Monday, May 21, 2012

Endless Frustration...

The pink dress is just about done.  There is a little puckering in the back raglan shoulder seams which I'm not thrilled with but that doesn't bother me too terribly.  My real problem is the zipper... I inserted the zipper, put on the dress, was thrilled with the view from the front and then turned around to a wavy, bumpy mess.

Dear reader, I forgot to interface the seam allowance!  I am most ashamed at this ridiculous oversight and now I will have the great joy of picking out all those stitches so that I can reinsert the zipper properly. 

I also am a teensy bit concerned about the fit in the shoulder because I am having trouble getting the zipper all the way up.  However, my muslin had soooo much extra fabric in the back and shoulder and I reduced the size soooo nominally that for now I am going to chalk it up to the wonky zipper and hope this issue remedies itself without my having to take half the dress apart. 

Wish me luck...

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Beginning Work on the Pink Dress

So yesterday after work I installed the zipper and sewed up the side seams on the blue version of B5710.

(As an aside, I sort of hate calling it the "Pippa" dress even though it would be easier.  Firstly because it's sort of embarrassing for a grown woman to want to dress up as someone from the royal wedding and secondly because the back style lines were really what defined the "Pippa" and this version doesn't have that and the changes in color and so forth make them further dissimilar...) 

While I still need to do all the hand stitching (finish the lining and attach to the zipper, hemming, etc) and the side seams could use some tweaking to improve fit through the hips this was sufficient to allow me to make the necessary alterations to the pattern. 

The fit on the bottom was actually surprisingly good but the bodice was way too big.  I had already deepened the bust darts (accidentally because I mis-cut) and that fortuitous accident resulted in an almost perfect fit through the bust but I had several inches extra in the side seams and literally handfuls of extra materials in the back.  This is actually a pretty common problem for me in that my measurements are really close to the those listed on pattern envelopes but as I tend to be busty and have a little bit of excess in the caboose I seem to be significantly narrower than the pattern companies expect given my size. 

I had originally cut a size 20 in the entire dress.  I kept the size 20 in the bottom half of the dress and graded down to a 16 from the waist up but continued to use my accidentally modified size 20 bust darts.  I still suspect that I will have excess fabric in the back but I think I'll be able to remedy that when I install the zipper and I can always add some darts in the back to remove any extra material.

I also raised the neckline of the bodice by an inch and a half.  Seriously, the neckline on this thing is LOW.  And I am not usually one to shy away from a low neckline but this was low and quickly veering toward inappropriate in that the top of my bra was fully visible.  Additionally, since I am adding a lace overlay to the bodice I wanted it a little higher so more of the lace was visible under the cowl.

I also added some extra length.  When I cut the blue version I added three inches of length to the skirt and that resulted in a skirt that hit just under the knee before hemming so it will likely wind up just at or just above the knee.  As a longer skirt will help create a longer leaner line, for my final version I added 5 inches to the length suggested by Butterick for view A.

Then I cut into my incredibly slippery, expensive, and difficult to handle fabric.  I used weights rather than pins because I didn't want to mar the fabric too much.  In the end I came up a bit short (probably because I purchased the amount specified on the envelope and forgot to get excess to accommodate my alterations).  In the end I had to cut the bodice in two pieces and create a center seam but since it's fully covered by the lace, I'm not overly concerned. 

Assembling the bodice (especially said lace overly) is far an away the most challenging part of this dress so I'm glad I got that portion completed.  The lace didn't wind up completely symmetrical in the shoulder but I think I can fudge it a bit and get it to lie properly once the sleeve fronts and backs get attached. 

The lace actually isn't quite as uneven as it appears in this picture... I'm just not very good at pinning properly. 
Once the bodice was fully assembled I attached the skirt and the sleeves so the front is now fully assembled.  On the blue dress there was some odd puckering happening around the sleeves (not enough to make it unwearable just enough to bother me) so this time I completely skipped the stay stitching and the results were much smoother.  I started preparing the backs but decided that at two a.m. I had done enough for one day. 
So far I am really pleased.  The curved front seam is incredibly flattering and while this silk is an giant pain to work with, it drapes gorgeously.  I love the vintage effect of the beaded lace.  My only concern right now is that the beading sticks up enough to give a weird pebbly texture to the the drape in certain areas.  I may have to go in once the dress is completed and snip some of the beads that are not visible under the drape to create a more fluid look.   We'll see...

Here's the front, fully assembled and pinned to the dress form.  I think I'm right in adding the additional length as it creates a better proportion.  Nobody wants to look stumpy in bias cut silk!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Progress on the Blue Dress and Other Weekend Projects

So the blue silk "wearable muslin" of Butterick 5710 is coming along.  The fronts and backs of both the lining and the fashion fabrics are assembled.  Really all that's left to do is tweak some fitting issues, install the back zip, sew up the side seams and hem.

Here is a close up of the bodice, not yet fully pressed and understiched, but you get the idea.  This fabric also has a little more heft than the pink silk I'm using for the "real" version so I think that the cowl will be a little drapier on that one.  And I'm glad I did a practice version because the sleeves may have to be altered someone (and as other bloggers have previously pointed out, the directions on the sleeves are wrong.)  I'm starting to wonder whether I should have bought the StyleArc version of this pattern, but the Butterick only cost $1.99 at a JoAnns sale and I tend to want to spend my money on beautiful fabrics rather than patterns.

Here's the dress so far draped over my poor dress form and hanging limply due to lack of proper pinning.  But you can see the lining I'm using peeking out which makes me happy.  I picked up a poly charmeuse a while back in an online sale (don't remember where) because I liked the print but in person it was just way too loud and shiny to actually use in my wardrobe.  However, I do love me some loud and shiny linings... it's a little bit of secret happy when you get dressed in the morning!

In any case, progress on the dress stalled when I picked up some bright fabrics to make a Mother's Day gift...

My Mom is going to Hawaii this summer, so I decided to make her a colorful beach bag for her trip.  I busted out old faithful B5475 (of which I've made several versions at this point, versions you don't know about because I'm a bad bad blogger...) and constructed this colorful tote using outdoor canvas from the home decor section of JoAnns.  For some added luxury, I lined the bag in the leftover silk from my blue dress.  It was the perfect color and there wasn't enough of the fabric left to use for anything else so I decided that lining a canvas tote bag in silk is totally normal and appropriate.  

Not the greatest picture, I've had to take all these on my phone...
 And of course I made a little matching change purse with the remnants (also lined in silk).

I'm pretty sure my Mom liked it and it will be a fantastic and colorful accessory to carry with her to tropical paradise!  

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Upcoming Projects

I am attending a couple weddings this summer so I decided it was an excellent excuse to make myself a pretty new dress.  I ultimately decided on view A of Butterick 5710.

According to my tape measure I shouldn't need too many adjustments here.  The bust may have to be altered slightly but I decided to make a wearable muslin out of some silk twill I picked up for next to nothing on Fabric Mart.

I've already cut out my pattern pieces and will cut out the lining and start construction tonight.  After any adjustments are made I will be making the final dress out of this pink silk and lace.  I plan to use the lace as an overlay on the bodice (underneath the drape) ala the beautiful version of the StyleArc Pippa dress as made by the lovely proprietor of Georgeous Things Blog.  The fabric was acquired from the fabric store at Virginia Marti.  The store is tiny and the stock is limited to fairly high-end apparel fabrics but somehow I always find exactly what I'm picturing when I venture in there, and usually a few things that are nothing like what I pictured but too beautiful to pass up.

Sorry that this photo is sideways... I took it on my camera and cannot for the life of me figure out how to rotate it.  I can get the picture rotated upright on several different computer programs but it keeps reverting back when I load it onto the blog.  Ah, technology!

I also have some cream silk lining but it's not interesting so no picture!  Finally, while I was at the store buying my pink silk and beaded lace I also bought two yards of another silk that I have yet to figure out a purpose for:

It was so pretty and so soft and I had visions of a cute a-line sundress.  And in my haste I only bought 2 yards instead of the 3 that I actually need.  So my options are go back later in the week (after payday, ahem) and pick up the extra yardage I need or figure out a new purpose for this super-cute fabric.  We'll have to see what I decide...

Friday, May 4, 2012

New Vogues

The new Vogue patterns came out relatively recently... It may have been a week or two ago by now, but I just had an opportunity to look through them and boy am I impressed!  There is a good mix of interesting fashion forward peices and well-cut basics as well as four patterns that I consider "must-haves" and will be picking up next time Jo-Anns runs a sale!

My top four, in no particular order are:

The photos don't really do it justice... why do they always obsure the best design details with a busy print? Dear Big-Four pattern companies, I don't know who makes these decisions but it drives me batty. But just look at that line drawing!  While I think this pattern definitely looks work intensive, it also would be incredibly flattering.  Line Art
I love the entire Vintage Vogue line, but I think this would be super cute in a crisp cotton for running errands on a lazy summer weekend.  And just look at that back!



V1297Line Art

This isn't my usual style in that I tend to prefer a bit more structure, but something about the stripes and the bizzare draw-string pockets are really calling to me.  Now this is one where the line drawing makes me think "heck no, I do not need that much extra volume on my hips thanks," but once done up there is something incredibly chic and easy about this. 

And finally,



A classic Chanel cardigan jacket has been on my longstanding to-do list, and I love the Claire Shaeffer patterns.  I always learn so much from just the directions that it almost makes it worth buying at full price! 

Which reminds me, it's been over a year since I tackled V8333... I have done all the hard and time-consuming tailoring but it's been languising unfinished since the move.  I'll have to get on that.  Also, I definitely need to post the many, many projects that I've completed since I bought my new machine two months ago.  I not only created some fun things for me, but I also costumed an entire show, building a good portion of the clothing.  Pictures to follow... I promise!