Friday, March 28, 2008

Jump up!

I had enough fabric left after the green dress to make this cute little jumper. I used the bodice section from this pattern. The skirt is my old standby skirt pattern.

And here it is.

I narrowed the jumper straps by folding the pattern pieces before pinning and cutting. I just eyeballed the width but they came out okay. They are a little more triangular at the top and narrower at the bottom than I wanted. Next time, I’ll simply use a standard belt pattern, made slightly longer, and cut it in half. Rectangles are your friend.

The bodice went together practically by itself. I’d made it once before and it was much easier the second time. I hardly had to glance at the instructions. I wish the straps were a little wider where they attach in the front, but that’s what I get for measuring with my eye, instead of a measuring tape.

The skirt was super easy too. Of course it’s easy when you use the same pattern over and over again! I use modern McCalls 3830 any time I need a straight skirt, despite the fact that it sits a little lower on the waist than I like. The low-waist issue ended up being a bit of a problem when it came time to attach it to the bodice.

The skirt front lined up perfectly with the bodice front. But, somehow, I ended up with a full inch of extra skirt fabric in the back. I considered taking in the side seams, but that would have messed with the front alignment. I considered adding extra darts in back, but I thought it might make the butt too puffy. My butt is already puffy enough, thank you.

The obvious fix was to take in the extra fabric by re-sewing the center seam. Hooray for neglecting to cut the rear center seam on the fold! I carefully measured and re-sewed the center seam but I still had about half an inch of extra fabric. A tiny gather halfway between the center seam and side seams on each side fixed that. The side seams match up perfectly now and there is no obvious cheat. I feel like I’m getting better at this.

The fit is perfect. Not bad for a Franken-dress. It must be pretty alright because whenever I talk about starting a new project, MD suggests that I, "Make more stuff like that green jumper." I feel good.

Friday, March 21, 2008

More Stash!

I seem to be getting over my aversion to pack-rattiness. I’m not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing. But I am sure that super-duper discount pricing is very hard to resist. Here is some more stash from

I bought six yards of this baby-whale leopard corduroy! I’d really like to get a jumper, pencil skirt, and either capris or skinny-legged trousers out of it. Since there is nap to think about, I will probably have to choose two garments to make. Even then, I’ll have to be very careful when cutting to make sure I get the most out of my fabric.

Rhetorical question: Is it possible to have too much leopard print in one’s wardrobe?

This teal and yellow brocade was too lovely (and cheap) to pass up, but I’m really scared of it. I’ve sewn with this kind of fabric before but, since I like this so much, I’m afraid it will be all ravely and slippy and my machine will eat it. That would be really sad.

I want to make it up with Butterick 8038, but I’m a little frightened of the pattern too. I’d like to try the full skirted sleeveless version. I’m not sure if the four yards I bought will be enough. Maybe if I shorten the skirt?

Whatever pattern I end up using, a fabric this pretty and shiny should be made into a spectacular piece, not a forever UFO. I’ll have to keep my eyes open for something on Ebay. I’ll be looking for something fabulous and easy. Wish me luck!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Wearable Muslin

Wearable muslin: n (wer-abl muhz-len)
The product of trying to cut corners by making a dress out of a cheap and occasionally inappropriate fabric because you are afraid of just sucking it up and making the dress right the first time (cos its not like you’re going to try and alter the pattern for fit anyway) and you hope that despite kind of cheaping-out, you’ll be able to wear it anyway.

Here is my first wearable muslin, (and, yes, I know "real" seamstresses make muslins all the time, but I am way too impatient for that.) Butterick 6582.

Its not the best dress ever, but I think I can wear it anyway. It looks pretty good with a belt, but not so much on its own. Note to self: Shift dresses are not your thing.

Did I mention that I’m too lazy/frightened to alter patterns BEFORE I cut them out? Once this little number was completed, I had to take it in at the bust and waist and even a little bit at the hip. I probably should have adjusted the darts, but I’m lazy, remember?

Instead, I put the dress on inside-out and stuck pins along the side seams in the places where it was too big. Then I took it off and made sure that the pins were in the same place on both sides. After that I ran it through the machine on each side, using the pins to help me eyeball how far I should stitch away from the existing seam line. Shockingly, it worked! The new side seam is a long curvy line, instead of a long straight one, but the dress fits much better now.

The shoulders are sort of odd. This is probably because I am totally unable to join shoulders properly, no matter how many times I practice or read the instructions. Also, I can’t slipstitch for anything. I try and try and try but I just end up getting frustrated and stabbing myself with the needle and contemplating throwing the garment out the window. So this time, I made the top seam and then sort of folded everything under with the plan to iron it so completely that it won’t dare gap or unravel. (I’m aware this probably will not work in the long run, but I’m at the Throw It Out The Window Stage.)

Overall, I'm happy. I like the color and since the broadcloth is so light, it will be nice to wear in the summer if we have a warm day. So it’s an okay dress. A non-spectacular dress, but a nice one. Certainly a very wearable muslin, as long as you don't look to closely at the shoulders.