Sunday, 12 January 2014

Papercut Sigma Dress


I finished my Papercut Sigma dress on the weekend and am giving it its first public appearance today. I bought this pattern (along with another three papercut patterns) before Christmas and the patterns have not disappointed. I am in love with the designs and have found constructing the garments pretty straight-forward. What I particularly like is sewing the sleeves in flat rather than in the round, as it is so much easier to pin and distribute the ease of the fabric across the sleeve head.
I made up this dress in a fabric that I bought about a year ago from Spotlight. It’s actually a thickish cotton twill with a navy blue outlined country theme. I know that there is a particular name for this type of fabric, but I just can’t quite remember what it is. I originally wanted to sew this dress in a blue silk fabric that I bought from Tessuti, but as the fabric was rather expensive, I thought that I had better give the pattern its first run with a cheaper fabric in case it didn’t work out. I know that I should actually sew a muslin first, but I just can’t quite justify the time it takes. I think that goes against my goal to be a savvier, smarter sewer?? But here’s my logic: I want to actually be able to wear the finished product (why spend hours… days…. making a muslin that will just sit in the cupboard? Do I really need a cupboard full of muslins?); so I sew a first run in a cheaper fabric, and then the final run with the intended fabric. Makes sense in my head. Do other people out there make muslins?
Anyway, after looking at the pattern and the size chart, I decided just to go ahead and cut the pattern. I am usually a trace girl, and treat my patterns as something sacred that should not be cut (almost like vintage patterns), mainly because I might want to sew a different size sometime in the future…. or I might need to alter the pattern pieces in some way, whether it be moving the darts or grading the hip out to the larger size.
But on this occasion, I decided to calculate the measurements, grade the hip to the larger size to start with and then cut, cut, cut. I ended up cutting a XXS for the bodice, and graded the skirt from a XXS in the waist to a XS in the hip. This also meant that I had to modify the shape of the pocket bag to mimic the new shape of the side seam of the skirt. However all my initial alterations were pointless as when I tried on the dress, the skirt was too wide, and I ended up shaving off the excess I added. Damnit!! I should have measured the actual pattern pieces and worked out how much ease there would be around my hips, and stuck with the original XXS! Hindsight is wonderful isn’t it??
Oh, I also added about 2 inches to the length of the skirt. I noticed on the size chart that the XXS was only 79cm in length. The dress would have been WAY too short to be classified appropriate work wear. I’m sure the length of the dress would be fine if it was a little black dress and I wanted wolf whistles (& death stares from women)… but I wanted something a little more respectable. To be honest, I think I could have even added an extra inch.
I’m happy with the finished product. The actual construction went smoothly (except for a moment of dumbness when I attached the zipper on backwards – I’m still trying to work out how exactly that happened!). All in all, I am happy with the result and think it will definitely be a work staple through summer. Now for the actual intended final run: although I have had a change of heart with the fabric and will sew the next in a liberty print.

5 comments:

  1. I'm so excited about my sigma arriving now. Yours looks great. Fun fabric. Sometimes I make a muslin, but I seriously rush through it so fast and with such dodgy sewing that it doesn't help with the fit. I think your option is a good one. What Liberty are you sewing with next? I'm dying to know.

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    1. Thanks Kirsty. The liberty is Guerilla Gardening - it's the brown print with a flower/jungle theme; inspired by Richard Reynolds and his transformation of abandoned flower beds and roundabouts at Elephant and Castle in London. I fell in love with the print at the A2F sale in December. It'll be my first dress made out of liberty.

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    2. Yes, that is a great print and will make up a lovely Sigma. Perfect colours too if I remember right.

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  2. I think the landscape pattern you're referring to is called toile de jouy. As much as it pains me; I always make a muslin when I'm using a pricey material (nothing hurts more than butchered material) or a self drafted design. On the rare occasion I have misplaced a pattern I can always go back to the muslin for reference. Are you making the second sigma this weekend?

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    1. Yes, I remember now, toile de jouy - thanks Natalia :) I wish I was finishing my second sigma this weekend. It is sitting on my sewing table, partly sewn, but this weather is not conducive to sewing :( I'm so impressed you make muslins. I only do if other sewers out there are finding a lot of fitting issues with a particular pattern. But I have butchered material, or made things that don't fit perfectly and then hardly wear them - that too is a waste.

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