Saturday, October 19, 2013

Second Slice of Red Velvet

Without a lot of tweaking, I do have a wearable (and liked) Red Velvet dress. I'll wait until I'm camera-ready to show the whole dress, since I think Zillie does it a disservice (sorry old girl!). But for now, here's a run-down on the tweaks and hacks.

I decided to interface the midriff, which is why it looks white from the wrong side. Since I now think drapey fabrics will give the best results for this dress even though doubleknit is a recommended fabric, I recommend fusible knit interfacing for one and all. The midriff needs a bit of structure so it doesn't collapse on itself or stretch out from the weight of the skirt (or get caught in any lumps/bumps ... ahem, I'm just sayin') and with the fusible, it gets that structure. Cut/fuse with the stretch going around your body.

I reduced the depth of the midriff pieces by 1-1/2" and added another 5/8" to the bottom of the bodice, which puts it at over 4" I added to the bodice length. Clearly, the narrow shouldered/full busted will have some alterations to do above and beyond "connecting the dots." Not saying this is necessarily a pattern error, just that this bodice is likely not going to be one-size-fits-all for anyone above a B cup or for whom gravity has played its tricks. Check the tuck location too, as I found them too far out to the sideseams for my particular boobage, although I actually sewed them as-is and can live with it.

In case you're curious why you're seeing white overlocking down the sideseam of a black skirt ... I decided I'd rather use white all the way down so it doesn't show through the bodice. I used black thread in the actual seam-sewing for all. Yes, I could've switched to white for the bodice, but ... um ... lazy? Also, Rebecca, I do sew most knits with a sewing machine straight stitch first and then overlock/serge to finish the seam allowances. Unless it's a really simple pattern. This pattern is simple enough except there's a tight curve in the underarm of the bodice that would be very tricky to navigate with just a serger as the seam-maker.Since I'm not in a factory and it's easy enough to move between my machines, I usually do. I'm pretty sure the seam police aren't going to come calling. ;-)

The next tweak was to lose the neckline facings. They are just a problem waiting to happen. Instead, I measured the neckline after sewing the shoulder/overarm seams and then cut a 1-1/2" strip 4 inches shorter and sewed that into a circle. I quarter-marked both the neckline and the band, aligned right sides and match/pinned at the marks, and sewed them together with a 1/2" seam allowance, stretching the "binding" as I sewed. I then flipped the binding to the inside and pressed, favoring the right side (which means a little of the right side of the neckline was rolled/pressed to the wrong side - which you can see below).

This is a finishing method that anyone with just basic equipment can do.If you're new to knits, I highly recommend Easy Sewing the KWIK SEW Way. (Full disclosure: that's an Amazon link and I'll earn pennies if you buy from it. Well, dollars if you ALL buy from it, but that's not likely to happen.) Ignore the out-of-date styles in the book and just concentrate on the top-notch methods. Sometimes you can't learn *everything* for free on the internet. ;-)

To finish, I coverstitched from the right side and trimmed the excess binding close to the coverstitching loops on the back. A twin needle will work fine here. Or even a simple single needle stitch. Truly.

The final hack was to remove the pleat from the back but to keep the swish factor. And to keep it easy by not drafting something from scratch or Frankenpatterning another skirt. I did mention my lazy streak, right?

This is the pattern piece for the skirt. Front and back use the same piece, cut on the fold (twice).

To eliminate the pleat, I folded the pattern piece the same as if I were prepping the front to sew the pleat. If you have the pattern, this will be self-explanatory. Then I aligned the CF notch (which I had to add myself and is highlighted in green here) with the fold and followed the edge of the piece the rest of the way down, truing the resulting unevenness at the bottom.

And that's it.

I hope you take away a few tidbits from this whole "series" ... but mainly that this is not an awful pattern and I never meant to imply that I hated it, or even disliked it. Yes, there were some annoyances and I think this particular pattern (which is my only experience with Cake) needs some refinement but overall the style is nice, the instructions, while not perfect, are better than most Big 3/4 instructions for knits, and I really didn't put a lot of work into the pattern itself before I ended up with something I will look forward to wearing. It was all these blog posts that took up my time. Hahaha.

So, if you've been tempted to try this one ... bookmark my blog for reference, and then go for it! Just save your best fabric for your second slice of Cake. ;-)


  1. Looking forward to seeing a modeled version. Great to see you have persevered and iced the cake

  2. Oooo BeaJay ... I might just have to steal that line. :-)

  3. I like the tweaks already and think the second version will look great. I admit to not being a fan of the first one - especially the pleats.

  4. Thanks so much for this very informative series of posts Debbie. I'm contemplating trying a cake pattern (though not the red velvet) and suspect that your generous advice and helpful criticism may be useful if I go ahead with it

  5. You can hardly be lazy. If you were lazy (like me), you would have pitched this piece of cake. :-)

  6. Good on you for persevering with your investment in this patter. The dress is looking good. I was interested to read your thoughts about the pattern.

  7. I am a huge Cake Patterns fan. I own every single pattern that has been released to date and pre-ordered a few others. I have been following your RV series because, even though I am a huge Cake fan, I am not that impressed with RV either. I am still in the muslin phase, but I am also ditching the facings for a binding and I converted the bust pleats into darts. I also had to lengthen the bodice (so far everyone's post about RV has done this). I am very glad to see I was not the only one who did not like or want any type of pleat on my backside so I will use your hack to get rid of it. Thank you for posting that hack (that was the one hack I hadn't figured out yet).

  8. Can't wait to see it on you! I LOVE your new neckline treatment, something I haven't tried and am itching to. Also, purchased that book via your link, so hopefully you do get something back! I'm always on the lookout for knitwear sewing books to share with others. Thanks for the tip!

  9. I'm shocked to hear that a young, contemporary pattern company is advocating facings in knits. Stodgy old WWII Burda, sure, but a new company?!?
    Jalie is the only pattern designer that consistently treats knits as they should be. I've been really happy with their basic fit too, and since I have a pretty similar shape to yours I can't encourage you enough to give them a try :-).

  10. I am glad you baked the cake a second time. Looking forward to seeing it on you.

  11. You've certainly spent a lot of time and not inconsiderable effort on this dress. V. interesting to hear your take on indies as I've just recently completed an indie marathon too. Glad you got this one sorted out and I really appreciate your candour. Thanks

  12. Re: comment on my zipper issue

    D'oh! Why didn't I think of that? You're right; the zippers on the pockets don't need stops on the bottom or top since the zipper opening will prevent the tab from being pulled off. The zippers on the sleeves do need top stops, though. I can either buy the metal stops or, as you said, whipstitch a stop in place. I've done this before on nylon zippers, so I shouldn't have a problem doing it with metal ones.

    I called Zipperstop today and told them what I was looking for. The lady with whom I spoke said that if I sent her a sample, she would see if it can be matched and give me a call. If this doesn't work, then Option 5 definitely looks doable. Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting.

  13. This comment has been removed by the author.


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.

To help keep spam comments under control, any comments to blog posts that are more than 30 days old are moderated and will not show up immediately.