trim, I used a silver-speckled stretch cotton I picked up at Gorgeous Fabrics. The other fabric can't be seen until I turn the dress around to the back.

No...this is not the front, although, in a pinch, I guess it could be...it's the back with a silk organza backed ivory lace insert (another Gorgeous Fabrics find). The back image is a little wonky... Here's a close-up.

When a pattern says it wants a stretch fabric it means using a semi-woven isn't going to work...elementary. I knew this going into the project, but trying to figure out the exact ease is a bit tricky. All I can say is measure, measure, measure! Treating this fleece like a woven was best, but it's really bulky.  I decided two inches for bulk, and then another three inches in the front piece for my tummy. I know it sounds like a lot, but we're converting a fit for jersey into a thick woven fabric here.

Here's how I modified the pattern... I added side ease, and then the front panel.

Creating ease in the front might have turned it into an A-line...I was a bit worried about that. I took the lazy route and decided against making any drastic style changed to the neck line or side seams by slashing up to the very edge of the neckline, but not cutting it through. This is a common slash and spread method for creating A-line styles. But I didn't do it to the back, since my weight sits in the front. I knew the bulkiness of the fabric was going to hide any issues. Perhaps this was not the best design choice, and adding more to the side seams would have been best...but I still wanted a semi-fitted look.

If anyone else decides to make a change to side seams, make sure you "true" any changes by matching the sides against each other.
See here...

Stack the two paper pattern pieces together as if you were going to pin them for sewing, and match the edges. This is how you true patterns. This a pretty vital step that I have forgotten to do in the past when I'm altering patterns. I have started "trueing" all my patterns these days, whether I make changes or not. I have found that errors abound and it's better to know beforehand that piece A is not matched up to piece B. I recently had this happen with a collar. It's a painful realization.

For once I had a lot of fabric choices for this pattern. I don't condone buying fabric unnecessarily...I mean, just buying on a whim without a project in mind. It can be a waste of money...but I know we ALL do it right? As embarrassed as I am as of late of my stash size, I love going into it and finding gems to create something unique. Sigh...

Happy sewing!