Usually, just to look at, not to make. Because it often takes more time to fit a commercial pattern than to draft one – but I still can’t resist buying them from time to time. I bought this one a couple of years back, and fished it out to work the cross over version as a dress for Sewing Pattern Review’s Red Dress contest, in the spirit of ‘Go Red for Women’ an initiative by the American Heart Association.
There are several half done projects in my sewing room (more about that later), so I didn’t spend much time on a toile, but just cut out the front cross-over sections from a piece of lightweight black and white striped cotton jersey to get to grips with how they were put together. It didn’t look too far out sizewise, and I cut the red jersey.
This fabric fought off the thread valiantly, making snarled nests on the underside every couple of inches. Changes of needles, and different threads, and even changing sewing machine a couple of times didn’t help in the slightest. As a last resort, I ran it up on the overlocker, no fitting.
This is how it turned out.
Pretty baggy all over. Resisting unpicking four thread overlock, I tried pulling it in with a belt, and still wasn’t wild about this look, at least not in this very fine red jersey.
My measurements correspond almost exactly to the 12 on the envelope chart, but I needed to remove a surprising amount on the side seams to get a closer fit and the trimmings are now stuffed in the pattern envelope as an aide memoir . If I make it again I’ll perform surgery on the pattern first. Or probably redraft it from scratch, moving the strange seam, where one side piece crosses and attaches to another, slightly higher up, and pulling in some of the excess on the front panel seam instead of the sides. Once the sleeves were ripped out, and the width reduced at the sides, I started to like it better, summery, suitcase and waistline friendly, its a travel dress ! I’ve left it sleeveless, finishing the armholes with self binding.
Here its had the drapes controlled a bit.
I’m going with the third version in this fabric, a very bright red fine slippery knit, that has some weight when it drops in drapes.
About the pattern.
First, obviously, at least pin fit your chosen size in your chosen fabric, like I didn’t. Its hard to draft a pattern for jersey which will work for all jerseys, I found way too much ease in this one when made up in the red jersey, but really not too much when I made up the toile belatedly – that is after the dress.
The instructions for the cross over front on the pattern are not much help. Trudy of Hot Patterns has made a you tube video, which is a big help, but still I found it hard to see exactly which bits of each panel are being joined. When I’d figured it out, I took photos of the stages, to make the next one easier. Here they are, with my notes.
The seam labels on the pattern don’t correspond with what you hear on the video «seam 1 » , »seam 2 » and so on. In fact the seam labels on the pattern are useless apart from C1 and C2. That’s the only time you seam both sides of the front the same. These seams get sewn first, down to the notch, as in the pattern instructions. They run down from the shoulder, joining two pieces which are the side front panels to the centre front panel for a short distance.
This done, lay the work down Right Side (RS) up and stick labels on your seam positions following this diagram.
I’m calling the panel which joins the shoulder seam on the left side of the body Left Panel by the way, (its on your right as you look at the pieces on the table RS up). The other side panel, on your left in the diagram, I’m calling Right Panel. This might seem like stating the obvious, but in the next step they swap sides to make the cross-over twist. Its important not to get them mixed up, labels wouldn’t hurt.
The straight line at the top of the CF panel is the neck edge of the cowl. It can be hemmed now or later. Have your labels on the RS of the fabric, it helps not to confuse which way up the fabric is in the next steps.
My labels aren’t very clear, the felt pen was dying on me. What you’re looking at in this photo is the left side panel, seamed at the top to the centre panel. The arrow on your left is pointing to the label for seam 2 on that side panel and the one on your right is pointing to seam 1.
Grab 1 on the left panel in your right hand, and 2 in the left panel in your left hand. Pick 2 up and pass 1 under it. You’ve flipped the fabric over so that lower bit of the Left Panel will be WS (wrong side) up.
Pin 1 to the right hand side of the centre front panel, which is also marked 1, and is on your left as you look at it on the table. The left panel has crossed to the other side at the lower edge now. Pin RS together, working from the hem edge, which is the straight line at the bottom, up to the first notch. You’ll have a scrunched up mess of fabric to your right. Ignore it. If you’ve done this right you’ll notice that the panel seams have matching curves, coming in for the waist about seven inches or so up from the hems. In this picture, the arrow on your left is pointing to seam 1, where the left panel is on top of the centre panel. The other arrow is where seam 2 of the left panel now is.
Now look at the scrunched up mess of fabric on your right, which is probably WS (wrong side) up. There will be a curve 4 or 5 inches long with a notch. My scissors are pointing at it in the photo above. Its the under part of the armscye. Grab this curve with your right hand. Grab the Right Panel with your left hand and toss it over to your right, out of the way, passing the curve you have in you right hand across to your left so that it lands RS up.
With luck, you’ll see where seam 2 lines up. The notch on the under part of the armscye which you just passed to the left is at the outer edge, and you’re going to pin this part of the Left Panel to the Right Panel RS together, so as to get a complete armscye curve. Both label 2s should be together now . Pin to the notch. The bottom arrow in this picture is sitting on the Left Panel, pointing at seam 2 and the top arrow is sitting on the Right Panel, also pointing at seam 2. Those 2 little triangles are by the underarm curve and the top part of the armscye. In the photo, the fabric is right side up, as they’ll be positioned when the seam is pinned.It looks a complete mess, but your first side is done. Keep the faith, it works out in the end.
Look at your Right Panel. If you marked it per diagram, you should have 3 on another panel seam to match to 3 on the CF piece. Pin these RS together, up to the notch, just like you did for seam 1.
Next flip the Right Panel so its RS up. You’ll see seam 4 by the under armscye curve. Spread out the top part of the Left Panel to find the top of the armscye curve, also marked 4. Pin this 4th seam RS together.
ALL DONE !
It possibly still looks like an embryo dishcloth, but seamed and stitched to the back it shapes up nicely. Trudy advises pinning all four seams first, before stitching, and I second that. Just don’t feed pins into your overlocker – but you knew that anyway.