Thursday, August 25, 2011

We interrupt with...Dr Who is back on Saturday!!!

I'm looking forward to a mother/son hour of indulgence this Saturday evening with a new Who.  There will be treats both physical and mental (ice cream!).

And separately, after last weekend's fittings, I felt I could cruise on through to the finish on my outfit.  What a silly girl I am!  After sewing up all but one of the big seams, I find I have finished to do.  Facings, trim, bones, seam's endless.  I am currently making lace for the neckline.  Couldn't do THAT until I could measure the neckline, could I???  And I still haven't even touched the skirt (although someone has...there's a little grease spot).

In the mean time, check out this suit that I want to make so very badly:

Monday, August 22, 2011

Beastly Day, but productive - Lisa

We met again on Sunday for a fittings and a general group sew.  Again, we had a list of things we needed to get done, along with some backup projects in case we were exceedingly efficient.  We weren't.  I feel like I did almost nothing, and yet I think I'm nearly done with the polonaise.  Here's what happened....
(but first, on Saturday night I was inspired to embroider a little squid on ribbon for the center of a bow...and yes, it looks more like an octopus)

I laced up my corset, put on my petticoat with portable bustle, and got ready to fit the polonaise, and mark the hem on the skirt.  I put on my skirt and couldn't hook it.  Hmmmm.  Safety pin to the rescue.  Pinned together the parts of the polonaise, slipped it on and took a picture.  Decided I needed another petticoat.  Hurray for fixing my old petticoat in case I ever wanted to use it again.  Turns out I do.  But wait, I can't hook this one either.  Hmmm.  With one petticoat around my knees, and the other (bustle snapped on) held over my head I re-laced my corset a big smidgen tighter.   And then I shortened my bra straps.  Or rather Rob did.

We fidgeted and fussed with the dart pins.  This pattern (TV 410) effectively has two back seams, two side seams and two darts in addition to the front closure.  Per the directions, the darts are the primary point of adjustment for fit.  This is very important for me because I have a small back, a small rib cage, and a large bust.  The back seams fit perfectly.  I did find it necessary to extend the twill tape that holds the bustle to the back.  It now goes around the front and will be tacked to all seams and boning.  The weight of the bustle pulled the lower back off my actual back. 

We got the darts pinned and went to work on the side seams which shouldn't need adjusted but did.  They fit well in the muslin, but the world isn't perfect.  After the side seams were pinned the darts looked bad.  The lower front was pulling in odd and unflattering ways.  Out came all the pins...tabula rasa.  Robin totally recreated the two darts in front.  The smaller, center dart became longer, and the longer outside dart became shorter and curved out toward the hip.  I know it sounds odd, but it fits like a dream.  In addition, we added a dart at the armscye.  This was only because I have a large bust.  Once that was done, I sewed the darts and the side seams (only to the waist).  Once I pinned on the sleeves, it was clear that they were too wide around the elbow.  I'm going to take them in about an inch.

I looked at a lot of pictures of dresses made from this pattern.  Those pictures and my own experience lead me to think that, while this isn't terribly challenging to sew, it's quite difficult to fit accurately.  Without proper fitting, the polonaise makes one look rather dumpy.  This is to be avoided! 

So with this fitting done, what do I have left to do?  I still have to sew the sleeves including the alteration (which is a pain since they're bag lined).  I have to re-sew the facing.  I did it totally wrong, and also forgot to adjust for the hook closure.  I need to bone the front darts.  And then I need to finish the front closure and add decorative buttons.  And finally, I need to add trim around the hem and at the neck.  Which means I have to make the lace for the neck. 

I never even got around to marking the hem of the skirt.

The Sewing Bee Update - Robin

Today was our "sewing bee". I'd gotten my ball gown skirt to a point where we could check the length. I'd never tried it on with the cage crinoline and petticoat. Lisa check the length and we adjust the waistband to shorten it a bit in the front,leaving the back as is.  How fun is it to sit on the floor, fully corseted, and check hems?  Actually not nearly as bad as I thought.  I figured it was about time to see if I could wear it for more than an hour without going mad.   Rob's skirt is really pretty.  Far more subdued in color than it seems to be in the pictures.  The solid color is very reflective in photos.  In reality, it's closer in color to the stripe on the bottom of the skirt. 
Here we are posing in our pinned-together glory. Lisa's polonaise needed a final bodice fitting, then on to the sleeves. We set up shop in her dining room and sewed all day long, fitting each other as we went. I finished the hem on the petticoat and skirt and had the preliminary fittings for the corset. I fit Lisa's polonaise and sleeves. After the fitting, Lisa decided the sleeves now looked too bulky in the upper arm area. She'll be taking the sleeves apart to take this in, then sewing them back on. Her polonaise looks fantastic.We also fit Valerie's  blouse muslin to her and had Val cut out her own outfit. Fit, baste, fit again, rip it out, fit again, minor adjustments until it all looked good.  This is the second time in a month that I've sat around my dining room table with twenty-somethings sewing, knitting and crocheting.  And just talking about stuff.  It's a lot of fun.  My 9 year old son even hung out for a while.  I'd call it good old-fashioned family fun, but the conversation was a bit more colorful.  We learned new ways to refer to douchey men, new cocktails, and the girls brought wine.  Huzzah!

We spent most of the day in our "fitting attire". Lisa actually sewed all day in her corset and petticoat!

This was an exhausting day but we got a lot done. Just goes to show you, if you want your stuff to fit, you need a friend. I could never have gotten to this point in the ensemble without help.

Yes!  This has been a team effort in fitting, and advice and inspiration.  Quite remarkable from a couple of bossy women.  And a big shout out to Ed, the cat, who ate the large spider that tried to crash our sewing circle.  Thanks!