Sunday, November 18, 2012

Cambie Muslin Mega-Post

I finished my size 4 muslin of the Cambie Dress on Friday, and I have a lot of thoughts about it and a lot of photos, which I've tried to condense by making collages.

Here's the dress on a hanger, front and back.


I really like this dress, and when I put it on this morning to take pictures, Hubby said, "Wow, I think that's the best thing you've ever made!"  One of the things I like is that the olive green background of the fabric is pretty much the same color as my eyes (color is accurate above).  One thing I don't like so much is that for some reason which I haven't been able to figure out yet, the waistband doesn't meet up in the back, although everything else does:


On the other hand, thanks to my new invisible zipper foot, I've done my best zipper insertion ever.  Look at the difference when compared to the Parfait dress I made a year and a half ago - at the time I was pretty darned proud of myself for that zipper!


The purpose of making this dress was to experiment with fit.  I made my first one in a straight size 6, as Sewaholic's size 6 measurements are the same as mine.  I was happy with the dress, but felt that the fit was somewhat looser than what I've been seeing around on other ladies.  My ultimate goal is to make the dress in a very special fabric gifted to me by Andrea; before I cut into that piece, I want to make sure I have the fit I want with this pattern.  I also wanted to try out the full-skirted version just to see how I liked it, as A-line is my default skirt shape.

The verdict?  Well, I'm not really sure.  The size 6 fits.  The size 4 also fits, but in a different way.


When I first put on the dress Friday afternoon (admittedly after a lunch that had left me feeling bloated), I felt that it was just too constricting, although it looked good.  I'm really not used to wearing very close-fitting garments, especially in the waist.  It occurred to me that this might be in part because of the border print I used:  to get the correct placement of the print, I had to cut the pieces across the grain rather than with it, so there is no horizontal give in this dress.  I'm curious enough about how much this affects the fit that I'm planning on doing a third muslin in size 4 just to find out.


It also occurred to me that getting the right fit depends on first deciding what that means to you:  I've decided that fit is a very subjective thing.   I'm happy with both my dresses; they both fit, and I think they both look good on me.  I haven't yet decided which silhouette I like better though:  the relaxed easiness of the first one, or this more retro fit.  I'm also not in the least surprised that Hubby prefers the closer fit!


So making this dress has given me a lot to ponder.   I've been concentrating for some time on what adjustments my body needs:  lower the right shoulder, reduce the right hip, lengthen the right leg, do adjustments for small bust and broad back.  And I've known for a while that I don't always need to do these adjustments, depending on the pattern.  But I hadn't realized until now that the third variable is my feeling about what fit I want.

I didn't actually do any adjustments on this muslin - I made a straight size 4.  I did however bring the shoulder pieces down further than recommended into the openings at the neckline, and more on the right side, which brings that shoulder seam forward.  What I ought to have done is sew the right shoulder seam about a quarter of an inch deeper.  Maybe next time.

Interestingly, I have a couple of gapes on this dress which I also have on the larger size:  one at the peaks of the sweetheart neckline, and the other at the back of the armhole.  I haven't yet figured out how to deal with these (or even if I need to), although for the neckline I'm thinking a little interfacing would help.



And of course, no post would be complete without me confessing my errors.  I had decided that I wanted to skip the pockets on this one, because I've always found pockets on full skirts to be kind of tedious - you have to shift so much fabric around to find the opening.  What I didn't realize until I'd cut out all my fabric and begun sewing is that the pockets on this version are not at the side seams:  those seams have been brought in toward the center to make the pockets more easily accessible.  Thankfully, my print was busy enough that it doesn't really show.

I also found this version a little trickier to sew, just because of the mass of fabric in the skirt.  I felt like I spent way more time shifting it all around, and of course there's more to deal with in the gathering and hemming.  Still, I like the end result - it's very feminine, and goes well with my red pumps!

49 comments:

  1. I LOVE this on you! The color looks amazing on you, and I love the way you've positioned the border print so carefully. I liked your size 6 Cambie, too, but the full skirt and nipped-in bodice really emphasizes your tiny waist! And it really does look great with your red heels!

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    1. I bought these shoes a year ago and have never worn them because they don't go with anything I have! Also, I can't walk a mile in them! So I'm glad to finally have the perfect dress for them!

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  2. Gail - it's awesome. Personally, I prefer the shape of this version on you.

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    1. That doesn't surprise me one bit! Thanks!

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  3. Wow, you look fabulous in that dress! The close fit and the full skirt are so feminine!, never mind the small gapes. Really, you are a star in that outfit, I totally get your husband's reactions.

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  4. It looks great. I am very impressed with your zipper skills. Fantastic!
    I'm usually an A-line skirt fan but I'm seeing more and more full skirts about, so I'm feeling tempted. I wonder what a long version of this would look like too? I think it would be rather lovely in something very silky.

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    1. Thanks, Libby! And wow! That never even occured to me! Yes, with lots of taffeta and tulle! Sadly, I don't make it to a whole lot of balls, LOL!

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  5. You are my hero Gail, I love it! The dress looks just amazing on you, you're beautiful!

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  6. This is lovely! It looks beautiful on you & on the hanger! : )

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  7. this is just lovely! the fabric pattern placement is pure genius. i love border prints but can never seem to envision a way to use them. you did a fantastic job here!

    for the neckline, i bet some interfacing would do the trick. and/or you could maybe do an ease stitch along the seam line to pull it in ever so slightly. also, i've been contemplating similar things regarding fit. i think i've come to the conclusion that the extra ease is nice for casual every day wear; for something i'd like to dress up a bit, a closer fit looks better. and if you need to eat... stretch fabric is a beautiful thing!

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    1. oh, and i love red shoes! i have some i wear with almost everything!

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    2. Thanks, Lisa! I've been afraid of border prints too (this is the only one I've tried so far) - but at $4 a yard, I'm willing to experiment!

      The easing stitch along the top is a great idea - I may try that out next time. And I agree about roomier = casual and more fitted = dressy.

      And I love red shoes too! With these it's more the shape of the shoe that was holding me back than the color: they're so obviously early '60s style!

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  8. You are a little critical of yourself when it comes to your projects, even though they are gorgeous and always look really good on you. I have to agree you have topped yourself, this is the most beautiful you have made to date. If this dress were in a store I would buy it without a second thought. Amazing work!

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    1. Very interesting that you read it as being self-critical! I see it as more analytical, trying to figure out what didn't work for me so I can learn and do better next time! And I have to write it all down or I forget, LOL!

      Thanks for the compliment!

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  9. I agree with Lisa. Both are beautiful, and the closer fit does have a more formal feel. Good thing to have in each size!

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    1. Or three or four . . . I may have bought some more fabric . . .

      Thanks!

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  10. Both look great on you. But this one has a great wow factor. The print is really stunning.

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    1. Thanks, Mela! I do love this fabric, and I think I can squeeze one more small item out of my leftovers!

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  11. Oh my stars and stripes! I agree with DH. That looks so amazing!

    Don't worry too much about it not meeting up. I used to obsess over that and then realized that no one except me ever noticed that. The shape and design are so "wow" that no one will pay attention. I think the gaping is really minor and am not sure you need to address it either.

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    1. P.S. I would totally buy this from Anthro, LOL!

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    2. Thanks! Although I have a feeling he's going to like the pencil skirt better, LOL!

      Actually, none of the stuff that's "wrong" with this dress bother me - I'm very comfortable with things not being perfect! But they are points of interest, and pique my curiosity! I'm discovering that while I'm a "product" knitter, I'm a "process" seamstress!

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  12. I love this dress Gail !!! Awesome work. Loving the fabric choice too, especially with the red shoes ! I think you look absolutely fabulous :)

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    1. Thank you, Kirsty! So glad to hear from you and hope all is well!

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    2. Yup all good thanks :) I have sewed 2 banksia tops today and finished a skirt recently :) I must get round to posting em on my blog :)) I know I been a bit quiet, I've had not that much time to update my blog which is a shame but I'm always lurking everyone else's, lol ! I think this dress is my favourite too :))

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    3. Yes, post them soon! I always love your projects! And your shoes!

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    4. Lol thanks :) I will make sure I post up this week :) look out for me :)))

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  13. Ooo also I didn't really notice the gaping was bad. But could you use stay tape? Pinched a slight bit smaller and therefore having the effect of cupping the fabric toward your body ? :))

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    1. Ah, another great idea! Thanks! You see, that's why I write about the "problems" - I end up learning tricks from everybody!

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    2. Weirdly gertie has just posted about what I meant on her blog :)

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    3. I saw that today! You must be psychic!

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  14. Your dress turned out beautiful! I adore this color on you. I know exactly what you mean regarding the *feeling* element... What you want in the fit is totally subjective, and it's also the most important part! I think the stay tape and the easing in are good tips regarding the gaping. I could be completely wrong, but I think the interfacing would actually make it worse. (Maybe it would tend to stand away from your body even more.) Oh and great zipper! :)

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    1. Thanks, Susan!

      I think you're probably right about the interfacing. I have a feeling I'm getting this because I have a sunken upper chest (which doesn't sound any better than saggy boobs, LOL!) so the solutions that will produce a cupping effect are probably going to be more effective.

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  15. Gorgeous! That color and print is just fantastic. And I had that slight gapping at the back of the arm too. I just pulled the sleeve in a little more there to snug it in. Kind of diagonally, if that makes sense? And I have the neckline gaping too, but I don't know what to do about that! The ease stitch sounds like a wise idea. Anyway, its beautiful!

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  16. Gorgeous! That color and print is just fantastic. And I had that slight gapping at the back of the arm too. I just pulled the sleeve in a little more there to snug it in. Kind of diagonally, if that makes sense? And I have the neckline gaping too, but I don't know what to do about that! The ease stitch sounds like a wise idea. Anyway, its beautiful!

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    1. Thanks, Tiffany! I thought about doing it just as you described for the sleeves, but I was worried I might lose some range of movement if I did! Since you did it though, I guess it must not be an issue!

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  17. It's a beautiful version and your fabric is great! I really think it's a good idea to test another version as well as a different fit. Well done for the invisible zipper, that's a lot of progress! Despite being careful, I've had the same problem with wrong alignment of the waistband :) I'm having issues commenting lately so I'm anonymous! (Sophie

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    1. Merci bien, Sophie! I do love this pattern, and I've recently bought fabric for plenty more :-)

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  18. The dress is perfect on you! <3 it.

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  19. I agree the cupping effect created by easing in the fabric there would help. I haven't used it before but I've heard of it!

    I also thought maybe you could pinch out a teeny dart there and rotate it into the bust dart? I successfully used this on my Pendrell which I have yet to post, lol. It was on the armholes though in my case.

    Anyway, the method on this page is what I am talking about:
    http://inhousepatterns.com/blogs/news/5962007-fitting-and-pattern-correction-armhole

    Let me know if this makes sense?? lol :)

    OH did I mention this is gorgeous??

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    1. Thanks, Jo! I think that gaping at the sweetheart neckline is probably also due in part to the very lightweight fabrics I've been using. I'll definitely be trying the easing thing on the next one. I think you need one of these too, for your cute little cardigans!

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    2. I have a vintage pattern which is very similar to Cambie so I'm planning one!

      Oh and I happened upon this tutorial about that bust gaping thingy which is pretty much what I was babbling about:
      http://www.thenakedseamstress.blogspot.co.at/2011/10/tutorial-gaping-necklines.html

      Looking forward to seeing what works for you! :)

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    3. Oh, I get it now! Thanks!

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