Thursday, February 18, 2010

When big hips are not so big or The envelope lies

So starting with view A:

 I decided to trace out the pattern rather than used the already cut out pieces because when I looked at the pattern envelope for the measurements I noticed that my hips were significantly bigger than the hip measurement provided for by the patter.  Given that this is a straight skirt combined with my wide hips and well endowed rear end, I felt that a big hip adjustment (my words) was in order. So, I figured out how much to add to the pattern to make the skirt fit over my hips.  I slashed the pattern and followed the directions provided for a big hip adjustment.

I cut out the fabric and first put together the bodice.  It came together quickly and fit very well indeed.  The collar and facing went together with ease.  My first raglan sleeves were a joy to insert.  No puckers here. 

The skirt, likewise, went together quickly.  No problems; not even with the back kick pleat thing (yes that is a term of art in the sewing world).  It is now time to try the skirt on prior to attaching it to the bodice.  You must understand that at this point in time, I was feeling proud of myself.  No seams to unpick.  The complicated collar and neck facing turned out perfectly.  I was amazed that this dress was both coming together quickly and that it actually looked professionally made.

Then .....the horror.....I put on the skirt and...........its ..............tooooooooooooooooo....BIG.  Not by a  little bit.........but by ALOT....super huge amounts of fabric swallowing those hip and rear.  My big hips unimaginably lost in acres of fabric.  How could the skirt be this huge? 

Imagine the stunned look on my face as I gazed in the mirror.  The mixture of horror and amazement.  I checked math and no that quarter of an inch would bring the skirt to my hip size. 

Then came the next 1 1/2 hours of taking in the seams, taking in the darts, making bigger pleats.  I finally got the back of the skirt and the waist to fit.  But from the front, skirt still looked HUGE.  If the bodice did not look so perfect, I would have thrown the whole thing out at this point blessing the good that is $1 yard fabric.  The zipper could be used for something else I could rationalize.  But I loved the bodice.  I had set in my sleeves perfectly, no puckers.  Oh the frustration.

Finally, I made the drastic decision to take the skirt apart and re-cut the front piece to start with to see if that would fix this size issue. 

So unpicking began.  Goodbye nice darts.

The next night the skirt started from scratch.  First the front piece is recut and I basted it onto the back pieces.  Lo and behold, the skirt looked normal and asif it fit.  Now remember, the back pieces have darts which have quadrupled in size and huge seam allowances.  But looking at the front piece, the heavens opened up lighting up my joyous face and I knew that I had to re-cut the back pieces as well.  Goodbye basting and back kick pleat thing; the unpicking begins again.

So the back pieces are recut and then the skirt sewn back together.  At this point you must understand that matching the plaid was just not an option. Taking the skirt to the mirror once again yielded a totally different sight……a well fitting skirt.

Hallelujah… is time to attach the bodice to the skirt with the funky ribbon waistband thing.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Lets Get Started

Just note now, that my titles are going to suck. I am not very imaginative when it comes to titles. So, I apologize here and now but hopefully never again.

I am currently working on McCall’s 5357.

Yes, both views. Actually, I began both views in December but starting with View A, the sheath dress. I had a lovely cottony flannel grey plain in my stash that spoke to me for View A. Starting the sheath dress, in my typical fashion, I impatiently traced out the pattern and started cutting. Did I think about pattern matching? No way! That thought only occurred to me after the dress was mostly sewn. Does this make the dress a wadder, no. If you look at many ready to wear dresses, they do not do any better at matching patterns. Besides, I work in an office where I am the most put together person, meaning sometimes I think I am the only person who put on clean clothes to come to work. So…shrugging shoulders…if I can live with it I doubt anyone else will notice.

While the bodice went together nicely, the skirt did not. I will explain in another post.

View B was begun with a Christmas party in mind. I had a beautiful gingham silk taffeta in my stash that I thought would be perfect. So, again with little to no planning, I just jumped right in. The bodice was traced off and the skirt pieces were merely squares……so off I went cutting away. This time, some pattern matching entered my brain during the cutting process. Want to match up those squares as much as possible.

Wherein you learn a little about me

I learned to sew when very young, about 6 and continued sewing until 8th grade when school overwhelmed any creative activities I might have. This was a long time ago. I really didnt sew again until 1996 when I created a Christmas present. However, I did not have a sewing machine and did all the work by hand. It took months.

In 2000, I was given a relative's sewing machine, an old singer. My parents transported it to their house and I never saw it again. I have no idea what happened to it but I think I saw it at a local thrift store. After the machine was transported to my parents' house, I would regularily ask to have it brought to my house. I needed help with this since the machine was in a cabinet and I have a small tic tac of a car. Every time I would inquire about the machine, a reason was given why I should'nt bother with it. I already had my suspicions that my parents had gotten rid of the machine, but I have no proof even now as to what occurred. I do have an eye witness who would testify that the machine was brought to the parents' house but that was the last time the machine has ever been seen.

Fast forward a number of years to when my mother suddenly announced that she was buying me a sewing machine for Christmas. I asked for the machine which was promised to me. My request was blown off and a new machine was purchased. Its a Janome with a "metal head" which I love since I am a metal head. Must play Metallica while sewing. Once I received the machine, I had no idea what to do with it.

That is until I discovered that I can get vintage patterns on Ebay. Well, I went nuts, buying up all sorts of patterns from the 30's through the 50's. I love 50"s clothing and have a collection of vintage dresses from this period. Once I bought the patterns, what next?? I have to find fabric which resulted into my forays into the depths of the fabric district of Los Angeles. What a trip. I had no idea this area existed even though born and raised here. There is about 5 to 6 streets with wall to wall fabric stores. Almost all the stores have bolts of fabric, some up to the ceiling. You have to bargain and you will rarely see the same thing twice.

So, I have fabric, patterns, and the will to create.