Friday, March 26, 2010

Up Next and on Deck

These are 3 of the fabrics I got from way back in the beginning of February. I ordered them the day I traced the pattern for the shirtdress. I was so naive to think I would need so much fabric so soon. Well, it's now just about 2 months later and I'm finally ready for the next project.

I'm going to use the fabric on top, a tobacco brown linen/rayon blend to make the skirt from Sew U. I will add a self-belt and belt loops and patch pockets. The last time I had a sewing machine, about 6 or so years ago, I made several skirts, one of which I still have. It was the only one that was wearable, really. I made one with the seams on the outside (on purpose; it was deconstructed, you see), and I made one out of fleece, which was too bulky a material for the design. I'm not too afraid of the skirt, having used all the techniques required for the construction. It'll be nice to do a project I don't have to be afraid of.

With the plaid in the middle, a very lightweight 100% cotton shirting, I'm going to make View A of McCall's 6035. The pattern has different pieces for different cup sizes so I'll be able to put off learning how to do an FBA. It's cute, with princess seams, and a collar stand but no collar and short puff sleeves. I've never done princess seams or tried to match plaids. I'm sure nothing about those new challenges will make me want to quit sewing forever.

And then I will do pants with the gray 8-wale corduroy on the bottom of the pile. I suppose I'll do the Sew U ones, since I have the pattern already. I'm not really ready to think about all the difficulties nicely fitting pants are supposed to present.

So that's the plan. Go me!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Finished! The Stripey Blue Shirtdress

At last! I finally completed the McCall's 4769 shirtdress. Is it unwearable? I think so. I actually have it on as I type this, and it's quite comfortable, mostly because it's crazy big for me. It's also kind of wonky in several places. I fudged the collar a bit, the hem is all crooked, the bottom button is just a little too high, and I haven't done a final pressing. I think I stopped really caring at the end because I knew the dress wasn't going to leave the house. It's my new housedress, suitable for doing the laundry in. My boyfriend thinks it looks sort of diner waitressy ("Maybe you could just turn it into a skirt," he suggests) and I see what he's saying. The blue stripes and the stiffness of the material are definitely uniformesque.

It also feels a little Depression era, like a battered hand-me-down, or a dress that used to fit in my richer, fatter days that I can't be bothered to alter. It reminds me somehow of that one Dorothea Lange photo, though I guess that woman's dress actually does fit her.

However, even if it doesn't fit, I learned a lot from making this dress. I put on sleeves, I made a lapel collar, I did buttonholes (which were the easiest thing ever on my one-step buttonholing sewing machine). I learned that I will have to work much harder to make clothes fit well. I think I can do it. Onward I go, to not bigger, but better things!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Real Progress

Well, I made myself do the reinforcing, at last, which, obviously, was quite easy, but then came the horror of the set-in sleeves. Oh, man, those are not easy. I think if I had some person here to show me exactly how to do it, it would have been a lot easier. I didn't realize quite how difficult it was. And how slowly you have to go. I was okay at getting the sleeve pinned in and mostly the basting went well enough, but then, when I did my permanent stitching, I sort of sewed a fold of sleeve into the seam. It took me about an hour and a half to unpick the tiny tiny stitches. I didn't do anything with the dress again for a few days, and thought about making one of the skirts from Sew U with some fabric I got from, but that would have required a trip to sewing store for interfacing and a zipper and I didn't really have the time (There's lots of sewing stores nearby, chains and independents, but I don't drive so going anywhere farther than a mile or so takes hours.) I thought about practicing with muslin, which would have been really great but I didn't want to waste my frustration on something unwearable. Finally, I got a day off yesterday and put My So-Called Life on the tv and just did it. Slowly, carefully, imperfectly, but not so imperfectly that I couldn't move on to the next challenge. This tutorial from the Sew, Mama, Sew blog was the most helpful thing I found to explain the process. There are some videos on YouTube that were kind of useful, too, but I don't have time just now to find the links. Since I took the picture, I have also sewn on the front bands. The next thing was the collar, but it was late, so it's going to wait until the next time. Then there are buttonholes. I'm definitely going to practice those before I sew them onto this dress.

One problem with the dress (I mean, beside my shoddy workmanship): It's way too big! I cut an 18, having an 18-sized bust, but the shoulders and waist are so much wider than they should be. I was trying it on over jeans and a t-shirt and my boyfriend looked at it and said, "That makes you look huge." I told him he's the worst boyfriend ever, then went and took off the jeans and belted the dress together to see if it was any better. It was, but not much. So, I probably won't be wearing it too often, once I actually finish it. Now I know for sure that I have to learn how to do an FBA. That's to worry about for the next project.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

She's lump

I can't seem to get myself started. I spent the last two weeks mostly working and watching the Olympics and playing Plants vs Zombies. I cut out all the pieces for my dress, attached the interfacings, then got completely stumped by the instruction "reinforce to small circles." I didn't know what it meant. The illustration was no help. I could see where the small circle was, but I didn't actually know where to start reinforcing. I tried the internet, but couldn't find the right combination of search terms. My biggest fault as a seamster and as a human is that even the smallest frustration can make me feel like giving up. I just want everything to be easy all the time. And obviously it's not, especially when one is sewing a dress that is not meant for my skill set. After a couple of days of not doing anything about it, I tried Google again and hit upon the correct combination of words ("reinforcing sewing bodice") to find this post which is a tutorial for sewing the lapel onto the exact same dress I am making. The second picture is of the reinforcing. Hooray! But that was more than a week ago and I still haven't done it. I guess I feel pretty sure that once I reinforce to small circles, I'm just going to run into some new proof that I don't know what I'm doing. Lame, right? So.



Maybe. I told the internet yesterday that I would work on the dress this week. I'm saying it again here. The excuses are piling up in my head (I only got 4 hours of sleep, I work 6 days a week, I'm so hungry, I have to clean the kitchen). I didn't call my old blog The Malingerer for nothing.

We'll see what happens.