Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Pink & summery: New Look 6936

Hello hello! Well we're all back to school and everyone's talking about their next season's sewing plans - but I've got a backlog of stuff to show you, so it's summer at Jo Sews for a little while yet. I do have thoughts on autumn, but you'll have to wait! For now, and without further ado, here's New Look 6936...

Now I'll talk about the making of this in a minute. But first, can we have a little look at the pattern envelope? What the hell is going on with the model?? She looks as comfortable as an arthritic Barbie. I guess maybe she's been stunned into her wooden pose by that disgusting fabric.  WHY do pattern companies do this?!

Anyway. Look past that, and there's some excellent comfy summerwear potential here. Which is what I saw when Philippa of Gloria and Me very kindly offered this pattern for a giveaway, having decided it wasn't her thing after all.  Easy stretchy things with elastic waists are most definitely my thing, and I'm very grateful to Philippa for picking my name out and sending it on - thank you!

When I got it, I immediately surprised myself by being most drawn to the flutter sleeves, which I've never really liked before. (Maybe it's the comparative ugliness of the straight-sleeved version...?) I was won over completely by the curve of them on the pattern piece, and the resulting shapeliness is a happy but coincidencidental outcome.  But yes, they flutter - in a most breezy and flattering manner.

Much as I like this pattern as it is, I did some tweaking. Of course. Because Must-Tweak-All -The-Things - and because my post-baby waist area does not cope well with empire lines. In fact, empire line dresses generally make me look distinctly pre-baby. Not a good look, when you aren't. No, for the avoidance of early-(non)pregnancy misunderstandings, I lengthened the bodice by enough for it to hit my natural waist, and then added some more for blousing.

All well and good. You'd think.

I can't remember exactly how it happened, but I then decided I needed more length at the centre front. Like a kind of pretend-FBA. I suppose it had its roots in my years of trying on pretty, blousy RTW dresses, only to find that without exception they stretched unflatteringly straight down from my boobs to my waist - with no nice blousing at all. Yes, I was the teenager wishing her boobs were smaller. Fair enough. But of course, there is such a thing as going too far - and when I put the finished dress on, I discovered a kind of empty front-stomach hanging over the centre waist. It was like one of those "after" pictures on Embarrassing Bodies when large people have lost a lot of weight quickly (sorry...)

Being determined not to undo it and start again, there followed much fiddling with the extra fabric until it sat in a kind of twisty knot that I tacked down in the middle, and in the end, I quite like the effect. I'm just not even asking myself whether it looks deliberate, and I still see the empty front-stomach whenever I look at it. Needless to say, if/when I make this again, I'll be undoing that part of my pattern adjustment.

So yeah, self-inflicted errors aside, it's straightforward to make and wear. But what is it with knit patterns by the Big Four? This one would have had me turn over a double narrow hem, not only at the lower hem but also at the neck and sleeves. Seriously??  Does nobody proofread these things for stuff like, inappropriate instructions?  A much made complaint, I know, but come on - this is exactly the kind of thing that puts new sewists off. It's a recipe for things looking homemade in about the worst way possible.

That said, I like this pattern. It's the kind of simple everyday wear that the big pattern companies do well. Not particularly fashionable, just nice, and the sort of thing that'll happily slot into the everyday wardrobe of a multitude of different women.

As long as they know enough to ignore the how-to and just use the pattern pieces...

What's your experience? Have you sewn any good knit patterns by one of the big companies? Or do you stick religiously to indies?

And are you into next season's sewing already? Tell me what's on your list! Mine's coming up soon...


  1. I love this colour on you, and love your tweaks. Happy accidents as Bob Ross says!

  2. I'm really trying to get into Fall sewing but it's tough - I feel like I didn't get enough summer stuff done. I want to make more Alders! This dress looks lovely on you, such a pretty colour and it must be easy breezy for those hot summer days.

  3. Thank you! And yeah, it could have turned out so much worse...

  4. Yes, it really is (was) perfect in warm weather! That's my problem with autumn sewing too - just not ready to leave summer behind!

  5. I can assure you the front feature looks planned and not at all like an empty stomach.

    I've had a few knit pattern successes with the Big Four. Can't remember any pattern numbers now but there was a Simplicity knit dress with a gathered waist panel and a flared skirt that I wore to death. I made it for my sister too. But you're right, you need to sanity check some of the suggested finishes.


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