Thursday, December 20, 2018

Love Notions Forte and Other Stuff

I'm back today with more of what I've been making recently (and more work bathroom selfies than should be in one post). Speaking of work—I'm off from tomorrow through January 1, which is TWELVE days (woot!) and I'm really hoping to get a few things done in the sewing room. December has sucked (see below) and I'm so ready for the New Year.

In the meantime, let's get back to the sewing stuff. Above is my Love Notions Forte Dress, sewn in October. I like the finished dress, but I took a few detours from the pattern to get there.

This is my second Love Notions pattern made up. My first was the free Laundry Day Tee (previously blogged here and here). LN has a "trimless" print-out, which I found worked better on the Forte than it did for me on the Laundry Day Tee. Me or the printer or the pattern? I have no idea. What *was* my fault was not checking which pages I needed for the View B dress I was making and instead, I printed all 104 pages. Yes, ONE HUNDRED AND FOUR pages. Good for me that I print at work. Bad if you're paying for supplies.

Another backhanded compliment (complaint) I have is that the pages are laid out such that you're only assembling one pattern piece at a time and don't need a huge tabletop to do so BUT … the "map" for the assembly is too light and low-resolution for my old eyes to see it clearly. The assembly diagrams are the pink boxes below. If you're looking at the PDF on a computer, you can theoretically zoom in to see the diagrams better (still low-res though). But if you're staring at the printed pages, it's a blurry mess. I did let the designer know and she responded, so hopefully this will be improved at some point.

There are a number of hints and links to tutorials, etc. that are clickable within the PDF when viewing on-screen. Again, useless if you're looking at just paper. So, I have very mixed feelings on these features because once I'm ready to sew, I'm not next to a computer in my present set-up.

The pattern is touted to have a "full bust" version included. I looked at the tester photos and saw too many on which what is supposed to be an underbust seam bisected the bust instead. I don't know if those testers used the regular or full bust pieces. I don't know if they made any adjustments. I only know that after holding the pattern piece up to my own bust, I needed to do something. My quick fix was to just add more length, as shown by pink-lined addition below. I lost most of the inverted vee shape of the seam with this quick fix but at least it's under my bust. On a future version, I'll probably adjust my adjustment to get back some of that inverted vee shape.

I'll also lower and widen the neckline on future versions. This one is technically fine but higher/narrower than I prefer. Part of this finished shape/height is because I actually added a half inch to the height because some tester photos looked very low. Again, no info on what the testers may or may not have done so I was just guessing. The other part of the finished shape is because I used my coverstitch to bind the neckline instead of turning and topstitching. (Binding also meant I had to change up the order of construction so I could start/stop the binding at the center front.)

The binding looks great. The pattern matching across the CF seam, not so much. I stitched/ripped literally three times and it didn't improve. I decided to employ the 3-foot galloping horse rule. (That's the rule that if something can't be seen from 3 feet away while riding a galloping horse as you pass by, then it's good.) Seriously, not one person has come up to me to complain that for 2-1/2 inches down the center front seam, the pattern doesn't quite line up.

See … far less noticeable at this distance. Even less so on a live body.

Another problem I had with this dress was the sideseams didn't match. I'm confident I matched the correct seams and I'm also confident that pattern itself matches as it should. I think the fabric just stretched out from hanging on Zillie for a week or so. I tried to force it by easing the seams and ended up with this:

So I pressed, steamed, and clappered the heck out of the seams.

Better, but still wonky. Plus, I really wasn't happy with how the dress hung over my backside. I have erect posture and there was just too much length in the back bodice area before it hit my butt so it just hung badly instead of skimming. I thought I took a pic but I didn't find it, so you'll have to take my word on that.

So I took a hard left (figure of speech) and unstitched those wonky sideseams and then cut off the lower back …

… so I could add an adjusted back waist seam to get rid of the excess. Again, not scoring perfect 10s in the pattern matching but I was now limited by remaining fabric so I didn't even try.

And it looks fine. The sideseams aren't rippled anymore either.

My phone makes little animations when I take a lot of similar photos in a row. It cracks me up, and this one was actually pretty good. I really like the front drape of the skirt section. It's fun to wear because it has a lot of movement.

Now for some other October/November sewing. Up first, HotPatterns Garden Party T.

The pattern is great. My fabric and trim are crap. I'll be trying this again in another fabric. One that doesn't hold static, doesn't flip up, and doesn't feel like wearing plastic. And this from a polyester-print-lovin' girl.

One more pair of black Hudsons for cooler weather. Love these. Wear them all the time. All. The. Time. This is the best black ponte ever. From Cali Fabrics. I'm not affiliated at all, I just love this fabric. Go buy some here.

Lastly, another Itch to Stitch Nottingham top and McCall's 7386 skirt.

I used my lowered neckline from last time.

I love my clapper when pressing neckbands, so they stay curved and flat.

I also added about an inch to this version of the top (first version here) on the lengthen/shorten lines and I like the length of this one.

Also did the "faux tie" thing again.

One last work bathroom selfie.

* * * * *
And now on a more somber note about why this December sucks. Many of you know that my marriage ended about 6-1/2 years ago. Very long story short, I was finally divorced two weeks ago, on December 5, here in Tampa. (My ex had been living in Virginia all these years but had flown down to Tampa for this.) After court, he drove to St. Augustine, where Tyler and Michael (my step) live. The three of them went to dinner that same night and while walking in the tourist areas of St. Augustine, my ex had a sudden and massive heart attack and passed away just minutes later. All of this is to say that it was huge shock and we're all pretty sad. (Luckily Alex did have dinner with him in Tampa the night before.) I couldn't decide whether it was appropriate to put this on the blog but all of my family has been on the blog at some point and so many of you have been there from the beginning so it feels like a kind of closure.