Today I put the finishing touches on the Vogue 8972 dress in black wool crepe, including elbow length sleeves. It is next to impossible for me to photograph a black garment like this, what is the trick? Difficult to see the seaming details.
For a nice change of pace I actually took pictures of the dress on the person it was made for.
Here is a slightly better look at the seaming details, I lightened up this photo so the black looks weird, the photo above is a better representation.
I am really happy with the combination of fit and the fabric we chose, despite my hesitation about sewing on black. For this wearer the style works as a fitted sheath dress. I have seen other versions that were very fitted, to the point of curve hugging but this pattern also works with a bit more ease so that it skims over the body.
Some details on the pattern adjustments. I made two muslins as I just was not happy with the way the sleeve was fitting. In the first I made the pattern sleeve and it was really tight, both in the armhole and across the arm, even though the wearer is not particularly large in that area, in fact very petite around the upper torso. Weird. Sometimes I can just look at a sleeve and know there will be trouble and this one was definitely in that category.
Second muslin I made a cut on gusset on the sleeve, which you can see here. This adds more room at the bottom of the armhole for movement. Also you can see in the photo at the bottom half showing my adjusted sleeve pattern that I did two other modifications. 1) widened the sleeve circumference by 3/4" from top to hem. 2) Sliced through at the sleeve cap and added about 3/8" at the front of the sleeve. These may seem like scary changes and they are not for the faint of heart in terms of setting in the sleeves. But wool crepe is very forgiving (most wools are) and I did one other adjustment to the armhole which I will show below.
The other adjustment was to change the shape of the armhole when I cut out the second muslin. The pattern originally has what I call (in my head - this is not an official designation) a sharp armhole. Where the bottom front curves sharply toward the bust, basically taking away distance across the chest. This type of armhole/sleeve combo is very likely to feel restricting and pull across the chest in an unflattering way.
Better to show than describe. On the left is the bodice front. The yellow thread trace is the original armhole stitch line and the blue thread trace is the one I used. Same for the bodice back on the right.
Don't you think that swoopy shape of the armhole is trouble? I do. In any case, by changing the armhole I did make the circumference shorter in length. And I took it up a smidge at the shoulder. So another factor to consider when making the sleeve cap larger. However I figured I could give it a try, and basted the adjusted sleeves in, rearranging the fullness several times until I was happy. But yikes, why to they design the armholes that way??? Scroll back up to the second photo and see how smoothly the sleeve fits, and looks comfortable. Much better.....
After I had the bodice and skirt assembled I did catchstitch down all the horizontal seams with silk thread. Takes a few minutes but with all the fusible interfacing in that area it is quick to do, doesn't show and keeps everything smooth on the inside.
The back of the dress and the seaming is a tiny bit more apparent in this photo. I didn't topstitch as the pattern indicates, that just seemed too casual for what she wanted, wearing to a charity event evening cocktail party.
Another look at the front. I also changed the neckline a bit, I think raised about 1/2 inch.
All in all, I am happy with this one and glad to be finished with sewing on black fabric :).
Up next, something very light and bright!
Possible rain here this weekend - we wish! Well, it does make pulling weeds easier.
Happy April showers sewing, Beth
Something simple for today's SunnyGal garden photo, a small white azalea to compliment the little black dress. Lives in the shady corner of the garden. White flowers really pop at dusk, I need to find some more varieties.