Added Feb 18, 2011
Brooklyn, New Yo...
This project gave me major drama. The style wants to be cute so bad (just look at that mag picture and all the cute FOs!), but it just isn’t on a chesty girl like me. There is no waist shaping at all (watch out for your hips!) and the instructions are pretty worthless. I started documenting my issues almost immediately after starting the project on the pattern project page and I’ve pasted those comments below since I don’t care enough anymore to look at this from the bright side. I’ve never worn this shirt since finishing it. :(
1) The fact that the instructions state the width of the seam and hem allowances, but does not mention that the allowances are not included is contradicting, misleading, and frustrating.
2) Shirt weight fabrics often, nay, USUALLY come in 45" widths, not 55" as called for on this pattern. Therefore, fabric width and requirement information is also crucial to have in the instructions (which I print out and shop with), not just on the website. In order to use 45" wide fabric you must buy MORE of it and change the cutting layout.
3) The math for the sleeve tabs is WRONG. 2.5" does not yield a 1.25" finish width if you have 5/8" seam allowances… unless they also left off the seam allowances for this non existent pattern piece.
4) The instructions for the shoulder/sleeve seam are vague and as a result, incorrect. Flat felled seams are sewn with the wrong sides together so that the fell is on the outside. This is an important fact of the technique that should not be omitted from the instruction “Stitch seam. Press seam allowances onto front.” The instruction should instead say “Stitch seam with wrong sides together. Press seam allowances onto front. ETA: as a result, all my flat felled seams are inside out. It doesn’t matter that much since they are consistent.
…. then I got to step 7 “the Hem, self-facings, shoulder seams” instructions and I my brain exploded. I may have had a wee tantrum in my sewing room just before I grumpily re-wrote the instructions to the amusement of another frustrated member.
Here is my translation & re-write of these instructions. I added some finishing steps that I think might be helpful.
- Stitch back neck facing to front neck facing at facing shoulder seams. Press open.
- If desired, finish (zig-zag,overlock, pinking, etc) the entire edge of the front self facings and back neck facings.
- If desired, finish the bottom hem allowance.
- Fold and Press the hem allowance to the inside, 1.8 cm (a scant 3/4 in) wide.
- Fold the front self facing along the fold line so that right sides of the fabric are facing.
- Match the neckline edge of the facing to the neckline edge of the body.
- Stitch the neckline. Stitch the bottom hem edge of the front self facing.
- Trim the seam allowances and clip the curves as needed.
- If desired, under-stitch back neck facing to the back neck SA.
- Turn facing right side out. Press neckline & CF edges.
- Turn up the rest of the body hem allowance to inside and press. Top-stitch 2 cm (3/4 in) from hem edge.
- Tack neck facing to shoulder seams.
- Top-stitch right front as marked.
- The sleeve tab placement doesn’t work for my size. Because the underarm starts to curve and widen I can’t roll up the sleeve cuff high enough to make it sit right. Unfortunately, I am too peeved at this sad sack to reposition them.
- The lack of finished length measurement: I didn’t pay attention to this and have now noticed that the HPS (high point shoulder) to the bottom finished hem on the size 44 measures 30.5 inches long. That’s not a blouse, that’s a dress! I’m 5’10.5" and this thing comes down way past my low hip. I have hack off at least 2 inches to make this thing wearable. (Yes, I checked my 4" square)
- Another thing about this smock-sack…. while it may be “slouchy” in the shoulders, the sides falls straight to the hem. The hem is straight, not shirt tailed, and as I mentioned the length is VERY long. So if you have curvy hips like me it is important to choose a size based on your hip measurement, not your bust measurement.
ETA: The side seam construction did not match the shoulder seam construction which I thought was especially odd since the inside of the side/underarm seam is likely to show at the turned back cuff (especially if the tab is not placed well like mine), so I changed that seam to also be flat felled.
Well, my verdict is that this pattern is a cute design (perhaps a drapey fabric tucked into something waist defining), but the instructions are worthless. They make what should be an easy/beginner pattern and turn it into a science project for intermediate/experienced sewers. I say chuck the instructions and go it your own way!
Cotton shirting – it was pricey, and I’m sad I wasted it on this pattern even though I bought specifically for this project. I barely fit the pattern on it width wise and then ended up hacking off 2+ inches at the bottom because of the crazy length. What a waste.
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