Sunday, August 18, 2013

Tiramisu serger dress

Another quick knit project, constructed mainly on my serger. Knits really are great for instant gratification! I downloaded and pieced together the pattern yesterday morning, and today the dress is mainly completed (I still have to let the dress hang a day before I hem it since the skirt is on the bias).

The pattern is the Tiramisu dress from Cake Patterns. The way that the pattern is constructed is really neat: It has a modular design where you choose your top pattern piece based on your high and full bust measurements (in my case a 35 D), your skirt piece based on your waist measurement (35), and then draw your own custom waistband piece based on the top and bottom sizes that you've selected. Designing patterns this way just makes so much sense, because it builds in the assumption that bodies vary and your hip measurement can't necessarily be inferred from your bust measurement (or vice versa). I'm quite comfortable making alterations to "standard" patterns myself (and probably mess with patterns more than I should, really), but I think that many sewists would feel more comfortable working with a pattern like this where you're essentially making some basic alterations just by choosing different pattern pieces. As a result of this nifty design, the pattern is wearable for me with no alterations (!!). It helps of course that the pattern is a knit (adding fit forgiveness) and has kimono sleeves (so no need to adjust the shoulder seam, which is often a problem for me).

The instructions are generally quite good, but one thing that I did change was to bind the armholes after sewing up the side seams, rather than doing the binding first as the instructions suggest. Attaching the binding in the round is only marginally more time consuming than doing it flat, and it gives a better finish so that you don't have the side seam poking out the bottom of the arm hole. I'm also still not terribly happy with the way the neckline turned out. The pattern piece for the neckline binding is eased into the neckline a bit, and I turned up the differential feed on my serger to snug it up even more, but after topstitching the binding (with a zig zag stitch and a walking foot) it still looks a little stretched out. I'll probably shorten the binding piece even more and increase the stitch length on the topstitch the next time I make this pattern, and hopefully that should help. I might also consider just eliminating the stretch from the neckline entirely by using some stay tape.

The fabric that I used for this pattern is a polyester sweater-ish knit from Fabricville -- not the type of fabric that I would ordinarily gravitate towards, but the print really jumped out at me. The directional lines in the print work really well for the bias cuts in this dress. I like this pattern enough that I can see making it again in a more expensive fabric like a silk jersey. If I could manage to find a nice printed silk jersey, this would be a great pattern to make a DVF inspired faux-wrap dress!

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