Monday, May 26, 2008
Sewing and my projects has kept me sane. There has been much to do and many details to sort out. And I'm a worrier. I even worry about the fact that I worry too much! Sewing has kept my mind occupied and has helped to pass the time.
I'll have email access for another week, but my online time is likely to be sporadic. I have many of your blogs to catch up on, and I will definitely do that once I'm settled in or need a break from the hoo-ha. Rest assured, my low activity at the moment is not due to lack of interest.
Now, up to my sewing room to finish packing all of my things that are NOT being handled by the movers.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Monday, May 19, 2008
Saturday, May 17, 2008
The collar and cuffs are made from the dot dress fabric. Initially, I had some concerns about how the slightly stiff but lightweight fabric would handle the curves. I didn't need to worry, it sewed up beautifully. For the collar, I made the facing piece out of the linen/silk jacket fabric and used fusible interfacing. For the cuffs, both the fabric and the facing piece were the dot fabric and again, I used fusible interfacing for the facing piece.
Attaching the collar to the jacket was straight forward. Everything lined up perfectly and there wasn't any fussing to ease at the back neckline. After seaming, I graded the layers when trimming, longest layer being the one closest to the garment.
Monday, May 12, 2008
I got the dress completed. Thanks for all of the wonderful comments about the crochet edging. It's triggered my crocheting bug a bit and I hope to do more of it for decorative trim work. Paula, I've posted a pic of the pattern book from which I got this design. It's #38.
The thing about these 50's dresses with ginormous skirts is that they require a bit of management. For my skirt management, I stack plastic storage boxes beside my sewing table. This gives extra surface area and prevents the weight of the garment from sliding off of the table and pulling while sewing.
By adding the skirt lining, There was even more weight. I always try to keep my garments as smooth as possible while sewing. Admittedly, I'm slow. I frequently stop and adjust to prevent the garment from twisting and becoming distorted. By doing this, I find that I can sew straighter because the garment lays better. I don't mind that I sew slowly. My priority is try to sew as accurately and straight as possible. Results vary depending upon fabric and design!
After finishing the dress, I moved on to the jacket. The ivory linen/silk blend fabric arrived from Thai Silks on Friday. It's nice stuff! I can't decide if it behaves more like a linen or a silk. It's a bit stiff. This could be good for the structure required for a jacket; I just hope it doesn't end up being too much like cardboard. I'm also thinking about what the appropriate interfacing should be.
I did a quick measure of the jacket pieces and held it against myself to check if any adjustments needed to be made. It appeared a bit big through the back shoulders. I've had this issue before. On dresses with straps or a halter, shortening the straps or neckline pulls takes out the extra room. It's a minor adjustment and I'm not sure if this means I have a sway back, square shoulders or just a small bustline in comparison to my waist and hips (well, I know I do... but is here more to it?).
So I consulted my book "The Perfect Fit" to see what I should do about the back shoulder area. I don't want to add darts to the top of the jacket. The book described how to take out excess by pinching a pleat into the pattern piece prior to cutting. I used this method.
Because the color is a light ivory, I used tailor tacks to mark the darts. I didn't want chalk to stain the fabric.
The pattern has both a lined and unlined version for the jacket. I really don't like unlined jackets. I went to my stash to see what I could use for the lining. Because this is a summer dress and all of the fabrics thus far are 100% natural fibers, I wanted a natural lining as well. What is worse than having synthetic lining sticking to your body on hot day? Blech!
It just so happens that I have ten yards of ivory dupioni (54" wide bolt) lurking in my closet. The color was a perfect match; I didn't want a darker color to show through the jacket.
My goal for the day was to sew all of the darts for both the jacket and the lining. There were twelve in total: two verticals at back waistline, two verticals at front waistline and two antled ones at the bustline. I then seamed the jacket at the shoulders and the side.
Friday, May 9, 2008
So I decided that I would crochet the edging instead. My grandmother, who raised me, taught me to crochet when I was a little girl. She made lots of household things like those dolls with the big dresses to cover tissue boxes, pot holders and dishtowel embellishments that would allow a dishtowel to hang from kitchen cabinet handles. It was the 70's so most of these items were done in various groovy shades of brown, orange and yellow. She also made lots and lots of afghans.
I first was taught around the age of 6, starting off with long, long, LONG chains. It was good practice and helped me get the hang of holding the needle and using my fingers for tension. Eventually, I progressed to curly bookworm bookmarks and then started little afghans of my own.
Years ago, I started a big afghan out of a gorgeous wool blend yarn. I stopped when there were only about 15 or 20 rows left. It sat untouched for several years and I actually finished it when I sailed across the Atlantic in 1992. There's a lot of time at sea and not only was it a good use of that spare time to finish it, but also the afghan kept me warm on many a cold, wet night mid-Atlantic.
Like my sewing, crocheting went by the by for many years, replaced by the pursuit of more adventurous activities during my 20's. However, after my oldest son was born (who is now 10), I decided to crochet the Christening gown. Many folks thought I was mad to christen a boy in a gown, but I didn't care. My grandfather and brother were christened in a gown and I wanted to keep our family tradition, regardless if it was old fashioned.
After the gown, I picked up various books for making ornaments, tablecloths and edgings, and whenever I see a nice crochet yarn on sale that I like, I get it. My stash goes beyond fabric and sewing patterns!
I looked through my edging pattern book "Fifty Beautiful Edgings" and chose the one I thought suited my dress best. While the dress was hanging for the skirt to drop, I spent the last two days crocheting 118" of edging. It actually was good to do. I had a realtor tour on Wednesday so it was nice to kick my feet up for a while when realtors were coming in my house throughout the day.
Before I sew the hem and edging, I need to tweak one little section of the gathers on the skirt/bodice seam. I don't like the way it hangs - there's a goofy little pucker - so I'll adjust it. You know how that is - it would bug me so it's better to just do it now! OK, off to the sewing room!
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Don't get me wrong. I love my husband and children too. But the swiss dot is fulfilling such a wonderful desire. It's the desire of fabric that sews up beautifully. It doesn't stretch or slip, it doesn't fray, it gathers like a dream and drapes gracefully. ...sigh... I love being in love.
This fabric is such a joy to work with that I've hard a hard time walking away from this project. Sometimes I work out of order from the instruction. I've done so with this project, starting with the skirt. I just wanted to get a feel for how the fabric handles, and I always run a few test scraps to adjust the tension.
Because the fabric is very light weight, if the sun is behind you, well... so I decided to make a simple skirt lining. I chose a beautiful tissue weight 60% linen/40% cotton blend. I wanted something simple that would add a bit of structure (so the skirt wouldn't hang limply) and provide modesty, not fight the shape of the skirt and remain cool and breathable (since this is obviously a summer dress).
Sure, I could wear a slip. But this is a classy dress and I felt it deserves a proper lining. The linen/cotton worked perfectly. I simply cut the pieces identical to the skirt, only one inch shorter, then basted it to the top waistline. Doris is modeling the skirt, although it's not gathered. But it does show how nicely it hangs.
The detailing on the bodice is oh so feminine. The back neck is actually seamed rather than having a tie or closure. Pleats are pressed at the back neck seam which makes the fabric go to into flattering and gentle folds down the front bustline. The front neckline has a hemline that is folded, hemmed and then edgestitched.
The bottom of the bodice bustline is gathered. Boy does this fabric gather splendidly! After gathering, it is attached to the midriff section. I took my time pinning and sewing this distinct curve. The bustline and midriff are the main design features and most visible so I want my stitching to be extremely accurate for a smooth and crisp line.
After that, I made up the back bodice. It has two skinny darts, just enough to add shaping. The back is then seamed to front at the sides, leaving the left side open for the zip below the dot.
I tried it on and I'm thrilled that fit is coming out perfectly. I knew from my initial tests of measuring the pattern pieces and holding it up that it would be close and require minimal tweaking. But to need nothing... did I mention that I'm in love?
I finished to this point on Saturday. Sunday we went to Six Flags Great America and had a blast! I did type up a blog entry yesterday, but when I hit publish, I got an error message and lost my post! At that point, my sewing time was ticking away so I left the post for today (which I will copy before trying to publish).
I'm nearly finished with the dress (I finished the bodice facing and attached the skirt) and have been thinking about the jacket. Yesterday, I felt that I was running out of time (because of the impending move) and would have stop with the dress only. Today, I want to make the whole ensemble. However, I've changed my mind about using the blue swiss dot for the jacket (with the tan contrast).
Instead, I ordered an ivory linen/silk blend fabric from Thai Silks. I'll use that for the jacket, and still use the tan dot dress fabric for the collar and cuffs. The dots are in fact an off-white ivory opposed to pure white. I don't know if that's how the fabric was originally made or if it's due to aging. I think the ivory linen/silk will add a real touch of class - well, that's the idea any way.
Thursday, May 1, 2008
I have more of the tan swiss dot than the blue. My plan is to make the dress entirely in the tan. Time permitting, I'll make the jacket in blue with tan for the collar and cuff contrast.