Two duds in a row

It’s been a long, long time since I’ve had a pattern that just did not work for me at all, but strangely, I’ve just had two in a row that I’m giving up on entirely.

I fell in love with the chic styling of the Hot Patterns Monaco Top – the slit opening, the slim lines, the angular bib, the pieced bottom, and all sweetened by the cute gathered sleeves. At least, that’s what I thought the pattern was for…

I should have really listened to the earlier reviewer of this pattern (who also didn’t make it past the muslin stage) and just cut my $18.50 losses and run far, far away.

I’d sewn up Hot Patterns’ Nairobi bag loads (it’s my go-to handbag pattern!) but I’d never sewn one of their envelope patterns before, so I wisely opted to sew a muslin for this to check the fit. So please excuse the busy print on the bedsheet and my Sharpie marker points, as this is the muslin in the photos.

oh my.

Things wrong with this pattern:

  • The 3 bust points (two darts and a corner of the bib) form an AWFUL bust space that’s both floppy, pointy, and flat all at once. It’s deeply unflattering, and completely different than the technical line drawing suggests. I cannot stress how enough awful this bust shape is! If you can image a step pyramid or mesa mountain made of tissue paper on a windy day, then you’re halfway there.
  • The hems at the side seams are different lengths. I double checked this, and for size 12, they’re off by about an inch. I couldn’t see anything in the instructions about easing the side seam, either (which would be strange in itself…).
  • The sleeves are only long enough to stretch the whole way around the armscye and still meet the shoulder point if the back of the sleeve isn’t gathered at all. Even if you make it a cap sleeve and leave the underarm open, the gathering is really uneven between the front and back to get the marks to align properly.
  • The overall fit is really baggy in order to make it fit over your head without a zipper, but this styling really needs a closer fit and a zipper to make it flattering (everything else nonwithstanding)

End conclusion: I’d be better off drafting this from scratch than to correct all these problems, which is a shame, because I love the style in the drawing. The drawing just has very little to do with the pattern, as it turns out. I’ll be using the earmarked blue stretch poplin in the Summer 08 sewing plan for another pattern since it’s already prewashed and ready to go.

Next up was the BWOF tulip skirt (05/08 #108) made from the rest of the white coating fabric I used to make this Simplicity jacket. The pleats went in nicely (though mine are mirrored to the magazine due to one-sided fabric and the constraints of using scraps), the fit was spot on – I even added a lining and introduced a centre back seam in order to add a walking pleat. It was all going really well right up until the point I removed the pleats’ basting stitches and put on the finished skirt and actually tried to walk in it.

And then I realised that this skirt only looks good if you don’t move. Or breathe. Or let the wind blow. Frankly, blinking your eyes is a bit much for this skirt, and the pleats go funny and bulbous and the hem flips out and it all goes very wrong indeed.

We actually took more photos of me looking unhappy and doing some “I’m holding my breath and not moving and possibly also a little teapot, short and stout” poses but frankly, I’m not sure this skirt deserves more than one photo. This is a skirt designed only for a model’s photoshoot. No action shots possible here, I’m just trying desperately not to upset the pleats and fixing it between nearly every shot. Which is 100% incompatible with my life, and so to the ash pile of history this tulip skirt goes!

I’ve just had two dismal pattern failures, both in wovens, and so I’m declaring the rest of July to be a knit-only zone (with the exception of any work on the the winter coat, which I’ve just finished a second muslin for). I shall be putting my new overlocker through its paces, sewing up tons of teeshirts, dresses, and activewear, in an attempt to rid myself of this terrible sewing bugbear….

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