Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Back in the saddle

There have been so many changes in my life since my last post.  My family has moved from our long-suffered Indiana home to the western suburbs of Chicago, and then again to the northern suburbs of Atlanta.  I had another baby (a boy who is nearly 3... not so much a baby anymore.) And in that mayhem, I wasn't in any position to create much of anything (aside from the errant drop-in studio drawing class-- so I have some charcoal drawings of random naked strangers to show for my absence.) I had tucked my machine away in our tiny Chicago apartment until Easter rolled around this year. My daughter asked if I could make her dress, and I obliged.   
We had a bit of a turquoise theme.  Even my husband reluctantly participated, though I won't post pictures of him for his benefit.  I did not approve the shoe choice... but evidently when kids turn 9,  I no longer have any say in shoe choices.

It was very nice to be back at my machine, and in addition to whetting my appetite for sewing again, this project highlighted my self-taught, rookie habits.  I began studying my nicer professional clothes... how the seams were finished, subtle cutting techniques, shaping methods, etc.  I felt like I had a lot to learn, and was suddenly so dissatisfied with the quality of my me-makes.  I took to the Internet (glorious Internet!) and I DISSECTED every you-tube, blog, online (free) class I could digest.  Can you imagine what people must have had to do before the freaking Internet?  I can't believe all the information I could find at my actual fingertips.  Before long, I was fully immersed in a sewing education that 8th grade home ec simply could not offer.

If you are a home sewist, you probably already know about full-bust adjustments.  You know what?  With the ample bosom I have been cursed blessed with, there is no legitimate reason I shouldn't have known about them.  My novice dress-making skills included cutting the pattern in and out of the graded sizes, but that doesn't work for more tailored or shaped garments.  Enter the full-bust adjustment (FBA.)  I don't need to explain FBA's to the Internet for the eleventy-billionth time.  If you are looking for a good tutorial, there are a couple.  Check Christine Haynes for a good FBA with photos, or another static (excellent) tutorial is here at sewyourboatProfessor Pincushion's video tutorial is a very thorough set of instructions for a specific pattern (Simplicity 2444), or similar patterns.  I'll be blogging about that in the future, but be assured that an angled double waist dart is no easy FBA.

So, armed with my new-found knowledge and a great deal of zeal, I attempted my first fitted dress.  I worked with Simplicity 1419, a Lisette pattern.  I made the sleeveless dress with a peter pan collar.
 It is an adorable pattern, and I love the result.

There is no explanation for the bicycle print.  My tiny Chicago apartment had zero open spaces, so I just moved my dining room table and shot the pic there.  I feel like I fabricated some kind of hipster scene.  I don't even own a bike.

I chose a black-on-white polka dot stretch cotton poplin.  I love stretch cotton poplin.  It washes well, and holds its shape. I had to do a monster fba.  You can see the enormity of the darts in the second photo.  I'm alright with that... 

This could still use a few adjustments.  For instance, there is some excess fabric at the upper bust.  The collar is a little high, and can be uncomfortable (read: if I bend over, I'm choking.)  I would definitely correct that bit in any future iterations. I also had to tack the collar down inconspicuously because I chose a rather heavy bottom weight from my stash, and the peter pan nomenclature became very apropos.  All in all, though, I would rate this dress a success because A. I wear it and B. it fits for real.  Woot!

You probably don't know me, but if you did you would be surprised at my new-found interest in wearing dresses at all.  I just became some kind of girl-acting woman.  To further illustrate that, and to punctuate this post, I leave you with the coordinating nail art I painted when I first wore this dress.
Au revoir!

1 comment:

  1. Bon jour! Pre Al Gore and digital cameras we, of the well endowed, churned out a lot of wadders and ufos, then bought a ton of sewing books natch. Shopping for those also sans internet! I know many whose frustrations led them to quilting, home dec, and sewing for others. I thought I was alone in persisting to sew before the internet. Thank you, Al. Good decision on the shoes. .. hardest part of parenting for me was knowing/learning which battles to pick independent of outside pressures. Having those struggles behind me I think it better to err on the side of fostering her own sense of style and hence confidence. No doubt she will feel those pressures soon enough on her own. You have a beautiful family. Rock on, Mom! I agree with you. .. an overall success with a thoughtful analysis that was spot on. STAY happy and keep learning. (Al's friend) Donna