Friday, May 6, 2011

Contest Drop Out Tries Again

So I crashed and burned on the Mini wardrobe SWAP. I finished 3 out of 4 items but not in time. But why let that stop me from entering the Vintage Pattern contest on Pattern Review?

I found this pattern on Lanetz Living, it wasn't as expensive as I thought it would be. Prices for these old patterns are all over the map it seems.

Now let me say up front, even though I'm an illustrator, these pattern illustrations give me pause. I know it's a "fashion" illustration but I look at it and can only see how not like the drawing I am. Is that skirt going to be as narrow as it appears? Will I have trouble walking or sitting down? These girls must mince along on those skinny legs, taking teeny tiny steps and going nowhere fast. In my mind, I bound along like one of R. Crumb's women… at least in my mind and in comparison to these ladies. So there's that.

What encouraged me to enter the contest though, was the certain necessity of having to alter the pattern to fit. We're supposed to follow techniques outlined in the pattern instructions. This pattern doesn't have any really baroque construction details beyond sew in interfacing. Another requirement is to use a pattern with the "old sizing", whatever that is. Generally, I think that means smaller.

I used Linda Maynard's "De-Mystifying Fit" CD to help with alterations. I adjusted the pattern to fit my personal sloper. The old patterns have the advantage of being printed in one size, with the seam line marked.
I was relieved to see, when it arrived, the pattern I picked was pretty basic. It has a side zip, I haven't done that before, and the bust dart has been rotated to the center front.

For the first time, I made a muslin, using an old sheet. I also sketched the design on my croquis. I was not reassured by the pattern envelope that this would work for me. I compared and adjusted first the length measurements and then the circumferences of the pattern to my sloper. I changed the shoulder slope, mine are more square (this girl never carried anything heavier than her purse). I reshaped the hip curve and took length out of the skirt.

The muslin made up, since I used a white sheet, it looked a lot like my croquis drawing. I compared the fit with the apparent fit in the drawing and saw I could add some length to the bodice to achieve the blouson effect and remove some of the ease from the sleeve cap. I shortened the skirt considerably, after that there wasn't too much to do. Could it be female physiology is much the same as it was in 1961?

I wonder.

More, later.

Impulse Sewing

I caught a vapor and made this skirt. The fabric is some wild stuff that probably went for drapes at a museum or hotel. It is just that outsized, crewel wool embroidery on what seems to be a loosely woven cotton. It has been in the stash sediment for perhaps 12 years. I never knew what to do with it, didn't have that much to work with, yet I couldn't throw it out. The story of the fabric addict. Anyway, when the vapor hit, I knew. Skirt. Have been thinking of outré skirts lately and hope to explore more along this vein. This is my first go at it.
I used my skirt sloper, overlapping the side seams of front and back pattern. There's only a back seam and I lined that up with the selvage. I put in an invisible zip. Because the embroidered parts are so very dense in places, I made all the fitting darts wherever I could. They are not centered, some are squeezed together, of all different sizes, I flew fast in the face of whatever the books tell you to do. It took me back to my sewing for Barbie days, when we wrapped the cloth around our Barbies, cut away what we didn't want, took it off and sewed it up. Such a liberating experience!
There's a name for that… what IS it?
Why'd I go there?
Because I knew that if anyone looks at this skirt at all, they are only going to see these gargantuan flowers.
The fabric has to be some home dec stuff because the crewel embroidery is quite scratchy. Drapes don't get a lot of rubbing I guess. I lined this, putting the lining together in the usual way, side seams balances darts. I used another, plaid home dec scrap to make the narrow waistband (thank you Margaret!). It's green.
If I made this again I'd take it up more to fit the waist. I tried it on Looshilala, bless her, because I hate trying on anything, but this didn't take account of the squeeze effect of pantyhose.

Cost: $0.ºº, the fabric was practically a dumpster dive, another reason to be totally cavalier with the project. ¡Bwahaha-haha!