Here we are – round #4 of the Megan Dress from Tilly’s Love at First Stitch. I am happy to report that overall, this dress is a success. While I haven’t mastered pattern fitting by any means (and will probably look back at this dress a year from now and laugh at my delusional self), today, I think it’s totally wearable.
I made one big error that affected the fit of this dress, and that was… I forgot to center my needle before sewing. My sewing machine defaults to the left needle position, which allows the machine’s measurement plate to be accurate. But I have a much easier time sewing straight lines when the needle is centered, and since I can usually use some extra wiggle room in my garments anyway, I typically center the needle and then continue to use the machine plate’s measurements. I’m essentially shaving 1/4″ or so off of all of my seam allowances. But this time, I forgot to center my needle, and by the time I realized it, I had sewn my major side seams. So, this dress is a little more fitted in the abdomen than I’d like, but I think if I sewed up the same pattern again with my needle centered, it would fit more comfortably.
Let’s take a moment to admire my purple sparkle Converse. These are another “happy! oh wait, sad…” moment. I scored them on eBay for ten bucks, in near-new condition. Yay, right? Alas, I accidentally ordered size 7 women’s instead of size 7 men’s. I didn’t even know Converse had official women’s sizing. (I wear a women’s US 8.5 or 9 in Converse, which I’ve always in the past had to buy according to men’s sizes of 6.5 or 7). So, these uber fun shoes only fit if I don’t wear socks (and don’t walk so far as to destroy my feet). Womp womp.
Back to the dress. Any experts out there care to chime in? The pulling at the upper bust sides – is that because the upper bodice is too small? How about the center bust – is that an apex-to-apex adjustment? I need to find people in the world that sew, because I don’t think I actually know any.
The back view of the dress illustrates a few issues, not the least of which is my lack of prowess at sewing the tops and bottoms of invisible zippers. I’m not so worried about that, as I’ll figure it out eventually. What I’m worried about is that after taking 2 full inches out of the back neckline via 1″ shoulder darts on each side, the back neckline is *still* gaping like crazy. I could probably pinch out another 2 inches! What kind of freaking mutant am I? The upper bodice here is a straight size 7 with no other adjustments, so obviously it’s a body mutation and not a pattern manipulation issue. I don’t think I need to size down in the bodice any further, because the shoulder lines and armscyes seem to line up on my body in the right places. How else can I fix that darned back neckline gaping? There has got to be a way. Bigger darts? They just seem so obnoxious already. There’s got to be another way.
The other big issue is that the back bodice is too long. I had lengthened the front bodice to accommodate my under bust curve length, and had to lengthen the back as well to make the front and back side seams match up. However, it appears I really don’t need the length in the back bodice – which brings me to my next question: how do you true up front and back seams when your body measurements require different adjustments on each side? I’m awaiting an answer to that question from the instructor of a fairly frustrating Craftsy class I’m in, but it’s been a few days and obviously the answer is not to just lengthen the back, in this case.
I would also like to de-pouf the sleeve caps a bit, which I think would happen if I sewed the proper 5/8″ seam allowance on the sleeves. Aye?
From the side view, you can definitely see the back neckline gaping and the back bodice length issues. Wells Fargo sure gets a lot of free product placement on this blog, eh?
One fun item I’ve been using on these last couple Megan dresses is a gathering foot on my machine. Here’s the one I got – Distinctive Shirring Gathering Foot – and it seems to be a lot quicker than sewing 3 rows of thread and manually pulling them all. I still have to pull the thread to get the gathers in place where I want them, but it’s much quicker. Just slide on the presser foot, switch to a contrast thread, up the stitch length to 5, and sew one row of gathers. Set in the sleeve, pin the heck out of in, and sew the sleeve seam. Then, remove the gathering stitch. I wonder if this foot would work for shirring the Moneta dress.
So, there it is. Megan Dress #4. Not perfect, but officially not a muslin. I will keep trying to figure out the back neck gaping solution, and will keep working on my zipper finishing techniques. There are likely more Megan dresses in my future.
And that makes me jump for joy!
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