Monday, 21 July 2014

Jumping in.

Although this is my first post I thought I would jump straight in by discussing a make, but first a quick word about me, I am Vicki I have a tiny sewing room in the cupboard under my stairs - hence my blog's name. I mostly sew clothes for myself but also a few bits for my children and the occasional thing for the house.

So now onto my make!

New Look 6020 on my dress form (dialed up to my old size)

I have always liked simplicity/new look patterns and my dressmaking skills until recently only went as far as sleeveless sundresses (that usually didn't fit- something to do with the previous 6 inch difference, now down to a more sensible 4, between my high and full bust and my total ignorance of patterns being cut for a B cup). So anyway last year I discovered the existance of the FBA (full bust adjustment) and a whole new world of sewing opened itself up to me.

I decided to stick with what I knew for my return to dressmaking and after much deliberation I chose New Look 6020. In hindsight that was probably where I went wrong as it has a princess seamed bodice.  I traced the pattern onto paper and got cutting,  I went for view D in a size 16 as at the time it matched my high bust and the neckline the most flattering for my previously vast bust.

Having read every FBA tutorial I could find I got out my pencils and ruler... big mistake I decided I wasn't going to let the fact that the pattern piece I had looked nothing like the ones in the tutorials. Looking back I should have realized it was never going to work but carried on regardless. I wish I had kept the result to show you but suffice to say the armhole had changed from a gentle curve to a very acute angle and when I pinned the pieces together it was 6 inches bigger round the waist than I needed.

Feeling disheartened I abandoned not only the dress but dressmaking entirely; I spent the next few weekends looking for a dress like the one I had imagined when I bought the pattern.  Predictably the dress didn't exist.

I got out my pattern and pencils and tried again completely  ignoring anything I had read and using my limited knowledge of patterns to measure out 3 inches at the bust point, freehand a curve from the size 16 line through the point and back to the line on the bodice side. I then added 3 inches to the bottom of the bodice front, I know that isn't the recommended way of doing it but it actually worked really well and added nothing to the waist.

All the sewing pretty much went according to plan, despite my machine not being the best in the first place and in desperate need of a service. I have to admit I struggled with the zip although it went in it is far from perfect and if it wasn't for the fact it is at the side hidden by arm the dress probably wouldn't be wearable.

At the time the fit ended up ok, it was good around the back and bust, the neckline was flattering and was roomy enough around the hips.  It was too tight on the waist I certainly couldn't have eaten in it and the length isn't right.

A year on it fits nicely around the waist but is far to gappy around the bust, I won't be able to wear it as it is which is a shame because I like the fabric (cheapy ebay stuff) and the fact the shoulders are wide enough to cover my bra straps; it might make a reappearance if I can figure out where to adjust it. I am considering chopping the bodice of entirely and adding a black waistband, as I can see it as a nice skirt worn with a sleeveless shirt.

I shall always be fond of this dress though whatever happens to it, it was the first thing I made without advice from my Mum or Nan, the first thing I adjusted to fit me and it was enough inspiration to buy a new sewing machine and dedicate the cupboard under the stairs to sewing.  So when the urge strikes I don't have to dig out the machine and clear the table.


  1. What a lovely dress! I will be following what you sew next, very keen on seing what other moms make and how they find the time and opportunity to sew.


    1. Thanks Jo, I also love seeing what others have made. I know what you mean about finding time and opportunity. For me, having my sewing machine out and ready to go means if I have a spare few minutes I can do a seam or two.