Saturday, July 12, 2008

Patrones Feb. 2007, #45

Pattern Description: Sleeveless summer dress with front and back darts, V-neck, waistband detail and invisible side zipper.

Pattern Sizing: Patrones sizes 40-48. I made a 40, which is roughly the equivalent to a BWOF 38, which in turn is mostly equivalent to a 12 in the Big 4.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? I think so. The magazinephoto was a white-on-white dress, so it was hard to see the details. The drawing was clear. My fabric is so busy that once again you can't see the details, but the shape is what I wanted.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Your guess is as good as mine. The instructions are in Spanish, which I do not speak, and even with Paco Peralta's list of Spanish sewing terms, I ran into quite a few words that I couldn't get. Patrones' instructions appear to be at least as bare-bones as BWOF - though at least when I don't understand something I have the excuse of not speaking the language.

One of the reasons I picked this pattern (aside from liking the dress) was I thought it would be fairly intuitive and I ended up not having any problems with construction. So I give them points for pattern drafting - everything fit together very well.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? During the recent PR meetup in Baltimore, Renee lent me an entire bag of Patrones magazines. It was like Christmas only better. Then I realized that I literally couldn't understand word one of the descriptions or instructions, and there the fun began. Let's just say that the free translation sites out there do not do an adequate job with technical words - when I tried to look up a phrase that (I think) was telling me how to apply bias binding to the armholes, I got a sentence that had the words "petty theft" in it. Huh?

Driving home, the car broke down but at least we had reading material while we waited for a tow. This was one of the first things that struck me, and I kept coming back to it. I liked the shape, I immediately thought of 2 or 3 fabrics that would work, and it didn't look too complicated. (I did, however, immediately lose the idea of the ball fringe trim on the original - while I do have a weakness for home dec fabric, I've lost the urge to deck myself out like Grandma's favorite chair).

Fabric Used: 100% Italian cotton purchased at Metro Textiles last summer. It's been waiting to be this dress, apparently; there have been two previous occasions where I almost took scissors to it, but changed my mind. This dress was a good canvas for the larger-scale design on the fabric. Ivory cotton broadcloth from my local store's remnant rack for the lining.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: I think my dress is slightly more fitted than the one pictured, but it's hard to tell because the model has her arms raised. I changed the waistband, making it just slightly wider, and for the front I took a length of fabric double the length I needed, gathered it back to the shorter length, and ironed interfacing to the back. The band was edged in some bittersweet chocolate cotton I had on hand. I wanted some contrast, but the solid brown wasn't quite the right color, so I just used strips of it. I think it adds a nice touch. I left the back of the band plain and ungathered because I figure that most of the time I'm going to be sitting and the gathers would just get smushed anyway.

One major change: I'm pretty sure the instructions I didn't understand were for applying bias bindings to the neck and armholes, but aside from the fact that my cotton was a little lightweight to be unlined, I didn't think that was a good look for this dress. So I made a lining - my first completely closed lining, which was made easier because this dress is sewn together in two pieces, back and front. I put the lining and the fabric right sides together and sewed the neck and armhole seams, then turned it right side out and pressed. After that it was easy - I sewed the underarm seam first, to make sure it met up evenly, and then down each side of the dress to the hem. Then, I turned the whole thing right side out and pressed, and voila, no topstitching anywhere. The one pain is that the last thing to be sewn are the shoulder seams - I sewed the fabric (a little awkwardly because of the small size of the shoulder seam), trimmed and pressed it, and then hand-sewed the lining shut over the seam. What a nice, clean finish! I've always resisted doing a lining this way before as too much trouble, but it's amazing how you change your mind when all of a sudden it's the only option you can think of.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? This pattern is definitely a keeper. It's a good basic shape and I could see drafting a sleeve for it and changing up the skirt length for a completely different look. If you can get your hands on this issue of Patrones, do - I traced 9 things out of this magazine. This was probably the simplest pattern I traced, but I thought it was a good beginning with Patrones, and I would definitely recommend it.

Conclusion: I think I love this magazine. There are even more patterns in each issue than in BWOF, and if nothing else, BWOF has given me plenty of practice in trying to think outside the box of skimpy instructions. I actually found it kind of freeing, being completely on my own with nothing but pattern pieces - I could do whatever I decided was right, without actually turning my back on the instructions. That being said, if you're not comfortable "winging" it, try to find someone to help you translate the instructions.


Adrienne said...

Your dress is gorgeous!!! I just got my first issue of this mag, and I'm anxious to try it out!!

cidell said...

Yay! Can you imagine living in a world where Patrones is available on every newsstand?

Kat said...

You're looking fab, Karen! What a great dress!!! You're definitely getting me thinking about making a summer dress or two right now.

Kitty Couture said...

Fabulous dress! I love all the care and details that went into it.
You look gorgeous, Karen! And it's all thanks to yourself.

Kathi Rank said...

I have that same fabric from Metro! The dress you made really shows off the pattern of the fabric and even with a lining I'm sure it will be cool for the hot days of summer. Great looking garment.

I nearly took the scissors to my fabric last week and then decided to wait until I had something with very few seams that could be made with a lining --- I'm glad I waited.

Tany said...

You did a beautiful job! I find Patrones patterns quite challenging and very trendy! Your dress looks terrific on you, congratulations|

melanie ajumma said...

Perfect dress. I'm jealous.