Sewaholic Harwood Dress

Sewaholic Harwood Dress

So I have mixed feelings about this dress. It’s the Sewaholic Harwood Dress that was released a few years ago, View A.

The fabric is a rayon from Joann and the orange piping comes from silk crepe scraps. The colors and flowers feel a little 1930s/40s to me and combined with this style it has a kind of vague 40’s housedress feel. But that’s not my issue, I actually really like the print.

Sewaholic Harwood Dress

But the fabric, combined with the pattern design caused some construction issues. Even though I starched the heck out of this rayon, it was still difficult to cut the center front on the straight of grain. I think it’s a little wobbly.

Sewaholic Harwood Dress

I did a full bust adjustment to the gathered bodice pieces, leaving the yokes intact. I added width but actually shortened the front bodice pieces at center front for a specific reason. I’ve tried sewing styles like this with elastic that doesn’t cross the center front at the waist. I’ve noticed that that design causes the center front to droop because it isn’t supported by the stretch of elastic. I think this pattern is designed to have the elastic sit right at the waistline but I worried it would be too low. In the end, I’m glad I made that adjustment because I think it compensated for that inherent “drooping.”

Sewaholic Harwood Dress

Even though I did that wonky FBA, the front gathered bodice sections still need more width – like at least an inch on either side in the front. That, combined with the fact that the elastic does not extend entirely around the front of the dress, means there is constant strain on the buttons causing gaping in front.

Sewaholic Harwood Dress

I had to sew in three sets of hidden snaps. One below the waistline button and one on either side of the button just below the yoke. I also had to move the button just below the yoke further to the edge to lessen the straining across the bust.

Style-wise, I don’t love the slightly wide shoulder line. If the shoulders extended out any further they’d be cap sleeves. I definitely would prefer it if the fabric ended at my shoulder point or further in. They’re just at a weird location and I think they make my shoulders seem wider than they ought to be. It’s just… odd looking.

Sewaholic Harwood Dress

On the plus side, the dress looks is a lot cuter in these pictures than how I felt wearing it in real life. This dress is growing on me but I doubt I’ll sew it again. If I want this type of style (sleeveless, button front, gathered waist), there are similar patterns that I’d rather make.

Silk Willow Tank + NEWSLETTER!

Silk Grainline Willow Tank

Popping in for a quick blog post while I’m visiting family! This is my third Grainline Willow Tank in as many months. Obviously, it’s becoming a TNT pattern for me.

This fabric was gifted to me by Ella from Me & Ewe. It’s silk charmeuse and I only had about a yard.

Silk Grainline Willow Tank

I believe the printed bottle motif is Japanese but the writing is so tiny I can’t tell if maybe it’s Chinese?

Silk Grainline Willow Tank

I had to heavily starch this fabric and cut it flat rather than on the fold because it’s so slippery.

Silk Grainline Willow Tank

I think I cut a size four in the bust and six in the hips. The only other change I made was lowering the front neckline.

Dixie DIY Classes

I’m currently in rural Ohio (hence the fields of, I dunno, sorghum?) but if you’re in Austin, TX you probably already know that I teach sewing classes at The Cloth Pocket. But now I’ve started my own email newsletter to help keep you up to date with my scheduled classes.

The newsletter will be sent once a month and feature all my classes for the next two months plus tips and tricks for better sewing!

Click here or on the Classes tab on the menu above to sign up for the newsletter.

Tilly and the Buttons Miette Skirt

Tilly and the Buttons Miette

Tilly and the Buttons Miette Skirt

Poor Miette, this skirt seemed like it was never meant to be. Don’t get me wrong – the pattern is well drafted with good instructions but I faced a few challenges in my sewing journey.

This is the Miette Skirt by Tilly and the Buttons.

 

Miette Skirt

I sewed this skirt as a sample for a possible class. I’m always looking for smart, easy, beginner friendly patterns for teaching opportunities. But right after I finished this skirt I learned Tilly & the Buttons is discontinuing the paper version of this pattern. Sadly, no printed pattern means no class for me.

 

Tilly and the Buttons Miette Skirt

The fabric is a Japanese cotton/linen blend from The Cloth Pocket (no longer available). It was a good weight for this pattern – a medium thickness but not so heavy that you can’t slip the ties through the waistband.

Tilly and the Buttons Miette Skirt

Unfortunately, this fabric may not have been the best choice for this pattern because of the print. While it seems striped, it’s NOT a perfect stripe! Ugh, I hate “almost” stripes. If you look closely at these pics you can see how the fabric slopes downward from left to right in the front. This made matching the center front difficult, especially with the pockets. I had to adjust the pockets a bit to get the stripes and points to match properly. I didn’t even bother trying to get the sides to match.

Tilly and the Buttons Miette Skirt

Since I’m pear shaped I graded from one size at the waist to a larger size at the hips. Normally for an A-shaped skirt, the hip size doesn’t matter as much but I wanted to play it safe.

I think that was a good choice but I believe I’m also in desperate need of a sway back adjustment. You can see that the fabric pulls at an angle at the back waistband area. The only way to avoid that pulling is to loosen the waist ties but then the waist is way too big.Tilly and the Buttons Miette Skirt and Grainline Linden Sweatshirt

Maybe with my wide hips I ought to have gone down a size in the waist and up another size in the hips (plus a sway back fix as well)?

I don’t think this skirt turned out badly, it just needs some tweaks and the right fabric to make it great. I ought to give Miette another try but these few issues really got me down about sewing it again. I guess it’ll sit on the shelf for a while before I revisit it.

Tilly and the Buttons Miette Skirt

On the upside – coral pink and royal blue is one of my favorite color combos these days so that’s a win, right?

Wide-Bicep Sleeve Adjustment Tutorial

In my Farrow Dress post I mentioned an adjustment I use to make a sleeve piece wider without altering the length of the sleeve cap seamline OR altering the bodice pieces.

The normal sleeve adjustment tutorials I’ve seen widen the bicep area but also lengthen the sleeve cap seamline which means you either have to ease in the extra length into the armhole (which can be difficult) or adjust the bodice pieces one of two ways:

By widening the bodice at the underarm point:

This can disrupt the fit of the bodice, however, not good.

Or, by lowering the armhole to add more overall length to match the sleeve seamline.

This can actually reduce your range of motion – also not good.

 

Instead, I use a different method that works on SOME pattern styles.

This method widens the bicep area, widens the upper arm area of the sleeve cap, and lowers the top of the sleeve cap.

Lowering a sleeve cap has the added benefit of giving your arm more range of motion BUT there’s a caveat – if you lower it too much you’ll start getting fabric bunching under your arms. You need to find a balance that works for you!

Because of this, this method works best on a sleeve piece that has a TALL sleeve cap because if your original sleeve cap is short to begin with, you may experience the “bunching” side effect.

(Tall sleeve cap vs short sleeve cap.)

Ikat Bag has an excellent blog post all about sleeves. Cannot recommend this post highly enough! Check out the “box” section for details on how different sleeve cap heights function in real life.

You will need:

  • Your original sleeve piece
  • Tracing paper and pencil
  • Measuring tape and/or a flexible ruler like this one

Step 1: Trace

Trace your original sleeve piece. You may want to trace without seam allowances to make this easier. If you leave the SA on, be sure to include it in your measurement calculations!

Step 2: Measure

Measure the length of the sleeve cap itself. Make note of this number.

Measure your bicep and compare it to the width of the sleeve. You want 1-2″ inches of ease depending on the type of fabric.

For example, on my Farrow Dress, my bicep measurement was the exact same as the sleeve measurement. I knew that would be too tight so I decided to add 1.25″ in total width.

Whatever width you choose to add, divide that measurement in half. So if it’s 1″ – divide by half to equal 0.5″.

Step 3: Widen the sleeve

Widen both sides of the bicep area (right below the sleeve cap) by your half-measurement from Step 2. You can widen all the way to the hem or grade to the original hem.

Step 4: Lower the sleeve cap

Measure down from the shoulder point about a half inch (or more or less depending on the height of the sleeve cap, this is more of an art than an exact science) and re-draw the very top of the sleeve cap curve.

Step 4: Re-draw the cap curve

Here’s where the measuring tape/flexible ruler comes into play. You want to maintain the original length of the sleeve cap seamline. Widening the bicep made it longer but lowering the shoulder point made it shorter. This should even out the differences in length adjustments.

Use the tape/ruler to draw a new sleeve cap seamline by connecting the underarm points to the shoulder point. You’ll notice the sides of the cap itself will end up wider than on the original sleeve. This will also give you a little extra width in your upper arm area. Bonus points!

Step 5: Cut new sleeve piece

Transfer markings (and add back seam allowance if you removed it earlier) and cut out the new sleeve piece. Don’t forget to label your new piece with all your adjustments!

Let’s review the changes to the pattern:

If you measured correctly, your sleeve cap seamline length should be the same as the original but the shape will be different.

The sleeve cap is lower and wider than the original. The overall width of the sleeve is increased.

You now have more space for your arms as well as slightly increased range of motion.

All without any adjustments to the bodice!

This method may not be the best choice for all sleeve patterns but it’s one option you can use to get a better fit.