December 16, 2012

My first Tiramisu

It's finally done! I was so excited to see my copy of the Tiramisu dress pattern when it arrived way back on December 1st, that I ripped into it and started prepping straight away. I had to put it away for a bit to take care of some of my actual responsibilities, but as soon as my schedule cleared out a couple days ago, I got right back to it.

Tiramisu, as you should know, is the first pattern from Steph C's Cake Patterns, and I would like to officially nominate it as the most perfect knit dress ever. It's completely customizable, with 20 size variations for the front bodice alone! This woman (Steph, not me) understands fit. Seriously. I can't wait for future Cake offerings (like Pavlova, which I may or may not have already pre-ordered) so I can make my own completely functional and beautiful wardrobe a la Steph.

This fabric was a piece I picked up cheap at JoAnn forever ago, planning all along to make it into a dress but never settling on a pattern to use. I knew it would be perfect for Tira, because it was a nice big chunk, and that full skirt takes some yardage. In retrospect, I really should have taken advantage of the extra wiggle room I had and made an effort with the pattern placement- especially in the boob zone- but oh well. I'm not too concerned about it.

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I actually ended up cutting the bodice twice, and still have a bit of fabric left. I must have had three yards to start with? I don't know, it was a big piece. Anyway, based on my measurements, I started out with the size 35B bodice pieces, but when I pulled it on for the fit check that Steph has brilliantly written in to the pattern instructions, I was swimming in fabric.

I visited sewingcake.com and perused the Tiramisu support section and tried to assess my next move. I felt like the whole thing was too big, so it made sense to go down to the size 30 bodice pieces, but I wasn't sure which way to go with the cup sizes.

I had picked 35B fairly easily to start with, given the roughly 2" difference between my high bust and full bust measurements, and the handy chart on the pattern envelope. My initial instinct was to try the 30B, to maintain the 2" proportional difference in the bodice pieces, but the finished garment measurement had me worried- it seemed so small! Then, I thought maybe 30D would be the logical downgrade, so perhaps I should try that. But I'm not a D cup, at least not when I'm not pregnant, so that sounded like it would be all wrong too. Then I found an article on sewingcake.com that talked about the bodice sizes as more of a proportional thing than a cup size thing, and I thought maybe I was on the right track with the 30D after all.

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Since it was late Friday night and my couch and my hubby were calling my name, I decided to pose my question to Steph in the comments on the bodice sizing article and deal with the whole thing later. By the time I checked back the next morning, Steph had replied with a thoughtful and helpful suggestion for salvaging my already cut bodice pieces, but also suggested that yes, I might be better suited to a 30D. I had plenty of fabric to mess around with and I hate ripping serged seams, so I just recut, and it's perfect!

And hello? Steph is amazing! I know we occupy vastly different time zones, but I seriously think it's incredible that she: A) took the time to reply, and B) did it so damn quickly! In the midst of Pavlova Circus preparations, no less! It's not been my experience of late that people are so quick to respond to inquiries (if they respond at all) so I'm grateful and impressed. As I have been with everything that she's produced, to be quite honest. This gal's a rock star!

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So anyway, enough gushing. Once I got the bodice sizing nailed down, this thing just flew together. I assembled it almost entirely on my serger, with a 4-thread safety stitch and wooly nylon in the loopers. The only exception is the side seam, which I stitched up with a lightening bolt on my regular machine first (due to the start and stop around the pockets) then finished the seams with the serger after the fact. But I'm really not sure why you couldn't just zip all the way around the pockets too in one go, actually- is there a good reason not to do that? I would love to know for next time.

The only place where I went off the instructions was with the sleeve binding. I applied it last, after stitching up the side seam, so it wouldn't have a visible seam in the underarm. It's a minor thing, just a preference for the finished look of the arm binding, and something that Lauren pointed out in her review as something she might do differently next time. As usual, I'm always happy to benefit from the wisdom of those who go before me, so I tucked that tip away for my own version. 

I cut the skirt one size shorter than drafted, and I can't decide if it's still maybe just a little longish for me. In the photos here, the skirt's still unhemmed, so that would obviously change things. I haven't decided yet though, and my jersey is lightweight and happy to remain unhemmed, so we'll see. I just love how the full skirt drapes so beautifully! And the pockets are just swallowed right up in all that volume. It's so feminine and comfortable- not to mention practical. I LOVE this dress! 

I can't wait to try a striped version, and I'm so happy that I won't even have to think about the stripe placement because Steph has drafted guidelines right on to the pattern tissue. Brilliant! And foolproof. Love it. Go! Buy your own Tira now! You won't regret it, promise.