Procrastinating

I’ve finally hemmed my dress and I wore it to work yesterday.  I hope to get some photos over the weekend as it is pitch black when I get home in the evening.  The mornings are chaos; so whilst the light is gorgeous, getting me and boy out of the door by 7:30 is, erm, interesting!

But that’s not what I’m dragging my heels about.  The scuffing in the carpet leading to my sewing room is all about the P word.  Peony.  Yup, the dress that seems to be the hardest dress to get the fit right on.

I know I’ve already made one version here.  But believe me that the fitting for that was dirty.  I literally graded between two sizes, sewed the thing together and wore it.

There are a number of things that are ‘off’ with it.  The shoulder seam is on the outside of my shoulder rather than on it.  The armscye ends somewhere around the middle of my bust.  The darts are close to being in the right place but are too high. There’s also quite a lot of excess fabric under the girls which needs sorting.

So, Saturday night (in the company of Strictly) I sat on our living room floor and re-traced the pattern.  I traced the correct size according to my high bust measurement and then did a proper FBA.  I tissue fit the bodice, marked my apex and then sorted out the dart placement and shaping.  All my usual fitting adjustments have been made; front, back and sleeve.

The flat pattern adjustments are done.  Finished and finito.

All I have to do is make a toile of the thing.  And that’s where I’m dragging my heels.  I’m scared that I’m going to get stuck in a hideous round of toile after toile after toile of this dress – which is ridiculous really! 

I guess I’m judging the pattern by its reputation rather than trusting it and my adjustments.  Seriously, there are four darts in the front, two in the back, two side seams and two shoulder seams.  I’ll then have a reasonable idea of where its heading.  If it looks OK I can put the sleeves in and then it’s final tweak time.  It’s not a lot of cutting or sewing.  Maybe an hour?  Two at most?  Definitely no more than an evening anyway!

Sheesh, I should just get this done.  I could be cutting wool and lining within 24 hours if I stop procrastinating and even have a dress within 48…  Time to stop dithering and get on with it…

And if you fancy some a stitchy surprise under the tree in December, have a look at the Sew Very Merry Christmas Swap I’m organising – Just under 10 more days to add your name if you fancy it!

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Vogue 2903 – Fabric

So, back to Vogue 2903!  As of Saturday just gone I’ve got three weeks…  Eek!

On the Wednesday after we’d returned from holiday I had a day off where I was by myself. Much as I love Husband and Boy, it’s nice to have some alone time where I can get things done and think clearly.  As this was all prior to the bombshell weekend, thinking revolved around fabric for V2903.

I knew that I agreed with you all that teal was the colour to go for, so armed with my swatch I went off notion shopping.  I’d intended on getting lining, underlining, thread and zipper, and then ordering the dress fabric.

In the end I ended up buying the fabric for the dress from a home-dec fabric store!  The sample above is the best representation of the colour…

This is what I chose.  It’s a teal dupion style fabric with a slight sheen/sparkle and a slubby texture.  It’s actually several shades darker in real life, but the bright sunshine has kinda bleached out the photo!  Like the taffeta I was originally looking at, it’s entirely man made (polyester) but has more weight than the taffeta.  It also drapes better, presses pretty well and basically I love it!  I hope you don’t mind me going off piste a little?

I also aquired some lightweight calico and dress net to underline with.

And some lining.  Both the lining and dress net were described on the bolt as ‘petrol blue’ but I love the tonal aspect as there’s wasn’t a perfect match to the dress fabric.

Gah, the flash has bleached the colour on the dress fabric AGAIN!  It’s three different colours in three different photos!

On the way home I also bought some fabric dye.  Looking in my bag of fabric on the way back to the car the natural calico fabric was just too jarring against my teals and petrol blues.  OK, it’s only an underlining and the dress will be lined so no-one’s really going to see it.  But I’d know.  And the more I thought about it, the more it was bugging me!

So, after pre-washing the calico I took my first foray into dying fabric.

Just as a note:  When they say wear gloves, wear them!  I stuck my hands in for about 30 seconds and the blue has only just (10 days later) come off my cuticles.  For several days it looked like I may have a slight circulation problem with my hands!

I also finished off my flat pattern adjustments.  Please be aware these are just to fit my body – the pattern its self is really well drafted and goes together well (it did at the toile stage, but I’m ahead of myself…).  Here’s what I changed:

Full Bust Adjustment
Sleeve width adjustment
Shortened the bodice by 2″
Took 8″ off the drafted length of the skirt

After the toile I also added more of a curve under the bust and at the waist.  I’m also going to use the narrower yoke, rather than the wider one.  I thought I’d prefer the wider yoke but I was wrong!  Heh, another good argument for the toile – you can check that you like the style decisions that you’ve made!

Tonight is fabric cutting and basting the dress fabric to the underlinings so that the dress fabric is on the outside, then the dyed calico and the dress net uppermost.

Sencha and Bust

I’m suffering from a lack of discipline in the sewing department at the moment.  I’m not starting a project and seeing it through before starting another one.  So as of this evening I have:

  • a mostly (apart from the hem, and a bit of stitching of the facing) finished Crescent skirt
  • a muslined but in need of some serious downsizing and flat pattern altering Beignet
  • and now a fully bust adjusted Sencha, in need of a muslin

See, can’t finish one project without starting another!

Well, casting a veil over my lack of focus, this evening my project was altering the flat pattern of the Sencha top by Colette patterns.  I’m probably looking in the wrong place but I couldn’t find very much in interweb land about doing a FBA on this pattern, but here’s the only one I found:

The Naked Seamstress’ post.

And what I did was different!  Because I’m like that.  And because I read the section in Fit for Real People about a billion times before doing this and trusted that their technique was the right thing to do!

Slashed, spread and pinned

So here’s my slashed, spread and pinned traced pattern piece (I get the heebie-jeebies just thinking about doing this to an original pattern!).  I traced a 16 going by my high bust measurement of 43″ (the 16 is for a 44″ bust).  My full bust measurement is 47.5″ so I need another 3.5″ of room in that department.

I followed the Y Full Bust Adjustment in Fit for Real People which is recommended where you need to add more than 1.5″ (I needed to add 1.75″).  I also followed the instructions for a dart less, cut on sleeve bodice:

First off was removing the sleeve.  There’s a tiny green mark where the bottom of the sleeve meets the bodice.  I also had to make a note which was the top of the sleeve, not in the instructions, but good to know later!

Slashed, spread and pinned - is this any clearer?

I also needed to work out where my apex was and draw a line from that to somewhere along the side seam.  I chose about an inch below where the sleeve joins the bodice – no particular reason, it just seemed right.  When I make the muslin I’ll find out whether that was the right thing to do (I may want a steeper angle to my dart, or need to move it so that it points to my apex properly).

Now that I had a dart line I could follow the instructions for the Y adjustment.

I drew and cut a line (1) from the hem up to the apex and then continued that line at an angle to the centre of the shoulder, stopping at the seam line. I spread this apart 7/8″ between the centre front and the apex and pinned it into place.

I drew and cut a second line from the apex to halfway(ish) down where the sleeve was (1a).  This was all the way to that edge but leaving a tiny bit of paper for a pivot point. I spread this apart 7/8″ from it’s starting point and then pinned so it couldn’t move either.  I’ve now got 1.75″ extra room at the bust.

I cut from the side seam almost to the apex along the dart line I drew earlier, again leaving a tiny bit of paper to pivot (2). I then moved the side that’s closest to the side seam so that each side of line (1) was parallel.  More pins.

I drew a final line parallel to the waist line, above the tuck marks, from centre to the gap created by (1).  I then moved this part down so that the cut edges remained parallel and the bottom hem was smooth.

Next I filled all the gaps in with paper, trued the lines and created the dart ‘wings’.

Altered Sencha pattern view 1

I also taped the sleeve back on, truing as necessary.  I hope the photo above shows you what has been added!  So I’ve got another 1.75″ each side at the bust (3.5″ total), plus another 3.5″ total at the waist.  This will fit, but with only 1″ ease at the waist, so I may add a little at the side seams, pivoting out from the armpit.  But I’ll muslin it first with generous side seams and go from there…

Apologies for the lighting - inside and at night does not make for bright photos!

The other thing to consider is the neck line.  A lot of people have commented that it’s very high and can feel choking.  I’ll leave it as is for the muslin and if I’m not a fan I can then mark out where I want it to be with tape and transfer that back to the pattern front and facings.

Assuming I don’t get distracted again?!  I really should make a list of projects and fabric and put it somewhere I’ll keep seeing it – my sewing room door maybe…

Hurrah! And Botheration.

Well, it’s lots more HURRAH and only a little bit of botheration really.  With lots of exclamation marks and smiley faces and happy little jigs.

Ah, yes.  It’d help if I told you what this was all about!

I had traced my beignet pattern and graded it as per my measurements from a couple of weeks ago.  Well tonight I finally got round to making up a muslin of the skirt and dang me if it isn’t too big!  And too big pretty much everywhere too! See – told you it was all about HURRAHs!

So I re-did my measurements and safe to say they are definitely smaller than what they were.  Even after eating dinner.  So I now need to do another muslin (hence the botheration) on a straight tracing of the pattern – no alterations should be required…  So I now need to un-alter my traced pattern, pull apart my muslin, re-cut it and re-sew it.

You never know, I might actually then be able to cut my skirt out of the fashion fabric!

Ginger Catch Up

Rutland Water on a Very Windy Day

We had a pretty good break in Rutland with cycling and exploring.  Plus a few mishaps!  I lost a contact lens so my sight wasn’t great as I’d forgotten to pack my glasses, even though I’d put them out and it was a tad windy.  OK, very windy and there were concerns about the awning blowing away or getting ripped.  It was so windy that it ripped the door of the Land Rover out of my husband’s hand so that now needs repairing and means it doesn’t shut easily.  Plus some family drama that kicked off at about 8pm last night, and is still rumbling…  But it was good to get away, honest!

Now that we’re home, apart from unpacking and the usual washing and sorting that goes on, I’ve been playing catch up with all of Sunni’s Ginger sewalong posts.  I thought there’d be three or four as I’d only miss two days of the sewalong.  How wrong am I?!  Sunni has been providing so much information it’s un-real.  So catch-up has been a bit of an undertaking.  And I’m not fully caught up yet.

So, following Sunni’s posts, here’s what’s on the to-do list:

Picking the size of the Ginger that I’m going to sew.  This isn’t as straight forward as I’d like it to be.  My hip measurement falls within the size chart.  My waist measurement definitely doesn’t, in part because I’m overweight (although working  on it) and in part because my stomach will never be the same post baby.  Sounds like an excuse, but also a fact of life.  In full disclosure, my waist (which is somewhere between my ribs and hips, but pretty indeterminable) is 46″ and my hips are a whole 1″ bigger at 47″.  From the back of the pattern you can see that my hips are an 18 which is 48″ and my waist aint even on the chart.  The 18 waist is 38″.  One day it will be though.

So once I’d had a mope and felt sorry for myself then hacked off about it, I traced the pattern so that I can keep the original intact.  I then slashed and spread all the pieces as I’m going to need to add 2 1/2″ to each of the 4 skirt panels to equal 10″.  I did the same to the waist band pieces.  This makes the waist OK, but has blown the hip by the same amount.  So I’ll need to cut the waist at the size 18 lines and grade to the hip of a size 6 on my new slashed pieces.

This is probably making absolutely no sense at the  moment!

Then there is the whole what length to make the skirt issue.  I want it to hit mid-knee, so I might have to shorten it.  I think about 21″ will be about right which is the size 0 cutting line…  Anyway, my height isn’t going to change, but when the rest of me does I can just dismantle the skirt and re-cut the pieces to make it fit.  See, I have a plan…

Sunni then did a really helpful post about the colour of the zip and thread and how important that choice is.  I had to go for a lighter coloured invisible zip as the next shade was brown.  Having looked at her examples though I’m really not sure and think I may be getting another zip that’s a better match…  Or at least darker!

So, now I’ve actually cut the traced and altered pattern out it’s time to make up a muslin to see if these changes actually work out!  That’s my plan for tomorrow evening as it’s getting late already.

Sunni’s done a post on cutting bias stripes (something for later down the line I think, I can’t find a stripe I like at the moment…)  Then it’ll be on to cutting out my fabric for the real deal skirt!

Tomorrow, according to the time-table, it’s invisible zipper time!  I’ll be able to practice on my muslin which is good.  Using the zip that’s the wrong colour!  Thursday is Gertie’s guest post (I am so so excited to read that one!) and finishing the waist band then Friday is hemming and final finishing!  We have a bank holiday here next weekend too so if (who am I kidding?!) I’m still playing catch up I should be all done by the end of the weekend!