ETA: I took out the couple of inches at the bottom of the back pleat and it lets my torso fit in the dress, but now the bottom of the center back pleat puddles. I can live with that.

PS: Sinus infection + Monday + Workday at kid’s preschool co-op with no makeup = forgive the haggard look!

Another one down — I give you The Shirt Dress B5315:

Which I must admit taught me a lot. Buttons, zippers, pleats, set in sleeves, yoke — this is real sewing, sisters. Here’s what I read, what I did, and what I did wrong:

I taped the waistline with rayon tape, pinked the seam allowances and pressed up, which I think looks kind of janky living here in the world of sergers.

I used a combination of stay stitching (skirt waistline and  upper side seam, left side of blouse front) and newfangled fusible tapes (neckline, shoulders, armholes) to stabilize before sewing. A big part of learning with the Bishop Method has been figuring out where I want to switch to newer techniques and where I want to go all fussy and Bishopy.

Per the book, the collar and front opening interfacings were cut 3/4 an inch smaller than the edges to keep them out of the seam allowances. It is a tip I have learned before but I always forget since the pattern pieces just say “cut 2 in fabric and 1 interfacing”.

Speaking of the collar facing, this is the second time Bishop has instructed me to trim a seam allowance to 1/8″ and then understitch the two 1/8″ seam allowances to the undercollar. That is CRAZY TALK. It reminds me of the scene in Little Big Man where Jack Crabb learned to draw and shoot a gun before he touched it — like Jack, I learned it can be done, you can sew on a seam allowance you just trimmed off.

About this time I ran in to trouble because my dress has a double yoke and Ms. Bishop didn’t anticipate that. It shouldn’t have been a problem except I also lost the instructions to my sewing pattern due to my moronic habit of carrying sewing pattern instructions with me everywhere — city buses, the library, what have you. I found everything I needed to know in a Kwik Sew book, and quickly decided that this pattern is stupid.

One of the joys of the double yoke is that you can use it to hide all the messy innards of your shirt or shirt-dress. But I could only hide half my messy innards, because I couldn’t cram the seam allowances from the bodice front into the double yoke on account of that cut-on facing. So I jimmy-rigged something by smooshing the seam allowances into the double yoke for as far as I was able, then covering the seam allowances on the bodice fronts with bias tape. Probably not a great idea, at least not in the way I executed it, because the bias tape peeks out the front collar when it thinks I’m not looking.

The sleeve unit was an enormous pain in the ass, with nice results.

It was fun to read that “One of the principles of the Bishop method is to complete as much as possible of the lower edge of a sleeve before the sleeve seam is sewn.” I hadn’t seen our principles in a while and it was nice to touch base. So I staystitched the lower edge and pressed up the hem and clean-finished it by turning under 1/4″. But then the nightmare — well, the unsettling queasy dream at least, began. For Bishop makes you ease the sleeve cap by running an ease line, clipping the bobbin thread at the front and back notches, and pulling up to ease. This is a ghastly procedure that produced a nice sleeve cap

…but I don’t know if it is nicer than staystitch plus to ease a sleeve cap

and it is a heck of a lot more difficult.

However, I loved the detailed instructions on pressing the cap to perfection, and the reminder (which had never occurred to me before!) that once you ease your sleeve cap you need to make sure it is still on grain. Done and done.

Hubris is a hell of a thing — I whipped out that lapped zipper in no time flat, then realized I had put it in backward, with the lap opening toward the front of the dress.

Hello world, here is my zipper

With Bishop’s admonishment to accept only perfection in our sewing still ringing in my ears, I decided that this lapped zipper was in fact sewn perfectly and I accepted it as such. It is merely convention that dictates which way the lap should go. Perhaps I am at the forefront of a new style.

I made buttonholes using my state-of-the-art technology:

Singer Buttonholer attachment, circa 1952

And learned how to properly sew a button (hold the button between thumb and forefinger with the rest of the fingers under the fabric. This gives the button enough play above the fabric to make a firm thread shank, which every God-fearing non-decorative button MUST have).

I pressed up my hem using my Bishop hem presser, used lace hem tape which I don’t recommend because it is time-consuming but doesn’t contribute anything other than bringing the pretty, and I was done!

The downside is, it doesn’t fit. The bodice is way too tight — maybe having something to do with the cut-on placket and the back pleat without pattern instructions. I mean, every Butterick I have sewn has been a size 16 and they are all made on the same block so I figured this was a no-brainer. I probably took in too much for the pleat or folded the front placket too many times or something. Oh well, I’ll always wear it under a sweater.

Gaposis of the Bustosis, even on the dressform

And the crazed pleating prep worked well — they came out nice and even

Oddly enough, despite my being lukewarm on this dress my husband loves it more than anything I have ever worn, perhaps excluding my wedding dress.