Butterick See & Sew B5870

Friday, January 24, 2014

There are three - count 'em, three - reviews of this pattern on the interwebs.
Obviously, besides how freaking adorable Sewmanju made it, I needed to add a review and pictures of my own to the world.

I think I stumbled across Sewmanju's version somewhere between googling the Lady Skater dress, and wool jersey.  I was looking for inspiration for wintery sewing stuffs, because as adorable as sun dresses are, they just aren't practical for me at the moment.  Here in Minnesota.  Just after surviving a Polar Vortex.

After my own Lady Skater dress, I fell in love with the idea of wearing cozy knit dresses with cozy fleece lined leggings or tights.  (Have you tried them?  They're both amazeballs.  And cozy balls.)  I wear my Lady Skater dress about as much as is socially acceptable and haven't gotten around to making more.  Yet...stay tuned.  This dress with a nice cozy cowl is just asking to be made with a nice weight knit and be worn with fleecy tights.  Okay, my mission is actually to make my wardrobe entirely of work-appropriate pajamas. 

I couldn't find wool jersey, at least in any sort of affordable price range, so I found an acai purple cotton knit from Girl Charlee.  It's a nice medium weight and should make a great winter dress.
As per the usual, as soon as I came home with my new pattern in hand I read through the instructions.  They're supposed to be easy but my copy had several typos and misprints.  Luckily this isn't my first knit dress and I'm getting fairly good at knowing how things are put together without completely sticking to the directions.

The pattern only called for 2 1/8 yards but I used EVERY BIT of my 3 yards.  I had to cut it out single layer in order to fit every piece.  Another challenge is this knit was very sneaky about which side was the right/wrong side.  Luckily I inspected each piece very carefully and the finished dress has every piece facing the proper direction.

The dress was coming along swimmingly until I came to an ABRUPT halt trying to figure out how to attach the damn cowl.  The instructions were ZERO help.  After staring at the pieces, pinning, unpinning, and trying them on for about half an hour, a light bulb went off and I turned to my BFF, Google, to find a tutorial for me. 

Let me just tell you, sewalongs are a GODSEND.  I found Tasia's Renfrew sewalong and was able to attach the cowl!!! 
 From there I would like to tell you it was easy... but it wasn't.  Nothing at the fault of the pattern, but my own lack of coordination/knowledge.

First I ran out of thread.  I was surprised at first, then I realized it was because I was stitching a double seam per the instructions.  Well, duh, that makes sense!

Next was the ongoing issue I was experiencing with my thread tension.  When I first started the project my upper thread was snapping, even with a super low tension.  I was eventually able to get it to sew, but the tension still wasn't right.  It seems like one side is too tight and one side is too loose.  I've tried playing with the tension and it's helped a bit, but not completely.  It's also skipping stitches.  So, here my inexperience shows itself because I don't know what to do!

On a happier note, this dress included my FIRST set in sleeve!  Really, this wasn't nearly as terrifying as I expected.

As for alterations, I actually kept the bodice entirely unaltered even though the pattern didn't go up to my size.  I added just a touch of width to the sleeves, and I added several inches to the hips to accommodate my booty.  I did about a 2" hem to bring up the length and it seems to hit almost the right spot for me.

Oh, you wanted to see the finished product?
I will eventually provide you with pictures taken by a real camera in my dressing room, but the room is still a work in progress.  Patience, my cats.  Oh, and you see that?!  FLEECE LEGGINGS!!!  Glorious.  Excellent winter work wear.  I only need to make 846 more uber comfy dresses!

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