Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Project Runway Fails to Impress

OK, the style may be Project Runway, but I seriously doubt that the garment construction would hold up to their scrutiny. I have finished the muslin for Annies dress, and decided to line the bodice per their instructions on the muslin to get a better idea of construction and fit. I want to line the entire thing, so I'm glad I did this to figure out a better way. First of all, the dress is easy and goes together quickly. Unfortunately, "quick" sacrifices appearance. If you look at the back of this dress, you can see that they have you line the upper bodice, then attach the lower bodice and lining, and then sew the center front seam. After that, the skirt is attached and the zipper installed. I don't know why they don't have you line the skirt, but why would you want to wear a slip if you're already lining the bodice? The big 4 seems to do this frequently.

The problem here is two fold. Now we have a raw edge where the skirt attaches the bodice. They suggest binding the seam, but that would be more bulky and time consuming than adding a skirt lining. Minor detail. The big problem is the zipper. by lining the bodice and attaching it to the skirt before adding the zipper, the upper end of the zipper is left with raw edges everywhere. Not only is the zipper completely exposed, the upper edge of the tape (mine is extended because it is a muslin) will be left raw and the seam allowances where the zipper is attached will also be left exposed. This looks sloppy and unacceptable in my opinion.
Now, of course, I have to figure out a way to correct this. Because of the way the bodice front is constructed, it almost has to be lined separately to eliminate bulk where the gathering is. I think the best option will be to follow their method, but to leave about 2" on each side of the zipper with the lining unsewn. After the zipper is attached, I will hand sew the lining to the garment and to the zipper. If anyone knows a better way to do this, please let me know!

On the other hand, I AM impressed once again with Christine Jonson's Basewear Two pattern. I made this sleeveless turtle for myself earlier this year out of a rayon jersey. Now I have made one for my friend Maureen. This is made from a cotton interlock that I got from Sewing Studio. This fabric was a joy to work with. First of all, it came in a tube, so there is much more usable fabric this way and less waste. Also, it just lies nicely and was easy to work with. It has great stretch and recovery.

CJ has a great guide in her patterns where you compare measurements and stretch of the fabric and ease to get the right fit. Here's a good example.
Maureen is tall - I am not
Maureen has broad shoulders, I have narrow
Maureen needs SBA and I need FBA.

We ordered fabric for her measurements. After getting the fabric, calculating the stretch and doing the guide in the pattern, I found that Maureen will wear the same size as me! I had her try mine on to see if I needed to tweak it, and it fit her perfectly! So, today, I completed her top. This is a super fast pattern, and I didn't even use my regular sewing machine.

I love my serger. Even though it is old (about 18 years I think) and has no bells or whistles (no differential, one foot) it does just about everything I need. It made this top come together in a matter of minutes.

First, I serged the shoulders, adding stay tape.

Then, the side seams. Next, you sew the end seam of the turtle rectangle. Mark the turtle in 4 equal parts and serge to neckline.

I pressed under 5/8" at armholes and 1.25" at hem. I used my coverstitch machine to finish it.

One of the things you must be careful of with the coverstitch machine is to press accurately. You are stitching from the right side of the fabric, so you are going by measurement here in order to cover the raw edge underneath. In this case, I missed a couple of inches. Of course, this is the beauty of steam a seam tape. It will fix that right up. (Sorry, Maureen)

I do have a hem guide for my coverstitch, but am finding it awkward to use. Maybe some of you know some tips for that. Right now, I am using the seam guide that goes through the back of the foot, sort of like a quilters guide. Until I master the other attachment, I will be using this.

Maureen hasn't seen the top yet (Unless she's reading this,) but I love it, and I have enough fabric left over to make one for myself!


Summerset said...

Yeah, I've encountered that way of doing a zipper before and didn't like it, either. It was a jumper pattern for my daughter and I wondered why they'd have you line the entire bodice and then insert the zipper that way. Doesn't look nice at all! I've since gotten rid of the pattern for that very reason.

The yellow tneck is really cute! After using my coverstitch machine this weekend for a few things, this is what I did: once the hem was turned up and pressed (or pinned), I turn the hem to the wrong side and positioned it in the machine with the left needle exactly where I wanted it and put the presser foot down. I then taped a piece of yellow mailing envelope flap (it was what was handy - a post-it note would work, too) with a nice straight edge to the machine bed where the folded edge of the fabric was. Instant hem guide - and removable. I then took the fabric out of the machine, turned it right side up and stitched. I did a 6 yard hem in less than 10 minutes this way and didn't miss the edge.

Chicago Sarah said...

Thanks for pics of the tneck- so cute. I feel myself getting inspired!

Sigrid said...

Sorry, no solution for your zipper problem. The yellow top is very nice. I use a post-it note like Summerset suggest as guidance too.

BCN - UNIQUE designer patterns said...

Nancy .- An alternative solution to your problem would place the zipper up the union of the seam and close the rest (blue) with small buttons or closures. maybe not too orthodox, but it may well be ....... I hope that I understand. greetings. Paco

Maureen said...

I LOVE IT too Nancy....you are the best!

ps. tho I do resent the SBA comment(does that stand for small boob adjustment:)...yeah,Ok, I know it's true...but still.

Anonymous said...

Arrrgggghhhh! I had EXACTLY this same problem in the last TWO garments I made for my dds!! -- you would think I would have learned after the first one, but of course both were made "in a rush", and the first one especially, was a PITA since I substituted the (SAME one you used) Vogue pattern (#8380) at the last minute 'cause when I made a muslin (make that the second muslin)of the pattern she initially wanted, I couldn't figure out how to "make it work" --the fit was just awful. The fit on the Vogue isn't exactly great either, and I'm STILL trying to figure out a way to make the zipper look better. I was going to use an invisible zipper, but I've had problems with them under the best of circumstances, and add all those bulky seams that the band under the bust adds (and I used a contrast color there, just to complicate matters) I'm also considering hand-picking the zipper, since the main fabric is hot pink, and the band is white, I used hot pink to sew the zip, and it's just not a good look on the white part. I made the dress for her Confirmation in April, but she wore it again to Church (for Mother's Day) and (sigh) it just doesn't look good. Oh, I'm going to look up your blog on that pattern again -- I fully lined both garments

Myra said...

I love your swap and other things. I checked out some of your older posts and want to try the HP artful dodger blouse, but cannot find it anywhere as it is OOP. Would you consider selling it or sharing a tracing? Please let me know, Myra
blog http://adventuresbabysewing.blogspot.com/
email myrayeretsky@sbcglobal.net

Anonymous said...

About the zipper problem: Kathleen at fashion-incubator.com has zipper tutorials. Download the tutorials index and select the type of zipper installation. She's a big believer in sewability -- without handstitching to make it work.

About the crazy construction order -- why not sew the skirt to the face fabric only, insert the zipper, then either clean finish the raw edge of the lining or turn it up and sew it in place?

If you need more detail, let me know.

Anonymous said...

So many of these patterns have terrible construction details that just guarantee poor results. They don't ever seem to think that the inside looks matter.
But, the yellow top is very cute and nicely done.

Linda T said...

What I do for coverstitch hems is to use disolvable thread in the bobbin of my sewing machine with regular thread up top. I stitch the hem from the wrong side so that I can see I'm catching the hem completely. Then I have a line to follow in the right side of the garment. When I'm finished, I spritz the disolvable thread and the top thread just pulls out. magic--I have a CS hem that has cuaght all the fabric in the hem.