Saturday, October 12, 2013

First Slice of Cake

So here's the "muslin." And some more observations.

I used the neck facings, just to see and report back. Hate 'em. They do not stay flat. (Not that I really expected them to.) In fact, the "fix" for this in the instructions is to use fusible webbing between the facing and bodice. Hahaha. My fix would be to ditch them completely and either just turn the edge under and stitch/coverstitch or bind it one way or another (depending on desired final look). In other words, there are far better ways to finish a knit neckline. And I still remain firm in my stance on not staystitching a knit neckline. I don't care what a Tilton sister says. (Said with a smile!) It's much more likely that you will overwork the knit with the extra stitching than you would stretch it out by omitting it. But if you're really worried, fuse some lightweight stay tape to it instead. 

For this trial, I coverstitched about 1/2" in from the edge and if I were going to keep this dress, I'd trim away the rest of the facing from behind because it's still flopping.

But ... this is not a keeper. It looks horrible on me. This is not the fault of the pattern. It's just not my kind of dress. It's mumsy on me, and those pleats add 20 lbs. What is the fault of the pattern, though, is the deceptive line drawing, which makes the skirt look more pegged than it really is. But seeing the muses' makes out in blogland and now the pattern pieces, I knew better. Hopefully, now you do too.

The front and back use the same piece so there are pleats in the back. Yeah, I need pleats on my backside.

The midriff band is entirely too wide/deep for me. Again, not the fault of the pattern. This is a personal preference thing. If I were keeping this dress, I'd rip off the skirt and cut off about half the depth of the midriff band. (In case you're wondering, I used a faux leather, knit backed fabric. It's past its expiration date, though, because it left black marks all over the white of the bodice. I think they will wash out, but not sure I should bother trying)

Although I used the same size number for midriff and skirt, the midriff was wider where it attached to the skirt, because you're sewing a rectangle to a hip curve. Easy enough to trim, but should I have to? And should I have to create my own alignment notches? Lucky for me, I know when they're missing and can just make snips as I cut fabric to make it easier on myself when I'm matching up pieces later to actually sew them.

Whatever your answer to those questions, I think most of all I just wish there had been better testing by more experienced seamsters because many of the issues I've found would have been eliminated in the first round of tests.

The good news is that technically, this dress does actually fit. Even though I never really could agree with the weird sizing. It's a fine idea, in theory. But it's just not there yet in application and simple styles hide the flaws even when you do just throw your hands up and guess your best. After reading many Tiramisu reviews on PR, I'm sure I'm not alone in Flummoxville. I'm just a lot more blunt. :-) There are a lot of nice Tira finishes, but the paths to fit were bumpy for most.

* * * * *

I'm still deciding whether I want to save the dress or just cut off the skirt fabric and move on. It depends on my motivation and whether those black marks from the midriff piece do wash out. Before I do anything, I will take some pics of me in the dress and add an actual review to PR.


  1. It's been interesting to read your experience with Cake. I do like your point about having more experienced sewists included as testers, I think it would be beneficial to everyone. Hopefully someone makes note of that.

    BTW, I would shorten the band and try to make that dress work because it's on trend. Plus if you could make a few changes and save it, I bet it would look fabulous on you...but just my opinion!

  2. It just goes to show that it's not so easy to start a pattern company. Not my style so I wouldn't buy it, but your review is interesting to read.

  3. I understand about indie patterns--but I usually shy away because of the sizing. I agree with Carolyn, narrowing the leather insert would add more style. I wouldn't toss it just yet.

  4. I have the Tiramisu pattern, and while I have not made it yet, I also was frustrated by the obvious issues. I wanted to support the folks trying to do something different, but it's just like education or baseball, fundamentals, fundamentals.....Thanks so much for taking time to share your findings. I always enjoy your posts and appreciate your honest information.

  5. Love your honesty, it's really helpful when trying to decide where to put my sewing time and money. Your thought about staystitching a knit neckline (from yesterday) has been swirling in my head all day, I keep thinking "didn't Linda Lee say to fuse some staytape on my tshirt?" and I've been checking all my latest necklines. I was so mad at myself for blindly fusing staytape! Glad to see you can consider that option ;) I have not staystitched a knit, I'm happy to report!! hahaha. Thanks for the review.

  6. Yesterday's comments about experience or lack thereof, discouraging new sewers and whether or not to give direct feedback has gotten me thinking about the generational differences here.
    It seems to me that a number of young/new sewists are inclined to jump in and try their hand at sewing, designing and hacking. It strikes me as wonderfully adventurous; I love to see their gutsiness--a spirit that was discouraged in many of us who are older--a gutsiness that I think should be encouraged.
    It also seems to me that this interest in learning by doing, and then correcting and trying again is a healthy way to learn. Strikingly, it is also very different from the way than most older/more experienced sewists want to teach.
    While a less-than-perfect product may be aggravating to those who have more expertise, it does not not seem at all discouraging to newbies. To the contrary, most seem to thrive on the opportunity to give feedback and to learn together in a supportive community.
    There seems to be a generational chasm in the on-line sewing world, not unlike the chasm in so many other fields, with the young appreciating a flat organizational structure and relishing a lack of hierarchy and the chance to advance knowledge. (E.g., open source software, or wiki-anything.)
    I think if those who have true expertise want to extend a hand--to share expertise, to raise standards, to spread the joy--there is great opportunity to provide encouragement and support. I don't know that anyone has the "responsibility" to provide feedback. We do have the opportunity.

  7. I have been curious about the Cake sizing, and so thank you for the review. I have read other reviews that mentioned the unusually short bodice length and the midriff oddities as well. The photos are appreciated.

    Not sure about the generational issue raised in the comments. I'm not that old, I think (!), but regardless, I certainly am willing to try new things and give feedback. But, I also don't have a lot of sewing time or budget to spare if something is not going to work out...

  8. I thoroughly enjoyed your honest and open review of this dress. I invested in the Tiramisu pattern and had many of the same issues you addressed. I have pretty much given up on getting a great fit. And the only reason I have a decent fit is because it's a knit. The midriff piece was WAY too huge. It never would have fit into the bodice or skirt pieces. In the end, I think I took about 4 inches out of the midriff, despite the fact that I cut the same size/measurement for all pieces. It feels like she wanted to do something so totally different that she forgot some really basic pattern considerations.

    Have you tried other smaller pattern companies, such as Colette or Sewaholic? I'd be interested in your thoughts on those if you have tried them out.

  9. I completely agree with Elle's view on this issue.

    The first thing I would ask you: have you contacted Steph directly at Cake Pattern to convey your concerns about this pattern?
    Having said that, I found some of your criticisms justified and some of it rather harsh.
    Secondly, as you already know each woman's shape will be different, therefore not all of us are going to fit directly from the pattern envelope and therefore, we will need to make changes, including simple ones such as shortening/lengthening and altering the midriff. Not a big deal. I have had to do this on the Tiramisu pattern and on the patterns I get from the Big 4.

    Finally, since you have so many years of experience and expertise, why don't you set up your own independent pattern company and show them how it is done?

  10. I always love reading your honest, unvarnished opinion of a pattern. I also had issues with many of the things you did. My Tiramisu became a nightgown after a number of adjustments. I love supporting independent pattern makers and bought it after reading several glowing reviews, but my experience wasn't glowing.

  11. I've followed your comments about this pattern from the beginning. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts. I've seen quite a few Cake garments made, but wasn't sure how they would fit my petite, full-busted frame. Now I know it's not worth the time or money.

  12. I still can't believe you pdf'd this pattern and taped it all together.

    Thanks for your review.

  13. I'm very interested to hear your views on this pattern, and other indies. I don't have the time or inclination to sew many independents. The aesthetic on some of them is out of my wheelhouse, but I'm always interested to see what experienced sewing folk think of the new patterns. I know some folks may think you're being harsh, but you're equally "harsh" on established companies like the Big 4, and no one seems to mind. So please, continue to be blunt. You're not being feckless or mean . I appreciated your take on this pattern, and I'm sure lots of other people do, too.

  14. I find your reviews and and your discussions of patterns, fit, and fabric very helpful and informative. After all, these patterns are products offered for sale, not ladies' clubs to join and be loyal to. Please keep doing what you do--it takes a special person to explain everything so carefully.

    I have yet to be really pleased with an expensive independent pattern, and that includes one that you like very much. That doesn't mean you're wrong, or the indies are bad, or I'm stupid.

    I go for V/B/Mc/KwikSew patterns when they come on sale, because when they disappoint (and they do pretty often) I haven't blown a bundle, and what I'm after is a small collection of TNT patterns that I can vary with different details. This works for me, but may be boring for other people.

  15. I think your experience is one we all have with different pattern companies and you are giving and honest review. I too don't have time or finances to waste on Wadders, I try to save things if I can. So I would here go for reducing the midriff piece. Even new pattern makers should be consistent so pattern pieces ease together but not be blatantly mis-sized, which sounds like case. Keep up your honest reviews. Its good for people to see others experiences.

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  17. I agree with Rebecca! These patterns are offered for sale and should be tested and functional patterns. If one wants to test a new line of patterns, get feedback to make modifications and develop the product, you put it out for free in an open or closed group. Once it is considered good enough then you can charge money for it. I would quickly get bored if your comments were just aimed at making people feel good about themselves. We all learn from your wonderful honesty! Continue, please, just the way you are!

  18. I have only sewn the Tiramisu pattern by Cake. I was a little baffled by size, and feel I could get it to fit better. I think for a newbie to sewing, it is a quick and easy sew. I think I prefer Vogue 1027 for a wrap style dress with full skirt. I don't find the midriff band to be flattering on myself. I applaud your honest assessment of the pattern and your experience with it.

  19. Thanks Debbie for sharing with us your sewing experiences and honest assessments and information. I really enjoy your blog.


Thank you for each and every comment. I appreciate them all, but I have to be honest and let you know that I'm usually bad about answering questions. I hope you understand that there just isn't enough time in the day to do everything I want to do.

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