Monday, January 2, 2017

The Sewing Workshop - Cityscapes Dress...

Happy New Year! and my apology that I've been slow to respond to comments on the blog. Busy time!

I was so excited to get back to sewing after all my visiting with family - because I found a new pattern one night, while watching The Christmas Story and cruising the web.

This is Linda Lee's Cityscapes dress. I think it was first released around 2002, along with an apron-like topper. And now the dress, by itself, is available from The Sewing Workshop as a PDF download.

My first Sewing Workshop pattern!

It has great lines - simple, symmetrical and definitely Lagenlook:

The original release reminds me of Sonia Rykiel's Vogue 1379 Sandwich Dress from 1976.

My fabric is deep brown and does not photograph well, so I lightened all the pics a bit. Squint please.

Sewing this pattern was so much fun. It's a little quirky, but goes together beautifully. The pic below shows the basic layout of both the front and the back. I had to sit and look at it for a while. I knew the dart was continuous, bust/upper back to hem. But part of the dart, the 'bell' curve, is removed when the pattern is cut out, not when it's sewn. 

Once I played a mental game of connect the dots (there are a generous number of them, defining the dart sewing line), I was OK. There are four sizes on the pattern, so I just had to be careful not to stray out of my size.

I used a tailor tack at each dot, and then drew the sewing lines with a chalk marker. Perfect and not difficult at all.
A couple pics on Emile. The inside - I was very short on fabric with only 3 yards, so I cut the front in two pieces instead of on the fold. The center front seam is pressed opened and topstitched down.

And the outside. I could have cut the back in two pieces instead of the front, but I try to avoid center back seams on a knit dress. They tend to stretch out at the stitches and just don't wear well.

A few more notes on sewing and finishing:
  • I sewed the size Medium, which was perfect. The sleeves and the hem were long enough for me (I'm 5'7"), so both might be a little long on someone shorter. However, the pattern has lengthen/shorten lines in the sleeve, torso, and skirt, so alteration would be easy.
  • A few sewists mentioned a concern about the width of the hem and ease of stride. So I added 4" at the hem (1" on each side, back and front) and cured it back into the pattern about 12" below the waist. It worked great, and I'm glad I added to the width.
  • The shoulders were a little wide on me, so I trimmed off 1/2" at the outside of the shoulder and redrew the armscye to accommodate the change. The sleeve cap was fine without any changes. 
  • The pattern uses a neck band, but I bound it instead - binding is just more comfortable for me. I also trimmed about 5/8" from the neckline first. I might have a big head...

I used a very lightweight rayon/lycra knit with 4-way stretch, which is heavenly to wear, but requires some careful finishing. Particularly because it wanted to run if I pulled at the cut edges. What!?  I picked this up from Fabric Mart's pre-cut fabric sale for a couple dollars a yard. It's not great fabric, the color is a bit uneven, almost stippled. But it was perfect for this muslin version of the pattern.
  • My shoulder seams have a enclosed strip of knit tricot fusible, cut with the grain to reduce stretch in the fusible and stabilize the seam. I finished the seam with a flat fell on the inside and topstitching outside.
  • I used an elastic stitch throughout, including the darts and hems. And serged/cut all the long seams together at about 3/8". The armscye seam is pressed toward the dress and topstitched (visible in the last pic).  

Time for a view of the back - pretty sassy :-)

Borrowing an expression, I'm pretty chuffed with this dress! And I plan a follow-up soon, in a nicer fabric.

A little parting tip: Knits, whether in a dress or a tee, can invite a wardrobe malfunction for anyone who wears unpadded lingerie. I love these thin foam bra liners :-)

And I'm off to watch the Parade of Roses. Ciao! Coco


  1. Ha! I'm wearing my make of this dress as I type! So nice to you've just made it too. Yours looks lovely on you, very flattering. You'll have to see mine on me. I'm just downloading the pix I did today. As far as I'm concerned, it's form-fitting!

    1. Neat! I'll look for your pics online - isn't it fun to sew? I really like it, lots of possibilities. Bet you'll do something wonderful with layers...

  2. Looks so good on you, more inspiring than the pattern drawing.

    1. Thank you, Sigrid! you're right about the drawing and original release. I would never have gotten it based on them. But the page for the PDF has great examples - Lucky!

  3. It's perfect on you! Lovely lines and silhouette!

    1. thank, Linda. Such a surprise and fun to sew. I love the lines! and how the bell is formed in the skirt. The inside pic on Emile reminds me of carambola fruit!!

  4. Oh my! I would not have given this pattern a second look, but you sold it!!! It looks so elegant on you and makes me want one for loungiing beautifully at home or with guests! Wonderful job pairing pattern and fabric! And I have to say, I am really loving your hair! Beautifu on you!

    1. Thanks so much, Myra. In this lightweight knit it's perfect for Florida. And it does invite lounging and swanning :-) My hair - again thank you. Best decision I've made in years!

  5. Thanks so much for this thorough review - I just bought this pattern a couple of weeks ago! It looks really lovely on you.l

    1. Oh boy! hurry up, Pao and I are waiting to see - your dresses are always so nice, great fabrics.

  6. Love this dress on you! Your height makes this a very attractive dress with its style and length. Look forward to seeing your next version.

  7. This is lovely and that back view is just wow. Your height really compliments the detail of the length/shaping. Sigh.....from my five feet of height.

    1. Thanks so much, Bunny. The back is such a surprise! height - I've seen this 'look' on lots of shorter women, and IMHO it still works. Fabric choice would be key, I think. Rivergum has done some stunning Lagenlooks, and she was my inspiration when I starting venturing into Lagenlook over a year ago. Not everything has worked for me! but it's so easy to wear and so different. Why not!

  8. I have had this pattern for a long time and made it several times.I am glad to see it finally getting the recognition that it warrants.
    It looks lovely on you and, as another pointed out, your hair looks lovely!

    1. thanks you and thanks on the hair as well, Hanne! I'm really happy to have found this pattern.

  9. Happy New Year in your new dress. Your construction is so impeccable--beautiful results. Love your hair cut, too. Wishing you a wonderful 2017!

    1. thank so much, Margene - and Happy 2017 to you as well! I always enjoy the start of the year. I never look back much, and I don't do a wrap-up of the previous year. I prefer to just dive into something new!

  10. That's one stylish dress! You look really chuffed and happy in it.
    Happy New Year Coco

    1. Thank you, Ruth. We've both started the new year with new patterns. Fun. Wishing you a wonderful new year as well.

  11. thanks, Val - It's really fun to wear. It does move nicely and nobody else in the supermarket has one!

  12. This dress is gorgeous on you! Really like all the finishing details you included. Hope you have a wonderful 2017! :)

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I love it that you came by...and thank you for your comments! Coco