In the past I have used Zandra Rhodes patterns for my client Nancy. They are flowy and soft and suit Nancy’s Type 2 summer personality. When I saw this newest pattern with the curvy lines and flowing skirt, I just had to make a muslin…that is when the fun (?) began.
I like to cut out paper patterns at night as it is pretty mindless cutting on the bold lines and folding all the pieces back into a neat rectangles and then into a plastic Ziploc bag. Something must have happened that night as when I went to spread the pieces out…I was missing the size 16-22 top front. What’s a girl to do?
The top front for sizes 6-14 was in the envelope so I placed it on new paper and used the top front size 4-16 piece to get some cutting lines for the 16-22 size. Mainly, I was worried about the lower curved seam…should it continue to the side seam and rise to where the pencil line is? What about that bust point? On a real sized 16-22 woman that would surely be lower and further towards the side seam by 1.5 inches which will leave that curved seam right on the bust point…did anyone think about that?
Here you can see the new piece with both cutting lines. I measured the circumference of the top for the bust and even using the size 22 it only measures 43 inches…more of a 16 than a 22. So, I cut the 22 as my motto is “cut large and trim later”.
Then the pinning begins to check the cutting and seam lines…so many wrinkles! The seam lines are on-grain and off-grain and bias…great! It looks like a schematic for a roller coaster ride.
After pinning and checking that extra fabric was trimmed away and I used the higher up seam line for the 22. Then I realized my camera was not focusing so we have some fuzzy photos for a bit.
Reading the directions, it states to stay stitch every seam and clip where needed…well, using muslin and an old sheet means you will have to clip every darn curve, convex or concave every 1/4 inch…lucky me! So the hand basted jacket looks OK if you like puckers and pleats. Checking the photo on the envelope…it looks the same, so Zandra meant to have it look this way.
How did we get so many pleats? At this point I am wishing that the front curves were more gentle like the back curve but NO, they are way more dramatic.
Mr. Mole says if I would make this in black wool he would wear it as a man’s frock coat as he loves the back feature…he knows this will never happen.
Here is what the envelope does not tell you: It will be small in the bust, there are no fitting darts or easy ways to adjust this pattern, the center fronts do not overlap for buttons or any closure except maybe an exposed separating zipper and the hem circumference is a whopping 148 inches/3.75 meters. I drew grainlines 8 inches apart to show what happens if you use a striped fabric or IF you could/should use one. Nancy like stripes so I’m always thinking about her.
At this point I am wondering why anyone would make such a wacky pattern where woven fabrics will be fighting with each other at every seam. The recommended fabrics are: Jacquard, Wool crepe, Linen and Ponte knit and you are supposed to interface the bodice lining. Then there is a lining that is totally flat without any curves in Taffeta or Charmeuse AND an additional Fleece interfacing. Wait…there’s more…then you are told to channel quilt every 1/4 inch vertically. So in essence we are making a freaking quilt top or a thick tote bag.
Now call me crazy but Taffeta and Charmeuse are totally different animals as are Jacquard and Ponte but hey, while we are at it…toss in some nice thick fleece interfacing layer. What you have is a thick cozy 4 layer top that does not close…is this practical? Now…hands up who want to continue?
Can you see that at the side seams the grain lines are totally 45 degrees? I will have to draw those same lines on the back to see what is revealed…well, that is what a circle skirt will do…it has a mind of its own.
When the side seams are joined they will make chevrons.
In the end, I am thinking that I may cut the fronts like the back so they hang flatter but it all depends on how it looks on Nancy. Oh, and then there is the lining which is just cut like a regular piece with no swirls or dippity seams. Back to the cutting table…maybe changing to just the lining pieces might be the solution. Sometimes it takes a lot of convincing to make you fall in love with a pattern.
On the bridal side of life a fellow seamstress who asked me for some advice on snugging up a bodice on a dress for a friend in another state…love that long-distance sewing…sent me a photo of a solution she came up with. Now, most brides never think ahead that some time during the reception they will need to use the bathroom and what happens with all that tulle and satin?
Do you take a friend into the stall and have her hold all the layers while you sit down? This seamstress was watching Shark Tank on TV and saw something she could translate into a good technique. She ran pink ribbon through the hem of the lining so the bride could yank on the ribbon and gather up and condense all the layers up by herself…brilliant!
And here is the result from the right side…. the lining hem is now sitting just below the beaded belt and all the layers are up off the toilet seat.
Thank you to Laurie for sharing her new trick!
Hoping to get my Christmas cards in the mail this week…what about you?