The newest release from the Do It Better Yourself Club, The Julianne, is not what I would describe as an “easy” sew. As they say, the Devil is in the details. The pattern itself is not difficult, but it is not a quick sew. There are many different pieces to it and it can be time consuming to assemble them all. The version I made for testing was a mid thigh length, 3/4 split cuff, full placket, that had to be graded both in size and height.
There are also options from shirt to knee length, short to long sleeves, cuff tabs, half or full placket, additional collar, hood, and a drawstring waistband casing.
As this is a woven pattern, you also have to compensate for material which can stretch out during assembly. As many of us found during testing, by the time we went to attach our collar the neckline had stretched out, rendering the cut collar useless. I would HIGHLY advise stay stitching all pieces as you cut them out in an effort to prevent this frustration. I also found that by the time I went to attach my cuffs, my sleeve openings had also stretched so I would recommend stitching around the opening as well.
This pattern presented a new first for me. I have done buttons before, and I have done buttonholes. A whopping 3 of them. And I have only sewn buttons on by hand. There were two things I was determined to learn this round: how to do a full placket and how to use my machine to sew on buttons.
Yes, for all my newbie-advanced beginners out there, your machine may be capable of sewing on buttons FOR YOU!
The idea- was amazing. The execution- not so much at first.
On my muslin version of this top, I spent a good hour trying to figure out how to get the button attached. I read the directions provided in my handy Singer manual (I have a Singer Talent FYI). I set the stitch length and width. I put my darning plate over top of the feed dogs. I used my button foot. I made sure I was on the button sewing option, but EVERY TIME, I would end up with the wrong side looking like a rats nest and the button would just fall off. All those happy prim and proper Vloggers could take their perfect buttons and shove them up their button hole as far as I was concerned. Every video I watched just showed perfect buttons- nobody seemed to have the issue I did.
So my muslin had all 11 placket buttons sewn on by hand. For perspective let me tell you how long that took. Almost 2 episodes of Pretty Little Liars (finally catching up on the final season). That to me is just unacceptable. 2 hours of my life sewing on 11 buttons!
So I posted in one of my favorite online help groups and got some sound advice- your button may be too big, try it without the button foot.
What. I bought basic, simple, $1.99, 4 hole, 1/2 inch buttons. That should not be the issue.
But, 2 episodes of PLL later and I was desperate. So I tried it. I took the foot off and held the button down as I gently lined my needle up with the holes and slowly hand turned until I was satisfied it was secure. The seconds as I slid the fabric off the machine and turned it over felt like an eternity. I was prepared, seam ripper in hand for the impending rat’s nest and instead I was met with greatness. Pure, secured, CLEAN perfection. I did a happy little wiggle in my seat and lined up my next button, did a few quick hand turns to set the button, happily pressed on my presser foot and *BANG*. Like the snap of a mouse trap. The fabric moved, the needle hit the button, and shattered it in two sending a piece of button shrapnel flying after my poor confused Boston Terrier.
So I learned my next button lesson: Take your time.No need to rush. Using the machine in slow motion is STILL faster than attaching by hand. I can attest to this as I attached all 11 buttons on my final piece in less than an episode of Pretty Little Liars and during the Toddler Beast’s bath time. (For those of you wondering, I did finish the series AND know who A.D. is. If you would like to discuss, I will happily give my thoughts on that jaw dropper.)
As I said, the Devil is in the details. My husband will be the first to tell you I love to complicate even the simplest pattern given enough time.
My frustration during testing was with the collar. I ended up using the stay stitch, but I also cut my collar on the bias which gave it a bit of stretch to compensate for the fabric “relaxing” and in the end I think that was my saving grace. But as I fought with the collar, and I stared at this gorgeous fabric, I had an idea.
Lace.Everything is better with Lace.
So I added a few more steps to my pattern.
To add the lace to the back yoke, I inserted the lace between the RIGHT side of the back bodice and the RIGHT side of the OUTSIDE yoke layer. Lining the raw edges up together and assembling all 4 layers (inner yoke, bodice, lace, outside yoke) per the second step in the bodice construction instructions. When adding the lace, make sure you leave a little extra on the sides to be caught in the side seams when the sleeves are attached to give it a clean finish.
When adding the lace to my cuffs, I laid the lace in between the two cuff layers with raw edges aligned. I brought the lace down onto the sides slightly, just enough to hold it in place. Once the cuff was assembled I turned it right side out, pressed the lace down and top stitched it along the top of the lace, away from the cuff, to help offset some of the added weight.
The collar lace was added after the collar was attached, as I had already assembled the two pieces of collar fabric together when I had the great lace epiphany. I laid the lace on top of the completed collar and top stitched around the bottom edge. In the future, I would probably assemble this as I did the cuffs for a cleaner appearance.
In conclusion, I wouldn’t suggest this to be an easily beginner pattern simply because there are so many ways you can mess up without even trying. But, I would say it is an adventurous beginner to intermediate pattern. It may take a little more time then most PDF Patterns to sew up, but in the end you get a gorgeous garment that looks like it was worth every moment spent. Not to mention that with all the options this pattern includes you can incorporate it into your wardrobe so many ways! From shirt to dress, to even a jacket with the right material!
You can catch the pattern here! It will be on sale for $8.99 until Friday, November 10.
Need a little more inspiration? Check out the tester gallery .
And as an added bonus, check out the release day post from Do It Better Yourself Club for a chance to win free pattern and plaid fabric bundle!
Want to hear more about The Julianne? Make sure you check out the rest of the sewciopaths on this Pattern Blog Tour!