A Lesson Learned the Hard Way

Today, we have yet another failure.  This is Patt-o-rama 8304.  Haven’t heard of Patt-o-rama before?  Neither had I until I came across this one.  Now, I see it everywhere.  I LUV the neckline on this dress.  Little details like that are what I like about vintage patterns.  Also, it came in my size, which is a rarity in 50’s pattern.

I did my muslin of the bodice, and it fit perfectly, straight out of the package.  I then jumped right into the fashion fabric. I have learned from past experience that when the top half of the bodice fits well, the sleeve will fit well.  When the waist of the bodice fits will, the skirt will fit well.  I didn’t feel like I needed a muslin of the sleeve or skirt.

Well, that was a big mistake.  Remember how I hadn’t heard of this company before I came across this pattern?  I should know by now to always make a full muslin of a garment from a new company.  This sleeve fits well into the armscye, but the sleeve cap itself is way too narrow.  This is not a fitting problem I’ve run across before.  I have full biceps and have had to do a slash and spread to the bicep area, but this is much higher.

It’s so tight across the top of the shoulder that it’s pulling the shoulder seam off my shoulder and pulling the bodice taught across the top of the chest area.  I’m so disappointed.  I went to Hancock’s to buy more fabric.  Of course, they were out.  This is a nice, heavy winter rayon suiting and they are already moving in their Spring fabrics.

I must admit, I tend to get discouraged with sewing quite a bit during the winter months.  I’m allergic to wool, so finding warm fabrics is difficult.  Plus, most of the non-wool winter fabrics don’t see to work well with vintage patterns.  They just don’t behave and drape the same way as natural fibers.  I seem to make alot more mistakes in my winter sewing.  The end result is that I have 2, maybe 3 wearable winter dresses and a ton of summer dresses.  Every year, about this time, I tell myself that I’m going to quit sewing for myself, but I know I just need some lovely lightweight linen that does exactly what I want it to.


About andreahg

I'm a stay-at-home wife and mom to two boys, a cat and two rough collies. I love to sew and knit with vintage patterns, primarly from the WWII era.
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9 Responses to A Lesson Learned the Hard Way

  1. Inky says:

    bah, how frustrating!! I have big arms and always run into that problem myself and setbacks make me want to give up sewing or especially knitting for myself, where I have a major sweater curse!

    I wonder if you could do a coordinating or contrasting insert in the sleeve and then perhaps make the bow in the same contrast/coordinating fabric or the belt? like could you cut a slice into it or would that look too bizarre? Lady Day recently had a sleeve problem on a dress that she added a little slice of contrast fabric into the cap of the sleeve area where her problem was and it turned out well.

  2. Roxanne says:

    This is odd, I know. Let me explain my reasoning before I jump into the suggestion/question!

    I live in New England. I grew up in Florida. I was SO excited to finally live in a place where I could wear wool and heavy fabrics. Then, I discovered that every where I go (except outside LOL!) the heat is turned up so darn much that I’m roasting in those fabrics!

    My “solution” is to do lot of sleeveless items underneath jackets and light sweaters.

    So my suggestion/question is whether or not you could finish this dress as a sleeveless and then throw a light cashmere-type sweater over it and still be able to make it useful for the winter?

    OR–just send the dress to me ; o ) !!


    • andreahg says:

      That idea doesn’t really appeal to me. I’m so cold blooded that it’s not unusual for me to wear a sweater twin set AND a heavier cardigan over top in the winter time. A sleeveless dress with a sweater or jacket over it wouldn’t be warm enough.

  3. Roxanne says:

    You’ll laugh to hear that I don’t own a REAL winter jacket. I just get too hot LOL! I was so disappointed when I found I couldn’t wear the heavier fabrics even in the frigid north!

    I love the neckline on that dress. It’s so feminine yet tailored.

    Have you come up with a solution yet that will enable you to salvage the material?


    • andreahg says:

      I’ve moved on to the next project. I don’t have time to dwell on an unsuccessful project. It will go on the pile until I can come back with fresh eyes, probably next winter.

  4. Roxanne says:

    Do you use foundation garments to wear under your dresses other than the usual support?

    Could you share what brand(s) if you do?

    I put a dress on and the “girls” do not appear to be in the right proportion, etc. and my waist is sadly UN smooth…

    Boy–that was hard to ask in a delicate way!


    • andreahg says:

      One must always wear proper undergarments. These patterns are drafted for the supported figure. For full skirted dresses, I wear a Rago waist cincher. For slim skirted dresses, I wear a long line bra and a Rago long-legged girdle. My favorite store is http://www.herroom.com/

  5. Shay says:

    Frustrating to lose that nice fabric; I hope you can salvage something. For the allergy problem, have you considered lining your bodices, maybe with a lightweight cotton? I find I can stand wool sweaters if I wear a short-sleeved t-shirt underneath.

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