Monthly Archives: April 2015

Again!

Again!

Again!

I couldn’t stop myself. I made another Jalie 3024.

Cute with shoes. Black photographs for shit.

Cute with shoes. Black photographs for shit.

The part where it only takes about two hours from first cut to hemming helps. This version is made of a heavy ponte, which I managed to nab a remnant of the other day. (It being prohibitively expensive otherwise.) I love that I can make this dress from a 1m remnant with room to spare. I made the neckline scoop a little lower this time (I think I overshot a wee bit… Maybe 1/2″ higher next time?).

Light!

Light!

Here’s an overexposed view of the front so you can maybe kinda sorta see the detail, not that it’s a surprise.

I finished it with some more of the narrow fold over elastic Mary of Hey Beautiful picked up for me in one of those rare and perfect moments of internet/real world synchronicity. It’s perfect. Thank you!!! Of course, it’s also black, so all of my attempts to photograph a closeup failed miserably.

Back view. Of which you can see absolutely nothing!

Back view. Of which you can see absolutely nothing!

No back-seam on the skirt this time, just swayback wedges removed from the skirt and bodice pieces in the back.  It’s not overly smooth in the back, but tolerable. I also took it in under the arms a wee bit, as it was sticking out in the heavier fabric. It’s an easy dress to alter. My husband has been mourning the absence of a little black dress from my wardrobe for over a decade now, so he’s actually quite approving of the make. 🙂

And again!

And again!

And then I made another. This one in a blue knit advertised as “crepe,” although it’s really a heavier knit with one side that’s textured to vaguely resemble crepe.

Playing with textures.

Playing with textures, which you can’t really see. (Tweaked to show the actual, royal blue colour. I HATE INDOOR LIGHT.)

The other side is quite shiny and spandexy. I used the shiny side for the waistband and the neck binding on this version. I like the contrast, subtle as it is. To reduce bulk, after I put the first pass of the binding on, I trimmed the binding’s seam-allowance close to the stitching line. This definitely reduced the bulk—here’s hoping that it doesn’t result in a binding failure later on. This knit is stretchier (especially lengthwise) than the pontes I’ve been using, so I made it up more-or-less as the pattern dictates, aside from my scoop neck (I had a wild moment where I thought about hacking a cowl neck, but those can be pretty hit-or-miss and I love a nice, wide scoop of pretty much any flavour. Maybe next time.)

Back. Remains bunchy.

Back. Remains bunchy.

I thought I made my swayback adjustments even more extreme, but it’s still kinda bunchy. Doesn’t bother me in the actual wearing, mind you, since I can’t see it. 😉 Because this is a clingier knit than the others (even though it’s still quite heavy), I had a bad moment while trying it on where it was clinging to every lump and bump in a way that was not a good look at all. Then I threw my Gertie slip on underneath, and all of a sudden everything was just fine. YAY! Which reminds me, man I love that slip.

Ciao!

Ciao!

I still want a red one, and there are some scuba prints at Fabricland that would be absolutely to die for in one of these and why didn’t I scoop some up last month when they were 60% off?!?!?! But I think I may be close to being satisfied… maybe… 🙂

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Cream Lace Ensemble

Ensemble.

 

Wrenching myself forcefully away from historical costuming (who knew petticoats could be so riveting)…I do like cream, and I do like lace. As the whole blog theme may suggest.

I’m not quite sure what to say about my inspiration here. Bombers have been bouncing around the blogs for, well, awhile now, even if the cool kids are sewing the Papercut Patterns Rigel and not the boring old McCall’s 7100. And I totally missed Rigel Bomber January, anyway. I’m not a bomber girl, mind you. Boxy has never been one of my favourite looks. But, well, even I can be swayed by a trend… and I was curious about modifying the usual bomber into a cropped look, because I love me a cropped jacket. I made it as short as I thought I could get away with and still have (semi) functional pockets, but it’s still an inch or so longer than my “prime” cropped zone—but I actually think it may be pretty fun, and a practical throw-on-over-cute-whatever layer, which as an office-dweller I am often sorely in need of.

McCall's 7100

McCall’s 7100

As for nuts and bolts—the pattern is McCall’s 7100. The fabric is a beige scuba-knit bonded to a lace, which has the effect of nearly nullifying the stretch in both fabrics. For my bands, I picked an ivory Ponte di Roma which is stretchier than the base fabric, but also not really stretchy enough for what it is supposed to do (although the pattern calls for “moderate stretch knits” for the bands, not psychotically stretchy ribbing. I checked.) I made the size 10, since I wanted a fairly close-fitting jacket. I shortened all the bodice pieces by about 3.5″, mostly at the hem except for the side-front panel which has a wee bit more shaping than the other pieces, so I took a tuck from the lower part of it. I also lengthened the sleeves about 5″, though I did take 1″ off afterwards. Though I kinda wish I hadn’t.

 

Jacket.

Jacket.

I didn’t particularly like the way the McCall’s pattern has you construct the pocket welts—it’s simple but not the cleanest look. I wanted my welts inset into the seam, which I’ve done before… but not since I made Jalie 2795 for Tyo. Um, that was a while ago (like, it’s been handed down twice since). And I should really have re-read the instructions for that rather than just bumbling along. I feel like I’m doing a lot of bumbling along lately, mostly due to not having the time/energy/focus to actually think through, research, and practice a technique. Not the best for personal growth as a stitcher, /sigh. But I did manage it, give or take a bit of seam-ripping and  rippling and a few seams finished in the wrong order (or not at all).

Ugly inside band attachment. Closeup declined. ;)

Ugly inside band attachment. Closeup declined. 😉

Where i mostly fell apart was actually in attaching the bottom band. I love the little panel of the main fabric at the zipper, and they have a pretty neat method of attaching it, but I couldn’t quite wrap my head around how to mesh that with the stretch band around the rest of the bottom. I mean, it’s together, but the join is ugly as hell inside, and this is an unlined jacket. Blerg. Need to re-read/rethink that a bit. A lot. Before I try it again.

Pockets!

Pockets!

But otherwise, it went together quite easily and I’m quite happy with the fit. The pockets (after all my shortening) are pretty teeny but just barely large enough to put hands in, at least. It’s funny, I don’t really love the shape when I look at it in the mirror, but I feel like it’s better “in motion.” I think I like it.

Jalie Dress

 

Now, I’m pretty sure in actual wardrobe rotation the bomber will be pretty much a standalone piece, but I still had fabric left over, and a hankering for a matching little dress. Tis the season (or almost the season) for cute little dresses, after all. After wrangling bomber most of the day, I didn’t have much energy left, though—all I really wanted was a T-shirt type dress. (Speaking of which, I wonder where my lacy T-shirt-dress is…). After paging through my patterns, I really was feeling Jalie 3024, a cute pullover knit dress I haven’t gotten around to before.

Cute dress.

Cute dress.

The only problem? Jalie 3024 is designed for four-way stretch knits with rather more stretch than either of my fabrics.

After some thinking, though, I settled on some fairly simple alterations.

Tyo catches some good "transition" shots. ;)

Tyo catches some good “transition” shots. 😉

I cut the skirt and waistband pieces (out of the bonded lace) with about an inch extra ease both front and back, and added seam allowance for a seam at the CB skirt so I could add some swayback/butt shaping. I didn’t make any changes at all to the back bodice, but for the front bodice I lengthened about an inch and added a dip below the bust, basically a big fat FBA. (Muahahahah!) I used the ponte for the top as it has a bit more stretch than the bonded lace. I also gave it a scoop neckline because I like them so much better. All of these alterations played hell with the seam lines, but ponte is a forgiving knit and I was able to ease everything together quite nicely.

Back view. Centre seam added for butt shaping.

Back view. Centre seam added for butt shaping.

I’m not usually a big fan of the “dress that looks like skirt and top” but I’m kinda liking it in this case. It needed a bow, though. I’m not quite 100% sure on the location, but it definitely needed it.

As with most Jalie patterns, I’m now feeling the urge to make five more…

PS: First outdoor photo shoot of the year!!!! Hooray for crappy cell-phone-pics with actual good lighting. (I fully intended to use the “good” camera, and pulled the battery out to charge it… then couldn’t remember where I’d actually put the camera when the time came. /headdesk) Also, miraculously the beige colour of the skirt makes my legs look pink rather than fish-belly-white, so I’ll call that a major win. 🙂

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The Never-Ending Petticoat

A flannel petticoat

A flannel petticoat

This petticoat felt like it took forever. Really, I guess it was only a couple of weeks, and much of that was the hem. God, the hem. >_< We’ll get to that.

So in a bid to bring our brutal winter* to an early end, I started work on a flannel petticoat. Maybe it was the delirious speed at which the corset came together, but I was not feeling patient. That was probably a big part of the problem.

Anyway, this petticoat is based pretty much entirely on the instructions in The Home Needle, (p. 37-38). She is mostly describing a regular muslin petticoat (Er, “white skirt,”), but does give a nod to flannel petticoats:

“A flannel skirt is made shorter and scanter, and has a muslin yoke. For this, three yards, or even less, will suffice. The seams, after being run evenly together, are pressed open on the wrong side, and fastened down with the stitch known as herring-bone or cat-stitch. The bottom of the skirt is often finished with elaborate embroidery in silk ; but a neat hem, headed with a row of chain stitching, either in silk or linen floss, is sufficient for ordinary purposes.” (The Home Needle, p. 38)

I managed the shorter, I think not so much the “scanter,” since I pretty much followed her instructions (later in the book) for cutting out a regular skirt, and didn’t down-scale my fullness much/at all. Though I only did one set of side-gores for the skirt, not two. This petticoat will pretty much work over a bustle, whereas I get the impression that most flannel petticoats were for wearing under the bustle, to keep the legs warm. Not 100% sure, though.

A yoke. (rear view.)

A yoke. (rear view.)

So, phase one: I winged a yoke. According to Mrs. Church, a yoke should have the straight grain at the front and be cut in a single piece with the bias at the back—I, however, added a side-seam, because cutting a curved yoke in a single piece like that seems like it wastes a lot of fabric. My yoke still wound up rather over-size, so I wound up taking it in a lot at the back opening. I stabilized the waist seam with some ratty old rayon stay-tape from stash—not period, but non-bulky and thrifty, so I’ll take a half point for that. 😉

My flannel was 54″, and Mrs. Church’s instructions mostly assume a fabric around 27″ wide, so I basically cut it into skirt-lengths and then sliced those in half lengthwise. Maybe not the best way to maximize my fabric usage, but anyway. 😉

Skirt diagram

Skirt diagram

The skirt consists of three gored panels plus a rectangle for the back; the front I cut on the fold, angling from what seemed like a good width at the top out to the full width at the bottom. As per Mrs. Church’s instructions, I cut the side pieces from one length, with an angled line to make two identical pieces, wider a one end, narrow at the other.  The back is just a long rectangle of my fabric “width” (artificially narrowed) x skirt length.

Tucks & lace

Tucks & lace

Since I was going for a shorter petticoat, I didn’t add to the length to accommodate my tucks. I measured, marked the folds, and stitched them in place on the individual lengths before sewing (or should I say, running) the lengths together. Incidentally, just in case I forget this, the formula for the distance between tuck folds is y=3x+b, where y is the distance between folds on the flat fabric, x=the width of the finished tucks, and b=the space you want between tucks. (Tyo is doing linear equations in math right now. 😉 )

Cat-stitched seams

Cat-stitched seams

Once I had the skirt panels run together, I catch-stitched (which I am assuming is the same as cat-stitched) all the seam allowances open. This was the first part that seemed to take FOREVER. They do look nice now, however.

According to Mrs. Church, petticoats which have yoke & buttons (which are better than drawstrings as there is less bulk at the waist) invariably fasten at the back. The only problem with this is that there isn’t any back seam in my petticoat (since I used a single back width). Now, maybe Mrs. Church didn’t mean at the centre back exactly, but I don’t know. However, while Mrs. Church doesn’t cover it, Plain Sewing and Amateur Dressmaking (1887, p. 11) has a brief passage covering how to make a slash placket, which basically involves adding a pleat at the bottom to give you the overlap. I think. It’s possible I am completely not understanding what they described; I did my best to follow along, anyway. I turned one edge of the slash under twice, narrowly, and then make a big pleat at the other edge to cover the gap. It feels pretty much like a cheater’s solution, but it works.

Buttons & placket

Buttons & placket

I put the front of the petticoat onto the yoke smoothly (no gathering), relying on the back gathering to get everything to fit. I kinda really like this method of skirt fitting. One of these days I will work on those crazy Victorian gathering techniques that all seem to involve making multiple lines of perfectly-even stitches and then stroking each of the resulting pleats to maximum perfection before meticulously stitching each one down. For now, though, I just gathered.

Back View

Back View

Because my yoke is pretty wide, I went with three buttons on the back. The buttonholes are hand-worked, not that my hand-worked buttonholes have any degree of grace or beauty; I also worked them backwards, so the edge that the buttons pull against is probably the wrong one. Oops. They are functional, however. They, also, took forever, as did digging through my massive garage-sale-button-stash (thank you, Mom) for the perfect plain white glass buttons.

And now, we come to the albatross, the Waterloo—the hem. Ugh. Scroll up a bit and re-read Mrs. Church’s words: “… a neat hem, headed with a row of chain stitching, either in silk or linen floss, is suficient for ordinary purposes.”

Chain-stitched hem. Started bad, got only slightly better.

Chain-stitched hem. Started bad, got only slightly better.

So, of course, I had to look up chain-stitching, Fortunately, she had a diagram. OK, I can do this. It’s pretty simple. It also pretty much only looks good if the stitches are teeny-tiny short (the fact that I was using cotton thread, not linen or silk floss, might be a part of this), and teeny-tiny-short-stitches were really hard to get through all the thick layers of my flannel. Not to mention proceeding at even more of a snail’s pace. I also (eventually) figured out that the only way I could keep the chainstitch even was to mark its position with wash-away pen… there is some meandering before I hit that desperate point. No, I’m not going back to fix it.

The hardest part, mentally, aside from the not-terribly-decorative nature of my “decorative hem”, was that it’s not an invisible hem. I hand stitch my hems invisibly all the freaking time, and it’s not a problem, but doing this visible hem (and having it not look AWESOME) made me want to stab my eyes out with the needle. Or just run over to the sewing machine and SEW THE FRICKING THING BY MACHINE. Because then it would be done, in five seconds, and LOOK BETTER.

Ahem. But this is supposed to be about the process, right? If I just want to whip up a costume that’s a whole different beast… this is trying to reproduce, or at least experiment with, period techniques.

It's hard to get a good picture of bustle-bum.

It’s hard to get a good picture of bustle-bum.

Anyway, I did eventually get it finished. And I like how it looks, although it doesn’t look particularly like what comes up when I google “Victorian flannel petticoat.” Two more minor things remain: I would like to add an elastic across the inside to pull in the back (as Mrs. Church recommends), and/or some slits in the side so the ties for pulling in the outer skirts in the same way can pass through.

I’m excited, though, to make a light-weight version next, with ruffles on the butt. And a proper bustle, of course. And after that… (ulp!) after that, I have to begin thinking about the dress! O_o

Petticoat!

Petticoat!

*OK, February and the first week of March were brutal. Before and after, the weather has been lovely.

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