Thursday, April 28, 2011

1940’s Skirt

This is the pattern I am using
This little skirt with the same front and back piece is proving to be challenging.  I thought I needed to add a little bit around the hips based on the hip measurement on the envelope.  Good idea?  Nope because I forgot to re-measure myself.  All the running I have been doing has whittled an inch or so off of my hips.  Yay!  But I had already added to the skirt and cut the fabric.  Oops!

Second problem is the back piece is the same as the front piece and that does not seem to be working for me.  I would like to blame the rather stiff fabric.  But nope, can’t do that!  When I try on the skirt, the front looks great and the back looks like a big old bubble. Because I assume I did something wrong to one piece, I flip the skirt around, since the front is the back, and but it is the same thing – front looks nice and there is just too much fabric in the back.

Nice blue.  If only I can make this work
for me!
I do not know what you do in these situations, but I just throw the project aside and think about starting something new.  Some thoughts have occurred to try and fix the situation.  Both pieces have gathers on either hip so it does not seem as if a dart could be added.  What I may do instead, since I added about 2 inches to the width of the skirt is cut the back up the middle and put in a seam with the hopes of manipulating the seam to get a better fit.

Do you think this will work?  I have only a few days to finish my April skirt.

Monday, April 25, 2011

When Sewing Machines Attack

It wasn’t my regular sewing machine.  It wasn’t even this one; but it was a similar machine.  I had never used the machine before.

It was my second machine which I had never used before; bought as a spare at a garage sale so that I would always have one available.  I was sewing with friends.  Just before the attack, one of my friends noted that this machine sounded very angry.  You know what…it did sound angry.

Little did I know how angry.

A few minutes later, I had my head down lining up a seam and my foot, almost unconsciously pressed on the foot pedal.  I did not mean to press on the pedal at the time.  Why I did, I have no idea.

What happened.  I was too close.  The bit that goes up and down (yes, that is some high tech sewing jargon for you) went up into my forehead.  On this machine, unlike my regular machine, it actually come out of the machine, a little way but enough if you have no idea it is going to happen.  It came out and into my forehead.

Pain first, then blood.  A head wound or maybe a head slice is a better description which leads to lots and lots of blood.  I just sat there, unable to really move with blood streaming down my face. 

Thank goodness I was not alone!  My friends jumped to with paper towels and bandages.  Lots of bandages.

Needless to say my sewing weekend came to a grinding halt!  Yup, no more sewing.  I am now back home with my regular machine but still a little gun shy!  A couple of friends blamed the incident on Skynet.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Skirt with One Piece

Next up is Du Barry 5551 with a copyright date of 1943.

Unfortunately, this pattern was
in this condition when I
purchased it.  I wonder what
ate the envelope
I wanted to give this skirt a try to see if I liked it because I wanted to make a little summer suit with this pattern.  Also, I am running out of time to make my April skirt.

See, one main piece.  Odd!  I get the
need to save fabric but this does not
do that
Turning the pattern over, imagine my surprise when there is just one piece for both the front and back of this skirt.  Let me explain, the same pattern piece is both the front and the back.  Wait….there is a waistband so two pieces.  But the important bit is just one piece.

   Huh?  Really?  How is this going to work

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Jerry Parnis Dress in Action

First off a big thanks to KM for giving me hints on how to research Jerry Parnis.  I am still searching for more information.  KM suggested that I focus on the different trade names used by Jerry Parnis.  It appears that she used quite a few over the years.  Though, I am still wondering why I can find no obituary or something of that nature.

Also, a thanks to Gwen on her kind comment!!

Gotta love the wind!
Maybe I will skip the tennis
shoes next time
I finished the Brown Leaves Dress aka the Jerry Parnis dress just in time for a weekend getaway.  Well, just barely.  I like the dress….a lot. 

Some thoughts:  This was a really comfortable dress to wear; I wore it all day Sunday.  However, I need more buttons down the front because dress kept flipping open in the wind so that my slip was on view.  Not a great look!  I plan on adding more buttons
The pattern

Also, the pockets are problematic.  The best way to describe them is they do not sit just right.  I know this is user error because I have only put in one other set of pockets and they were wonky as well.  I need to work on this.

There is also some gaping.  I think I need to place the button holes closer to the edge of the right front because the front would flip over a little when I moved around.  This drove me nuts.  It was really just at the waist so a few snaps might save the day!  Or maybe some fabric tape.

I also may add some embellishments on the bottom of the skirt.  When I conceived this idea, I thought some brown stripes made on the bias would pull the whole dress together.  I ran out of time to add the bias stripes for the past weekend but in looking at the picture really think it would add to the dress.

This will be a dress that is perfect for wearing around on the weekends! 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Facings Face Plant

Apparently facings confuse me and are not my friend.  Also, I apparently am still unable to read pattern directions or simply have problems with reading comprehension.  Something is wrong.

There I am working on the Brown Leaf Dress, moving along well at the snail's pace that I prefer.  The very first direction given says to attach the front facing.  I did that.  Moving on....the dress is all sewn together; adjustments have been made.  The dress ….well….it looks like a dress.  So, I decide to take that step I really hate to take….. trim around the neckline and clip.  I do that and boy does that neckline sure look nice!

Then....the next instruction says to attach front facing to back facing...what???  The front facing is already sewn in but the instruction shows that it is not sewn in.  What??  I have already trimmed and clipped it.  What to do?

I then have to pick out everything I have done with facings and start over.  This means, I have to put it back together with a smidgen of a smidgen of a seam allowance left after my surgery to the neckline.  Blah...this is so frustrating.  And ah the I was trimming and clipping I was so proud that I was actually doing this instead of ignoring this instruction and the difference the trimming and clipping made to the neckline.  I typically skip the trimming and clipping bit because I am scared to do this because what if I need to make changes later on.  This experience has just reinforced my fear.

Here it is with all the facings catch-stitched
into place
With a new day, I went back and re-read the instructions….this is where reading comprehension is so important (really, I don’t think I have though in terms of reading comprehension since High School which was a very long time ago.  But in re-reading the instructions, the first instruction dealt with only the interfacing, NOT THE FACING.  The facing and interfacing are from the same pattern piece it makes me wonder if all I did was look at the picture without really reading the instruction?!

So when it is all said here is the dress with facings AND collar attached.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Who is Jerry Parnis?

See, it even has a picture of her.
Why can I not find more information about her
and her dresses?

Advance 7065 is an American Designer pattern and the designed of the pattern is Jerry Parnis. 

My search has uncovered that she is the sister of designer Mollie Parnis  (who is quite well known and there is a good deal of information about her), and the sister of Peggy Parnis, a lingerie designer.  She was married to Ben Cahane and worked under the label of Jerry Parnis, Incorporated which manufactured moderately priced dresses.

There must be more information out there but I cannot find it.  I would love to see more of the designs she created.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Interfacing: Sew In v. Fused

I have been reading a lot on blogs about interfacing.  Its time for my 2 cents.

I have always used the iron on interfacing.  It always made me nervous; it also seemed either too heavy or too thin for the fabric in question.  I am lucky, I never had an accident with it nor has it seemed to have shrunk. 

However, after everything I have been reading lately, I went out and bought some sew in interfacing.  I must say, I quite enjoyed using this on the brown leaf dress: both collar and front piece are interfaced.  I felt like I had more control over what was happening rather than just holding my breath and wishing for good things which is what I would do with the iron in interfacing.

So, yes I am a convert.
It looks lopsided but it really isnt!
It is just this photo.

Speaking of interfacing - I have been working on the collar for the brown leaf dress.  Here it is basted on:

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Line Backer Shoulders

Apparently I have these.  

A week Saturday, I went to a class on making an Edwardian waist using a book based on a ruler system (it sounds more difficult than it was).  When it came time to fitting the muslin, out of a class of about 20 students, only 2 experienced extreme fitting problems.  My luck….I was one of the fitting problems.

However, I did learn a lot.  First, I was told that I have broad shoulders….that is only in comparison to my allegedly small waist.  Who knew, because I do not consider my waist on the small side.  I would say it is average.  The focus was on the large differential between waist and shoulders which cause all of my fitting problems.

Remember, that civil war bodice that I have temporarily given up on?  Yup, the fitting issues there are exactly the same.  When the teacher went through and explained how to make the muslin fit, it was downright enlightening.  Really, a light bulb went off and explained so much.  The need to take out inches from side seams was due, as explained to me, to the waist/shoulder differential.

Dress prior to making changes
I learned that a center back seam will assist in fitting this issue without having to make crazy alterations to side seams.  You can bet that civil war bodice is now going to have a back seam.   As you can well imagine, big darts are also my friend!

With the Brown Leaf Dress as I am calling Advance 7065, as I was making it up I found that it was really not fitting through the bust and waist.  Here I was worried about an FBA and it is too big in that area.  Part of this is caused by the dreaded waist/shoulder differential.  So I made some changes to the seams around the waist and low bust area also increasing the darts in these area.

Take a look at this:
Original dart highlighted in blue.
New dart highlighted in purple.  Wow!
That is some difference!!!!

Original seam line highlighted in blue.  The new seam
line in purple.  Take a look at that difference! 
Seriously the darts are an inch width on one side for a total of two inches removed in the waist area from 2 darts on each side.  That’s a whopping 4 inches on each side.  Did I make any changes to the shoulders?? Nope….they fit quite nicely. 

Sewing can be crazy making but you can never say it is dull!