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Friday, June 28, 2013

Kwik Sew K4001 Review

Here is the end result of my Kwik Sew K4001. Well, it is somewhat Kwik Sew K4001. I completely re-tooled the original pattern in order to make even remotely flattering.  The spoiler alert is that I did not like the pattern at all.  But it all turns out more or less ok...

Finished Dress
Here is the original pattern.  K4001.  I think what got me was the contrasting lower bodice piece and the flowers. 
This is the result of following the pattern.  It was so very unflattering. It is strange shapes and the skirt flares out in all the wrong places.  I could partly blame the drape of the fabric, but there were other issues, too.
The back wasn't much better.  The gathers are really bulky way above my waist.  It hides the one good feature I have.  Not good.
 The main problems with the pattern:
  • The sizing.  I made a muslin and cut a size Medium.  Which should have been OK according to the measurements on the pattern.  But that muslin was so big that I ended up cutting an XS.  I am a 12-14 in RTW....  It is waaaay off.  I am not a small woman, let alone an extra small. 
  • The skirt was attached so high above the natural waist that wearing the dress really made me look more like Holly Hobbie.  That is the same way little girls' dresses are and it looks fantastic on THEM.  But if you are older than 12, it just doesn't look right.
High waist Holly Hobbie
The fixes:
  • I made the lower bodice pieces two inches wider (I added one inch on top, one on the bottom) so that the skirt would attach closer to my waist. 
  • Added ruching/elastic to the lower bodice/waist pieces to add a little interest.  I remember seeing it on a dress once and I liked it, so I gave it a whirl.
  • Make the skirt a-line instead of  gathered so take the bulk out
I am sure there are better ways of doing this, but it was kind of fun to give this a try:  I cut a piece twice as wide as the bodice piece.  Then, I measured three strips of elastic that were about the width of the smaller piece.
Lower bodice
Next, I zig-zag stitched the elastic to the wider piece while stretching it out.  When the elastic was not stretched, it was the right size as the original smaller bodice piece. I then sewed them together so that it was like working with one piece of fabric.  The wrong side is smooth (smaller piece) and the outside is ruched (larger piece with elastic).
Zig zag stitch with elastic
It is lined with a light cotton, so it is light enough to be a summer dress and really breathable.  The yellow fabric is also fairly light and a cotton blend with a little stretch to it.

My first successful machine-zipper
The good stuff:  I actually put in a great-looking zipper with the machine.  I had only hand-picked zippers before.  So, it was a good experience learning how to sew the invisible zipper and the ruching, not a great pattern.  Even with the adjustments, not my favorite dress, but I could wear it in a pinch if I had to.

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