Sunday, July 28, 2013

Relearning pattern alterations for Simplicity 1607

Do you remember this Tracey Reese dress?  I do, and when Simplicity came out with this, I figured, close enough.  I'd change the full skirt for a straight skirt.

Simplicity 1607

Turns out that was easier said than done.

I've gotten lazy and used to how well Burda patterns fit me.  I am one of those lucky few who can just trace off a straight size and get it to work.  I know, don't feel bad for me.  So I didn't know how to make this pattern work.  The bodice is a princess seam pattern and I've done plenty of princess seam full bust adjustments in the past.  But that didn't work this time.

The first time around, I traced a size 6 and added 1 inch through slash-and-spread for a D cup adjustment.  The result (Sorry, no photos.  I threw it out in a fit of rage after cutting it off my body -- I know.  So. Frustrated.) was a floppy mess of some kind of hammock like sack on my chest.  I think it's because the bust point ended up getting shifted pretty high.

First attempt at full bust adjustment.  Bust point shifted up and out of place.  However, I liked how this adjustment tightened the armscye.  That is my ironing board in the background.  Yes, it needs a new cover.
The next attempt was making a straight size 10, which was too big all over (and again, no pictures, because there were too many undergarments showing and again thrown out in frustration.)

The last attempt, which is the closest to fitting (though I still like the armscye fit of the first adjustment) was a size 6 in the shoulders, shifting to size 10 in the bust and below.  This seems to have worked out well, because I do not have the 23 inch waist that Simplicity thinks I should have...  Again, don't feel bad for me.  I ended up borrowing the straight skirt from Vogue 9668, and in my muslin realized that my hips are not a size 10.

So all in all - size 6 in the shoulders, size 10 bust to waist, tapering to size 8 in the hips and below.  So much work.  So many muslins, so many seams to rip and re-sew.  So not surprised that people hate sewing with the big 4.  Don't even get me started on how Simplicity suggests you insert the zipper and then tack down the zipper ends to finish, so ugly and amateurish.
Size 6 in the shoulder, size 10 in the bust and waist.  I don't know how or why this worked.
After this project I'm ready for something easy.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Let's talk wedding dresses!

Enough time has passed that I think I've told all the people who need to know in real life - Lee and I got engaged.  I know this may seem strange to my blog friends, but I'm one of those weirdos who isn't on Facebook so that when Lee proposed around the winter holidays, I couldn't just post a status update (besides, who wants to find out that way?)  For the last few months, I've been catching up with friends and family.  It's been great to have happy news to share and then to learn about what's been going on in their lives.  So... if you know me in-person and this is the first you're hearing of this news, call me!  I have exciting news to share and want to know what you're up to!

All that frontspeak before we get to the good stuff.  We haven't picked a date, but of course, I am thinking of dresses.  I've been looking at ready-to-wear dresses and haven't really been all that inspired.  I guess I'm kind of boring.  I don't want a dress with a train (why would you want to drag all that expensive fabric on the ground?!) and I don't want to look like a layer cake.  Because I have ruled these two things out, I feel like there are few options to draw from. 

Sewing patterns don't offer much interest either, because I think most people either buy dresses or are pretty happy with the standard ballgown, mermaid, or full skirted silhouettes.  And then my moment of zen came to me - I remembered being at the Strand bookstore years ago and coming across a book of Vionnet designs.  That is what I want.

Vionnet on display at the Met.  They probably won't let me borrow this.
Another Vionnet with simple lines and beautiful draping - I love the ombre effect in the skirt.

I almost didn't include this one because of the photo quality, and because it's got Crazy Cape going on but it is still gorgeous and I can forgive the cape.
And so where to start for a dress like this?  After turning up my nose at all the readily available bridal and evening patterns available from Vogue and Simplicity I then remembered that the internet is a big place.  And you can find vintage 1930s patterns somewhere on the internet.  Turns out eBay isn't such a great place.  Etsy is even better.  I ordered one of these to make a muslin.  The reviews on PatternReview aren't exactly glowing but I figure this is worth a try.

OOP Vogue 2241, a reproduction of a 1934 dress. Stunning!
I did keep looking around and hit the motherlode when I found Mrs. Depew on Etsy.  All I can say is this is an Amazing Work of Love.  She is an avid pattern collector turned pattern designer who is digitizing and selling vintage patterns for download that can be graded to any size.  I am intrigued to say the least and will work up the courage to try this.  Sometime soon.  The selection is amazing and overwhelming.  I scoured the internet for that one Vogue pattern but here Mrs. Depew has 4 patterns that I want to try - FOUR! 

And just for good measure because there are other beautiful dresses from other eras:

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Know when to fold 'em (Vogue 1221 and 1304)

I'm the the rebound from a sewing failure - I tried sewing Vogue 1221 (see my first fail here) which just didn't fit although I remade it in a size 6.  It was saggy in the bust, and kind of wide in the hips and the front drape didn't work no matter how much I fiddled with it.  I think there's a reason why the envelope photo shows the model with her hands on her hips.

Maybe V1221 would have worked out OK if I could figure out a way to spend the day holding my dress in place.
Here we have my muslined bodice of the LiaLia dress (Vogue 1304) that I liked so much about a year ago.  I don't think that this is a go.  I still think this is a cute dress, and the alteration to make it work would be pretty easy.  As it is, the seam under the bust falls under my bust, but the top of the bodice... well, I'm sure you're all grateful I'm wearing a bra.  This would be a simple princess seam full bust adjustment, but I'm not sure I'm sold on making this dress.  Maybe for a winter formal event?  It's very close-fitting, boned and lined.  All I can think of if I were to go through the trouble of making it is... sticky sausage casing.  Granted, it's not hot and humid all year long.  Maybe I will adjust the pattern and test it out so that it's ready to go if I want a winter fancy-dress.

Sorry for the blurry Myspace style phone photos.  Sometimes it's not worth the trouble to get the camera out.
I think the benefit of making muslins is that it gives me a good idea of fit (even thought it doesn't always work out - as in the case of Vogue 1221) and have a better idea of what I'm getting into with the finished garment.  I didn't realize that the LiaLia dress is self lined and boned (I don't read the back of the envelope, just like I don't read the introductions in books) or that my b00bs would be hanging out until I put the muslin together.  They're kind of mashed in and up, which I guess I should have picked up on in the envelope photo.
See, it is a cute dress.  Just not what I'm looking for right now.