Friday, 19 October 2012

Knits That Fit #4: Test garments

In the ongoing Search For Knits That Fit, I decided this week to make a couple of test items for two MyImage magazine patterns using a positively hideous knit I bought right back when I was just starting out buying garment rather than bag-making fabric.

M1262 (images from My Image magazine A/W 2012)
The first pattern I worked on is one I've already mentioned: My Image 1262 from the A/W 2012 magazine. This is a jersey dress with a low V neck that would definitely need a t-shirt or camisole underneath in order to be respectable! There are several incarnations shown in the magazine, but this grey one, and a red and black jersey print (on p. 16 if you browse the magazine at the link above) are my favourites.

Test garment: tunic length M1262
What I liked about this dress in particular is the neckline and the design seam lines on the front and back. My concerns were first that the magazine is really inconsistent as to where it shows the empire line bust seam. On some models, including this one, the seam is mainly below the bust. On others, it seems to almost cross the bust point. It didn't leave me very clear on what I should expect if I made it up. Also, the magazine seemed undecided if this was a style that needed a belt for shaping or not. I don't have the figure for belts (no waist, basically) so I never wear style that really need the belt for the look.

For my test garment I made a weird size 44/46 hybrid and also gave myself massive seam allowances, which was a mistake because of the way the dress is put together. I left all all the facings and sleeves, and, as you can see, I cut it to a sort of tunic length so that I got the bust/waist/hip fit but didn't bother with the rest of my lower body which doesn't need any special fitting.

Before I started, I did an FBA on the two front bodice pieces and rotated the extra fullness into the pleats at the bottom of the bodice. However, when I made it up, it was self-evidently far too big, so I cut the front bodice off, re-traced a straight 46 and sewed it on. To my amazement, it was fine without provided I used wider side seams. Other than that, my main changes to the muslin related to pulling in the side seams below the bust (where I am narrowest) to give myself slightly more shape.

The final dress should be in the lilac fabric second from top
On the "real garment" I am most nervous about the back neckline (though I think most of the gapping is because I stretched it out by mistake), the sleeves (see below) and the fit of the bust, so nervous in fact that I have yet to even cut it out. My new mantra though is "THERE WILL ALWAYS BE MORE FABRIC". I'm so hyper aware that I could easily use everything I have of a fabric and still produce nothing wearable from it that I feel reluctant to cut into ANYTHING that I actually like, but I am trying to make myself be brave and just do it. Worst case scenario, I wasted some money on fabric but learn something important, so I should just get on with it. The fabric ear-marked for this dress is a self-patterned lilac synthetic knit. It's a similar weight and drape to this hideous turquoise, but it is probably very slightly stretchier. I'll probably end up cutting it out this weekend.

My Image 1152 (image from A/W11-12 magazine)

While I was worrying about cutting into my "good" fabric for my jersey dress, I decided to make a stab at a second My Image pattern, M1152 from the A/W 2011 magazine. This is one of only a couple of My Image patterns reviewed several times on PR, where it's called the "One-Hour Top". I decided to make a test garment not because I was concerned about the sewing, which genuinely is easy, if not quite a one-hour project for someone at my skill level, but because I wasn't actually sure if this was a style that would suit me. Like many large busted women I've fairly religiously stuck to a NO COWL NECKS approach because they often look terrible. I had one once that ended up with like, a pile of loose fabric sitting on top of my bust like it was a shelf. NOT attractive. 

This top though I REALLY like in this fabric. It's way more flattering on than I anticipated. The pronounced waist shaping is great, the neckline looks really good on. I added about 5cm to the hem but it needs at least another 5cm to be my preferred length + hem. The sleeve was my first attempt at a set in sleeve and, uh, I won't be doing that again. I'll be sewing on the flat next time!

HOWEVER, I ran a size 44 (the largest size) in the same hideous floral jersey because I had 1m left and that was really all I needed for the bodice and one sleeve. This, however, was fundamentally stupid because the stretch and drape of this floral is TOTALLY different to the fabric I plan to actually use. I definitely needed an FBA in this fabric (it was VERY tight and had massive drag lines across the bust) but I doubt I'd need more than some extra space at the side seams in the softer, more stretchy cotton jersey earmarked for the top. So I'm not sure how much making it up taught me, other than that sewing sleeves is HARD and that (probably, depending on how much the softer fabric changes the drape of the neckline) this top will suit me. Luckily, the fabric ear-marked for THIS project is an inexpensive remnant of cotton jersey, so I don't feel too worried about cutting into it.

The big problem, of course, is what the heck to do I do with my leftover test garments now?


  1. They look like they are coming along nicely. I tend to bin my test items if I don't love the fabric. If I do love the fabric I save it for use in patterns where you can use parts.

    1. I definitely do NOT love this fabric! I like the colour, but I'm so not a floral print sort of person, plus it's the most hideous synthetic. It's a bit like wrapping yourself in cling film -- so plastic and non-breathable! I might just toss them, as little as like wasting fabric that way.