Thursday, February 11, 2010

My first muslin

I have one less tooth than I did when I wrote my last post and one more muslin. I made it, and it seems all right, I guess. The bust seems to be in more or less the right place, and it doesn't seem to be unwearably large or small. I don't actually really know what exactly I'm supposed to be looking at. The most useful thing about making the muslin is that I've had practice making darts, and I needed some. Also, I somehow managed to sew one of the side seams inside out. That's a good mistake to have gotten out of the way. I think it would be nice if the part between the waist and the bust were a little more fitted, but that's beyond my skill level.

I saw my friend Victoria at work today, and she told me that she was sewing a dress for some theatrical production of Beauty and the Beast, so I told her all the above. She told me to check the back waist measurement and she also pointed out that I have rounded forward shoulders and that my left shoulder was higher than my right one. I felt kind of like Quasimodo. But she said she would help me out some. So now I have a sewing coach. Hooray! Victoria was surprised that I was starting with a dress with a collar and set in sleeves and darts and buttonholes. "You're just going to learn everything right off!" she said. I was feeling a little frustrated when I was having a little trouble with the darts and everything, but now that I have someone around to ask questions, I feel a little better about the whole project.

Monday, February 8, 2010


I have a horrible toothache. It feels better when I'm not just sitting around, but I feel so sorry for myself, I can't force myself to go make a muslin of my McCall's dress. I've got a dentist appointment on Wednesday, though, and until then, plenty of Advil, Orajel and cold compresses, and I'll be on the lookout for these:

Saturday, February 6, 2010

A goal

Inspired by this post on Casey's Elegant Musings, I found the film The Women on the internet so I could begin my quest to recreate one of the oddest shirts in the history of fashion:

That's Rosalind Russell in her first scene in the movie. The shirt has three eyes on it, which seem to be shiny and raised. They seem almost like ceramic to me, though ceramic would probably be too heavy for the shirt to support. Did they make eye-shaped decorations out of acrylic in 1939? My mom thinks they're painted on, but that doesn't account for the raised-ness of them. It might be a combination of paint and something like trapunto quilting. The eyebrows, at any rate, do seem to be painted onto the silk of the shirt.

I've always imagined the shirt was yellow, for no good reason. It buttons up the back and there's a gathered detail on the sleeves. Then there's the chiffon(?) cummerbund. The shirt is worn with a gorgeous wool skirt. And that hat!

Rosalind Russell looks quite glamorous in this still (the movie would be PG-13 these days for the cigarette), but in the movie she's not particularly. She wears great clothes, but flops around gracelessly in them, and her character, Sylvia Fowler, is just rotten. But, she's Rosalind Russell, and therefore funny (the scene when she's doing exercises is great), and therefore not entirely hate-able. And she gets her comeuppance (I think; I didn't get quite to the end of the movie last night) so it's all good, as the kids said a few years ago.

It's actually kind of a terrible movie, from a feminist standpoint. The moral seems to be that men are cheaters, so women have to be wily schemers in order to keep their husbands, especially when (other than the inevitable cheating) they're good (rich, handsome, etc.) men. The main character, played by Norma Shearer, is determined that nowadays, when men and women are equals, she shouldn't have to allow her love to be sullied. Poor woman. She learns her lesson.

But, there are some hilarious lines, great performances, a Technicolor fashion show and a cat fight between Paulette Godard and Rosalind Russell. What else does one need from a movie?

Friday, February 5, 2010

Sara the Helper Cat

Who needs pattern weights?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

People who sew

are called what? Sewers? Bad heteronym. Seamstresses? Not if they're boys. Sewing enthusiasts? A little clunky, that is.

My vote is for seamsters. It's a gender-neutral seamstress (as in actor/actress). It's like teamsters (hardworking laborers) mixed with scenesters (really into clothing). Perfect, right? So jump on the seamster bandwagon today.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Decision made

Sew U arrived. I really like it. Lots of great ideas, clear information, realistic about being a new seamster with a limited budget for fancy equipment, fun tone, comes with 3 patterns for basic skirt, pants and buttoned shirt. The only problem is that my enormous bosom won't fit into the largest shirt size the pattern comes in (which is called a 12). I was worried about this, having read several reviews that complained about the issue. I'm not terribly big. My measurements: bust 40" waist 30 1/2" hips 41 1/2". I'm a touch over 5'6". I'm not tiny or anything, but based on most of what I've read lately about the size of the American Woman, I'm maybe smaller than average (for American women), so it is a little irritating to be told I'm larger than large (especially by an American woman; I'm not trying to make clothes from Mrs. Stylebook), but no big deal I suppose. Poor me. I'm an hourglass instead of a pear.

I read a web tutorial on doing a Full Bust Adjustment which says to use your high bust measurement rather than the full bust to pick a size, and that number is firmly in the large category. It seems like a pretty complicated operation, however, requiring skills I'm not sure I have yet. So, I'm just going to make my stripey McCall's dress and see how that goes (and see if I really need an FBA) and get some material for a shirt for my boyfriend and maybe something for one of the skirts in Sew U. I am in line at the library to get Fit for Real People, which I've read is great for, well, the fitting problems of real people. I'm a real person. My problems are real. I can't wait to solve them.