Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Dress and Blouse for the Little Woman

Robert Fritzlaff is a shining inspiration to me. He is a male designer of women's clothing in the 1950s and '60s (apparently a bit in the '70s too). He is also heterosexual. Yes, I know it shouldn't matter but it does. Sewing dresses for GF and daughter shouldn't be this enjoyable for a hetero male, but thanks to RF there is a precedent. Actually it's possibly not that uncommon. RFs taste in clothing is brilliant, too, as is his view of high fashion today ("garbage").
OK, off the soap box. I started making a dress yesterday:
Butterick 4061 (1965), Size 16T, Bust 36 "proportioned for teens" for my girlfriend, who left her teens even before I did, but we'll see how it fits when I'm finished. She gave me two more hurdles, being I must use an invisible zipper, and I must re-use a skirt section of an old dress she bought at a garage sale (sigh).
I forgot to scan or photograph the pattern cover but it looks like this:
I've been given the task of creating 'A'.
Cover tells me how much fabric I need (which I ignore, since I have to re-use old pieces). I also need interfacing for the facing.
One thing I found curious is that the pattern keeps mentioning the "Jumper". This is referring to the bodice. I kept looking for a jumper and for the bodice instructions, but they're one and the same!
So, cut out the fabric. I did just the bodice first, rather than all of the cutting at the start (means I don't have to use a hundred pins all at once). The first thing to do is to attach the interfacing to the facing - fusing is the name for the modern version. It must be pressed on and heated (iron or press), and is to be applied to the inside of the facing.
I cut out parts 1, 2, 3 and 4 in linen and 3 and 4 again in interfacing (Tip: Lay the interfacing on the linen and pattern pieces on top - saves cutting twice). Then trimmed 3/8" from the bottom of the interfacing and fused it to the wrong side of the linen.
Cutting the front and back. Notice dot triangle at fold
Facings. Only #3 has the dot triangles
The dot triangles are Butterick for "place at fabric fold", because the piece has to be continuous and double the size of the pattern piece. Different pattern vendors have different codes for this. Also, the two big dots on #4 must line up with the grain of the fabric (the same thread must go through them both). Not doing so with affect how the garment will move or how it stretches, so it's quite important.
Butterick has "easy steps" in following their pattern. Unfortunately, some of these are very complex.
Step 1: To make dart in BODICE FRONT, bring small dots together. Stitch, tapering to single dot, press down.
Seems straightforward, make the bust darts in the front piece (big piece with the dot triangle), then press down. But wait, there's more!
Trim 3/8" from lower edge of front interfacing. Baste to inside of bodice front as shown. Here we must depart from the instructions. In the '60s the interfacing had to be stitched. Now it doesn't. Since you have pressed it on, you need to ignore any mention of stitching it on without the facing. It is attached to the facing, and they should be treated as a single unit.
Sorry, I was not going to publish this in parts, but now will since I'm taking so damn long to hem the thing. Invisible hemming is the last step, and I badly misinterpreted the instructions in the Singer manual. Now I'm off work for a while so will post again shortly.

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