Sunday, June 5, 2011

A Simple Dress but what's with the pattern ink?

Hi everyone.   I'm feeling confident that I am regaining my strength and the neuropathy in my hands isn't as bad.   Interested in a simple style and checking out the "new" patterns.  I ordered the new Loes Hinse Studio Cap Sleeve Dress and Top pattern from Casual Elegance with a piece of aqua/black rayon slub knit.      I received the pattern and fabric Friday.  I like sewing rayon knits because they're easier for me to cut out,  they feel good and breathe, and hold a press. 

Front and side with CF dart only
I bought this black and white rayon/lycra knit with big checks from   It's probably the lightest weight fabric I would use or recommend for this dress.   The design is abstract twist on a classic and I knew it would be easy for me to use the checks as grain lines to test the pattern.   I did not pre-wash but will wash this test dress to see how it behaves.
This afternoon I decided to take the pattern out, press and trace a couple of sizes since the ease was not provided.   This is a heavy white paper with black ink.    The minute I set my dry iron on the paper, the heat lifted the ink off the paper and onto my iron --  YIKES!    I started at the front neckline and it was so smudged I could hardly read the lines so I stopped.   I cleaned my iron off and tried again using a piece of tissue paper between the pattern and the iron.  This time the ink came off on the tissue paper.  That was it.  I couldn't press it at all and was left with a smudged pattern on heavily creased paper.   The deep creases and smudged lines gave me additional challenges to those I already have,  with my hands being the way they are in, in terms of tracing the lines accurately using my pattern ease tracing medium.     You can see photos of what I'm talking about on my Flickr set for this pattern.

My technical husband said the ink was clearly not heat set,  and that it must have been printed on a drum printer.    I'm wondering if Loes told the printer that women are going to heat press the printed pattern.   It's ridiculous to pay $20 plus shipping for a pattern that the ink comes off on your iron and then you have to fudge the lines.   Has anyone else had this problem with these "new" patterns?    I think I should call CE tomorrow and tell Sharon what happened. 

*Update:   I left a message on the CE phone line and received this response by e-mail that attests to Casual Elegance excellent customer service:

The heavy paper patterns are not intended to be pressed. It is not like the thin tissue paper. Loes always suggests copying the pattern so you don't lose the original as a reference - especially when tweaking a pattern. We have found that most experienced sewers do that. The new patterns can be flattened enough to copy. I have traced copies of all of the new patterns and have had no problem. I work with a ruler in my hand (what Loes does) when copying which helps keep the paper flat as well as tracing a more accurate line. I also use weights along the edges to keep the paper flat. We have sold a TON of these new heavy paper pattern.  We have had some people request to get the 'old' patterns in the heavy paper form!


If your pattern is too damaged to use, let me know. I will send another one complimentary.

I responded last evening:  

Thanks for the response Sharon.    

I always measure the pattern pieces to compare to the fit of similar garments, then trace that size using Pattern Ease Pellon tracing medium,  preserving the original since I might need another size,  or to do a tweak.  Due to the deep creases in the folds,  I really had no alternative but to press those areas,  never thinking the ink would come off.     Recommend you put a sticker with a notice on the pattern explicitly saying "Do NOT Press"  this paper.

In this case the pattern was damaged with the lines blurred and smudged because most of the ink came off on the iron (dry of course) that I used to press it .  It's difficult to distinguish the different size lines now so I would appreciate the replacement that you offered, and that I will try to smooth out rather than press.


The pattern ease was not posted.  Since the ads, newsletters and women who sewed a version of it said these new patterns are more fitted (vs the model photos) I traced the size medium as best I could discern from the remaining lines,  and cut out the dress front and back.   I stabilized the shoulder seams with fusible knit stay tape and pressed them over my ham since the shoulders and cap sleeve is curved.   I serged the side seams together before stitching the seams.  I did this for two reasons -- first the serger acts as an even feed foot,  keeping the two layers of the rayon jersey together;  and 2) I could try the dress on and determine the width of the seam allowance I should use since this is my wearable muslin.   It was clear that I should have cut a size small so I sewed a larger seam allowance and then serged the excess off.    The dart in the dress center front is an interesting design element, but more needed to be taken in.    Note that the three photos above are with just the small dart at CF.

To take in the excess ease,  I used the checks as a design element and sewed up a tuck in the center.    I used 1/2" Steam-a-Seam lite on the neckline (also acts as a stabilizer) and fused the hem with it - no top-stitching needed.    Love that stuff!   I stitched the armholes from the inside using the 2x2mm zig zag.   Even with the larger seam allowances and adding the tuck at the front there is still too much ease for me.  Well I thought I was tracing the medium..... definitely next go around, I'll start with size small.


  1. I fell in love with your dress. The fabric is so cool! Perfect for this dress. Sorry to hear that the print on pattern is such an issue. I like this pattern.

  2. I like this dress in the black and white, Terri!

    And I had a similar pattern problem several years ago with a Decades of Style pattern. The ink didn't come off completely, but it definitely smudged, and I did clean my iron before I pressed anything else. I've not had that problem with Jalie, whose patterns are also black ink on heavv white paper. Nor with Hot Patterns.

  3. I called CE today and left a message about this.

  4. Me again with question. I loved this fabric so much I had to buy it. Did you line this at all?

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  6. Hi Linda - I didn't line this dress and it's opaque enough for me to wear in warm weather. I'd just put a nude slip under, but you decide. I washed the dress with some other things in cold water and it did have some shrinkage, so I recommend prewashing the rayon fabric in cold water wash.

    This fabric has lots of possibilities, so stay tuned because I'll be making a top and I'm thinking a shortened SW Lotus Skirt with this -- using a black ribbed stretch fabric for the yoke.