Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Kwik Sew 4154 - A Winner! (The reveal and the review)

Long time, no see. Kinda like my sewing mojo these days. My mental list of things I want to make always overtakes the Department of Time and Energy.

Summer is (and has been) here in Florida and it's back to hot and humid. I always call this time of year the Florida "winter," which only means that I compare this time of wanting to stay inside and avoid the weather to actual winter months for colder climates. I wouldn't want to go outside in January in Wisconsin, for example, and neither do I want to spend much time outside here in Tampa in July/August. Well, at least not very far from ice-cold cocktails and the air-conditioner for a quick cool-down. :-)

Well, I did finally trap some sewjo and set about to make a new summer dress. (I have at least 20 more summer garments I want to make. Yeah, don't hold your breath.)

From the Kwik Sew website: Dresses have semi-fitted bodice with center front seam, V-neckline finished with self-fabric facing, front and back partial gathers at waist seam, tie ends at sides to be tied in front and back zipper closure. Dress A: Narrow hemmed short sleeves, straight skirt with front and back waist darts and back vent. Dress B: Armholes finished with bias tape and narrow-hemmed flared skirt.

I made view B, but added the view A sleeves. KS patterns are sized XS-S-M-L-XL, which corresponds to measurement ranges per size given on the envelope. The letter size usually correlates to the larger of the measurement range so if you're in between sizes, keep that in mind. My experience with KS is also that they tend to have more ease than I want. I started with the M for neckline/shoulders/bodice and morphed to L/LX at waist and below. This pattern has gathers at the waist which I figured would give the girls plenty of breathing room, and I was right. No FBA was done or was needed. Before cutting the pattern, I made my usual 3/8" square shoulder adjustment with KS patterns and raised the M armhole 3/8" to match the shoulder adjustment. This worked well. The armholes hit my armpits high, like I prefer. Not too high, but just enough. For next time, though, I probably will move the side front armhole inward toward my chest as it's sitting a bit too wide for my personal preference. Nothing that screams "bad fit" or anything, just not how I want it to be in a perfect dress. The only other "alteration" I made was to add an inch to the bottom hem when I cut, for insurance. I turned a 1.25" hem in the end and I like the finished length so this was a good call, although I don't think it would be too short if I didn't add that inch.

While I really like the finished dress and the pattern overall, I absolutely HATE the facings. First of all, this pattern is supposed to be for knits and wovens and while the facings are interfaced, there's no way in a knit they would ever stand up per the pattern photograph. Which is actually a happy accident for me, because I do prefer them falling into a "lapel" and opening the neckline somewhat. It's a much more flattering look on me. I stitched and understitched the facings and still they wanted to roll outward. Grrr. I knew this would happen but didn't heed my inner voice. I even topstitched the entire neckline edge and down the "vee" and still they rolled. I settled on the sledge hammer approach and just fused the damn things completely at the front and strategically on the back neckline, using some 3/8" Steam-a-Seam. It worked. I'm good. But next time, I'm either changing the neckline and binding it or I'm making a self-fabric upper lining.

I did make a few changes to the construction, mostly because I was using a knit. A heavy knit. (This is a rayon knit from the Nicole Miller collection at Joann's. Yes, Joann's. And I actually ordered it online instead of in person. This was a first for me. The fabric is very, very nice. I highly recommend it.)

First, I eliminated all ease in the sleeve cap by cutting a smaller size and sewed it in flat. And while I did follow the instructions for creating the waist gathers front and back (which you can see in the photo above), in the end it wasn't really necessary since I made an interior "casing" by sewing the bodice and skirt seam allowances together and inserting 3/8" elastic. The rayon knit is very heavy and I knew it would need some support for the waist seam to actually stay at my waist. I'm glad I did this and I recommend it for anyone making the knit version of this dress. I also eliminated the back zip and CB bodice seam. I knew I'd be able to put this dress on over my head. And I can. Easily.

I did keep the back skirt in two pieces to conserve fabric but I think I'd consider using the front one-piece pattern for the back too next time because it's drapey-er/swishy-er than the back. But since I can't see it, I don't even think about it.

The last change I made was to add a key card loop thingie like I did for my last dress. I love this feature on that dress! And yes, I could've hooked the card onto the tie front, but I didn't want to distort the sash, so the loop is in the seam under the ties. Which also means it won't show if/when I wear this dress outside of the office.

And here's the dress on me, complete with goofy work bathroom mirror selfie face.

And back view. You can't see a CB seam in the skirt (yay!) but you can see how it's not quite as swishy. It still looks nice and I'm not unhappy with it.

Yep, I'm in the bathroom. I wish Gillian lived closer (and I bet she does too every January!) because I'd definitely bribe her to be my blog photo buddy.

What's on your summer sewing list?