Thursday, May 20, 2010

Wadder Alert: What NOT to do when making the Cynthia Rowley dress #2406

Let me just say this is an awesome pattern if you sew it with the correct fabric (and fit it appropriately of course). I however did not.  For starters do not use 4 way stretch knit for this dress. You know I kinda had the feeling when I embarked on this project that a stretchy knit might be problematic but I decided to give it a go anyway. So to be quite honest I'm not that suprised that this pattern didn't work for me since I picked the wrong fabric. I just didn't expect it to turn out looking like a muumuu LOL! And no, I will not post a pic because it seriously looks just like a muumuu!!!LOL! And unfortunately sewing deeper side seams wouldn't fix this since it's the fabric that's really the issue. But I don't feel like it was too much of a waste. I learned my gut instinct about my wrong fabric choice was right in addition to a few other things.

As they say hindsight is 20/20 so thinking back here are a few things I should have done:

1. Picked a lighter fabric.
This dress would have been perfect in the recommended fabrics of linen, cotton, etc--you know lighter fabrics that hold the shape of this garment well.  The 4-way knit I had stretched to fit my body and stretched this dress out of it's proper shape. A 2 way stretch knit (stretch crosswise and not lengthwise) would have been suitable as well.

2. Made a muslin.
 You know I RARELY make a muslin when sewing a knit dress. But with a design as unique as this (with the draped shoulder and open back slit) I should have.  I cut this dress in a size 12 and due to the ease of the pattern and weight and stretch of my fabric it ended up being just way too BIG. I had a feeling it would stretch somewhat but had no idea that the weight would really pull the dress down. So this "dragging" in turn distorted the shape of the sleeves and every part of the dress.

3. Shortened the back length.
I've mentioned so many times before that I have a really small back (14"L, 14"W). Why in the world I didn't think to check the back lenght before sewing this dress is beyond me. By the time this dress was nearly finished I discovered that the back opening was well beyond my back to the top of my rear! That was noooooo good indeed! Talk about scandalous.........LOL!

4. My greatest lesson learned from this project was that I need to give up watching TV while sewing. You might recall me devoting an entire post to the subject HERE.  Believe it or not this is the BEST lesson that has come from this situation and I've already noticed an increase in my productivity. So I'm not all too crushed about the loss of this project.

I plan to give this pattern a rest for now and pick up something else. I probably will revisit in the future in a nice linen or cotton fabric.  It's a great pattern and is pretty easy to sew if you don't get turned around with the sleeve directions. To be quite honest some of their directions for that were written a little confusing. But beyond that I recommend it wholeheartedly.


  1. I made a skirt yesterday from doubleknit when the pattern called for taffeta. It's too big of course. I can make it work, but it's still a reminder to actually take notice of what patterns say. I hope you can salvage the fabric for something, the print is really nice.

  2. Aww, what a shame. I hope you'll make that pattern in another fabric someday soon. I really look forward to see it!

  3. No worries it is just time for a re-do. And posting your mistakes helps me out a lot. so I thank you very much for that. As for the tv, I usually listen to National Public Radio when sewing. But lately I switched over to a station for some light rock. And I dance a little jig when the sewing is going my way :)

  4. I just finished up that dress about a week ago and I have to say I wasn't thrilled with my results either, and I used the suggested linen! It may sound strange but I kinda think it's a difficult pattern to perfect the fit, despite basically being a muumuu.

  5. I am sorry to hear that the fabric didnt work out well with the pattern. You helped us by letting us know the mistake. Thanks to that!

  6. I'd love to see a picture of it... it doesn't have to be on you, but maybe your dress form, as a "what not to do" with a 4-way stretch knit kind of lesson. Off to look at Catherine's dress.

  7. Thanks for posting about your experience

  8. So sorry, you know that has happened to me too!


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