January 28, 2016

Finished Project: New Look 6184, "Silky Camo Sophisticate"

New Look 6184 has been a stalwart standby in Simplicity's stable for, oh, about eleventythousand years. Why? Because it's versatile and interesting, yet easy to make. If you are of average bust (I'll get into that later), I predict you'll get a lot of mileage out of this gal.

The pattern includes two bodice options (square and scoop), both with pleats radiating from neckline to bust. It also offers two skirt options: a darted slim skirt, and a 3-piece princess-seam flared skirt. There's an optional pattern piece for a simple tie belt. You know. For people who can't figure out how to sew a long rectangle.

New Look 6184, the lovely pattern we will be reviewing today
It's suuuuuuper basic. The slim version is composed of four main pattern pieces and two facings; the flared version is six pieces and two facings.  Fabric requirements are nice 'n' frugal: 2 1/8 yards (60" wide) for the flared skirt, and 1 3/8 yards (60") for the slim skirt option.

You'll be whipping up dozens of these in your spare time. And if you do, you'll be in good company: check out all the creative variations over at Pattern Review.

The fabric & details

I made this in a Simply Silky poly charmeuse from JoAnn. It's an abstract blob print with olive green, greenish black, muted chartreuse, and grey.
New Look 6184, "Silky Camo Sophisticate" front view

There's a regular zipper in the back. Yup. Basic.

New Look 6184, back view.

The instructions

Were they easy to follow? Indeed. All steps are well illustrated.

If you're a total newbie, techniques include:
  • Making darts
  • Figuring out the right way to fold the pleats
  • Understitching and grading the facing
  • Applying bias tape binding to an armhole

Nothing too weird there, right?

Pattern alterations I made

FBA (Full Bust Adjustment): A debacle. Moving on.

Facings: Instead of using bias tape for the armholes, I drafted facings from the front and back bodice pieces. This is an easy technique to pick up, if you don't like the look of bias binding, or if you want to convert a lined bodice into an unlined one. See the Colette Patterns blog: how to draft a facing.

Lined skirt: Because I might be wearing this with tights, I added a skirt lining in a poly organza. Both the fashion fabric and lining are extremely lightweight, so even with the lining, it feels like I'm wearing ...

Nothin' at all! Nothin' at all!
Narrow upper back: Okay, I'm not gonna lie. This was a slop job. Turns out, I needed to narrow the upper back by about 3/4" on each side to get a good fit. How, in my infinite wisdom and expertise, did I miss this in the muslin phase? It is a mystery. A lot of things are a mystery on this dress. Anyway, I had to unpick the zipper after I discovered the problem, and re-install it with 3/4" folded out.

Excuse me, ma'am, your late-stage alterations are showing.

Wait, I want to read more about the FBA debacle

Oh, you do? The FBA did not go well; and for the moment, I've decided to pursue other opportunities, as they say, rather than suss out a technical fix for the "boob pouf" described in the FBA post.

If you don't need an FBA (meaning, you wear an A or B cup), you're in luck! This pattern will agree with you.

Nevertheless: the neck facing is weird, right?

I have made this pattern three times. Once, in a stretchy woven poly suiting without any fitting adjustments; and twice, in woven fabrics with no stretch, so an FBA was needed.

But: even in the stretchy woven version -- the one with no pattern adjustments -- the neck facing did not lie flat. It seemed to need a tiny bit more flange (as described in the previous post). I don't know if this was just my bad luck, or an issue with the pattern. If your fabric is precious, make a muslin that includes the facing, to ensure you don't have to chop it like I did in the previous post..
New Look 6184 interior. See the poly organza skirt lining, and the sticky-outy neck facing (pre-chop).


Despite its neckline facing issues, and despite the fact that I am retiring this pattern for the time being, I give New Look 6184 a hearty two thumbs up ... for those who don't need an FBA.

It's one of those basic blocks that can be gussied up in a number of ways, and with different fabrics, to totally change the look.

  • Make it from a nice rough linen fabric, and a wear a turtleneck and tights under it. You've got yourself an art-chic jumper. 
  • Cut it from a printed charmeuse, and toss a blazer on top. You're a classy professional lady in this getup. 
  • In a sweet cotton print and espadrilles, you'll be ready for the block party! 
  • Got an eco-friendly bamboo knit and chunky boots? Your dog wants to show off his snazzy-dressed owner on the hiking trail.

It's all up to you. Have fun with this pattern!

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