Sunday, October 28, 2007

Am I Blue?

A new project, finally! I finished this one almost two weeks ago but I've been so darned busy with my new job that I haven't had a chance to post anything.

I used plain ol' cotton broadcloth that was on sale at the discount fabric store. I bought four yards of sky blue and four yards of grass green. I haven't decided what to do with the green yet. I just got a ton of patterns in the mail so I'm sure I'll be inspired in no-time.

For this dress, I used one of my favorite patterns again, McCalls 6566 view F (not shown) with a full skirt, scoop neck and short sleeve. I'd made a sleeveless, narrow skirted version before and it was wonderfully simple to make. The pattern was just as easy to use this time and is just as flattering. I'm learning that a fully gathered skirt doesn't really work on my body type. A full skirt with a flat front like this one looks much better.

I didn't have any major fit problems except for where the shoulder and sleeve meet. I used my "take up the shoulder to make the bodice fit better" trick, as usual. When taking up the shoulder in a sleeveless dress, it doesn't really make any difference, as far as the size of the arm hole. When you need to attach a sleeve later, however, it makes things a bit more interesting.

At first the sleeve was way, way, oh way too tight for my sausage-like upper arms. I let out the bottom seam of the sleeve a little and it works much better now. Unfortunately, the sleeve does tend to rub my skin under my arm. That will almost certainly make me sweat. Thank goodness for dress shields. Sweat stains are not a good look.

Saturday, October 13, 2007


I just got a bunch of patterns in the mail! Yay! I'll post pictures later. I am getting a cold and sitting in front of the computer is making me grouchy. In the mean time, I thought I should at least post this one, cos its silly.

Notice anything odd? The dress is lovely, yes, but is the girl on the left flipping off the girl on the right? Is there some kind of red v. blue rivalry at work here? Some kind of couture gang activity?

Perhaps the pattern artist was having a bad day? Maybe the girl in blue resembles someone in the artist's life to whom he/she would like to send a subtle message? "Hey boss lady, here's what I think of your deadline!"

I guess it could be unintentional, models make all kinds of weird hand gestures. Whatever. The sleeve art just, straight up, rules. The dress is pretty good too.

I've got a backlog of projects at the moment but if I was going to make this dress, I know exactly what I'd do. It would be a great winter dress in shades of pale pink and chocolate brown wool gabardine. I'd buy enough of each color so that I could make both views of the dress. The narrow skirted version would be pink with a chocolate band and the full skirt would be the opposite. Yummy.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Flummoxed By Fabric

My mom is bit of a pack rat. When I was a kid I remember we had this giant cupboard in the hallway that was bursting full of things that would never see the light of day, but could also not be tossed out OR used for anything. They were important items to be saved for some inevitable rainy day. Some day we would need a large cardboard box of US Army medical supplies from 1970. The plastic suitcase full of old 3x5 cards was a must have in an emergency.

A lot of the cupboard space was occupied by boxes of fabric. Yards and yards of dusty polyester blends, cotton quilt prints, silky satins, and knits. Sometimes when my mom was out, I'd pull one of the boxes down and play dress-up with the prettiest prints. Or, I'd choose something plain that wouldn't be missed and cut it up to make doll clothes. I always got in trouble. Mom apparently needed all that fabric for something very important. But she rarely, if ever, sewed.

Probably because of my mom's pack-rattiness, I have a rule. If I buy fabric, I must use it before I go on to the next project. At the moment I'm stuck.

I still have two of these panels from the Picnic Blanket Dress project that I am totally unable to do anything with. The diagonal stripes have got me completely puzzled. I have no idea how to cut a pattern out of this fabric without ending up with a mess.

I'd like to make this dress (View 1 minus the sash) using the red band near the top as the bodice and the stripes as the skirt but I'm just not sure how to manage it.

I also have this lovely Chinese print jersey.

It was in the "please buy this crap and get it out of our store" pile that sits by the door at Discount Fabrics on Irving Street. I think it was $1.99 a yard so, naturally, I bought all of it. I think I ended up with 3 yards, about enough to make a relatively simple dress.

I really want to make this dress with it.

Alas, I've been told that jersey and raglan sleeves are not compatible. Also, I read an article that said that jersey should be lined or it stretches. I detest lining. I also hate making muslins, but I may give in and make a wearable muslin if I can find a brown or black jersey in a similar weight and knit.

At some point, I'll have moment of inspiration (or recklessness) that will enable me to get up the courage to pick up the scissors and start cutting. I may have to start another project while I wait for that flash of inspiration to hit. Until then, both of these fabrics will stay folded up in a neat pile on my sewing table. I can't possibly put them away somewhere to become "stash". Stash is simply not allowed!

I envy the girls who have enough space, and a lack of neuroses, to allow themselves to cheerfully fill closets and cupboards with rainy day fabrics. I just can't do it. Although, somehow my no stash policy doesn't apply to my rapidly expanding accumulation of hand made dresses. And don't even get me started on my shoe collection.