Well, I’ve made it about halfway through the stack of cut-out things on my sewing (er, dining) table, but the intermittent tension problem I’ve been experiencing on my Bernina (I know, right? Berninas aren’t supposed to even dream of tension problems!) has finally become a mittent tension problem and I don’t feel like sewing a bunch of seams that will just pop the first time I put on the shirt, so what’s a girl to do? Oh, yeah, maybe blog something I made like a month ago.
I’ve been kind of realising that I really like New Look patterns. I’ve made a few now and I feel like they fit my upper body really well. I know, they should be drafted just like Simplicitys, since they’re the same company, right? Well, it might be my imagination, but I think they fit me better than any of the other Big 5s. I’ve generally not bought New Looks in the past because they work out to be the “most expensive” patterns at Jo Ann, since they’re actually the cheapest but they never ever go on sale for a dollar (eesh, Jo Ann has really messed me up with their sales, thinking $5 for a commercial pattern is too expensive…) Anyhow, I’ve really been loving the jersey twist top patterns that are ubiquitous now, so once I decided to splurge on some New Looks, I grabbed this one, New Look 6802:
Aaaand, yes, I know, the print totally obscures the twist detail. Sometimes I miss at the whole appropriate-fabric-for-pattern thing. But zoom in! It’s twisty, I promise!
I found this fabric at Jo Ann as well, breaking my Don’t Ever Buy Jo Ann Fabric rule again. I rationalize it thusly: all their fabrics are polyester, but if you are in the market for a poly fabric in the first place, you won’t get burned! So I’ve had good luck with their ITY/poly jersey types. This was a remnant of a yard and a half or so wrapped around a bolt of a totally different fabric, so I have no idea what it was originally labeled as, but it feels ITY-y to me. I loved the print and the color in the store, but of course didn’t realise until I made the dress that the background’s just about exactly the color of my skin, so all the little dots make it look like I have leprosy or something. Okay, maybe not that bad. I think it’s right on the border of being okay, and I still like the print, so I will wear it and just hope no one thinks I’m contagious.
But about the pattern: this must be an older design, an early example of twist-front technology, because it’s literally just a twisted overlay that you sew into the side seams and the shoulders of a totally regular, uninteresting empire waist v-neck dress. There are even bust darts, on a knit dress! This pattern would run away screaming from a Japanese Drape Drape dress. At first I thought the way the overlay is attached was pretty ghetto (you literally just sew the overlay on to the bodice at the shoulder seams, then fold it down, rather than sewing the overlay into the shoulder seam), but it works fine and is super easy. You have to finish the neckline of the under dress (which I did with clear elastic and twin needle, as usual), but the neckline of the overlay is just folded under, and it stays put just fine. You can see just a little of the under dress neckline at the front center, which I thought was a little odd, but especially with this crazy print it’s not really noticeable.
Now, I said that NL patterns fit my upper body really well, but they are not so in-sync with my lower half. As some other reviews of this pattern have noted, there is a definite faux pregnancy pouf possible with this dress. I think I may have figured it out, though: the way the skirt is drafted, with a gathered front and a shaped, ungathered back, the back skirt pulls the front skirt tight against my (not unsubstantial) thighs, keeping the front skirt from falling straight from the empire waist and poufing out the gathered fabric in front of my stomach. It was much worse when I first stitched up the sides, so I went back and narrowed the seam allowance as much as I could from the high hip down, and it helped. I think if the back skirt had more flare it would solve the problem, so next time I make this or a skirt style like it I’ll cut 2 sizes larger in the hip of the back skirt piece. Sigh. I never thought I’d have to be making a “full bottom” adjustment in knit dresses!
The only other modification I made was to the sleeves. I didn’t like any of the sleeve variations offered in the pattern – I just wanted plain, 3/4 length sleeves, please! I used the long sleeve piece from view A and narrowed it to approximate normal sleeve width, and shortened it by a few inches to get 3/4 sleeves. I feel like I’m always modifying sleeve patterns to get normal sleeves – do pattern companies think you’ll feel like you aren’t getting your money’s worth unless there are 3 crazy sleeve designs in each pattern?
In the end, I like this dress, and it’s another good multi-use work dress for me. I may make it again someday, perhaps in a fabric that would allow you to see the twist front, but for now I’m more interested in patterns with real twists, not just overlays. I think I will continue to shill out for those pricey New Look patterns, though, since they actually seem to fit my miniscule bust and broadish shoulders pretty well without adjustment! My full pattern review of this dress is here.
Well, fingers crossed that the sewing machine man can get my Bernina back in line, tension-wise, tomorrow, and maybe I’ll have a slight chance of getting at least half of what I have planned done before Christmas. More things to share soon!