Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Made by Me File: Little Kukla Flowers and Birds Jumpsuit/Short Romper. McCall's 6083/6533.

I will be posting the ootd portion of for this romper in the next post, but since I have decided to join patternreview.com and burdastyle.com, I figured it is better for me to specifically do "made by me" posts separate from ootd posts (unless I am really pressed for time, of course).

I have a fondness for rompers, which I know that many of you shudder at, since rompers are the very definition of ridiculous...but I was a small child in an era of rompers for everyone (early 80s), so I have very clear memories of some pretty awesome women in my life wearing these one piece wonders.  I had my own versions, usually made from terry cloth and spaghetti straps that tied at the shoulders

I have no desire to make a terry cloth/tie shoulder strap version for myself at my age, but I have always wanted to make a romper that reminded me of the "boss" women in my life as a child that actually would fit both my narrower upper body and larger lower half.

Enter the McCall's 6533 pattern (discontinued, but McCall's 6083 is still around, with the same exact version I made) to make my silly sartorial desires realized.

I only wish I could say that putting this pattern together was as easy as my memories of my childhood are. 

The creation you see above required an enormous amount of work to get it to this point.

The Start:

1. I traced the pattern for a size 10 bodice and a size 14 shorts.
2. I cut the pieces out (easiest bit, really, and I normally hate cutting).
3. I interfaced the foldover neckline/bodice and back neckline.
4. I then sewed the bodice up following the directions provided by McCall's, which were excellent, btw.
5. I put the finished bodice on Triple D (see her here), and was stoked to see the armholes would fit without any adjustments.
6. I then proceeded to sew up the shorts.  No real issues here, although I do wish the middle seam there was better matched than it is, but I think it looks pretty good considering how off it could look.  The back and the front parts DON'T match at all, which you will see in the third photo.  I will definitely bear that in mind the next time I make a skirt/shorts/pants, since that is a big pet peeve of mine in ready to wear.
7. The shorts felt a bit tight after sewing them up, so I decided to re-sew the seams to 3/8" instead of 5/8".  Good thing I had only basted the seams to 5/8".   :-)  I sewed one side up to 3/8" (left side) and basted the other side to 3/8" because I knew I would be installing an invisible zip since I had read that it was really really hard to get in and out of the romper without one. 
8. Then I sewed the bodice seams up, 3/8" to match the seams in the shorts, especially since the right side bodice and waistband would need to have the zip in it.
9.  After that I attached the bodice to the shorts at the waist, and although it wasn't perfect, it looked okay.  At this point I still had visions of elastic being part of the waistband, which I would soon discover wouldn't work, to my sadness.
10. I then installed the invisible zip using my new invisible zip foot (OMG, what a delight that foot is!).  I had a happy dance of about ten minutes, and then I tried the outfit on...

Here is where it goes a bit south...

11. The romper "fit," and the zip worked very well, but the entire thing was exactly the length of my frame, which meant that if I planned to do any sitting and/or moving, I would have to figure something out.
12. I didn't want to fuss with the waistband since I had just installed the zip, so I carefully unpicked the shoulder seams on both sides, making sure to keep the gathering exactly as it was, since I really like the gathering.  Then I re-sewed the seams to 1/4" and covered the seams with binding to ensure that the seams were super secure.  This entire process took about an hour total.  There are women who swear they could cut and sew this pattern in an hour.  They must have super-powers.
13. I tried it on again and it is fitting better, but there is still not enough ease at the crotch, which is likely due to the crotch curve on the shorts not being deep enough (Burda's patterns have the best crotch curve for me, nice and rounded).  So I unpicked the back waist from the dart point to the other dart point (I added the darts because the bodice and shorts wouldn't match up without them since they are two different sizes), and resewed the waist to 1/2", making sure to grade from the 1" before the darts out to 1/2" so it didn't look too funny on the finished product.
14. Tried it on again, and still not 100% comfortable, so I did the same process on the front, but using the front wrap-over neckline points as my start and end points for the new seam of 1/2".
15. Tried it on again, and finally success.  I could move easily, and sit, too!  Unfortunately I knew the elastic waistband would have to be nixed since that would lift the romper up, leading to it being unwearable.  Instead, I tried loosely belting it with a sash, and that seemed okay.  Unfortunately I have no sash that looks good with it, so I will need to make one so I can wear the romper as it is intended to look, with a more fitted waist.

And then I am nearing the end, and you would think it would be getting easier.  Sigh...

16. I then applied a bias facing on the armholes, but I made a mistake in how I applied it, which meant I had to sew THREE separate stitching lines to make sure that the facing was properly applied.  AGH!  It looks okay, but definite rookie mistake.
17. I then attempted to use my rolled hem foot and it would work for an inch or so and then the hem would have bits of the raw edge poking out.  Realizing I needed to step away, I took a few hours off, and when I attempted the hem again that afternoon, it worked so much better, turns out I needed to feed more fabric into the foot's feed to have no raw edge poking out.  I had made too many errors on the first shorts' leg, so I just folded the rolled hem over on both shorts' legs and used my quarter-inch piecing foot (and its handy seam guide) to finish off the hem.
18. And I was done.  And I wore it that night.  My hubby did not like it at all, but he was proud of me for finishing it.  My daughter loved it.  ;-)

Here is a side view.  When I make this again in the future, I will need to increase the bodice by two inches.  The shorts need less alterations, but I will lay my Burda pants pattern on top of it and increase the crotch depth just a bit so it is very comfortable.

The pockets are awesome, very deep and easy to make.  The back of the pockets match the pattern on the front of the shorts perfectly.  I don't think I planned that, so I am pretty stoked it ended up looking that good.  Happiness comes in small forms, especially since this pattern turned out to be such a P.I.T.A. to create.

The zip is not invisible completely, but it functions exactly as the invisible zips in ready to wear, and I even managed to incorporate the top of the zip into the armhole facing.

Back of the romper shows that an elastic waistband would be a really bad idea, lol.

I am standing funny here, I must have pitched my hip up a bit on one side, I normally don't take back photos this way. 

The back pattern exactly matches up with the top and the bottom.  Not planned, so I am pretty happy that it worked out so well.  Small victories, right?

I will say that this Little Kukla Flowers fabric did loosen up quite a bit through my wearing it, and now fits very nicely.  I recognize that the moment I wash it, the fabric will shrink back up a bit, but only to where it is in these photos (I had prewashed the fabric on hot and machine-dried on hot to make sure there was no further shrinking).  I never machine dry my clothes, only my fabrics, so it should be fine.  :-)

So if you like this pattern, definitely make sure you bear in mind that this romper was made for a woman who is 5'2" with a very short torso.  I actually have a really short torso, especially for my height (5'8"), at 15 inches (back length) from the bottom of my neck to my waist, and I normally have to *shorten* top patterns, so color me surprised when this bodice was super super short.

Okay, that's it for now.  If you read my wall o' text, good on you for making it through!