I didn’t get a lot of time to sew this past weekend. We spent much of the weekend at the creek, checking out the changes winter has wrought (not to mention the changes between Saturday and Sunday!). But I did, in snatches here and there, get started on my (long awaited) Ruby Slip.
After searching high or low, I was singularly disappointed in the lace available to me. (I thought this would probably be the case, but I hadn’t done a truly intensive lace-hunt before, so I was hoping that perhaps I had just overlooked some fabulous finds.)
Apparently, not so. For the record, I carried a bolt of silk charmeuse around Fabricland for some time, looking for lace worthy of it, but how can you possibly sew a silk & lace slip when the only lace available is scratchy, crappy polyester?*
So, in the end, I went with some 4″ wide stretch lace from this thrift store lace bundle, (this pattern is not recommended for stretch lace, nor for such narrow lace) and for the skirt, decided to sacrifice some of a beautifully-coloured (if not so beautiful-feeling) polyester crepe, snared at a thrift store back home last spring. It’s probably not any good for an actual slip, but, well, it looks nice and has the right drape.
Em. So, this is my first time sewing with lace (other than as a trim), and my first time sewing with crepe, and my first time sewing something cut on the bias.
I’ll start with the sewing bits. As I mentioned, my lace was a wee bit too narrow. Fortunately, Sherry on the sewalong linked to this post on piecing your lace if it’s just slightly too narrow. Which is what I did. It’s a bit trickier on stretch lace, which wants to, well, stretch out on you, but by backing everything with tissue-paper (my new favourite trick; just like what Steph does in this post) I got it to work quite well, especially on the White. Unfortunately, something went kfzzzt in the foot-pedal halfway through and I had to switch to my modern zig-zag machine, the Janome. Funny, the Janome has better stitches overall, but I really like how the White handles delicate (and stretchy) fabric with its adjustable presser-foot pressure and semi-drop-able feed dogs. As I understand it replacing foot pedals is dead easy, so I’m not panicking quite yet. For a thrift-store gamble that didn’t initially impress me, I’ve actually gotten quite attached to it, so I hope I can resurrect it without too much trouble.
ANYWAY, so I squeezed the bodice out, and while the join isn’t invisible, it’s subtle enough that I don’t even notice it any more (did you? it’s on the side-front bodice piece. :) )
I had a hard time matching the notches on the skirt, although it’s hard to say if that has more to do with my sloppy cutting (I am better than I used to be, but that’s a relative improvement and I usually avoid slinky fabrics like the plague ;) ) or with the weirdness of bias. The side-seams are a bit woobly, mostly where I narrowed the seams (at the top) and then tapered back to the original seam.
I cut the size 8, which according to the sizing chart should’ve been a bit snug in the chest but spot-on in the hips; I figured my ill-advised stretch lace would probably make up for the difference. As it turns out, it’s snug/fine in the bust, and a bit too tight in the hips. If there is a next time, I will cut a 10. I made a small swayback adjustment (shaved of 1cm from the CB of the bodice, and 1 cm from the CB of the skirt, curving to nothing at the side-seams), but there’s still quite a bit of pooling/puddling above my bottom—which I think would be be fine if the skirt were wider. Look at that backwards-slanting side-seam. And this is after I released the side-seams as much as I could…
The appropriate thing to do, of course, would be to unpick it all, and slice off and re-shape the top as I did for this dress last summer. (I’m not too fussy about the length.) I’m not sure if I have the oomph, though as the seams are already serged and topstitched. We’ll see where my mojo is at in a day or two, because I am really not liking the back view. I’m glad I took the modeled photos, though (even if they required photoshop de-niplifying) because it really brings home the back-tightness issue. And now I can see that the front of the skirt is definitely hanging lower than the back, something that wasn’t obvious when it was hanging on my dressform. Yes, the dubious duct-tape double got some use, although again, her usefulness appears to have been limited. I think in this case because the direction she hangs naturally isn’t quite the direction I stand in. I think the width in the front is fine, it’s just the back which is too narrow.
Anyway, that was a lot more than I was expecting to write about something that’s not even finished yet (and really requires some re-working). At least the bodice (which I had sort of thought would be the worrisome bit) is pretty much perfect.
So, fix the damn skirt, Tanit, and then you can obsess over bows and other pretty finishing details…
And, just because she’s wearing jeans I made her, I’ll leave you with a picture of Tyo re-arranging rocks at the creek.
*Disclaimer: there is, in fact, a very high-end bridal fabrics store in town, which I have not scoped out. I have no doubt they have all the lace and silks I could possibly want. However, they are a) located downtown, where I never go, and b) would no doubt break the bank, so would probably not be the best choice for a first trial of the pattern anyway.