I have been sewing like crazy because I’m going to Southern California in a couple of weeks, the land of sun and fun! The weather will be outstanding – – guaranteed. What better excuse to sew with linen, right?
When I saw the newest Lisette dress/tunic pattern from Butterick this Spring, I immediately said, California here I come!
It had an unusual cross-over bodice with tucks, two design elements I couldn’t wait to try. Not only that, but a couple of yards of Cotton and Steel linen was calling to me from my stash (Call me a group if you must, but I’m addicted to Cotton and Steel fabric).
Butterick 6168 is a pattern designed by Liesl Gibson, of ‘Oliver +S’ fame. (check out the Liesl and Co. website for lots of inspiration!) At first glance, the pattern looks ‘easy’, and, in some ways, it is. There are no button holes, or collar points that require precision or patience. In other words, you don’t have to perform dangerous sewing feats to make this pattern.
But need I say? Looks can be deceiving! For a short bodice girl like me, the challenge was in the fit. The very things that attracted me to the pattern (criss-cross bodice and tucks) made it essential that I Go the Extra-Mile to create a trial bodice out of throw-away fabric.
Even though I cut the smallest size, the dress stuck out in the chest as though it expected Marilyn Monroe’s breasts to live there. Hilarious! So, I increased the depth of the tucks a bit, and the wrap worked fine. No gaps or embarrassing pointy areas. But, when I applied the same adjustments to my lust-worthy linen, I didn’t get the same results. I freaked. When I calmed down, though I had an epiphany. It was all about drape!!! My linen was stiffer than my ‘throw-away’ cotton, so the front stuck out again, begging that I bring more to the table than my ‘A’ cup breasts. Not going to happen. So, I had to do a ‘tear down’ of my cleverly built bodice to adjust those tucks again. The good news – the problem was fixable. It just took a bit of patience.
My advice? If you’re a bit ’non-standard’ in the chest/bodice area, Knock Out that Bodice in a remnant of throw-away cotton (that piece you wish you’d never purchased in the first place) with the same drape as your chosen fabric. That way, you won’t have a depressing mess on your hands.
After I adjusted the bodice, the dress went together nicely. If I was in the mood to be critical though, I’d say the pattern was designed with too many gathers in the skirt. When you stand to the side, you do look pregnant. I suppose, if you’re in a ‘family’ way, that’s cool. I am not. Of course, if you use a lightweight fabric, this problem might be less of an issue. Also, I did make it sleeveless in anticipation of Southern California heat.
All in all, it was a fun project that I learned a lot from. I’m sure I’ll wear this top again and again. If you’re interested in making the dress yourself, there’s a Lisette Sew Along on their website.
Have you had issues with fabric drape before? What about chest/cup size adjustments? Any tips?