Sewing Cafe

Patterns, Tutorials and Works in Progress from the Sewing Studio of Lynne Williams

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Mad Men Pattern Alterations

When selecting the correct pattern size for a dress or blouse I always choose  the size by comparing my above bust measurement with the bust measurement on the pattern envelope. This indicates a size 12.  Now for my favorite part -  pulling the tissue out of the envelope. 

 I have decided to make version A but of course it must be modified..right, after all what is the point of sewing for yourself if you don't take a few liberties with the designers.  All right version A has the side bust darts transferred to the neckline, and in the pattern they have sewn these just like darts, but added some top stitching.  I on the other hand what to treat them like pleats which means hopefully they will stay the same, but I will not be sewing along the leg of the dart but simply pleating them up.  Sounds simple enough yes?  The sleeves show a similar stitched detail which I am not crazy about, so I will be using the sleeve from version D instead.

Once I have identified my pattern pieces I am please to note that the actual garment measurements are printed on the pattern with the ease amount included.  Hooray!  This saves me the time of having to measure the pattern pieces.  So that's a point scored for New Look.  The bodice lining tells me that the garment measures 36.5" at the bust for a size 12, but my bust measures 37...with the right bra.  The size 14 on the other hand measures 38.5" which give me 1.5" of ease around my bust...2" is what I normally like, but I also know that I will most likely be making a fba so to keep it simple I will cut out the pattern using the size 12 for the neck, shoulder, armhole, and sleeve, and the size 14 at the side seams.  The only other adjustment I am making is to the length of the skirt...I need mine to hit just below my knee.  I measure from my waist to my desired hem length and find I need to add 2" to the length of the skirt....wait....really...add to the length of the skirt?  I am only 5'3"  and they clearly show this length as below the knee....and the average height is 5'7" ...curious.  I imagine it saves them tissue though. 

Time to prep my muslin prior to cutting. As you can see the edges do not match as they need to.  I begin by tearing off the desired amount of fabric, and then tearing off the selvage.  To do this you simply make a small snip, grab hold on both sides of the snip and start tearing.  This process helps you "true" up the grain of your fabric.  Once I have pulled the grain into submission I press it and lay out my pieces
That's much better!  My edges match and my pattern pieces which have also been ironed are ready for me to trace onto my muslin.  The owls stand at the ready to hold my pattern pieces in place. 

Here are my fabric choices for this dress.  The yellow is a silk herringbone remnant that I purchased several years back from Ginny's Fine Fabrics and support group in Rochester, MN.  I am not sure I will have enough of this fabric, but its my first choice.  The burgundy is a silk dupion with a gorgeous lustre and it would make a lovely cocktail dress, but we don't have much call for that in the North my great displeasure.  Maybe I will show some real ambition and make the dress out of both!  I can always throw my own party...right?

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