Wednesday, 12 August 2015

A waistcoat started and THAT dress!

I achieved another of my August goals.  I bought Burda 3403 with a view to making a waistcoat for my daughter's fiancé, A, as requested. I was given his sizes, which fall between the 38 and 40 and decided to make up a toile for him to try when I see him next.

This doesn't even show the waistcoat! 

I decided to cut out the 40. This really only involved the fronts and the back. I drew on the pocket, tabs and button/buttonhole positions. I made it up in ghastly white polyester fabric. No final fabric has been chosen - this is for size only, to give a later starting point.

My husband tried this pared down waistcoat on and reckons it will be a pretty good fit. It was okay for him, perhaps a touch neat, but he and A are about the same height (about 6') and DH has a slightly larger chest size, more 40 - 42". The length was good. A is an athlete and had a broad back so I can only wait and see.

Tonight, before posting this, I decided to look at any available reviews for the waistcoat. One review said the waistcoat was rather neat, the other that it was rather loose, so who knows! One suggested it was a difficult sew (it's labelled as 'average'), but at least I have some help available should I need it. Maybe I should have read the reviews before buying the pattern! It's a lot cheaper than the Vogue one, though. A hasn't seen it so I hope this is the style he had in mind. I do have another waistcoat pattern, but he did see that and felt it was too casual.

I made Butterick 5951, view A,
I do have a waist - really!
but disliked both the style and the colour. I couldn't do anything about the latter but wondered if anything could be done to improve the fit and appearance. R and D, who are designers and pattern fitters, run the sewing bee I attended and were happy to advise. They agreed that the fit was poor, felt the design was faulty and didn't like the colour on me. I suggested that the design might be faulty because I had made changes but they didn't agree. They looked at adding a sloping bust dart to give some much needed shape,  pulling in the sides,  removing the shoulder gathering which they felt was not in the right place - they would normally expect to see this coming from further forward,  from a yoke,  for example. Maybe other changes too - my head was swimming a little! And R felt there would still be some unwanted poufing at the sides. I said that I didn't want to spend a long time on it if it really wasn't worth it.  They suggested starting by taking the shoulder seam apart and they would be able to give a better idea.

My dress was fully lined (bagged), understitched etc., so taking apart was no small undertaking. They were surprised that the lining is basically a duplicate of the dress, complete with shoulder gathering. This gave a little extra flexibility.

However, D looked at me after I had taken the shoulder apart and she had examined and asked if I would actually wear the dress in that colour after I'd put in a great deal of work. 'Probably not'.  D suggested that I use the skirt and its lining and simply make up a waistband or facing. I've decided I will do this.

DH doesn't think the colour is even ideal for a skirt but we'll see. I could wear a maroon (or maybe it's Marsala, Pantone colour of the year!) top. I might wear it as a skirt - I was never going to wear as a dress - and I couldn't give it away as a dress because I didn't feel the style made sense and the dress looked unattractive even on the hanger.

So as of the end of today, one dress fewer, one dress more (for daughter -separate post), one potential skirt on the way, and the various toiles I mentioned in an earlier post well under way. I feel I'm becoming a little faster. Just as well! 


  1. All that work and effort! Could you dye the fabric?

    1. If the dress fitted and suited, dyeing might have been an option. However, as the fit/style is ghastly and unlikely to improve without even more effort, I'm cutting my losses. I need to learn when to let go and abandon a project. This should never have been finished. My husband is not even sure it's worth trying the skirt but that will take relatively little effort.

  2. As Ruth says you can dye the is a painless operation, especially a cold dye in a basin or bucket of may still get the vague pattern coming through but I have always been amazed at how a dye can transform something awful into something could also try removing the colour first....that's easy too....all the best whatever you decide.....keep the skirt fabric, you never know when it would come in useful...isn't this the Liberty one?
    Of course keeping it will always be a reminder of wasted time and frustration.

    1. Yes, this is the Liberty one. The fabric feels nice but wrong colour for me. I won't dye it because it feels so lovely. I'll go for the skirt. Maybe keeping it silk help me give up sooner in future - preferably at closing pattern, fabric stage. I do have plans, though, to dye some fabric to make a top to match a RTW skirt I have and haven't had as much use from because none of my tops work with it.

  3. Now that your DH and other close to you have spoken I have this to say:
    Anne darling, dump that dress and that fabric.
    Go for Princess lines and scoop or V necks or even a wrap dress. they will flatter your figure.
    I have watched you struggle with this dress anbd wished I was your neighbior so that I could pay a visit, and stop you from experiencing all of the pain and suffering!

    And go for some bolder colors. You will look and feel better.
    Have you looked at any iof the Curvy Collective blogs and reviews. Yes they are all younger than us, and BIGGER, but you can see what they are doing. They are an inspiring group of women!

    Now that I am moved into the new house and my sewing room is almost organized, and we are back from our vacation, I am going to review and blog about all of the garments that I made.
    I enjoy your blog and I am so proud of your determination.And a little envious that you have a sewing group.
    Take Care

    1. Thank you, Susan - I wish you were my neighbour too! I like your comment. My future plans will be better for me! I do have a preference for stronger colours and love princess seams - I have a pattern ready to make a cobalt blue dress. I'm glad you're settling in your new house and I look forward to reading your future reviews - I enjoy your blog and appreciate that you read mine.
      Yes, I'm lucky to have a sewing group. I still greatly appreciate the online community too, of course. You take care, too. Anne

    2. I sat last night and unpicked the invisible zipper and separated the skirt from the bodice - and I've decided to dump the fabric. My heart is just not in it. I'd have problems finding a top to go with it. Onwards to new things!! Thank you again.

  4. Anne - I had a laugh at Susan's comment - she is saying something we possibly all thought but were too polite to come out with it!
    I'm off to that 'curvy' place too!
    Actually had put all my patterns and fabric away again as there is no weather to justify sewing summer dresses.

    1. Me too! I appreciated her candour. I'm happy to receive any criticism that's nicely given. I think I may well dump the fabric - my heart is certainly not in it!
      Yesterday was awful but both Thursday and today beautiful - out today on golf course in shirt sleeves again. I'd have worn a summer dress (if I had one!!) when I went into town this afternoon to get my hair cut.
      Take care


Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog. Please leave a comment. I welcome each and every one. I value criticism (constructive of course! ), love hints and tips and would appreciate suggestions for future direction.

Flip and Fold Cushion

I’m really quite excited! I finished the Flip and Fold cushion from Lesson #4 of the Sweet Pea ITH Course, and I love it. This rather surp...