Sunday, December 27, 2009

More New Years Eve outfit plans gone awry

Maybe I'm just not meant to sew myself a New Years Eve outfit. Long time readers may recall the New Years Eve Butterick dress muslin disaster of 2007. In 2008, I was stymied by a sprained wrist. And today, I present to you the New Years Eve dress muslin letdown of 2009, again, a Butterick pattern...


Butterick 5418 is a Maggy London design, a knit dress with interesting pleating at both the front and back neckline.



Images courtesy Nordstrom.com - (left) Maggy London drape jersey dress, (right) Maggy London drape jersey dress - plus size

I found pics of the RTW dress on Nordstrom's website, you can see the front pleat detail best on the solid blue dress.

I chose this pattern because of its obvious easy accomodation for a large belly. But pregnant or not, this pattern would have turned out to be a dud either way, I'm afraid.

I envisioned making this dress in the olive green silk jersey that I bought last month at Stonemountain and Daughter in Berkeley. With some gold jewelry, it could be dressed up for evening, or with chunky wood jewelry, it would be a fun summer dress. For my muslin, I used a dark olive rayon/lycra jersey. (I always buy rayon/lycra jersey but then I can never manage to keep it wrinkle-free! Am I missing some secret? I'm forbidding myself from purchasing any more).

This pattern has an easy rating, but note that the pleats are very time consuming, even though I just matched the pleat-lines haphazardly for the muslin, the work felt neverending. 



One thing I like about this dress is the bodice lining (Butterick calls it a "foundation").  It ends just below the bust, and has elastic casing to hold it snug against the body.


The first issue I have is with the center front neckline. The seamline where the vertical pleats are stitched to the lining has major bulk. It's true that I didn't do much trimming of seam allowances on this muslin (nor did the pattern instructions advise me to do so), and while that may have helped a bit, I don't see how the bulk could be eliminated.  The understitching on the lining (which I did in ivory thread) is visible because the heavy CF pleating pulls down and exposes the stitches.



Same thing is happening at the back neckline, the lining can't stand up to the weight of the pleats, and again the understitching is exposed.



Also, there is some puddling happening above my rear end, which I think is caused by my large belly and hips and could be easily resolved by letting the seams out.  I cut a size 10 to fit my shoulders and bust, everything below the bust needs to be a bit bigger!

I would love to see the RTW dress in person to see if it has the same issue with the bodice lining being exposed.  I'm not certain how to resolve it and therefore I won't continue with this project.  Pressing the seam doesn't seem to help.  Too bad really, I followed the pattern instructions closely, I imagine others will have this same issue too. 


Oh well, nothing like last minute dress shopping..!

23 comments:

redhotpepper said...

Awww man, a bad pattern combined with a changing body really sucks. Hang in there cause you'll have a new shape next week!

Adelaide B said...

I also had a New Years dress failure this year. The dress came together well, but it just looked bad on me. Failure is a big part of sewing, but sometimes it is just super inconvenient.

Reethi said...

Just thinking, but could you add a weight to the inside foundation that will weigh it down, and keep it from pulling? I was snoop shopping at Calvin Klein today, and a dress had a small lead weight on the inside to get the neck to sit right.

Cindy May said...

crap, don't have a clue about the sagging necklines BUT I LOVE the fit!!! It looks so nice! Yes, I'm anywhere from 2-3 sizes larger on the bottom for the Big 4; a 10 on top tapering out to a 12-14 on the bottom. Usually I just cut a 10 with 1" SA's and call it a day. I just let out the waist and hips.

cidell said...

Oh. That's dragging down is decidedly not cool.

JustGail said...

I'm certainly no expert, just hate to give up until I understand what went wrong. Would it work on the areas that pull out, to stitch (from the inside) the back sides only of the pleated areas to the seam allowance, so they are held in place? Sort of like understitching, but not. I'm not sure how to explain, I also have no idea how this goes together if there is a place to stitch the pleats to. Too bad this run didn't work out, I think you'd look great in this style, unlike me - I'd look very much like a blimp.

Leslie said...

Oh that SUCKS!! I think I would bag it too. I'm so glad you didn't cut it in your silk jersey!! No idea how to fix that, it seems like a pattern design problem.

Birgitte said...

That's too bad. I also thought maybe stitching the pleats down from the inside, but I'm sure you've already churned this through every possibility.
The lower part, as you pointed out, is just about size. Light jersey needs lots of room. Hope you find a great dress, and forget about this one until you have no time constraints.

emadethis said...

Shoot! I had a similar problem with a Threads Simplicity tunic and some rayon/lycra. It was gathered at the CF and the stupid facing kept showing...that combined with putting in a zipper at the CB, despite my instincts that this was a bad idea on this fabric which was not strong enough to support the zipper, the whole thing was a wadder.

I hope you find some solace in shopping. :) Patterns are dumb sometimes.

The Slapdash Sewist said...

Too bad the pattern is a loser! It seems so cute... I also find that rayon lycra, while gorgeous and comfortable, wrinkles like crazy--like, not only looks rumpled but the wrinkles create permanent little wrinkle lines so even if it's pressed there are still trompe l'oeil wrinkles in it.

Vicki Jane said...

Hi There.
The dress looks great on you and I think you should persist.
You need to invoke some very old couture techniques.
With the interfacing, cut it on the bias about 1.5 cm smaller that the top layer then when you are piecing the two together you need to ease (stretch) to fit. This works to pull the larger side( the front) towards the inside which is what you are wanting. I would also use a fine stretch ironon interfacing to your facing.
If you want to reaserch tis further check out tailoring sites and look up collars. Thats why a really gerogous mans suit collar sits really well.

Anonymous said...

Had a similar issue with a skirt with heavy pleats centered at the back zipper area. Anyway, I used a couple of short pieces of boning, hand stitched to the pleats and into the waistband a little way. The boning supported the weight of the pleats and didn't let them fall over. You could expreiment with it. It is not like a fitted boned top, just the bone will invisibly support the weight of the fabirc.
BeckyMcKee

Vicki said...

It would be interesting how this is fixed in RTW. The interfacing and boning suggestions sound like options - but not really something we normally use in knit sewing. It would be great if you could get it to work.
BTW, the Germany trip photos look great. What a shame you had to stay longer...;)

Jane said...

I made this dress for my husband's Holiday party. I was not happy with it. I ended up sewing the pleats down in the back. This helped a little but it still sagged in the back. I did end up wearing it put I also used a wrap to help hide the back. I am going to cut it and make a top out of it. If this works great if not.......garbage. Jane.

meredithp said...

This is such a cute dress, and would be ideal for your current shape, I am of the "salvage it" persuasion. As others have suggested, I'm thinking just firmly tacking the pleats to the lining/facing/shelf bra thing would help, no? Otherwise, call Butterick if they have a customer service line and complain :-)

gwensews said...

That is unfortunate. One of the haphazards of sewing that we all have at one tine or another. But, a girl has to do what a girl has to do, and sometimes that is RTW!

mem said...

I havent made this dress but had a similar issue with a ruched front dress I made recently . I fixed by taking horizontal tucks in the lining across the bust . That made the lining shorter than the fashion fabric outer layer . I also had a stay around the waist (difficult for you)and put boning in the verticle seams of the lining.The horizontal tucks were the most effective measure though. I stitched them by hand.Good luck!!

subversivesewer said...

I just bought this pattern too, so I really appreciate the heads up! I'm sorry it's got you last-minute dress shopping!

Cindy May said...

yes, some kind of stay....

Tany said...

The dress looks terrific if only this issue could be fixed... I'm thinking steam-a-seam but I have no idea if it would really work in this case...

Happy New Year, Christina!

Johanna Lu said...

Sorry to hear that the pattern didn't work out, there clearly must have been an error on Butterick's part. I guess you could attach the lining with some invisible stitches, but that is more like salvaging than a proper assembly method. When I see this I wonder if the dress in the model shot was made through Maggy London and then Butterick made up their own assembly method.

Gott nytt år and congratulation on your pregnancy!

treva e said...

One thing you might try is using clear elastic with just a bit of stretch at the seam with the bodice and the lining to help hold the seam to the body. It does have the look that the pleats are too heavily concentrated in the area of convergence in the front and the back. I'm wondering what the weight of the knit they used was, and if they used twill tape at the seam line or clear elastic. twill tape would not stretch and may be the answer for the lining pulling forward. There's always the possibility of top stitching here as well.

Connie (GrandmaC) said...

It looks as if (in part) the problem might be with the stretch that is available at the center front/back where the pleats hang from. If you put a stay in there just at the center section and perhaps 1" on either side that allows NO stretch - like a narrow twill tape, would that make it stable enough to not stretch and roll over? Perhaps some of that lovely stay tape that is used in Japanese tailoring. It's narrow and soft but if you use the stable one it won't stretch. There is also a bias version that allows some stretch that you can control by pulling the tape more/less taut as you stitch it in place. Just a thought - love the design though - wouldn't it be lovely except for that roll-over???