Sew Bad Saturday #6

This week we have Lorraine of the Spottydogsocialclub blog.

She wrote this email to me to start her process:

I am a long time fan of your blog, and am totally amazed at the skill and patience that you have. I have also been following your Sew Bad Saturday, and have a contender for you. It seems that pretty much EVERYONE in the sewing world has made up McCall’s 6844, all with great success. I happen to love cardigans, so what could go wrong (I hear you ask)? Well, here is my version. Sigh! OK, so the wonky photo probably does not help (at least the floor is horizontal!), but what a wadder. I was so disappointed. So much so, that I went on to make it again (different view), and guess what? Yep, it still didn’t work out. And yes, I can hear everyone telling me that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results (thank-you Albert Einstein). The pattern has now been dispatched to the great pattern box in the sky. . . . .

So here we go – My version of McCall’s 6844front-closeback
Why did you pick this pattern?

I had seen gorgeous versions of this all over the blogisphere. A quick search will show you some fabulous garments that other seamstresses have made – and looks gorgeous. I am a self admitting cardigan fan, I love, love, love drapey collars, I’ve got knit fabric in my stash and my serger is waiting patiently for me. What could possibly go wrong?

What size did you think you were according to their envelope numbers?

An XL or XXL – I’m a 44″ bust and I like room in my clothes. Ease is usually my friend. Note the word ‘usually’.

What size did you cut and did you alter before cutting?

XL. I can be pretty brazen and this was to be a wearable muslin. I do have short shoulders, well, to be fair, once pattern companies start designing for us plus sized ladies, they tend to over compensate in the shoulder area so it is not all my fault. I also have a rounded upper back and would usually make a swayback adjustment, but as this was stretch fabric and a casual design, I cut it straight out of the packet. I should mention here that I am pretty much a cylinder in shape. A few bumps and dents, little difference between my bust, waist and hips. I certainly ducked the traditional British pear shape!

Did you encounter difficulties others would like to avoid?

No-one else seemed to have any problems . . .

Is there anything in the photos we cannot see that you wanted us to know about?

Not really. What you see is what I got. The front looked rather nice – I was quite happy with that although it made my hips look fluffy – and they are certainly not that, but the back. Oh-my-goodness. There was enough space to fit another person in the back. Instead of being a nicely fitted cardigan with a peplum, it was a swing-back with a peplum – and not in any good way.sideside-2

Is this garment wearable with tweaking or not?

No. There may have been choice swear word or two, and then the jacket was tossed in the garbage.

Thumbs up or thumbs down on buying this? Worth the effort?

For me, a definite thumbs down. A waste of time and money in both pattern and fabric.
Do you want suggestions on how to “make it work” or is it beyond that?

I probably should have contacted you earlier, but both the fabric and the pattern are happily rotting away in the landfill. What I did learn was to carefully measure the pattern pieces before cutting out my size, and to avoid peplum for the foreseeable future. I have recently made up Simplicity 2154 to much more success.

And the link to the much more successful Simplicity 2154 post:

Many thanks to Lorraine for sharing her jacket and I over lightened the photos to show the details but it was much darker to start with. Please direct your helpful comments to Lorraine and she will respond.

Before I go, I wanted to share a delightful video of two 90+ year old sisters who are still sewing for clients. The very end brought tears to my eyes when they explain why they have continued: The video.


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30 Responses to Sew Bad Saturday #6

  1. Joyce latham says:

    Thank you for sharing the video. Touching to say the least. My oldest daughter was a dancer, (she loved ballet, but by the time she received training she was too old to make it a career,so she tried to make a career in modern dance.) She did not want to teach, she wanted to be in a troop. She went to Toronto dance theatre school for three years, something we really couldn’t afford, but she wanted it to badly, we did what we could for her. After graduation she gave it her best shot living as a starving artist, auditioning etc etc. emotional ups and downs. She has built herself a successful career in another field now, but I agree with the lady in the video, there will always be the pain, of not dancing.
    I worked as a seamstress, at a shop that made theatrical costumes, dance wear for our local performing art high school, dance schools and some brides.
    I really enjoy your blog.

  2. fabrickated says:

    I just looked at your witty and informative blog Lorraine, and you look lovely in your hand made wardrobe. You know what suits you. But as you say the jacket shape is not great on a straight body shape. In my view it is perfectly OK style until you get to the peplum, which means that from the back it looks a bit like a DA. I think peplums look best on women with a well defined waist, but they must also start from the actual waist not the under bust. Also the sleeves are a bit too long and flappy, don’t you think? And the shoulders probably should be shorter and not drop off like that. Thank you for shaing – I have a personal aversion to all mullet type hems. The best length is often in one of the lengths – not both. In your case I actually think the length of the back (which finishes under the bum) is better than the front which cuts across your tummy. Anyway thanks for being a good sport and sharing.

    And thanks for the brilliant video Mrs Mole!

    • Your DA comment made me laugh – and you are quite right, that is exactly what it looks like! I thought that the peplum would give some kind of illusion of shaping – you know, a bit of an indentation at the waist 🙂 Ho hum, you live and learn!

    • mrsmole says:

      Yes, Kate, you realize the value of such a creative art that it takes you all the way to the end of life and you have so much to be grateful for.

  3. Mary D says:

    I agree that the sleeves are a little too long. And the shoulders – but you can remedy that with a little shoulder pad. I know, I know, but shoulder pads are our friends! They balance you out, especially if your shoulders or back are rounded. I don’t think it’s a complete failure, but I do agree about the peplum. I’ve had issues like this in the past and it makes sense to just stay away from that style. Thanks for sharing!

    • I have to admit to loving shoulder pads – particularly in the ’90’s when they were a lot more understated and and help ‘shape’ your garments rather than making a huge statement! There was nothing quite like some understated shoulder pads helping a cardi/jacket to fall nicely form the shoulders!

      And you are wuite right – I have tried this pattern, I can smile sweetly (in front of gritted teeth), when other seamstresses show their gorgeous versions of this top, but ultimately I now know it is not for me. And quite frankly – there are so many other patterns, it is not as thought I have no alternatives 🙂

  4. JenL says:

    I wonder if Lorraine would try for a third version? I think it could work. IMO, the main problem is that it’s too big and needs an FBA. I know it sounds silly to go to the trouble of an FBA on a loose fit garment, but I have found that it *always* hangs better with an FBA. In this case, I think an FBA would help reduce the back-swing effect. Starting with a smaller size (upper bust measurement) would probably solve the over-sized shoulders and sleeves issue too. Otherwise, small should pads would help. As someone with a similar figure, I think that some back shaping helps too. I would probably take some fullness out of the lower back, add just a little bit of a curve, and raise the top of the peplum just a bit. Thanks for sharing, Lorraine!

    • I hear what you re saying about an FBA – the fit would probably have been a lot better as I would not have had to play around with the shoulder length and the sleeve would probably be shorter as well. And really, I should have known that if I need a swayback adjustment, then what on earth did I think a peplum would do?? 🙂 Oh well, that will teach me to drink the Kool Aid and then be lazy!!!

  5. patsijean says:

    Did you consider donating to a charity? That is where my clunkers go if they are not flattering. They may look fine on someone else, and it is awful cold out there.

  6. Am I the only one who thinks the proportions on these darn cardi things is just WRONG? Does anyone REALLY look amazing in something that’s so much shorter in the front than the back? And then loose fitting to boot? And WHY do these things STOP above the crotch area??? It’s like a target…! In my humble opinion, either do a short cardigan or a LONG cardigan (below the crotch line…please! Bonus points if it covers the rear end – required if you’re wearing “leggings”…lol. These styles have bothered the dickens out of me since they were foisted on women everywhere. I’ve never really seen a woman of any age/shape look awesome in these things. For most of us, no matter what our height and weight…it’s just a really BAD set of proportions.

    Ducking now as the fabric scraps and scissors begin to fly at my head…!

    • Alex in California says:

      Nope, not flattering but you’re pretty.

      • Thank-you ladies! And yes, the proportions are pretty terrible! But EVERYONE else looked lovely in theirs! Honest! I think that it was one of those occasions where I should have really looked at the line drawing . . . . . Doh! There is nothing like a dose of reality to make you pay attention!

    • Ines says:

      So true! As I stated below I know I would look like a medusa has just swallowed me in this cardi!

  7. jay says:

    The video, so telling. Its true, there is no letting go.

  8. Shari says:

    I looked at some photos online, and the versions which look best are belted more fitted. if you try again, go smaller and do a FBA.

    • twotoast says:

      The belted versions are lovely – just not my style. There is something that screams ‘dressing gown’ at me!!!! But I’ll definitely look at smaller sizing and FBA’s. Thanks!

  9. prttynpnk says:

    I made the nonpeplum version of this recently and didnt have enough fabric for the 14 foot long collar pieces so I used another fabric for the underside. My lapels just roll over and show the insides too much- I cant make the goofy thing lie down and the sleeves are longer than a straitjacket. I assumed I was just deformed. I feel better now!

  10. Ines says:

    Hi, first off , thanks for sharing. Second its not you, i believe its the style. The only people that have managed to look good in this; belt it otherwise it just hangs like a sack with excess fabric in all the wrong places. Also I’ve come to the conclusion that cardis are a much harder fit than one would expect especially the solid colors they easily can look really blah and sack like. In my experience with plain cardis a more fitted look helps (not tight but just fitted rnough yo have some shape) or a small shoulder pad, or an appliqué or a pattern. I am petite and shapely and yet I know this style would look like a medusa has swallowed me!!! It’s not you!!!

  11. You are welcome! It is interesting that you mention about your shape as I was reading another blogger who wrote how frustrating it is when someone comments on a pattern they have made and/or a pattern review just saying ‘and it fit me straight out of the envelope’. The blogger pointed out that unless we mention what sort of shape we are, are we cutting a size that matches our measurements, etc.,etc., the review is quite pointless (at least as far as fit is concerned), and perhaps more worrying (in my case at least) I get pulled in with a false sense of security and start chopping out my fabric without thinking. ::sigh::

    Oh well, there are more lovely patterns calling my name!!! You may well see me here again sometime in the future 🙂

  12. robindrush says:

    I have that cardi pattern, never crossed my mind to make it. It’s the kind of cardi a client might request, but definitely not my style. We learn by muslin and wadder what works for us and what won’t. As for the video, I sat there half smiling as these two dear sisters muddle through their day, listening and identifying with some of the comments. The last comment, however, hit me like an arrow straight through my heart. I was in tears. That emotional tug we feel is tied to doing what we love. Pursuing our passion. A moment of truth for me.

  13. I would have the same result probably. I don’t wear peplums. Thanks for the warning on that pattern. And thanks for the video. I will have to show it to my mother, being from Hungary and close to their ages.

  14. Hi Lorraine. I think that pattern just isn’t suited for a soft knit. I made it without the peplum and had everything falling off of the shoulder just as your did. So, I stabilized the stretch at the shoulder seam with some seam tape. I also had to topstitch the edge of the collar since it didn’t’ want to lay flat. Before I made the jacket, though, I noticed the slope of the shoulder seam is just too low on the back. I raised it up about 3/4″ (only at the tip of the shoulder) and added a little more to the sleeve cap. I wish the pattern makers would be more careful in drafting the patterns. That slope will always make your garments hang poorly from the shoulder and most sewers don’t know to look for it. I was already working on a blog about that very pattern and shoulder problem, so check it out to see what I’m talking about if you want. It’s coming soon.

    • mrsmole says:

      Everyone should see your great photos of this technique: to fix the shoulder seam BEFORE you cut !

    • twotoast says:

      I think you are quite right – I read your article, and admit that I have to hang my head in shame. I took a Palmer Pletsch fitting class, and I KNOW that I need to add more fabric to my back and shoulder due to rounded shoulders – and your alteration is pretty much exactly the same as the one that I KNOW I need to do. Sigh. I also have to admit to not reading about the amount of stretch – my fabric was definitely waaaay more stretchy than what the pattern suggested. I guess that my version was the perfect storm of cute pattern, lovely (but totally inappropriate) fabric, the need for gratification and more sewing experience than common sense!!!

      Thank-you for your comments – I will be following your blog more closely now!

  15. Freshly Sewn says:

    It’s a shame that this cardigan didn’t work out for her. I’ve seen many of the versions in blogland and the pattern seems so cute! I bought it for myself and now can’t seem to find an attractive, affordable sweater knit. Maybe this sweater is only good for certain shapes? I see a lot of people with larger busts to their waist sizes have made this.

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