Thursday, September 12, 2013

Back to work (Eliza-beef-'n) - Lisa

Sigh.  I'm taking a break from fast, fun things and going back to work on my Elizabethan gear.  I've enjoyed making the underthings but so far I have not been inspired by the actual dress.  Maybe because we started these so long ago, and the project keeps being postponed?  Still, this is something we're doing, so I'm back in the saddle.  We recently cut muslins for our bodices and are ready to cut the fabric.  But before I do that, I need to fix what I've already done.  The neck opening for my chemise was too big and I couldn't keep it on.  None of the blackwork showed when I got dressed.  So I'm making it smaller.  What a pain.  Also, I'm aware that the opening should be big but it is too big for my taste.

First the blackwork facing had to come off and be made smaller.  I cut and sewed it back together less about 2 inches of width and 1 1/2 of length.  It was quite a lot, but I wanted to match the pattern on the embroidery as best I could.  I cut close to the turned edge at each corner so it had to be hand sewn to make sure the rough edges stayed turned under. Then I had to add fabric to the neck of the chemise.  Sounds simple, but it wasn't.  It was like adding the neck facing AGAIN.  I didn't want the addition to show meaning there were few places I could machine sew, so I gave up and sewed it by hand.


On to the skirt.  I had already sewn the cartridge pleats to the waistband but the front was... off.  So I put EVERYTHING back on and marked the center front and back a few (5) inches where I want the front to be relatively flat.  Then I pulled all that careful stitching and did it over.  By hand.  Grrrr.  But now it's done and I can hem it and put on trim.  (after I shrink the hoops by about an inch each because of course they are not quite right).  When I put skirt on, the weight of the fabric pushed the front of my farthingale out and I ended up on Margo Anderson's Facebook page where I got a lot of helpful suggestions.  I ended up putting the bumroll UNDER the farthingale which redistributed the weight into the proper shape.  The over skirt is now done.

Next up is the fore panel.  Sad to admit that I wish I'd had more hot glue experience before I started it.  Arrgghh.  I had tentatively hemmed it, but that all changed once the overskirt was completely finished.  I finished hot gluing the black 'gems' and decided I needed to tack 'pearls' around them to disguise the hot glue mess.  Anything in ' ' can also be called 'plastic'.  Though once I got the ribbon trim on, I was pretty happy.

Here is a picture of the bottom half of my Elizabethan/Renaissance outfit.  All done.
I may add more to the forepanel, but I'm pretty sure I want a complete bodice first (wink).  I still need to shrink one of the hoops a little.  And the whole thing still seems a bit too big and shiny.  Probably because it IS big and shiny.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Dandelion - for real - Lisa

the WRONG fabric
I was a test sewist for Disparate Disciplines and made the Dandelion top as a muslin.
Dandelion Pattern
 Recently, Mari invited me to make it for real and join her blog hop.  If you've read this blog at all, you know that I don't sew 'regular' clothes, however, I have never sewn with knits and wanted to give it a try.  And if you've only read our statement, you may have noticed that I have a tough time following directions... So when I told Mari that I wanted to try this pattern in a knit, she told me not to get anything super stretchy because it could create problems with the darts.  I just ignored that.  Really, I wanted to be cooperate, but I couldn't find any fabric I liked that fit the rules.  Then again, I love a challenge.  Besides, I was in the mood to make something purple.

The first challenge was the zipper.  There were no 18 inch invisible zippers at my local store.  There were no 18 inch big, fun metal zippers.  Not in any color.  So much for the 'big silver zipper' down the back.  I got a regular zipper.  It will show on purpose.  Executive decision.

Having already made this pattern in muslin, I knew it fit me without any stretch.  I also knew that it seemed a tiny bit (like 1/4 inch) long in the back, or that I'm a bit sway-backed.  So I tweaked it ever so slightly.  And my compliments to Mari because I am a fitting nightmare.  To be blunt, I'm pretty chubby, with a large bust and small shoulders and back.  I'm also short waisted so my extra poundage tends to hang out in my stomach.  I often cut patterns 3 or 4 sizes smaller in the back and modify to match to the front.  As a tester, I decided to make the original muslin 'as-is' based on my measurements.  And it fit really well.  That's nearly unprecedented.

When you make this pattern take time to match up the pattern pieces properly, mark all the notches and darts.  This is not an easy pattern due to all the curved seams, but it's worth it.  And it's not difficult, just precise.  The curved seams create the shape.    (I mean it!  I will skip steps and take shortcuts any chance I get.  Layout and cutting this pattern is not the time to do this.)

lots of clipping
As before, the pattern went together without too much difficulty.  Seams must be clipped.  And I needed to do a lot of pinning.  I got to the facing and opted to sew it in phases since it I was doing the sweetheart neckline that has so many curves and I am still getting used to using the overlock.  Yup, I have never sewn with knits, and never used overlock.  I was nearly ready to hem, and I thought I'd just try it on.  HUGE.  Really.  I could pull it off and on without the zipper.  It HAS to be the knit because I compared it to the muslin and the difference is insignificant.  (Did everyone but me see this coming?)  I have so much ignorance around sewing with knits.  (Note to self - in future, consider taking advice and following instructions....)
ignore crooked interfacing - I did!

Based on a quick-and-dirty fitting, I needed to take the bulk of the extra out of the back.  This time I basted the zipper with the estimated reduction  (How hard is it to try and figure how much to take in from the center back while you're wearing it?) and it looked pretty good.

bra light!
This wasn't a huge surprise.  I knew I might be adding size based on how I put in the zipper, and with a narrow back that's the last place I need it.  C'est la vie!...  Overconfidence breeds an hour with the seam ripper being very, very careful.  It also prompted me to use a book light in my bra to improve lighting for handwork while watching my son play SkyRim.

I basted the zipper and decided it look better than machine sewn,  so I topstitched it by hand too.  I overlocked the hems and under-stitched the facing.  All done!

Post Script....
I can still pull this on without using the zipper.    I added about 1 1/2 inches in the hem.  I'm 5'10" and didn't want any accidental stomach exposure.  I also took in the seams under the bust  (after the picture) and fully tacked down the facing since the sweetheart portion kept curling out.  I agree that this isn't suitable for a drapey knit unless you REALLY know what you're doing.  But even with all my ignorance, I have a cute, wearable top*.  Please note the exposed zipper - it looks just fine and the back fits well.  No sagging or bagging.  This is a very fun and versatile pattern.  And I easily made it in less than a day!
(Including do-overs and hand sewing).

Go check out all the other great items made with this pattern during our blog hop!


9/3 Wanett of Sown Brooklyn
9/4 Winnie of Scruffy Badger Time
9/5 Velosewer of How Good is That?
9/6 Lizzie of Sew Busy Lizzie
9/9 Joyatee of Joy and Smiles
.... me!....
9/11 Brooke of Custom Style

* you can tell I'm a costumer by my utter bewilderment at making wearable clothes... But I like it and may actually do it again (I'm planning to make the avocado hoodie as soon as I finish my 1920's and Elizabethan projects).  I am also thinking about making this as a dress, but making it tea length because PRETTY!