Tag Archives: in progress

Jumping in

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So sometimes, you make a muslin, and then another one. And sometimes you get cocky and fit as you go. And then sometimes… You throw all caution to the wind, and just sew.

It occurred to me sometime after I painstakingly cut out the entire dress single-layer that, while I may have the Simplicity bodice block figured out, I probably shouldn’t be quite as cocky about Butterick. The last Butterick pattern I made myself was my winter coat, which is a bit of a different creature. And the way this is constructed I may not have any idea what it’s doing fit wise until I insert the zipper. So I may well be making a meticulous disaster. Ulp.

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I tackled the most terrifying part of this dress yesterday—those folded cups. I got it into my head that I should pad the cups, partly because I’m using a really soft cotton for the contrast bit and partly because the curve of the dart really scared me once I had it stitched up, and this way even if I don’t fill the cups they won’t sag too badly. I’m liking the fit post-padding much better.

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I used pretty much the method Tasia describes here, although I did nothing so responsible as re-reading her post. That would’ve been too easy. Basically I used the liner pattern piece, cut in some kind of batting that was kicking around. I cut out the dart (curving the legs for a nice shape), butted the dart edges and stitched them closed with a zig-zag stitch, and trimmed off my seam allowances with pinking shears. Then I free handed a couple of oval/egg shapes, progressively smaller, to fit inside, also with pinking shears, and hand-tacked them in place. This poly batting doesn’t feather as well as a cotton batting (Read Tasia’s post for a description of feathering), but with the pinked edges I think it worked okay.

Getting the pleats figured out took some more work (and even reading the directions!)… Mostly because they fold in the opposite direction from what I had assumed. Some seam ripping and swearing were involved, and my folds aren’t anywhere near as crisp as some of the other versions I’ve seen. I think it works with my picnic dress vibe, though. It does, right?

Now for the second-most terrifying part of this dress—that bias strap! And then, friends, then… The try-on!

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Premature Corseting

Butterick 4254

Butterick 4254

Despite a number of itty bitty things like, oh, not having ANY actual corset supplies (except eyelets, I do have eyelets), guess what I did when Osiris’s best buddy dragged him out of the house today, leaving me alone for HOURS?*) I make a mockup of Butterick 4254. After I deflated the mound of empty boxes that was occupying most of my charming new sewing dungeon space, and got the one machine that I have over here set up.  I have traced out View C, which is about as simple as it could get.

Before even starting, though, there were a couple of things I wanted to do. First was shorten the pattern above the waist. I took a 2 cm tuck across all of the pieces. The grainlines on some of them are really weird. Any experienced corset makers reading—should the grain lines go up and down relative to the piece, or relative to the corset overall? Shouldn’t those things be more or less the same thing? I confused. Anyway, for the mockups I went with the grain as drafted.

I read all the reviews on PR. Some (who appeared to be the more serious corset-wearers) found that the pattern lacked compression (i.e. it’s drafted at zero ease, not with negative ease at the waist. So the size 10 (the largest size in my envelope, and a size smaller than I normally make) has a 25″ waist, as drafted. Me being me, this is plenty of compression. I was a little less sure about the bust and hip, but willing to go with it. Several people said they found the corset short, and since I had just shortened it further, I figured I would extend it by a couple of cm all around the back.

I did not make one of my staple adjustments—a swayback adjustment. I did, however, add a bit of extra width at the high back hip.

And I made a mockup. As per the suggestions in Linda Sparks’ “The Basics of Corset Building,” I added a 2″ panel to the back where the lacing will be. Since I haven’t got a busk (see above about having no actual corset supplies), I subtracted the seam allowances and cut the front on the fold.

I’m torn on the whole busk thing. On the one hand, that’s a lot of money and effort and waiting (I would have to order online) for my first corset. On the other hand, I’m aiming for that Victorian corset look and as far as I can tell, they were all about the busks. Anyone with actual historical-fashion expertise (as opposed to my rather lazy google-fu), please correct me if I’m wrong. And yes, I’m aiming for at least superficially historical here. Why? Well, basically my mother’s been involved with a local small museum volunteer type thing for yonks, and there’s a possibility we could maybe develop a “pioneer sewing” program-type component and, well, I’m having visions of everything from treadle-sewing workshops to steampunk picnics when (if) summer ever comes, so yeah, I’m feeling historically oriented with this project. Vaguely, anyway.

Version 1

Version 1.0

Anyway, about that mockup. Will you ever forgive me for these horrible dirty-bathroom-mirror fitting photos? I may never forgive myself. Especially the back photos, which I took with the reverse camera on the iPhone, which has crappy resolution and no flash. Anyway, so, bust fit seems ok (recall that since the top and bottom of the corset are bound, there’s no seam allowances to fold under there). Waist fit as well—it’s tighter, but it’s supposed to be, right? It’s just below the waist everything goes, um… yikes. Ok, so obviously my hips are not appropriately Victoriany. But the biggest thing, really, is that weird length thing from front to back. The corset, from the illo,  is supposed to arc up over the hips, and down in front and back. Well, I have the back bit just fine, but the front? WTF? So, obviously I will be lengthening the bottom of the front. Like, a couple of inches.

Anyway, I took in the loose wobbly bits below the waist, probably a total of about four inches.

And then I stitched down my seam-allowances to make boning channels. Except I have no boning (not even zip ties) to put in them.

Version 1.2

Version 1.1

Nonetheless, I think the results are MUCH better (OK, not trying it on with seam allowances out probably looks better, too. It’s just much easier to make the adjustments with seam allowances out.) I think the fit over my hips at the side is spot on. I’m a little more worried about the back—it’s doing its usual sway-back wrinkle, assisted, no doubt, by shoddy pinning. Will the boning smooth it out, though? Or should a corset be “fixing” my little posture problem, anyway? For that matter, how appropriate *is* fitting a corset? I mean, isn’t the point of a period silhouette that it squishes you into ITS shape, not the other way around? Thoughts?

The altered pattern

The altered pattern

Anyway, here are my pattern alterations, to the extent that you can see them in the dappled daylight on the kitchen floor. I guess I could’ve moved them to a better spot on the floor, but that would’ve required, y’know, forethought. The red outlines my post-fitting changes, both where I slimmed the hips and my length extension in the front (on the right). I suppose I should really do a second mock up to test that length alteration, but I’d really like to plunge ahead and cut my real fabric. Not that I have proper coutil or anything, either, mind you.

*Just for the record, I love my husband. I love spending time with my husband. I love that he wants to spend lots of time with me. But right now, he’s getting a lot more alone time during the day, while I’m spending my day surrounded by and interacting with people, and while my introvert/extrovert ratio is pretty close to even, the fact that I’ve had NO ALONE TIME EVER for seven or eight months is starting to take a toll and I’m really wishing to just have time to do my things. Like sew.

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Interlude

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Leggings for Syo.

Wimping out or taking a quick break? That is the question. This morning, rather than taking on the Dress of Irksomeness, I hunted around for a project that would be quick and satisfying, ideally that could be executed without changing the thread in the sewing machine. I settled, after rather more futzing than I care to admit, for Kwik Sew 1670, and (yet) another pair of leggings for Syo. The last ones I made her are probably the single most-worn item in her wardrobe this winter, since she’s decided she only wears leggings, and she could really use another pair. Well, another five pair, frankly. But we’ll start with one.

I re-traced the pattern and made a few changes this time. I had already narrowed the size 8 and lowered the rise in the front for a more “modern” fit. This time I lengthened the leg (the originals were drafted for 3/4 length, but frankly it’s full-length weather here, and will be a while yet, and I curved in a bit more in the thigh area, since they’d been a little loose there  in the past.

No cute motorcycle photos this time, alas.

 

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Hang Time

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Stitching a lapped, piped seam

I’m teetering in that awful mid-project spot, peeps. I’ve hit a few snags—pattern match? Fail! Where’d all that ease come from?—it’s hard to imagine it being awesome when it’s done. The promise of the pattern illustration has faded, and the reality isn’t winning me over yet.

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Yeah, that pattern. That promise.

Usually, I rely on momentum to get me through this phase (and really, while not all projects have it, it’s pretty common). But I’ve been sewing at the pace of a snail lately, what with constantly running into “I could sew but I need THAT”, with THAT being everything from piping (no, Tanit, one package is never enough) to lining to that pattern piece I had last week, dammit.

And with the whining out of the way—fitting photos! Because that makes everything better!?!

I did do a muslin. Really.

(Click image to view larger)

So, re fit—the left-hand side under the arm is the opening and I did a piss-poor job of pinning it shut, so focus on the right for the fit. Aside from the complete pattern-match fail at back and the fact that it’s way more high-cut than the picture seems to suggest (and no, I did not do any preemptive petiting here), what do we see?. The biggest thing that’s annoying me is that blousing in the back. I don’t get along well with blousing. I can certainly take it in, either at the CB seam or the sides. The waist seems a bit long at the sides, not so much at the CF. Maybe shorten all around the waist except at the CF? The hip yoke seems really short, too. I’m pretty sure I’m going to have to re-cut the skirt pieces as I think I cut them WAY short (since I was expecting the yoke to come down to, oh around my hip crease….) That might be a good thing, though, as I can try again with the plaid-matching. There’s lots of material left, fortunately.

I was planning to not pipe the waist seam (I prefer not to emphasize my waist) but to pipe the bottom of the yoke.

The fact that Osiris got Skyrim for Christmas might just have a little bit to do with my slow going.* I’m a sucker for an open-world Fantasy RPG, even if it does have a few too many load screens… and while the thrill of discovering even more mysterious zombie-filled ruins may not outweigh the thrill of a new dress, when it’s accompanied by hunny-cuddles and laziness, well, I’m distractable, especially when the dress is being problematic.

Bodice, flat.

Bodice, flat.

That being said, I’m cautiously pleased with how the piped yoke went together with the lapped seam—I suck at lapped seams bigtime, but they are infinitely easier with piping and lots and lots of pins. Oh, and a stitch-in-the-ditch foot/attachment, courtesy of my Pfaff 360′s attachment kit (which you can kinda see in the very top photo). I generally pin as little as possible, but I don’t trust myself to keep a lapped seam together without it. There was too much length in the bust panels along the bottom seam, so I wound up gathering them a bit at the lower-centre corner. I could’ve skipped it and just trimmed off the excess length from the side, but I kinda like the gathering. I don’t remember any extra length from my muslin (which I graded differently, /headdesk) so I’m not sure if the problem is the pattern or me…

What do you do during that mid-project slump? I’m fighting the urge to start something else tooth and nail, because I loathe UFOs…

*Seriously, I am the Ultimate Gamer Girlfriend(TM). Not only do I like the videogames… I like watching him play them! Yeah, I know, embarrassing.

 

PS I feel like this was the whiniest of whiny posts ever, and I’ve gone over it fifteen times and I can’t seem to de-moan it any further, so bear with me, k? Or better yet, share your latest whine in the comments. 😉

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Never enough hours in the day

I keep thinking next week, things will slow down.

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The Top of the Queue

Since my mother has been saying the same thing for as long as I can remember, you’d think that I would have it figured out by now: life never slows down. No?

Anyway, there are three projects vying for brain-space at the top of the queue. I hate having multiple projects on the go, but for better or for worse I’ve made baby steps towards all of these.

A vintage Mail Order dress

First up is this vintage mail-order pattern (undated but my guess is 50s?), which I bought from New Vintage Lady last January. Shortly after Christmas I got ambitious and traced it,  and did a quick muslin of the bodice. It’s about two sizes too small, but actually the only snug part of the muslin was the waist (big surprise). So I think I will make it up as is, with short sleeves, and adding about 1.5cm on each pattern piece at the waist. I want to use this aqua plaid cotton, which I originally bought for the Christmas Dress, but deemed insufficiently Christmassy. It’s perfect for the fun grain-playing in this dress. The skirt will need to be a good bit shorter, too. Speaking of vintage details, it calls for a snap placket at the side seam.

Oonapants in progress

Moving on, the dearth of warm tights in my winter wardrobe led to a wild urge to create some awesome Oonapants for myself. Unfortunately (or fortunately), my sensible side pointed out that I have nothing at all in my wardrobe I’d be inclined to wear with Oonapants, not being quite as wild and smashing as the Kalkatroonan herself. Obviously I needed a cute little black dress to showcase my crazy (future) tights. This had me pawing through my patterns feverishly for several hours before settling on the wiggle dress from Gertie’s book, (only shorter) which I bought back in the fall but haven’t actually used yet.* I have a lightweight black stretch twill that would be perfect, as well. It’s traced out and I had pulled out fabric for a muslin as well, but haven’t made it yet. I’m not allowed to buy any crazy jersey for more leggings until it’s made, though.

Vogue 7448 muslin-cum-sweater

And then, the twitter stitchers got going on the coats. I knew there was a reason I stayed away from Twitter for so long…  😉 And Oona (always the troublemaker) #sewingdared me to make a coat. And the next thing I know there’s a hashtag, #sewcoatbuddy, and, well, what to do but pull out the pieces of Vogue 7448, originally made up by Zoe of So, Zo, What do you know?. Which was probably the coolest giveaway I’ve ever gotten. I’ve had the fabric since last year, but finally got lining and interlining just after Christmas. So I guess I need to get moving on that, too, before I run out of winter. Although winter feels pretty endless here right now…

A Birthday Niece

A Birthday Niece

I didn’t manage to get a lot of good shots of Fyon’s birthday dress… but it was well received, even if it isn’t QUITE the cutest thing I’ve ever sewed her. I do have to make a fluffy dress for her little sister, the Waif, now, though…

And I still need a new pair of fleece pants. But that’s a story for another day…

*If I had anything like the brain-space for making resolutions this year, I think I’d resolve to actually USE some of those pattern books I keep buying. I have the Colette book, Gertie’s book, Drape Drape 2, and got a few more for Christmas!

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There is sewing…

Rather feverish sewing, actually. I’m working a bunch this week so the sewing time is tight.

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But, I have made some progress, at least, on my niece’s birthday dress. Still not sure how I’ll handle the dickie… I love the suggestion of an undershirt or slip, but lack ambition. I will do a side zip, though.

And at some point I’ll get to sew for MEEEEEE dammit!

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A Vintage Conundrum

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As things tend to when I’m not paying attention (which is almost always, apparently) a significant date has crept up on me. In particular, Fyon, my five-year-old niece, has her sixth birthday in a week. An auntie-stitched project of some sort is practically de rigeur, of course, but in the past the sheer physical distance meant that delivery dates were, well, flexible. Sometimes six months late flexible. Not so much when we’re spitting distance away.

Happily, it didn’t take much for me to pick a pattern: Butterick 3666*, a darling little sailor dress in the right size that I already know Fyon adores (because a favourite game these days is paging through the pattern listings on Auntie’s phone). Best of all, since we’re currently in the depths of the Canadian winter here, it has SLEEVES. A little more thinking, and a wee bit of fabric enabling, and I had acquired an eyelet cotton for an overlayer and a solid navy underlayer, which will look smashing, I think. Unless I decide to go white-on-white.

But, as I traced off the (uncut!) pattern, some troubling features became apparent. The dress has, um, some very vintage details. Like a side placket that closes with hook and eyes, and a little dickie in the front that snaps open and closed. It brings to mind fond childhood memories of the sailor dresses in my Grandma’s tickle trunk, which originally belonged to my mother and her sister. It also reminds me of how damn annoying those little snaps were, always popping open at inopportune moments and never looking quite as tidy as they ought.

I’ve been wracking my brain, though, and I can’t come up with a way to adjust the closures that won’t require major pattern surgery. A back opening doesn’t work with the sailor collar, and a front opening would be a fairly major design change. I don’t want to make the collar removable, either, because that’s just as fiddly. If it were a dress for me, I’d probably go with the “vintage details” just for the fun of it, but the last thing I want to make my niece is a dress that’s annoying to wear. And I don’t trust that the head opening will be large enough if I sew the dickie in place, although obviously I can sub in a zipper at the side seam.

grum.

Anybody with better 3D reasoning than me (or just more experience with sailor collars) have any ideas? 🙂

*Also, for the avid readers, a part of Carol Evans’ Wardrobe.

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Next Size Up

Patrones Niños

Nigh on a year ago, I made Tyo a set of camo capris. The pattern is from this issue of Patrones Niños, which I got from Her Selfishness back in the day. And Tyo was thrilled, with one exception—the rise at the rear was very low, and tended to give her a wedgie.

The pattern of choice (#12)

Unfortunately, while the capris technically still fit—as in, the width of the hips is still sufficient to go around her hips—the low-riding wedginess has reached a point where she doesn’t really find the first pair wearable anymore. So, a while back, I snooped around my local Fabricland and grabbed some lightweight, vaguely camo-esque twill fabric in a shades-of-blue print, to make a replacement pair. I bought two metres, more than enough to make the new pair plus another later when she grew out of it.

Then I went and made fishing vests out of the stuff.

Oops.

Needless to say, Tyo was not completely thrilled. So this past weekend, whilst she was off camping in the mountains with a friend, I pulled out the scant remainder (just over half a metre) and did my best to eke out the next size up on the capris.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Before we get to the issue of fabric availability, there was the issue of fit. I traced off the size 12 (the first version having been the size 10), but this time I made a few tweaks:

Pattern alterations.

  1. I extended the back crotch to the line of the next size up at the inseam, tapering to nothing along the leg. Hopefully this helps with the wedginess.
  2. I added a generous (2 cm) wedge along the CB curve. I’ve had good luck with these wedges in the past, but I’ve never done one this big. Hopefully this helps with the rear rise issue.
  3. I took not one, not two, but three tucks in the yoke pattern, to help it curve in at the top. I will also be using buttonhole elastic in the waistband, but this will help reduce the excess of fabric above her well-rounded butt.

Due to my vest-making enterprises, it was an extremely tight fit on the remaining fabric. There is selvedge in seam-allowances, and the waistband is in three pieces. Actually, that worked out really well because instead of making buttonholes for my buttonhole elastic, I just left a small gap in the piecing seam for the elastic to thread through. I predict this will be a win. I hope. With any luck. I’ve also added a small amount of piping (piping a random gift courtesy of Claire of Sew, Incidentally, some time ago—Thank you, Claire!), since I find that camo-type prints really make it hard to see the jeans details. Gee, camo making something hard to see!

Not finished.

Of course, I also spent most of my “free time” this past week and weekend madly cleaning house so that the landlady could start showing it, and then avoiding being in the house so as to not mess it up again. So I can’t tell you if my alterations were successful or not, as the new capris are still a goodly ways off being finished. But here’s hoping!

(and thank you, everyone, for the kind words on my last little post. 🙂 )

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Not dead

… just busy.

There hasn’t been much sewing.

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What’s up.

What has been done has been of the lather, rinse, repeat variety, which is interesting only in which new mistakes I’ll manage to make this time. I’m making Tyo’s fishing vest, now that Syo’s has been tested and found adequate (aside from the lack of D-rings, which I will be remedying shortly.)

On the plus side, my father-in-law gave me these cute little black thread snippers. They’re quite nifty. He got them from the fly fishing store, but I’ve seen similar designs sold for sewing, as well.

Also, Tyo found my good fabric scissors! They’re the same ones Gertie uses (I had mine first, or at least had them before she blogged hers) and my god are they awesome. Like, panty-wetting awesome. Ahem. Apparently they were on the basement floor underneath the giant neon-green stuffed turtle. They have been missing since sometime last winter, so finding them is a major relief. Darned turtle.

I’m hoping I can power through the rest of the vest this weekend, although what I’ll do after that remains mysterious. Too many ideas, not enough any time. I foresee lots of fantasy sewing posts in my future. If I can even find the time to write them.

On the subject of fishing (which I know you all find riveting), last weekend we attended the grand opening of the “Kids Can Fish Trout Pond” at our local fish hatchery (what, you don’t have a local fish hatchery?) and, among other fun activities, the kids got to tie their very own fishing flies, courtesy of volunteers from the local Hook & Hackle club.

Fly tying

This was an excercise to delight any crafter’s heart—yarn, feathers, beads, wire, string, glue… it was all I could do not to run screaming*.

More fly tying.

Naturally, Osiris thinks it’s the best thing ever. I think the only thing keeping him from sinking several hundred dollars into clamps, feathers, and wire (I already have a selection of beads and yarn) is the fact that we don’t have anything like several hundred dollars to sink into anything right now. And he’d rather be fishing. But come winter, watch out…

It doesn’t help that the lady helping Syo told her she was a “natural.”

*I have more than enough hobbies, thank you. I feel much the same way about scrapbooking.

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And now for something completely different.

The pattern.

I am a busy woman. I have made promises.

Commitments.

And I have been reminded of them.

Vests kinda like this.

Namely, I said (oh, back in April) that I’d make my kids fishing vests.

Yes, fishing vests. Those things with all the zillion cargo pockets. No, I wasn’t thinking it through. On the other hand, the kids’ ones are insanely expensive.

Vest pattern

So last night, rather than working on yet another dress, I hunted through the box of kids’ patterns and eventually settled on the vest from this one. It’s a size 8, so technically it will either be big on Syo or small on Tyo. I’m vaguely hopeful it’ll fit both*. We’ll see.

The rough pattern

I traced out the pattern along the stitching lines (hooray for one-size patterns!) and started laying out my extras: zipper inserts, pockets, bits and bobs. Then I traced all the individual pieces separately, added seam-allowances, and tried not to flake out about which pieces I need to cut two, four, or eight times. Fabric of choice (at least for this version) is a lightweight not-actually-camo-print twill originally purchased to replace these capris of Tyo’s. Hopefully I’ll have enough for the vest and the capris, because heaven and earth will tremble if I don’t. Before I start assembly I need to pick up a few more zippers (my plan calls for five or six, depending on whether I can locate 6″ separating zippers) and maybe some other fun bits of hardware—a few D-rings, at any rate. I have also written myself out a construction order, otherwise I’ll never remember things like adding velcro to the pocket flaps.

The drafting actually went pretty quickly. We’ll see how I do with the actual construction.

*I should point out here than until Tyo’s recent, um, developments, she and Syo had almost the same ribcage measurement. Tyo is three years older and plenty taller, but she takes after the pear-shapes in her father’s family, with a narrow ribcage. Syo, on the other hand, is leaning towards my kind of broad-shouldered shape.

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