Category Archives: 7142 Empire Dress w/overlays

D7142 Version 2

I’m again using a lawn border-print. Whenever I run across border or panel prints that appeal to me, I buy. This one has been sitting in the stash about 10 years.  It is 100% cotton and has a much softer hand than yesterday’s fabric. However, it’s not really me. I like sSmall to medium sized florals.  I also gravitate towards muted colors like the pinks but steer away from greens. Most greens cast a sickish parlor to my face.

Thinking it was overkill, I added the 6″ ease as described yesterday. I taped all the curved edges, serged the shoulders and finished the neckline.

When I know I’m going to top stitch, I don’t understitch. Does anyone else do that?   I like big facings. I’m either going to bind the edges (as I finally finished the armscyes) or make big facings.  My facings go all the way out to the armscyes and down to the empire line where they were caught when I serged the skirts to the bodices.

The ease added to the back skirt was way too much.  I had a difficult time serging it to the back bodice. Partly that was my error. I wasn’t thinking I had that much ease and did not pull-up hard enough at the start of the serging. Also, the pattern has back darts in both the bodice and the skirt. Since I knew I would be serging the skirt to the bodice, I stitched the bodice darts but not the skirt darts.

I basted the side seams at 1cm. Tried it on. Basted side seams at 2cm. Tried on. Took off.  Basted seams at 3.5CM. Tried it on. Basted at the underarm 3CM curved out to the empire line at 1.5CM.

Once it was hanging with about the right amount of circumference, I felt really disappointed.  That slant of the shoulder emphasizes the roundness of my back. The shoulder isn’t sitting right either and it’s too late to fix it. But I see gaping front and back necklines and poufs in the back.  Despite the fact the skirt has tremendous ease, the fabric is hanging up on my right hip, which also happens to be my lower shoulder. These shoulders are far too narrow to correct the issue with a shoulder pad and they reveal my bra straps.  I don’t go braless. In the winter, it’s extra warmth. In the summer having the girls hoisted in position keeps my underbust  from sweating. In my life, bras are not just appearance enhancing.


Look at the front again:

The darts are in the wrong position. The points went above my apex 1.5″ (3.5cm). It was too late to move the darts, so I made them into release tucks.  Take my word for it, the back darts are also too long.

I hate the empire style line that raises in the front:

Nothing says “preggars” as much as the rising front.  The hem is even, so this was a style choice.

I do like the tea length — many people do not. It is not my most flattering length. But it is long while still being safe to walk up and down stairs which I do multiple times daily.

Net pattern changes:

+.25″ at underarm

+1.5″ at empire and hip

Shirtail hem to maximize length

Changes Needed:

Change armscye slope and neckline to cover bra and flatter

Lower the front empire line

Move bust darts

Shorten bust darts

Shorten back bodice darts

Remove 1″ ease from skirt back

The appeal of Connie Crawfords patterns for me, is the excellent fitting. In the previous patterns I’ve needed to increase the shoulder slope and add ease to the back-hip. I was hoping for a tank top style would be similarly ease to fit and then could be morphed with several style changes. As it is, I will need several more muslins just to get the bodice portion fitting.  I’m wondering if other sewists had and reported similar issues with this pattern. That could be why I didn’t find any reviews. Only a few “pans” will kill a patterns marketability. This one deserves to die. IMO. YMMV.

Not sure I will be working further with this pattern. The fit is so different from 0546 the princess seamed, empire blouse.  Taking a break to think it over.


Ooops! Muslined!

I stitched the darts; basted skirts to bodices; serged shoulders; and started to  baste side seams before the first fitting. The back-skirt side seam, was longer than the front-skirt side seam. What??? I repinned. Still longer. I checked my pattern. Yes I made a 1″ BWL to both front and back.  Could the bias side seams have stretched that much? I walked my pattern side seams. The back is clearly 1″ longer than the front. I’ll stop short of saying  the pattern has a drafting mistake (only because I did not pull out that huge original pattern again) but I rarely make a mistake that big.  I mean I taped the tracing paper on top of the pattern so that it could not shift. I fixed my pattern by adding another 1″ BWL to the back skirt  and trimmed 1″ of fabric from the top of the back skirt. Basted the side seams and then I tried it on.

Make that attempted to try-on. I could not get this down below the bust!  So I let out the side seams. I could pull the dress  down to my nipp!e level but no further. Finally I let out the back darts. Now I could pull the dress down

but talk about human sausage. I’m stuffed  into it.  DH loved my dress immediately and suggested I keep it for wearing around the house.  Not possible since I could hardly breathe. My scraps are just that: a handful of odd-shaped nubbins. Just not possible to add more fabric to this version.

Of additional concern to me is that the garment is the length I prefer and the hem is level, but the front empire line is clearly rising:

Well this could be the combination of too tight and posture but I’m also wondering if it’s a result of the back side-seam not matching the front. .

I was really puzzled at how tight this muslin is.

That’s not sway back

I looked at the sizing on the envelope. This pattern only goes up to a size Large.  I’ve been using Conni Crawford’s XL, so an error on my part for not realizing that this is one-size smaller than I use. EXCEPT the measurements given for a Large are  a half-in larger than my bust and hip. It still should have had sufficient ease. I didn’t find any reviews on this pattern at PR or on the Net. I had no forewarning or even any place to check after-the-fact. I admit there’s always a possibility I made mistakes. I’m just not sure these are mine.

But it is a good style for me. I decided to add the needed ease and try again. It took 2″ of ease just to get over my bust. I opted to add 1.5″ to both front and back; total 6″ of ease.  I really want to be sure I can get into the next one. The skirts I split vertically and spread apart 1.5″.   I did not want to change the neckline so for the fronts, I added 1.5″ at the underarms.

I’ll probably even hopefully need to make a 3rd version. Version 1 (this one): way too small. Version 2: hopefully too large. Version 3: Goldilocks (just right).

D7142-Wrestling the pattern

I bought an early  Connie Crawford pattern D7142.

I am particularly interested in the tank top appearance of this dress. It looks wonderfully cool for summer  Having fit 3 of Conni’s patterns, I’m totally enamored.   Each pattern   has been easier to fit than the one before.  I want to use her draft.

But back to this pattern.  Judging from the cover, I thought there would be 2 versions of the bodice.  One for sleeves and one for sleeveless.  I was  disappointed after unfolding the massive master pattern to find that the same bodice is used for both the sleeved and sleeveless pattern.  I somewhat brightened upon realizing the sleeve is  a flutter sleeve which has wonderful options on it’s on.. I traced only the bodice front and back, the skirt front and back and the sleeve. I don’t plan to use the sleeve with this version.  The overlays are lovely but I shan’t be using them either (for this version).  They are wonderful for disgusing tummies and tushes and would definitely eat up that stash of sheers in a very nice way. But they are also rather distinctive.  I prefer to save that design feature for when it is on-trend again and when I have a fabric that would be highlight the structure.

I traced the largest size on the envelope (just light all the previous CC patterns I’ve fit). Sadly, there is no Shorten/Lengthen line on this pattern. I know that I need to shorten the back waist length.  My body, requires this adjustment because I’m using patterns drafted for people who are 3-4 inches taller than me. I took my BWL just below the empire line on the skirt pieces.  Pretty sure this will work because it is above the narrowest indent for the waist .  If it doesn’t work exactly right, next time I can unfold the skirt and make the BWL in the bodice portion. Since the shoulder is very narrow (2″ unfinished), I did not attempt to change the slope.  I anticipate I will need to adjust the shoulder slope and the underarm at the first fitting.   Pretty sure they will be minor adjustments best done at fitting.  The back is drafted for a zipper. I’m sure that neckline will just slip on and off so I folded along the bodice back along CB line and placed that on a fold. The skirt back, I placed the straight edge of the SA allowed for the zipper along the fold of the fabric . This added 1″ ease to the pattern (2 to the final garment) which is what I needed on all 3 previous CC patterns.

My fabric is pretty old.  I think it came into my house from my mother’s stash when she passed almost 2 decades ago. The fabric is narrow ( 38″ wide) but long (3 yards) and is printed in a lovely, realistic, rose border-print.  I placed my pattern and cut cross-grain to make the most of the border-print.   This is mostly cotton. I’m not sure it has any synthetic content. It has a firm hand to it and may have been intended for light weight home dec projects like curtains. I think it is a “lawn”. But there are no labels to guide me.    I happen to like the firm hand but light weight qualities for summer. My only concern is how quickly will it become a hot wrinkled mess when the temps soar? Without a poly content, it won’t shed or resist wrinkling.

I am eager to fit this garment.  I’m hoping to make changes once the pattern fits. I prefer a one piece tank top to the empire line of this pattern.  I also prefer the horizontal bust dart rather than the vertical darts drafted.  I have a good reason for that.  While the vertical darts are useful in the back, they are a total waste of time going over my tummy.  My waist is not concave in front. It is convex; very.  I’m hoping to make a tank top with a horizontal bust; to move the back darts to the side seam and adapt for use with knits. Right now, I’m really looking forward to a new summer dress.