My project last week was to cut out and assemble a shirt based on the dress pattern Tiramisu from Cake Patterns. Why a shirt rather than the dress? I wasn’t in love with the fabric I had (a basic black medium-weight jersey from JoAnn Fabrics), and wanted to get the fit issues out of the way before cutting out a skirt. Mostly, I don’t need another crossover bodice black dress.
My first iteration didn’t go so well. I started with cutting out the size based on my measurements, but the front was a bit indecent (at least for work and family events).
This is my second iteration, using the next size up for the front pieces, which I went ahead and sewed up into a full shirt to wear for Easter morning.
It still has some fit issues in the crossover bodice, but overall, it gives pretty good coverage, doesn’t gape badly, and is very comfy. I love it from the underbust up.
However, as soon as I can buy more of the jersey, I’m going to rip it apart from the underbust down and make a few more changes. There are two major issues with the way I sewed this up as a shirt.
The first is the lower “skirt” part—below the midriff panel. I cut it with the stretch going the wrong way (down, not across), so it doesn’t stretch like it should, and could have also used an extra inch or two in width over the hips. Secondly, it is too long, but it’s also currently unhemmed, so that would be an easy fix if not for the stretch issue.
The most important issue is proportion. I am rather short waisted—especially when you factor in the visual imbalance of my chest. As a result, the wide midriff panel comes to my belly button, and with a seam lying there, it just throws off all the proportions and makes me look weird.
I’m trying to decide between two fixes: one is to remove the midriff panel all together, and just sew the base of the shirt to the crossover section. The other is to drastically shorten the midriff panel (like sew-along-er Melanie did), so that it is better proportioned. I think I’m going to do the latter for this particular iteration. I’d like to play around with doing the former in the future, but I would change the back to be all in one piece so there is no awkward, unneeded seam horizontally on the back.
I think if I can fix the proportions and cut the lower panels properly, this will be a great t-shirt alternative. There is more work that can be done for the chest fit on the pattern, so expect a second version of the top in the future, or maybe even a full dress.
The top’s not the only me-made article of clothing in the photo. The skirt is something I started about two years ago, but still haven’t finished (I wore it with a slip here, but it really needs to be lined for opacity). I’ve forgotten by now, but I think it is Simplicity 4188, made in a linen/rayon blend. I need to take in the waist a bit (even though I’ve put on weight since I made it) and chop a few inches off of the length in addition to finishing seams and adding the lining. It is supposed to be tea length (both by pattern and personal preference), but I’m so short that even with it hiked up to my natural waist, it reaches the ground when I’m barefoot. I never posted about it, since I never finished it, but I needed something to wear yesterday, so out it came (but I didn’t have time to fix the issues before we left town Friday night.
I think I’ll focus on fixing it up this week—it is a very nice skirt otherwise.