Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Frocktober: Tiramisu


It is highly unlikely that a dubious not-what-I-expected internet purchase fabric and a pattern-bought-for-other-than-aesthetic-appeal would, in combination, turn into my new favourite at-home dress, but somehow, 2 wrongs have made a right. How did this happen? Sewing serendipity is not a frequent occurrence under these circumstances.


I was making a not wearable muslin, out of a sense of duty and thriftiness. The pattern, you have already read in the title, was Tiramisu from Cake Patterns. I bought this pattern last Spring in the pre release sale, thinking that although I had several wrap and mock wrap knit dress patterns, and I loathe cut on sleeves, it would be a Good Thing to buy a pattern from a relatively local blogger- newly-turned-sewing-businesswoman in the initial throes of her start up. My vague thought that I would make up this dress straight away and get it over with was instantly killed by the teenage fashion panel, who thought the pattern illustration looked dumpy. Dumpy is not a good word. I realise that there is a unwritten rule in blogging that when a micro pattern company is deliberately using "realistic" illustrations you are not supposed to criticize them, but there you are, Dumpy. We must be indoctrinated by the fashion industry to expect 6 foot underweight imaginary models for pattern illustrations, very sad.
This is also why I gave in to the commands took my teenage fashionista photographer's advice to pose in a "look at me" manner as above. I am astounded by the apparent skinniness of the first shot. How deceptive! I shall have to stand side on and leaning backwards for the rest of my life.
Unfortunately  I do not think this is possible.


I knew that there were many, many completely non-dumpy versions of this dress on the internet, but one's personal teenage fashion panel is fairly influential, and the pattern had a dumpy aura in our house that was hard to shake off.
I have a long term goal to use all my patterns and not have lurking fabric stash dwellers. To try out this dumpy dress, that could possibly be a dress-about-the-house if my daughters were not at home to despise it, I used a striped rayon knit that is very thin. This was not a fabric I would have purchased in a shop, but on the internet it was called medium weight and suitable for t shirts. Some people must like to wear see- through t shirts. I really thought I would be using up two dubious possessions at once, and clearing out my sewing materials oversupply.
I sort of fancied the illustration of the stripey version of the dress, although personally I usually think that cutting out a knit on the bias is a waste of fabric. Knits already drape and stretch rather a lot. Increasing the drape and stretch on my thin and not-very-stable knit by following the bias cut out was possibly a bad decision, but I did it anyway.
However, I did not throw caution completely to the wind. I stabilised a lot - more than suggested by the pattern instructions.

The horizontal seams are stablised with lingerie elastic, no stretch. The bias vertical seams are stabilized with woven selvage ( I used woven selvage where the pattern instructed fusible interfacing as well). I added clear elastic (slight stretch) when topstitching the neck binding.
 I didn't use the pockets. Pockets in a knit have a tendency to stretch whenever you put anything in them, which I find unappealing.

I quite liked this pattern as I cut it out - several cup sizes, including A as different from B, and up to D, check. Draw your own waist measurement, check. However, having only one size for high bust 30 (inches) to 34 (inches)? Uncheck. I am the smallest size, and so are my daughters? Come on, I am 43! I am not skinny! My daughters are not the same size as me, and yet are fully grown and quite normal sized young women, and this dress does not come in their sizes, as the smallest size was fine on me, and like a sack on them - that would be the 10 cm of extra ease they don't need at the bust! Taking in this much at the side seams as suggested is a lot of distortion, and when I pinned it, still looked awful on them. In my opinion, this pattern starts at a size 34 high bust, which would be about a size 38 in Burda, a size 12 in big 4 patterns (or 10 really, as Big 4 have a lot of ease). This is limiting.

I did not like this pattern as I sewed it up. 1/2 inch as a seam allowance simply meant that I sewed all seams at 5/8inch, 1.5cm, as this is what I am used to sewing, and where the guidelines are on my machine. Using a non standard seam allowance just for the sake of it is annoying.Knits don't need this much seam allowance, but what is wrong with using other standard measurements such as 1cm,( 3/8 inch) or even 1/4 inch. Grumble, grumble.
It was with the full expectation of being about to throw this in the the bin that I tried on the dress after wasting and afternoon sewing it indulging in some experimental sewing.
It looked much better than I expected.
Only see through.
I made a petticoat (more about this later).
I am eating humble pie.
It is a terrific dress pattern.
I even like the cut on sleeves, how strange.


I will consider buying more of these patterns - but not for my daughters.

 Stashbusting statistics 2.3 m or so of overly thin rayon knit from an unmentionable internet source, 2013 + 2.3 m or so of thicker rayon knit from the remnant warehouse 2013.


EmSewCrazy said...

Glad your final dress turned out so well. In some ways I found Tiramisu the hardest of Cake patterns to fit on me. I'm not sure if that was because it was a new concept for sizing or if it was because of that bodice construction.
I will say I love the Hummingbird pattern and have used it a ton. Along with the Cabarita and Espresso Leggings. They all have you draw in the side seams for your width so you can make it fit you better. If you want to experiment more with her patterns she did do a free Tee pdf.
Once you figure out the sizing system they do fit incredibly well.

EmSewCrazy said...

Oh, and BOO to internet fabric. I hate it when it doesn't match the description. Such a catch 22!

Kristy Chan said...

You look fabulous in this dress. I've had my reservations about this pattern because I thought it was designed for big busts which I definitely do not possess. I bought some knit tahirt fabric online recently that is tissue thin too - so annoying!

Anonymous said...

Oh fabulous dress and most entertaining post. I've been cautious about Cake patterns too, and have so far not succumbed. Tiramisu would've been my pick though.

Sew, Jean Margaret said...

My first thought when I started reading this, was how thin you looked. This is a very flattering dress and suits you very well. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your entertaining post.

Julie Culshaw said...

This dress looks terrific on you. And I agree, the drawings on the pattern do look dumpy. The designer should use something else, these will not help to sell a great pattern, which this one obviously is.

Anonymous said...

Its a tough one, isn't it? If I was selling patterns I think I would draw them on taller thin women, because all of us like to imagine that the dress would make us look taller and thinner.

And I agree with you that sometime something we don't expect to work sort of makes up for those times when we choose the perfect pattern and fabric and it somehow doesn't add up.

I really like this shape and colour on you and the extra work you put into keeping it stable appears to have done the trick.

Gail said...

I think it looks great.

Sharon said...

This dress is so flattering on you and loved your post about the pattern!

Anonymous said...

This is a very flattering dress - not dumpy at all on you. This was the first make from Cake that I made, too, and was pleasantly surprised at the fit. Thanks for all of your tips on stabilizing the knit without actually using a fusible interfacing.

Sue said...

Looks great on you! but you do have a pretty good figure ... still can't work out how ow you have girls of that age! Thanks for the review.

fabric epiphanies said...

It looks lovely on you! That pattern is a keeper!

Carol said...

I really like this dress on you! I kind of like the unexpected fabric surprises from online purchases. I always end up with a garment I wouldn't have otherwise made and it usually becomes a favourite. I bet you live in this dress over summer!

Joy said...

This really is *quite* flattering on you. I'm glad it turned out better than expected -- that's certainly a plus. In the end, I didn't keep my version of this because my too-thin fabric was clingy and the pockets were just bad. But maybe it's worth another try some day.

Margaret Carter said...

As someone who actually is a little 'dumpy', I bought this pattern because I hope I will look half as good as the pattern shows! Seeing clothes, even plus sizes on size 10 or smaller models, doesn't help me at all. I do get offended when someone with an obviously slender figure, like you dear blogger, implies so often that your lovely figure is anything but lovely. Should the pattern have smaller sizes, yes, legitimate gripe there. But I am happy to see patterns modeled by people with less than ideal figures too. Sorry for my rant.