i need opinions!!!

i’m just about to start work on the tiramisu dress but first need to vent and also ask a few opinions…


so i have some black cotton lycra from girlcharlee.com that i ordered with the intent of making a knit LBD. a while back an opportunity came up for some free tickets to attend the BSO. i ended up sending my husband because it was cold and i decided against wandering around the streets of boston late at night with two kids. i always get lost and the subway system confuses me… what can i say. i’m from the midwest—i drive places damnit. it also dawned on me that i really don’t have anything appropriate to wear. i suddenly needed a black dress. i’m of an age where i should absolutely have a black dress, but sadly don’t. so i took a gamble and ordered black knit fabric online and thank the heavens it is exactly the weight and drape i wanted.

i want to use the tiramisu pattern because it has that right mix of casual if you wear it one way, or dressy if you wear it another. i plan to eliminate the sleeve bands and just hem the sleeves, and will probably eliminate the neck bands in favor of serging some clear elastic to the inside, turning, then topstitching. i’m pretty sure i’ve seen this done with great results, though i’ll test some scraps first just to make sure.

so here’s my vent: i went with the .pdf version off craftsy partly to save money, and partly (mostly) because i’m impatient. i’ve done plenty of .pdf patterns so i know what i’m getting into there. i go to print the pattern and it’s 65 pages long. what the what?! wow. that’s a loooooot of pages. now i knew that there are multiple sizes that you customize based on upper bust and full bust measurements, but there’s no good way to print only the bodice size you need.

now, i don’t know a whole lot about putting together a .pdf pattern so i’m speaking only from the customer end here, but it would really have been helpful to separate the bodice sizes so you have the option to print only the size you need. i wasted so much paper. i also have a beef with the scaling. my 1″ square comes out to 7/8″. i had tested this with one page and worked out what percentage to print at, but for some reason when i went to print the entire pattern, it didn’t scale. so now i’m stuck with 55 pattern pages that are the wrong scale. i felt so defeated before i even laid out my pages! it was just so much to dig through. basically i’m saying: pay the extra $5 and get the paper pattern.

i figured out that the off scale essentially makes my pattern one size smaller. she notes that for a snug fit to go down a size, so this should work out okay? my fabric is really stretchy, and i’ve seen people cut out loads of room from the side and under bust seams. the SA is 1/2″ and i can sew it with 1/4″ SA just for extra insurance. this sounds reasonable, right?

okay, last question: the bodice and skirt is cut on the bias, presumably so that you can have fun with stripes. i would really prefer to eliminate the CB bodice seam and the CB and CF skirt seams and cut these pieces on the fold. since i’m using a solid, do i need to cut these pieces on the bias? i just don’t see any obvious reason to. plus i only have 2 yds of fabric so i’m not sure i’ll have quite enough for all the bias cutting.

thoughts? lay those opinions on me!!!

—lisa g.
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25 thoughts on “i need opinions!!!

  1. Gail says:

    Definitely agreed that a different PDF layout would be helpful on a design like the Tiramisu, so you can just print out the pages you need. I feel your pain on the scaling issue too! I've wasted so much paper that way! So sad.Can't help you with the other stuff though, since I haven't made this one. I hope it works out for you. I don't see any reason why you should need to do the skirt on the bias for a solid color, but I'm not a knit expert!

  2. Keren Duchan says:

    Wow, 65 pages!! And how annoying that the square is off! Well, it's a risk either way because like you said, and as many sewists know all-too-well, even if you used the actual pattern size it might not fit. I'd measure the waist of your pattern, then wrap the fabric around my waist and see how snugly it fits. Same for hips and bust. Also, check how much your pattern shrunk lengthwise! Normally I'd advise not to reduce the seam allowance, but personally I sew knits directly with the serger, which cuts off most of the allowance (living on the edge!). Maybe it's best to reprint it, just the page with the test square first to see it comes out right. Recycle the rest or use it as drawing paper for the kids…Bt the way, take care if you're short waisted to compensate for that, otherwise the top might gape at the wrap area. That consistently happens to me. Regarding the bias: you don't have to cut it on the bias if its not striped, and like you said you don't have enough fabric for it anyway. Just check that you like the drape on the straight grain. Good luck!

  3. Keren Duchan says:

    Also, it might be tedious, but you can print only the pages you actually need. For example: 1-10, 14, 16-30Printing options allow that. But you have to figure out which pages can be discarded by looking at the "pattern map".

  4. Megan says:

    YES YES YES!! I also had awful printing problems with this pattern. I left steph a note on the blog and she thanked me for the tip, but never provided any extra info on how to scale the pattern appropriately. After much trial and error, I got CLOSE to the correct scale, but it was not exactly correct and did affect my sizing. I did manage to figure out how to not print a few of the pieces I didn't need, but it was a bit confusing. That said, I'm actually glad I did the PDF because the pattern has needed SO many alterations that I'm going to have to print a fresh copy for my next version. I find it easier to alter printer paper patterns than those traced on thinner paper. I made of my first version in the size I measured myself to be, and it was HUGE through the bodice, so I do think you will have a fair amount of room even with the printing mishap. I can't think of any reason that you should have to cut the bodice on the bias. The skirt might hang better on the bias, but i doubt it will be a problem if you fabric is drapey and stretchy. If you are trying to save fabric, I think its easy (and perhaps best) to remove some height from the midriff pieces. I removed 1.5 inches from my most recent version and I think its more flattering (though I do have a short torso). I think the midriff pieces, as drafted, look a bit long on everyone except the very long torso-ed. Good luck, can't wait to see the result! Its a fast sew once you get the fitting sorted.

  5. lisa g. says:

    fortunately it was already scrap paper (my husband has reams of paper from work that he can no longer use) so it's more annoying than anything.thanks for the tips, i think i'll drape some fabric around me to check for stretch and what not. worst case scenario i'll figure out which pages to reprint!

  6. lisa g. says:

    i did find that if you print at 112% it comes out perfect. for some reason it only scaled on my test pages, but not when i went to print the whole thing. possibly my error on that part, but my printer is pretty archaic!thanks for your opinion since you've had experience with this specific pattern. i've seen such rave reviews, i'm hoping an awesome dress will erase my initial bad impressions!

  7. K.Line says:

    I think that, even one size down, you'll be fine on the sizing. I had to shave off at least a size in the side seams on my first go round (made in a robust ponte). My second effort was made with a wool jersey that was very stable in the scheme of things. That one, I was able to follow the suggested SAs and all was fine (mind you, I had to adjust the bodice for extra length (but not width). If you are narrow with deep breasts vs wide with shallow breasts, I recommend lengthening the bodice rather than widening it with the prescribed version of the FBA. I've done both versions and the FBA, the version that goes with this pattern, makes the bodice way too big and wide.I considered eliminating the back seam and cutting the fabric on the straight of grain (on the fold) but in the end I stuck with the pattern instructions because the bias cut gives a retro, ripply fullness to the skirt that I like. Mind you, it is a fabric HOG. I believe that I got away with it on 2 yards but I made one of the smallest sizes and, because I'm short, I was able to shorten the skirt by a couple of inches. I'd go for it with the skirt. Not sure if the pockets might get too bulky though, depending on the drape of your fabric. They're a bit bulky, IMO, even with the full skirt.

  8. lisa g. says:

    thanks for the info! i just went back and checked your versions. once i have my fabric all out on the cutting table i'll see if i can get the bias cut skirt, but the bodice pieces i think i'll cut on the straight.i definitely don't have a full bust problem, i'm pretty narrow (upper 32"; full 33"; under 30") and despite my height i often do a petite adjustment above the bust. i'll probably play it safe and add some length to the bodice pieces then trim off what i don't need when i'm fitting it.i'm starting to think that the off scaling may save me loads of alterations!

  9. K.Line says:

    BTW, I sense this pattern is designed for a woman with larger breasts aka more difference between underbust and full bust than you have. I wouldn't lengthen the bodice, under those circumstances. If anything, it fits very generously. Unless you have a very long span from shoulder to high waist (and with the short span above the bust and smallish chest, I don't know that it's likely), you may find it too long to start with. I have 7-8 inches diff between under and full bust and I only had to add an inch. I'm also not long above the bust, fyi, so presuming we're similar in that respect, you've got 5 more inches of length to play with than I do…

  10. Gillian says:

    I agree with the others above – Don't be shy to talk to Steph! This is her first pattern, so she's still tweeking things, and she's been really open to input so far. She'll also help you fit if you tweet or post flickr pics! 🙂 I've made, uh, 7 of these? (Embarassing! 3 were gifts though!) I'd say you'll be just fine using the print out as is. You'll be able to tweak the wrap as you sew it, and the waistband is stretchy, so it'll adjust fine. As for the skirt, I've heard of at least one person cutting on the fold! Good luck! 🙂

  11. Shar says:

    I did find the more stretchy the knit, the more you had to take it in. I'm small busted and had to shorten the bodice twice. You might want to check out the 'Tiramisu 30 Minutes A Day Sewalong Flickr page since quite a few people noted adjustments that they made. Janelle from Sew hopeful has a link to her Flickr in her latest post that shows an alteration of removing the curve from the bodice which I am going to try on my next version. Also, I hear you on the pdf issues. My printer never scales accurately. All in all this is a great pattern and I can't wait to see your version.

  12. aleah says:

    I totally feel your pain about the giant pdf – I have the hard copy of this pattern, but last year I had to deal with a 60 page Burda printout… blech. But thanks so much for asking for guidence on the pattern – these comments are super helpful for me too, as a fellow small-buster 🙂

  13. lisa g. says:

    thanks! with enough draping, basting, and comparing to my other knit patterns i think i can work out the fitting. it seems like everyone has made this pattern but me… can't wait to get to sewing!

  14. lisa g. says:

    that's awesome you have made so many! the design is definitely a winner so come hell or high water i will make it work! i think my body shape will actually make the scaling work in my favor. i'll shoot her an emil sometime with my feedback.

  15. lisa g. says:

    i'll definitely post my process and what i do, although i hate that i can't accurately opinion on the sizing. i would have to reprint 35 or more pages so i think i'll just work around what i have. should be cutting today… despite my .pdf issues i can't wait to have this dress!

  16. Robin says:

    OMG… I'm glad I'm not alone!!! I have been kicking myself that I didn't just buy the printed pattern after printing nearly 120 pages (because the pattern pieces didn't fit on one piece of paper; with the scaling set to the appropriate size, it actually took 2 pieces of paper for each one of the pattern pages… ugh), using 2 full rolls of tape, and nearly 3 hours to cut/tape and then trace the pattern… ugh. No more pdfs for me! Unfortunately, all of that has burned me out on the Tiramisu for the moment, so I can't really offer an opinion on the sizing or how your prospective alterations would work (though I seem to recall reading that someone else decided to save fabric by not cutting on the bias and it worked fine for them). I wish you luck! 🙂

  17. Kessem says:

    Huh, I don't know if what I'm saying is right, but I think the point of cutting a garment on the bias is to allow the fabric to drape differently, as the bias has a softer drape than the straight grain. That being said, I don't think there should be an issue with you cutting it on the straight grain if your fabric has enough drape to match the design.. I would try it!

  18. lisa g. says:

    oh wow! it can be so frustrating sometimes! i did brave it and cut my fabric (which was so much less of a headache than assembling the .pdf and determining my size!). picked up matching thread yesterday… should have a dress made soon!

  19. lisa g. says:

    i do get that fabric drapes differently on the bias, but i was under the impression that that was more of a thing with wovens. but to be honest i've never done a circle skirt in either a woven or a knit so i don't have any experience with the outcome. at any rate i cut the skirt on the bias but the bodice on the straight, with the back piece on the fold. just need to find time to sew it up now!

  20. poppykettle says:

    If you haven't already – send this to Steph C. She's all about the 'customer experience' and would probably love feedback like this. A simple little table allowing you to print the specific pages for the size you pick would be easy for her to incorporate, I reckon. You'd be doing the sewing world a civic service!

  21. Abby says:

    I'm working on my own rant blog post for the same thing! I was livid when I ordered the craftsy pattern and it was so many pages, and all in the wrong scale. I ended up resizing all of the pages in Illustrator and only printing the pages that held my size (about 30 pages). I generally like the way my dress turned out, but I won't be purchasing a Cake pattern again.

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