Monday, August 31, 2009

It's a Housedress!

Thanks to my dear Madeline for this wacky fabric, of indeterminate vintage (1970's?) I used to test New Look 6863.
It worked for me. It has become easier for me to think through making new patterns from my sloper than to take a pattern out of the envelope and pin it down, wrestling with it to correspond to the sloper, figuring out, with the multiple sizes where seam lines are, etc. This is a pattern it would have been simple to just copy but I want to have the skill to alter a pattern as an option. I referred to Nancy Zieman's "Pattern Fitting with Confidence", which re-states material from "The Sew/ Fit Manual, A guide to making patterns fit by pivoting and sliding".
I started by comparing my sloper to the pattern. I lined them up from first the shoulder then the waistline. I decided to use the center front waistline to start my adjustments. I'm 5'4" and that 1 1/2" to 2" difference between me and the pattern companies' models isn't all in the legs. Some of it is in the shoulder area, from nape of neck to under arm. It could also be from under arm to back waist. I think it makes a difference. Things hang from the shoulders but the armholes are anchor points, garment length must be accurate there. It wouldn't do to use that lengthen/shorten tuck positioned in the bodice under the armhole if the discrepancy isn't there. Can you picture the dress with too deep armholes, keeping you from raising your arms, that has you always tugging the waistline into place because you compared your back waist length to the pattern's and shortened it? I think I made that dress___ more than once. This problem would be more pronounced in something with a waistline seam, not this dress.
Looking at the pattern, I cut a size 14 at the shoulders, extending to size 16 directly under the arms tapering out to add about 1 1/2"at each side seam for a total of 3" more width at the hemline. I also added 1/2" to the front waist length alone after I compared my front neck to waist length to the pattern's, making allowance for a C cup.
I traced another sleeve, making it elbow length. In the sleeve cap area between the notches, I followed the size 14 line, extending at the underarm to size 16. If you don't do this, the armhole of the bodice will be larger than the sleeve cap. When I sew this again I'll shorten the sleeves, the length was awkward (you notice I'd already started folding them up) and giving myself a little more ease in the sleeve width. My fabric wasn't particularly stretchy. When it's hot enough to wear this light weight knit, I don't want to feel anything on my arms.
I added the pockets without the drawstring and added 3" length at the hem. I've lived through miniskirts__twice, which is as much as any sane woman ought countenance in my not at all humble opinion. I can't say what men should be permitted when it comes to miniskirts.
On Pattern Review, Sheila457 inspired me to make this dress. Do check out her review here. She uses a beautiful border print that shows this dress doesn't have to be a housedress at all. She also has notes on the neckline construction related to the stretchiness of your fabric choice.
I put this little bit of turquoise rick-rack at the neck here for no good reason other than it matched. I also included the little ties in back which nailed the it into the housedress category. That house dresses are marked by cuteness confuses me because there is nothing cute about housewifery that I've encountered, nothing.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Where was I?

I'm going to pretend like not posting since um… March? is no big deal. I have run up quite a string of wadders since, quite a string.

I am not going to go on about the folly that was the "ugly fabric" contest entry over at Pattern Review, that I didn't finish partly because before I dove into elaborate alterations to make the thing fit, I re-read the contest rules and realized the contest was not to make something ugly from ugly fabric, but to make something attractive and wearable! I can only say is that I was granted the wisdom to know the difference.
Also, what wasn't a flat out wadder was something way too pedestrian to go on about, such as a work apron from this site. I think this is a fabric store in Japan. They have lots of free patterns for clothing and house wares. All are in Japanese of course, and I don't read Japanese, but they're also technical drawings for drafting the patterns and sewing them. I enjoy reading technical drawings, they're my kind of fun. My apron came out well but is already covered in paint so I'm showing the original above. Here is another clever idea I'd like to try: