Thursday, 7 May 2015

Mistake recovery (New Look 6890)

I have been sorting out my envelope patterns over the last few days in preparation for maybe selling a few of the ones that I'm pretty sure I'll never make. Some of them are the wrong size and I can't see myself grading, but some of them (many of them, in fact) date from when I first started sewing garments, when the nicest thing I can say about some of my purchases, both fabric and patterns, is that Mistakes Were Made and Lessons Were Learned.

New Look 6890 was one such rookie error.

New Look 6890

This was the third pattern I bought. It seemed like a great idea at the precise moment in time when I ordered it: a "two hour" pattern, that looked very easy! No zips or other difficult bits, just straight seams and a bit of bias tape, and one button! Plus I thought the model on the cover looked pretty cute in her little floral dress despite the weird accompanying pink beret. That is, the very young, thin model who probably looks pretty cute if she wears a bag...

Here of course is where my original reasoning all starts to fall apart. I wouldn't EVER buy a dress that looks like this from a shop, not least because I am in my late 30s and not my late teens. I am not convinced this kind of ultra wide-necked peasant blouse look has ever suited me, in fact, teenager or not, nor have I ever preferred this totally unfitted style of dress. The merest minutes of reflection after the pattern arrived in the post led to the inevitable Buyer's Remorse, and I sort of shoved it in the back of my pattern box and then forgot about it as it filled up with other (not necessarily any more wise) purchases.

Since then, with a more experienced eye, I've glanced at the pattern a couple of times in an effort to determine whether it is in any way useful. Every single time without fail I've sputtered over the fact that this pattern has SEVEN AND A HALF INCHES (19cm) of ease built in at the bust. I realize it's meant to be a loose-fitting pullover dress, but that's insane. The last time I looked at it I sort of scoffed and went "it would be like wearing a nightdress out of the house!"

Meanwhile, unrelatedly and as documented over the last year or so, I've been combining my desire to have some easy, restful sewing projects in my sewing queue with a complete overhaul of my PJ drawer. I tend to wear PJs and t-shirts to bed, but I've always had one thin nightdress in my drawer for really warm nights. That hit the top of the list to replace this summer sewing season. I considered making a nightshirt from the 12/2014 issue of Burda that I liked the look of, but that pattern is so voluminous that I realized even before I started tracing that it wouldn't fit on my piece of fabric, which was only 110cm wide. Casting about for an alternative, I suddenly remembered my disparaging thoughts about New Look 6890...

New Look 6890 in pale blue polka dots, as modelled by Flossie
The front cover of the pattern does not lie: it took me just a little more than two hours to make this after I'd done the cutting out part. It only took that long because, as usual with my nightwear, I used French seams as I think it does a little bit for the longevity of frequently-laundered garments.

I made a straight size 16 with no alterations, though really I should have cut a 14 based on my measurements. If I wanted it to wear as a dress outside of my house where people might see me, I am really not sure what size I would have to start with. Something with less than 7.5" of bust ease, for sure. At any rate, the fabric is barely opaque so I'm not modelling it for this blog. You'll have to take my word for it that it is AMAZINGLY voluminous on, and it looks quite like something a granny might wear, particularly since I made it in this demure pastel blue polka dot polycotton (try saying THAT 10 times quickly). The neck is elasticated, which I find slightly weird, and the elastic is threaded through a bias tape casing. I used home-made bias tape that I made last year. It was just a little narrower than the pattern called for, which I thought would be fine, but eesh, this made threading the elastic a big faff. That was the most difficult thing about the pattern however, and it only too a few minutes. That said, I think an absolute beginner would actually find the bias tape application at the neckline quite challenging as well.

If I'd ever needed convincing that I was never going to want a dress made from this pattern, this nightdress has confirmed it. It's not even really very attractive as nightwear, but I prioritize a lot of other things over attractiveness in my PJs so I don't really care. I almost didn't blog about it at all, because after all, who cares about my sad frumpy nightdress? However, I am quite proud of myself for finding a use for this otherwise deadweight pattern, and I like to document everything I make, no matter how terrible or disastrous. And so, in conclusion: voluminous nightie from rookie mistake pattern is a win. :D


  1. Those styles would make great summer tops!

  2. Nice pattern save! I've never actually done this, but sometimes with styles that I'm iffy on (as to whether they'd work for me), I always think, "I can make that up in comfortable fabric and wear the muslin as pajamas!" It kills two birds with one stone.

    1. I guess I don't make too many things that are loose and baggy enough to wear as PJs if they don't turn out, except for tees, which frequently get demoted to PJs towards the end of their useful life.

  3. Haha! You can blog your boring nightwear :) it sure looks good! I have been using French seams more often now and I know why you love them.

    I pulled out that December Burda to make pj's. I think I shall (the top and shorts) after the PR contest ends.

    1. I love French seams for the aesthetics but also because it seems to survive very frequent wash so much better than overlocking.

      I loved that PJ collection in Dec 2014 -- will look forward to seeing your versions!

  4. It's cute and functional. The best sort of PJ. If you way something a little sassier, make it a size (or two for less volume) smaller and out of a charmuse. Perhaps even one of the sleeveless versions.

  5. Please tell me you still have this pattern? It has made me 4 maternity dresses that also pull down for breastfeeding (thank you, elastic neck) and their tent-Ness is a Godsend in the Aussie summer. But a complete and thorough search has confirmed I've lost the long sleeve piece and badly want to replace it without butchering one of my staple preggo muumuus... can I please PLEASE buy it from you???