Sunday, July 27, 2014

Fit the dress

I was quite pleasantly surprised - the dress fit fairly well out of the pattern paper.  For me.  :)

But this gives you a good idea of what "eh, fits okay" vs. "that's perfect" looks like... I give you before and after.

Before:  I've taken out 2" (per side) of the 3" I put straight down the middle.  Didn't need to be there.  No other changes at this point.   You can see how the dress is basically okay... but nothing to write home about.  I'm wearing my good bra, no petticoat. 

After:  I have put in a 1" slash through the bust seam (how you increase bust size in princess seams, thank you Sandra Betzina).  Snibbled a bit out of the seam above the bust.  Decreased the back waist and the back in general by a good chunk.  Moved the zipper up 4" - might have been the curviest part of the model, but it wasn't doing me any favors there, I could barely get it on/off.  (Hat tip to Lilacs and Lace for the "baste your zipper into your toile" advice - super SUPER helpful).  Snips here, snips there - made the armhole a bit bigger in the bottom, after taking some off the top.  The straps still want to slide off, I guess this will be an off-the-shoulder dress.  Not really a problem over the corset, my straps are somewhat optional.   (Yes, those are some serious tanlines... and no, I don't have a sunburn, I'm just very pink naturally).

Inexplicably, the hem that I oh-so-carefully prepared and measured ended up very uneven.  That's okay, it gave me a very good idea of where I'd like it to end up - it's in the perfect place as is.... so I'll be adding some length to even the longest bits.  (And decreasing the volume slightly.  I want a bit more sophistication for this).

Lesson learned?  Vintage sewing designs are meant to be worn over vintage lingerie - including bras that position your bust in certain places and petticoats to hold your skirts out.  If you want to look right, you need to wear the right underthings.

Oh, and lest you worry about the see-through factor - don't.  This is an old sheet.  Lined (even lightly lined) linen will be much more opaque.  :)

On to the jacket!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Thread tracing: Boring


I needed to get these pieces thread-traced before I forgot my extra seam allowances/smudged my marks up/whatever.  (Mostly I gave myself 1" seam allowances except in a few places where I went for 2").

So ... every piece got outlined.  Just outlined.  In colored thread.   I thread-traced where the pattern had the seams - so if I move something, I should be able to see right where the adjustment goes.  I'll be basting the muslin/toile together in black thread, but that gets basted/ripped out/basted again about a billion times before all is said and done, hopefully this will give me a solid starting point.

But very boring.  Took about an hour for the dress and bolero.  Finished three partial bobbins of colored thread.


I do feel virtuous though... :D

Proportions and Weight

Proportion has some attachment to weight, but it has more to do with your height and the length of your bones and where on your body you carry weight in the first place, as well as where you're delicate.  It has to do with the size of your features and how big or small your head is in relation to your body, how straight your shoulders are, etc etc etc.

If I woke up tomorrow at my goal weight (and magically all my clothing had sized down with me), I would look good in the same lines as I do this morning.  I would have more options  - lots more options - but my basic proportions would stay the same.  Still I wouldn't wear calf-length skirts, still I would wear bracelet-length sleeves instead of ultra-long ones, still I would avoid anything labelled "baby doll".

All women should have some idea of their proportions, of the hem lengths that work best on her, the collars that are most flattering, etc.  We all have something to showcase, and nearly all of us have something we'd like to hide.  This is not body-hatred, this is body-knowledge.  Knowing your body and what works on it helps you like your body better.

So if you hear me say something like, "Calf-length skirts matron-ify me" know that I'm not hating on myself.  And though I try to put such sentiments more gently with other folks, when I say "that shouldn't belong in your closet" I don't mean that you're unworthy.  That piece of clothing simply isn't meant to be part of your life.  There's something else for you - something far more fabulous, that will feel like *you*.

Our next problem - and the reason that I sew for myself - is that it can be something of a challenge to find the clothing that ought to be on your body in the stores.

Note:  This is written to all those with relatively normal weights - not the morbidly obese and not those so thin that their ribs show through their unbuttoned shirt fronts.  But from 20lb below goal weight (or at your modelling gig) to 80 or so pounds above... your arms/legs/shoulders/back are more or less the same.  Limbs visually lengthen a bit when they're thinner, you get more waist definition, etc.  And obviously you can change the shape of your body if you do heavy body-building.  But basically you look like you.  Anyway, proportions change **slowly** when they do change, so you should have a chance to keep up!!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Process: V 2267

Just notes as I go along... and a bit to show y'all what goes into making dresses "the right way".

Here's my mess, after I cut out all the pattern pieces and ironed them flat.

Tissue fitting the bolero.  Uh.  I have no earthly idea how this will work - tissue doesn't drape like fabric.  I figure another inch at the back seam and front seam will be a good start.  Seems to be folding for upper chest decrease already.   Hm.  (Tissue fitting for me mostly functions as a starting point to making a muslin/toile).
Front Bolero

Back Bolero

So.  Just to start - I took 10" off the hem.  Well, 10" everywhere but this piece - I took 9" off the hem here because I removed an inch from the top near the armpit.  I'm short and this is a change that nearly always happens.  This is the side front piece.  The only other piece to receive non-standard adjustments was the center-front - I added 6" total (3" on each side of the center fold).  I *will* be making adjustments to this pattern, but the idea is that I should be taking out fabric from the muslin rather than trying to cut new pieces so I can patch it in.  Oh - I left the hem width the same, even though I shortened it.  If I were interested in keeping the proportions of the dress the same, I'd adjust that too... but I like a wide hem, so I left those alone.  Just drew a straight line from the wide bit you see there up to the waist or so.

I increased the seam allowance to 1" on every piece, which is the "couture standard".  I traced off each piece rather than cutting and pasting - this pattern is a nice one, and it is out of print.  I've mentioned the difference in how I treat patterns based on how nice/rare they are?  Yeah.  This one is meant to stay unslashed and untaped - I can't replace it, at least easily/cheaply, so it's worth the extra work.

As of now, I have the dress pieces all marked and cut out.  Before I do anything else to them, I will thread-trace the alleged seamlines (so I know what I've changed).  I left the hem allowance at 2".  

Didn't get to the bolero ... I'm getting tired and the cutting lines on that are a little crazy.  Don't do fiddly things when you're tired!!!

Oh, I don't do this muslin stuff to the facings and whatnot.  I'll adjust those based off of the outer changes, after I'm done.

The next thing

I had a bit of time this morning... so I started tissue fitting the next dress on my dolly.  This gives me a rough idea of how much messing with the muslin will need.

So... we can see at the outset that I'll want a start of 2" right down the middle.  Perhaps an inch at the side back - but otherwise this size looks like it will fit fairly well.  Oh, and I'm shortening it a foot!  Calf length skirts do NOT flatter me.

It's not that I don't like my calves and ankles - I'd like them better if I were thinner, mind you - they're curvy, muscular and feminine.  BUT - any skirt hemmed between the bottom of my kneecap and the top of my ankle is an instant matron-ifier.  You have slim calves with hardly a swell of flesh?  Go for tea-length skirts.  Not for moi!  Also, this is a solid color.  I usually use a 2/3 proportion on my clothes - so a skirt from waist to ankle is 2/3 of my body, but so is a dress from shoulder to knee.  Longer is good... but would look very formal - too formal for anything in my life.

I was going to make this fabric into a shirt-dress, but realized that this dress was calling it - the shirt dress in ivory linen was going to be too structured, too classic for me.
 This dress should be a staple for date nights and church dressing - and will be a dress I can wear to showcase some of the very pretty necklaces I've acquired and don't really have anything to wear with.    (I'll make the shirtdress up in a patterned voile or something that will move and drape and look organic - not lined linen!).

Here's a pin of the pattern so you can take a closer look.... it's out of print now.

 I'm pretty excited, it has some couture touches *in* the pattern, such as a zipper that's partially hidden in a side-seam zipper, a waist stay, and bound buttonholes in the bolero that goes with.  (Boleros are huge wardrobe builders for me - I wear them with all my little dresses.  An ivory bolero?  Let's just not go there).

So - since this really has the potential for awesomeness, plan on seeing me take my time and do things right!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Just another tiered skirt

Working my way through the Spring Wardrobe Fabric Stash... I got 'round to sewing up the white-rose tiered skirt.  It goes with three (at least) of my blouses and most of my tanktops.

It came out a bit fluffier than my last skirt did.  I wanted more fluff at the hem and seem to have more at the top too!  (I really like a *lot* of fabric at the hem of my tiered skirts - it's like I'm wearing nothing at all, they hold really far away from my legs, and I have loads of room to move around).

 It took me a while to figure out which embroidery stitch I'd use to hem and finish the gathers - somehow this print didn't work with most of the usual suspects.

This is my Zyla "tranquil color" - the color I'm supposed to turn to at the end of a long day, or when I need to chill out and center generally.  We'll see if I find myself reaching for this skirt at those times.  For now, I'm pairing it with an aqua tanktop while I start my day.  Tiered cotton skirts are workhorses in my life all summer long - they're cool, they're comfortable, they launder easily, and they help me look put together effortlessly.  And now I have three... :)

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Visual Discord: Or why I'm such a bossy wench about your clothes

Sometimes I can be the teensiest bit bossy about other people's clothing and color choices.  It's probably annoying, unless you have me along to shop with you, in which case it's annoying until you see yourself in the mirror.  (More than one victim has had this experience, although it's been a while).

The reason that I'm like this is that I see color very well, and I am emotionally affected by it.  Some colors make me very unhappy, some colors please me to no end.  That is a common experience - although mostly people don't notice how they feel around color.  I do.  It's like loud noises - everyone gets stressed out by loud noise, but some more than others.  (Put me on the "highly annoyed" list).

When I see a woman wearing the wrong colors or a style that doesn't work with her self, it's like someone hit the wrong note on a piano.  It makes me flinch.  It's not the woman wearing the clothes.  It's whatever is on her - be it makeup, hair, or whathaveyou.  It's not even me being judgy (although it can lead me there if I'm not careful).  It's just out of sync.  Irritating.

If I had my way, I'd have an army of seamstresses in my back pocket and limitless resources, and I'd just make people new wardrobes as I got to know them.  Really.  If you know me and you're female, it's probable that I've sat around mentally dressing you.  (Hopefully this is less creepy than the guy who mentally undresses you).  I guess I never grew out of playing Barbies.  /shrug.

I can get a good lock on your general season pretty quickly, getting a lock on your best colors takes a few hours and some trial and error, and style a bit more than that - I have to get to know you, and know you in more than one venue.  Reserved or playful?  Soft or efficient?  Do you need all eyes on you - or do you prefer a little space?  But I will play with it unless you stop me.  And until I get it nailed, it will bug me.

You.  Go put on some chocolate colored velvet.  Shoo.  Now you?  Slip into some jeans and a buttondown - stat.  Oh - you're gorgeous.  Here's some leaf-green chiffon.  Yes, wear it to the luncheon.  Go on.

It's like every woman I see is just a symphony waiting to play... if I could just.get.over.there.and.fix.that.hemline..........

So.  I'm bossy.  I know I'm bossy.  But - it's only because I love you.  You're beautiful.  Let's let your beauty OUT.