Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Dandelion - for real - Lisa

the WRONG fabric
I was a test sewist for Disparate Disciplines and made the Dandelion top as a muslin.
Dandelion Pattern
 Recently, Mari invited me to make it for real and join her blog hop.  If you've read this blog at all, you know that I don't sew 'regular' clothes, however, I have never sewn with knits and wanted to give it a try.  And if you've only read our statement, you may have noticed that I have a tough time following directions... So when I told Mari that I wanted to try this pattern in a knit, she told me not to get anything super stretchy because it could create problems with the darts.  I just ignored that.  Really, I wanted to be cooperate, but I couldn't find any fabric I liked that fit the rules.  Then again, I love a challenge.  Besides, I was in the mood to make something purple.

The first challenge was the zipper.  There were no 18 inch invisible zippers at my local store.  There were no 18 inch big, fun metal zippers.  Not in any color.  So much for the 'big silver zipper' down the back.  I got a regular zipper.  It will show on purpose.  Executive decision.

Having already made this pattern in muslin, I knew it fit me without any stretch.  I also knew that it seemed a tiny bit (like 1/4 inch) long in the back, or that I'm a bit sway-backed.  So I tweaked it ever so slightly.  And my compliments to Mari because I am a fitting nightmare.  To be blunt, I'm pretty chubby, with a large bust and small shoulders and back.  I'm also short waisted so my extra poundage tends to hang out in my stomach.  I often cut patterns 3 or 4 sizes smaller in the back and modify to match to the front.  As a tester, I decided to make the original muslin 'as-is' based on my measurements.  And it fit really well.  That's nearly unprecedented.

When you make this pattern take time to match up the pattern pieces properly, mark all the notches and darts.  This is not an easy pattern due to all the curved seams, but it's worth it.  And it's not difficult, just precise.  The curved seams create the shape.    (I mean it!  I will skip steps and take shortcuts any chance I get.  Layout and cutting this pattern is not the time to do this.)

lots of clipping
As before, the pattern went together without too much difficulty.  Seams must be clipped.  And I needed to do a lot of pinning.  I got to the facing and opted to sew it in phases since it I was doing the sweetheart neckline that has so many curves and I am still getting used to using the overlock.  Yup, I have never sewn with knits, and never used overlock.  I was nearly ready to hem, and I thought I'd just try it on.  HUGE.  Really.  I could pull it off and on without the zipper.  It HAS to be the knit because I compared it to the muslin and the difference is insignificant.  (Did everyone but me see this coming?)  I have so much ignorance around sewing with knits.  (Note to self - in future, consider taking advice and following instructions....)
ignore crooked interfacing - I did!

Based on a quick-and-dirty fitting, I needed to take the bulk of the extra out of the back.  This time I basted the zipper with the estimated reduction  (How hard is it to try and figure how much to take in from the center back while you're wearing it?) and it looked pretty good.

bra light!
This wasn't a huge surprise.  I knew I might be adding size based on how I put in the zipper, and with a narrow back that's the last place I need it.  C'est la vie!...  Overconfidence breeds an hour with the seam ripper being very, very careful.  It also prompted me to use a book light in my bra to improve lighting for handwork while watching my son play SkyRim.

I basted the zipper and decided it look better than machine sewn,  so I topstitched it by hand too.  I overlocked the hems and under-stitched the facing.  All done!

Post Script....
I can still pull this on without using the zipper.    I added about 1 1/2 inches in the hem.  I'm 5'10" and didn't want any accidental stomach exposure.  I also took in the seams under the bust  (after the picture) and fully tacked down the facing since the sweetheart portion kept curling out.  I agree that this isn't suitable for a drapey knit unless you REALLY know what you're doing.  But even with all my ignorance, I have a cute, wearable top*.  Please note the exposed zipper - it looks just fine and the back fits well.  No sagging or bagging.  This is a very fun and versatile pattern.  And I easily made it in less than a day!
(Including do-overs and hand sewing).

Go check out all the other great items made with this pattern during our blog hop!


9/3 Wanett of Sown Brooklyn
9/4 Winnie of Scruffy Badger Time
9/5 Velosewer of How Good is That?
9/6 Lizzie of Sew Busy Lizzie
9/9 Joyatee of Joy and Smiles
.... me!....
9/11 Brooke of Custom Style

* you can tell I'm a costumer by my utter bewilderment at making wearable clothes... But I like it and may actually do it again (I'm planning to make the avocado hoodie as soon as I finish my 1920's and Elizabethan projects).  I am also thinking about making this as a dress, but making it tea length because PRETTY!


  1. I love the fabric as well, though I'd lose the zip in a heartbeat. And i do loves a sweetheart neckline (I find it mirrors/distracts from my many chins). Less than a day? Achievement unlocked (you may level up now).

    1. I leveled up to 'can sew knits.... Barely'

  2. I like your top and I'm so ready to make the top version. I'll do what you've done and make sure there's no tummy exposure:)

    1. When I saw your dress I laughed! This pattern begs to be made in colorful fabric, but two purple garments with sweetheart necklines... too funny. And I love hour fabric!

  3. I too don't really sew clothes, but would rather make costumes. Since I moved costume opportunities are limited, so I am slowly getting into sewing clothing. The challenge is to remember that it I am making something to wear daily not a costume.
    The blouse looks great,I love the neckline. I admire the fact that you aren't afraid to break the rules (ie use the "wrong" fabric) and then make it work!


    1. I got a couple retro style patterns from Decades of Style. That way I can make costumes that work as real clothes. Just don't tell the neighbors!!