Now there’s a way to begin a post, by referencing a TV show I never even watched…
Anyway, despite my complete disinclination to do anything yesterday other than read through one of the novels I picked up at VV a couple of days ago, I did manage to get the sleeves on and hem the Simplicity dress. Raising the armscye worked like a charm—it’s lovely, high, and mobile.
As you can see, I opted (after the debate between long and short) for 3/4 length sleeves. This was initially inspired by the fact that as I was cutting there was a perfect spot to cut the sleeve out—but one side was a couple of inches too short due to the uneven cut end of the fabric. But I’m really glad I went for it—warmer than a short sleeve*, but (I think) dodging the school-marmish/little-house-on-the-prairie potential of a full length sleeve with a full-length skirt.
Since this blog is the closest I get to taking notes on my pattern alterations, I’m going to point out a few things about the sleeve again. I lengthened the full-length sleeve 2″ total, one inch above the elbow, one inch below. After doing this, I’d like to add, the elbow dart is in exactly the right position. Hooray! When I converted it to the 3/4 length, I cut off at the upper edge of the forearm “add length here” section. I felt like the sleeve was quite roomy in the muslin, even for a non-stretch sleeve (which obviously can’t be as snug as the knits I’m used to wearing), and when I decided on my stretch fabric I decided to narrow it: 5mm off each side, mirroring the 1/4″** I took off the sides of the bodice, and then I took a tuck of about 1/2″ out of the middle of the sleeve, all the way down. I figured there was more than enough ease in the sleeve cap to do this without messing with the length of the sleeve-cap, and there certainly still seemed to be plenty of gathers to go around. So in total the finished sleeves are about 1″ narrower than the muslined ones. This is perfect for my fabric, but might be a little too narrow for a non-stretch sleeve.
I do feel like the sleeves sit a little far out on my shoulders (possibly exacerbated by my alteration to the back neckline), although if I tug them up higher on my shoulder it seems to push out the sleeve oddly, so I’m not sure which is preferable.
I made the front midriff piece double-layered, to give it a bit more stability and make for a nicer finish inside. It is a nice finish, but it makes for a lot of layers of this fairly thick fabric, especially right under the bust where it encases the gathers. Possibly I should’ve graded the seams in this area. I’m also debating the merits of a waist-stay.
I decided to try a machine blind-hem on the grounds that a) this fabric is quite thick, and b) it hides the thread so well that it would be unlikely to show even if I did a whack job, which I basically did, and c) it just seems odd to hand-hem a stretchy. And it worked out pretty well, so long as you don’t look too close. The nice thing about such a long skirt is that the hem is a long way from anyone’s eyes, too ;). Well, except for the under-2-years age set, but presumably they won’t tell on me. The hem is the 2 1/4″ specified in the pattern, which brings it up to a length which is just shy of floor-skimming when I’m in bare-feet, which seems about right looking at the pattern illustration. Again, this is after I lengthened the entire skirt 5″. Which tells you everything you need to know about how my height is distributed (I know, cry me a river, right?)
I feel like it may be important to highlight a few lessons learnt from this pattern:
1) I really am short in the body. It’s not just in my head. Junior Petite, people, and the only bit of lengthening I did in the bodice I kinda wish I’d skipped out on.
2) especially in the armscye.
3) apparently I like 70s fashion, or at least the dresses. The only vintage patterns I’ve sewn for me this past year have been 70s dresses, and I have another one in stash, too. This is a little hard to wrap my mind around given that I grew up in the 80s and couldn’t even stomach the sight of bell-bottoms until well after their return to popularity in the late 90s.
4) I have neither the right hair nor the right shoes to go with this dress. Well, technically I have the right hair, but not the right hair-cut (nor am I likely to have it again. I love long, straight hair. Just not my long straight hair.). The shoes thing is unforgivable. How can I have no cute, delicate platform shoes? All I have for thick soles is my kick-ass boots, which would be fun but are not exactly period.
All in all? pretty happy camper! Though I’m still not convinced the dress will become part of my everyday wardrobe.
… now to fight down the urge to start working on a fluffy petticoat…
Oh, yes and a few more photos in the Flickr Gallery
*yay! The weather, which has been relatively clement since before Christmas, is reminding us that this is still Canada and winter still has a good two months to mess with us before spring will even begin to get a finger in the door. Today was a virtual blizzard.
** very glad to hear that I’m not the only sewist who flits randomly between measuring systems. Canada officially went metric in the 70s, but somehow it’s never completely taken hold. For the longest time I did outdoor temperatures in Celsius, but indoor temperatures in Fahrenheit, for example.