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!

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.

A Bit of This, A Bit of That

Nothing really specific to today’s post really, I just need to talk out loud as it were to get some thoughts straight in my head – the sewing ones anyway!  I won’t bore you with the others!

Annabelle's Silk

First up is pre-washing fabric and fabric care.  I mentioned this before in my musings about whether or not to sew Pastille in wool.  With your encouragement I’m going to!  I still need to pick Annabelle’s brains on the best way to pre-wash and care for wool as she seems to have it sorted.  Speaking of which she’s done a really interesting post on pre-washing and caring for silk.  Silk is one of those fabrics I’d love to sew something from, but am a little intimidated by.  Not so much the actual sewing as I have yet to get over the hurdle of 1. buying any and 2. pre-washing it and working out how to care for the finished garment!  Annabelle’s post has at least solved point 2!

Seamless' Wearable Muslin - How Cute is She?!

The other is the age old question of to toile or not.  Seamless mused on this (with regards to Colette’s Meringue) and made a wearable muslin of a self drafted pencil skirt.  The reason why I’m thinking about this is that I’m about to launch into the lovely Colette Jasmine.

Colette Pattern's Jasmine

I have a wonderful fabric with a random star pattern that is destined for the final version, but as I’ve gone down two sizes on the Colette chart since I started sewing (Huzzah! Slowly but surely…) I feel I ought to do a test run of at least the bodice and sleeves.  I’ve checked the flat pattern measurements post FBA and it should be OK.  So do I use some cheap blue textured drapey poly-cotton I’ve got in the stash, use up some more old caravan curtains which are uber crisp (i.e. completely the wrong hand for this top), or launch straight into my stars?  I think I’m going to go for the wearable muslin option…  What would you do?

The other consideration is time!  OK, I can hear most of you saying ‘well, duh!  When isn’t time (or the lack of it!) a consideration?!’  This is wear my in progress Minoru comes in to the equation.  Do I trundle on and carry on with the sew along posts or do I just crack on?  There are pros and cons in my mind…

The pros of staying with the sew along are:
1.  It’s a SEW ALONG!  It’s the whole point.  If I was just going to get on with it why did I hoard my materials for at least a month?!
2.  I think I’ll get a better finished item by staying with the sew along and picking up little tips from Tasia and other sew along-ers.
3.  There’s no rush

The cons are:
1.  It’s going to take longer
2.  I’m going to have to keep re-threading my sewing machine as I move between my garments (not really a biggie, but a slight annoyance!)

Ha!  The Pros list is longer and the cons really aren’t that great.  I’ll just have to re-thread my machine between projects and get over myself!

And last, but by no means least, is the subject of interfacing.  I’m starting to dislike fusible interfacing in garments and am erring towards sew-in.  The question is this:  do I go for a synthetic sew in, or do I use some silk organza in my Jasmine?  Or do I go synthetic for the muslin and silk for the stars?!

Right, I promise I’ll shut up now and let you get on with far more important stuff!  If you’ve got any advice on any of my ramblings though – or can provide some clarity I’d love to read your comments!

My Husband Thinks I’m Weird

And possibly for good reason, if you don’t make your own clothes.  Although as fellow sewists, I’m hoping you’ll understand?  I was sitting in the car wearing a muslin, with pins all over it that were shortening in a number of places as well as holding up the hem.  Well, what’s the point of making a coat that you can’t drive a car in?!

I’ve been tweaking my Minoru muslin as I want it to be as good as I can currently get it as it’ll be the most expensive thing I’ve made to date and I want to wear it to death this spring.  I did my usual FBA before even making the muslin and then set to trying to perfect it.

The first thing I changed was the torso length.  I’ve taken 2″ out above the elastic and this has got rid of the weird bunching in my lower back  and the funny sag over the elastic at the sides.

I’ve also taken 3″ length out of the sleeves and now the cuff edge is about 1/2 way down the back of my hand which is perfect for me.

The final change I made was to add some width across the upper back.  Now I do have a slightly broader than average back due to spending about 20 years of my life swimming 3-4 times a week.  And whilst I had enough room in the jacket to reach forward and it would be OK for driving I wanted a bit of extra room.  I’ll be toddler wrestling, dog wrestling and more than likely lunging for either or both whilst wearing the jacket and I don’t want to feel restricted in it at all (or risk pinging a seam).  Plus this was the jacket shell only, so the lining is going to add a bit of extra bulk!

I used a slash and spread method, making sure the spread along the neckline is within the gathering area and then trued the sides.

So, my pattern alterations are:

  • 2″ FBA
  • Reduce torso length by 2″ after FBA
  • Reduce sleeve length by 3″
  • Increase upper back width by 2″

The additional construction steps I must remember when making the real deal are:

1.  I need to stay stitch and clip the armhole curve on my jacket front when sewing it to the sleeve.  The FBA has given it a really tight curve and it was a complete nightmare trying to match the sleeve to the front when sewing the muslin so that seam isn’t quite as it should be!  Stay stitching and clipping will enable me to match the two up properly.  I’ll need to mark the stitching line on the sleeve so that I match the two pieces accurately.  This excerpt from Shirt Making by David Page Coffin explains it well.

2.  Use 3 lines of gathering stitch when doing the neckline to collar.  There’s a section on this in the Colette Sewing Handbook and also on Colette Pattern’s Blog and the difference that extra line makes to the end result is amazing!

So I’m all set now.  My fabrics are all pre-washed and my shell has been proofed.  I’ve got my elastic and zippers I just need to take shears to fabric…

Oh, and decide whether I’m making the hood or not.  I have jackets with hoods, but I never use them.  If they’re removable, I take them off and if they’re in the collar, well that’s where they stay!  So I leave you with this (whilst begging the Mr Shakespeare’s forgiveness):

To hood, or not to hood, that is the question!

Sencha Muslin / Toile

Huzzah!  I have muslined / toiled my Sencha.  I cut a 16 with an FBA.  I’ve also widened and lowered the neck line as the original felt like it was strangling me (a common issue, it seems).

Please forgive the tracky-dacks and the hideous fabric.  The fabric is old, I suspect late 80s early 90s poly cotton curtains from a caravan awning, or tent!  Least ways, something I’m more than happy to hack into!

So, is there anything glaring that I’ve missed?  It does up all the way along the back, no problem.  I think I’ll shorten how far into the sleeve I sew by 1/2″ as it feels a little restrictive around the arms if I stretch forwards.  I may also lengthen it a little, as I hadn’t turned under the hem at the bottom and I actually like this length and don’t think I’d want it any shorter…  Other than that I’m really happy as I did have some major doubts about how well this design would work for me!

So next question is, which fabric should I use?  Some cotton with cherry blossom dotted over it, another cotton with smaller cherry blossom attached to branches, the subtle fireworks or some gorgeous satin printed with butterflies (or they may be moths?)…

Which would you choose?

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!