Sunday, 19 June 2011

double toile and trouble

Oh so long ago, I complained a bit about Amy Butler's Midwest Modern: A fresh design spirit for the modern lifestyle because it was all show and no free patterns. Almost three years later, I caved and bought the pattern for the Lotus Cami and Tunic (which also includes a dress option).

Now usually I would consider making a toile to be just twice the work but, following the very good example of my friend Nichola, I have so far made two for this dress: the full dress in size medium and just the bodice in size large.

Why two? Because, of course, the size medium was too small across the bust, but fine everywhere else. The size large bodice fits across the bust, but gapes under the arms and at the centre back so I am going to need to do some blending there (and make another toile).

So, is making a toile twice the trouble? Well, it's certainly a lot more effort but I think that might just be an effect of expectations. I want everything done so quickly, out of the box, snap it together, quick quick quick. Sewing this dress well is going to take time, mainly to get the size right, and I do want it done well.

If I had just plunged in and made the size medium from my fabric then it would have been a complete failure already - too small and fabric all gone. Yes, to add to the fun of it all I have limited fabric to work with: I'm planning to use my Marimekko Lumimarja that I bought at Value Village (two-and-a-half years ago).

Which brings me to my next design dilemma:

Unlike in the picture above, I don't have a continuous length of fabric to work with, rather a number of pieces, none of them large enough for a full length pattern piece. I'm going to have to sew some pieces together and have a couple of options. (A few notes: the fabric will be turned on its side, there are princess seams and the middle panel will have as much red as possible as this will be closest to my face, and there will be cap sleeves but I'll think about them later.)

A) Only one horizontal seam at about the top of the hips. Above this seam there would be the branch print and below there would be solid red that continues into the print. Would this be putting a horizontal seam at an unflattering point? Well actually, the seam will be here regardless to maximise use of the fabric, but is it a good idea to highlight it with a change from print to solid red?

B) Two horizontal seams and the dress will be all print below the waist, albeit with two transitions.

Your opinions, please!


melissa said...

i like option b best! i will look forward to seeing the finished dress--it's a very cute pattern, and of course lovely fabric. btw, i used the piece you gave me way back when to make curtains for our bathroom. it matches perfectly my marimekko birch tree shower curtain! :)

jodi said...

I like option B best as well.

Ann Gibson said...

Cute pattern, beautiful fabric, but they may not be best for each other. I'd hate for it to end up looking patched together. Small busy patterns don't look too interrupted when seamed -- what about this? Have you basted a seam and looked at it both up close and far away? I'd be tempted to seam as in option A but with the seam in the middle of solid red, with pattern at the top and bottom.

heidi said...

I, too, prefer option B!

nikkishell said...

Good on ya for making a toile (or two). I always think it's best when there is expensive or limited fabric involved.
Could you maybe do A but turn the skirt piece upside down so you have the red at the hem?

Regan said...

I'm an occasional lurker and occasional sewer. I had exactly the same trouble with this pattern. I ended up doing a large that was too big everywhere, except around the bust. I haven't made the dress again, but I was considering doing a full bust adjustment (fba) when I do. There are instructions for a fba on this pattern here