Saturday, June 21, 2014

Uptown, Downtown Done. (And the Giveaway winner.)

Here's the finished Uptown/Downtown dressed down for casual wear. I walked the dogs in it tonight! The knit is very drapey rayon/Lycra from a couple of years ago. I know lots of you also bought this and other prints when they showed up at and Fabricmart. I think I still have one or two left. It's not a great quality and thinner than I prefer but it will make a very comfortable one- or two-season summer dress.

I'll wear it with this knit cardi and heels at the office. The cardi got a slight makeover this afternoon after I finished the dress and while I still had the coral thread in the machines. It was too big and putting off a frumpy vibe, even for such a vibrant color. I hacked 1-1/2" from the sleeves and resewed the sideseams smaller and shapelier. I've been wanting to do this for over two years. Sheesh. Why do these simple fixes always get put off for so long?

Back to the dress, I ended up removing 1-1/2" from the bodice length and since I used a 5/8" seam allowance instead of the pattern's 3/8" allowance when sewing the waist seam, I effectively used (and should have cut) the medium bodice length, as shown by the pink line below. As I found out, the longest length is REALLY long on the finished dress -- even if it doesn't look like it from the pattern.

Other alterations/changes ... I've finally learned to go smaller than I usually first think with HPs for the shoulders/chest area and for this dress I cut the neckline at 12, the shoulders and upper torso (and sleeves) at 14, and blended to 16 at the waist seam and below.

I also lowered the neckline another 1-1/2" for more of a scoop and pegged the skirt using my TNT Magic Pencil as my template. Because I knew I wasn't going to use the hem band, I also lengthened the skirt 1-1/2" which gave me a nice wide hem allowance.

As I mentioned last post, the dress pieces go together like a dream. And the instructions are good too, not that I really needed them for this easy dress ... but I always like to read pattern instructions so I can report on them. This is a good pattern for beginners and, well, anyone. And with so many sizes, it's also good for lots of bodies. As usual for me with HP, no FBA done or needed.

I did deviate from the instructions for the waist elastic. I never sew a joining seam such as this at the same time as applying the elastic. Too fiddly. ;-) Instead, I sewed with a 5/8" seam allowance (1 below), then used a narrow ZZ to sew the seam allowances together close to the raw edge (2 below), leaving an opening to insert the elastic. After the elastic is inserted, sized, and adjusted evenly inside the "casing," I use a 3-step ZZ (3 below) while stretching the elastic and fabric flat, which holds the elastic in place and prevents it from twisting.

The neckband is just a straight band, which works OK even for my more scooped neckline, but I think a shaped neckband (a la the Sunshine top) would be better. Next time, I will try a morph.

The sleeves are also finished with straight bands, which adds a little more somethin' somethin' than just a hem.The bands work well here and I like the look.

Now for the Giveaway announcement ... I asked Alex to pick a number and he chose 17, which is "L".

L, please send your info to me at dcook100 at gmail dot com and the Primavera pattern will be on its way to you.


  1. I missed you, so happy to see you back! Thanks as always for taking the time to share the successes and the opportunities for improvement!

  2. That fabric looks very nice in this pattern. I was starting to worry when I saw that you walked the dog in it. I agree it is deserving as office wear. Like you, I have been putting off altering two of my kimono jackets for a couple of years.

  3. Lovely comfortable dress. Thanks for sharing your elastic waistline technique. Great way to update your cardigan too.

  4. Great dress, Debbie, and that color is so pretty with your coloring. More!

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  6. Woo Hoo! Thank you Debbie! I'll contact you soon.

    I have the Uptown/Downtown pattern and am encouraged to make it. I don't know why I've stalled so long, but your version has inspired me to jump in. Thanks for the tips about sizing; I never know where to start with HP.

    I like that you can wear the dress casually or for work. Well done.

  7. This is super cute on you! I like the print and the fit.

  8. Hi Debbie - so happy to see you back on the Net.... and love the things you make - even though you are a little fluffy (grin) you always manage to look so nice in the outfits you make.

    Bryden - in New Zealand

  9. Nice dress, glad to see you posting again.

  10. Your dress is lovely. I love the cardi with it. I don't know why it takes so long for these simple fixes but you are not alone. Congrats to L.

  11. So cute! That's a good colour on you. I love those warm shades on you. :) Nice that you have a cardigan that works with it. Even nicer that you got it tweaked to fit better! Funny how long those adjustments can take, eh? lol

  12. That dress came out really well. Glad to see you settled into the new house enough that you can sew!


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