No actual fruit here. Just that flavor, the color of Koolaid and watermelon on a summer day. Cool indeed because it is a rayon knit that feels cool in any weather.   I just wanted to make this dress because I had a feeling for something wild and fun.  The colors of the fabric spoke to me and I just went with the design.  This t-shirt dress look was made back in February, but I just hadn’t remembered to blog about it until now that I am doing another “Wardrobe Fit-Along” The Knit Tee-Shirt.  I added the fun flirty “bell” sleeves as another way to show off the double sided qualities that got me to fall in love with this fabric in the first place.

I couldn’t decide which side of the fabric to use since it’s a reversible double sided rayon/lycra. It was a dream to sew and even more so a dream to wear. It’s not hot nor heavy.  I bought it from “Sew Much Fabric, sold out, but here are a few others that are in cue for me to sew during my Sew-To-Fit Along that I am participating in with my “IRL” and Online sewing groups.

The pattern was a Bootstrap pattern basic….a jersey dress sloper.  I changed the hem and the sleeves to get the bottom flounce and the bell sleeves.  Such a fun look.  The neckline wasn’t included in the pattern layout since it was just a sloper.  I cut the neckline to my desired size and shape based on my own measurements, and finished it off with a 5/8″ neckband.  For the hems, I just folded the fabric over twice and stitched in place.  Since it is a two-sided fabric, that created the bias bound contrast I wanted.

So, in the case only, being two-faced is a good thing.  Have you ever sewn with two sided fabric, how did you maximize its beauty?

Wrangling in this child for this photoshoot/pattern review, was not as easy as I thought.   Since I was sewing a dress for her, I thought she would show up ready and willing to fit and take pictures whenever I wanted.  OOOOOhhh….but no!!  Going “live” on the internet for review and scrutinizing of her clothes isn’t something your average person wants.  Everything has to be perfect, her hair, face, nails, mood, weight, and everything else you can think of when presented with the idea of being put on a quasi-chopping block.   This model-child doesn’t have a problem walking a runway for designers.  Neither does she have a problem with self-esteem.  However, presented with a “sewing” blog and still shots that are there to be reviewed and analyzed is a game changer for sure.  I present to you my review of the Bootstrap Fashions Jersey Dress for Jennifer…..please be considerate and remember this is a HUMAN Child you are dealing with!!!

This dress was easy to sew up and took less time than ordering a pizza from dominoes.  However, the time was spent deciding on the placement of the birds in this print.  Yes, those are birds, not houndstooth. Jennifer loves this dress. So let’s just bask in that for a quick second. You see, usually she would have to settle for a dress riding up the back and too tight on the arms. Along with those issues of the shoulders being too big at the neck and the front opening showing all her décolleté.

Nothing beats the feeling of a garment that actually fits just you.  Being plus-size and sexy-curvy does not mean it is easy to find clothes that are perfect, even when they say the garment or even the pattern is made for the plus-size woman.  That is a mis-norma.   My child is “fine as all get out!” and is NOT the average plus-sized woman.  She is “CURVY!!” but still proportioned based on the “normal” pattern making standards and “grading” rules that have cropped up for “plus-sized” folks. Truth be told, she and I are built pretty much the same.  We both have “cinched” waist and well rounded butts.  I do say right now….she already has a long list for me to sew for her.  I’m glad she is back to being interested in me sewing for her own style.

bootstrap fashions

Look at that skirt tail…I lengthened the back by 2″ inches to make sure it didn’t ride up as she walked.  I did take in the center back seam more than normal, but using a strip like this continues to skew the lines a little more than I wanted in order to get around these awesome curves.  The shoulder could have been taken up a tad in order for the “horizontal” balance line above the shoulder blades to stay “horizontal”….but!!  I would have needed to adjust the sleeve. Which is something this person here, didn’t want me to waste time doing.  She wanted this dress NOW!!  It is way better than anything she has ever bought in the store!

Construction and Pattern Details:

  • The dress is based off of a custom fitted block/sloper I got off of BootStrap Fashions as a tester they provided me in the form of a store credit worth $6.95.  Normally, I create slopers from my Cameo Pattern Design software, which I have owned and used for about 7 years.
  • Disclaimer here:  NO Flat pattern will give you 100% fit, no matter if you draft it yourself or have a computer aided draft done…you will still need to “do some fabric draping” to get the perfect fit whether on a body or a dressform.
  • To create this I made it pretty close to the base design in order to test the fit of their patterns.  (I did not made a muslin because I was confident with my measurements going into the project.  
  • In the photo here, you can see that we have wings, although, the “block” was listed as “no ease” or negative ease in the bust, waist, and hips, it still was 4 inches too big.  Look at those wings.  I don’t understand how that happened.  I measured the pattern after I taped it together and still this is what I ended up with.. so you see…85-90% on fit.  Now that is awesome still, especially when you are short on time.

     

  • The picture below show the pattern layout on the PDF with drawings showing you the changes that I needed to make…. Red is my changes to get the fit you see on the first go-round.  Since, this doesn’t have darts, I can tell where the shaping was automatically moved to in order to make this fit…ie- The under arms are huge and baggy.  I have seen that on a lot of “so called” plus-size patterns when they have been graded up over the average of size 16, although, this is “custom”, the darts had to be “put” somewhere.

  • I still may go back and pinch out some on the shoulder points in order to get those birds to fly straight across her back.  For now, she really didn’t want me to do anything else.  She took the dress and wore it right out.  
  • The pattern didn’t include any facings, neckbands, or instructions, rightly so, since this is a “base/block” pattern used for patternmaking.  I drafted the neckband using my own formula for determine the stretch factor and length of the neckline opening.  
  • Basically I would say this is a success.  The pattern is only delivered to you as ONE chance.  Which means, if you make a mistake in measurements, you will need to pay an additional fee (60cents or so) in order to have a new pattern emailed to you.  You can also buy the pattern as a digital download in any format for use on another pattern drafting software that you can use for manipulation.  Something, I like most..since, what’s the use of a “base block” if you can’t manipulate it any way you see fit.  I like patternmaking, but, I don’t like tracing and retracing patterns when designing. 

There are so many things that come to mind when I prep to write a blog post….How do I title this?.., what pictures should I use?.. I want to tell you about this raglan blouse and all the flowers and how divine the fabric is to touch!!! I want to tell you hello and all that jazz that goes along with it, and show you a gazillion pictures, cause that is actually how many I took before writing this post. Sometimes, I want to say: “What’s up y’all, what’s crackin!”  But, I change my wording because, I think..~~~, will they receive my relaxed, sometimes crass tone as easily as my Periscope folks do when I start a broadcast, or maybe “will my impatient Youtube subscribers receive my laid back somewhat wordy conversational style when they read my blog? So many questions arise… “What interest you? Is it fashion only? Do you want to see cute pics? Hear stories? See construction details? See my studio? Have updates of my sew life? Or, learn about the patterns I use or the lack thereof?….there are so many directions I can take a blog post.  So I start with this…..

“Hey y’all, I made a new blouse!!!  Yeepee!! Meet Petals….

I become bored so easily with just showing pics of my makes and discussing what seam I used or the pattern I used. I want to tell you a story about the blouse and how long it sat in the corner of my studio balled up in a wad waiting for me to love on it and cuddle it in my arms. How it sat hoping I would smooth the wrinkles from its soft forgiving petals and then wrap it’s caresses around my shoulders to allow it to comfort my body the same way a warm spring might feel on a cool spring morning.  I present to “Petals” the name of my new blouse.

http://patterns.bootstrapfashion.com/index.php/fashion-designer-sewing-patterns-tailored-bloused-with-raglan-poet-sleeves.html?i=9cd06d7e#.VzuU7ZMrKV4

This poor blouse has been sitting in the corner of my studio for months.  I almost forgot about it until my cousin came to visit and noticed “the pretty fabric in the corner.”  I showed it to her and realized it was complete and ready to just take pictures.  So I put it on my dressform and that is were it sat for a long time…you all probably have seen it in the background of some of my videos or periscope broadcast.  That is all.  So here she is in all her glory with the pants from stitch fix that I made the alteration to on my channel.  

http://patterns.bootstrapfashion.com/index.php/fashion-designer-sewing-patterns-tailored-bloused-with-raglan-poet-sleeves.html?i=9cd06d7e#.VzuU7ZMrKV4
It’s a raglan sleeve with puff/ bishop sleeves, but I decided not to put the band on the sleeve, I like the loose look a little better.  The wide collar is fun and comfortable.  The pattern is a custom sized pattern from bootstrap fashions
http://patterns.bootstrapfashion.com/index.php/fashion-designer-sewing-patterns-tailored-bloused-with-raglan-poet-sleeves.html?i=9cd06d7e#.VzuU7ZMrKV4
I like the way it fit straight off the bat…no changes to the shoulders, but the length and the waist are very big.  I took in the back to give me more of a curve, but that created a little problem, so I had to distribute the amounts by taking in the back seam, some of the darts on the back as well as some of the side seams.  I’m still working to figure out how their patterns run.  I may need to just print out the base size 14 pattern to check the fit of it and gauge how it works first before using their custom sizes.  Of course that adds cost by, I think .60cents to print a different size from your original download.  Bootstrap charges $2.99 per printout for each PDF pattern, plus an additional .50c for the seam allowances.  

 Next up is a dress I made for my daughter, Jennifer to test the sizing of bootstrap for plus size curvy ladies.  Here is a sneak peak until I can finish writing that post and get pictures of her wearing the finished look for you all to see…..

If you read any of my blog post over the last few years, then most likely you would currently be calling me a liar!!  “Hello, my name is Andrea, and I am a liar.”  At least where “Off-the-shoulder” trends are concerned.

Bootstrap Fashions




It’s interesting how trends roll around like seeds scattered on the wind only to take root where the ground is receptive.  (was that a corny analogy…?)  Anyway, my point is that the looks are always in fashion for someone, somewhere, at all times.  They only become a “trend” when the masses make it so via publications such as social media.  
Bootstrap Fashion patterns


I’ve done several “off-the-shoulder” looks to date….except now my look has lined up with the “trends”…which means I’m essentially back “in-style”.  Wouldn’t you agree.

Bootstrap Fashion patterns
Oh yeah…by the way..I am also #TeamNatural.  Been there for a long time, just spent most of my looks with the flat iron..frying the crap out of my hair to keep it straight.  So, now you know me in all my true glory. See all the that heat damage on my ends….I’m just gonna leave it be for now and enjoy all the beauty of “my” hair.
Bootstrap Fashion Patterns
The dress is made of a cotton/poly stretch woven I got in New York last year from A&A Textiles.  The lining is just a lightweight rayon knit that I use to line all my knit garments.  
bootstrap fashion patterns

The fun part is that the pattern is “custom”, meaning it is drafted to my measurement.  Very minimal fitting went into this pattern.  What a wonderful treat…so you will not get a laundry list of fitting issues in this post.  Just a “happy dance” and “happy hands.”  Who wouldn’t want that right.

bootstrap fashion patterns
Construction Details:  
The pattern started off as a customized base pattern from Bootstrap Fashions.  You can find that pattern here.  It is a raglan sleeve with sleeve bands and a long skirt.  These patterns can be customized for the following measurement ranges:  Heights 4’7″ to 6’6″ and Bust: 17″-58″, Waist 16″-56″, and Hip 18″-56″.  
bootstrap fashion patterns

I redesigned the skirt portion by removing the waist gathers and side zip and made the skirt hi-lo, and I also sewed the darts with the lining and fashion fabric as one…my tutorial for sewing darts with lace overlay is here.

I created a Youtube video to help you with measuring for an off-the-should look here:
Until next time…please remember to subscribe.