Monday, December 16, 2013

Simplicity 2497: Sewing It Up

This is quickly becoming a saga. . . here's why.

Once you've made your muslin and checked your fit, your next steps should be selecting your fabric and sewing up the real thing.  This is where I made my potentially fatal error.

I decided I wanted a red dress.

I did not think at all about the composition of that fabric other than that I wanted a woven fabric-not a knit for this first dress.  I picked what I found to be the perfect red in Joann's that also met the qualifications allowing me to use a 60% off coupon.  I got a great deal on four yards.  (No, I didn't actually need four yards but just in case.)  

I pre-washed it and dried it and that's when I realized that my "perfect red" fabric was also a linen.  Or maybe a "linen"-I did get it at Joann's.  Linen is nice and all, but it is a stone BITCH to sew if you aren't that great at sewing in the first place and in any way inattentive.  If you are me, in other words.  It shreds if you look at it funny.  Not quickly or dramatically . . .  the threads just quietly unravel as you cut and sew it. 

Like dark, diabolical magic.

It also grows miraculously . . .  perhaps to compensate for its tendency to slowly disappear as you handle it.  It expands . . . almost overnight.

This should show you what I mean. The only length I added was at the bodice bottom.  This thing is huge on me and it shouldn't be.  I ended up trimming off four inches from the bodice sides.  That's insane.

And look at this sleeve.   What is up with that upper arm weirdness?  

Here it is with a lot of the bodice fullness removed and a last minute sleeve change.  The 3/4 sleeves just looked too weird so I did the short puffed sleeve instead.  

Better, but some things are still off:

  • You might wonder why my waistband is so tilted.  Me too!  I have this problem a lot and I think I may need to add a different alteration to my repertoire.  I requested Fit For Real People from the library so hopefully I can find what I need there.  The internet's best advice so far has been . . .  This is in FFRP.   
  • Where did all that back fabric come from?  I like the fact that the dress is not getting intimate with my back fat but something about this looks suspicious.  Like I'm trying to hide the fact that I am hiding the partially reanimated spirit of Voldemort on my back . . .  or something.
  • Are these pockets low?  This is probably due to my lengthening the bodice.
  • The zipper looks damn good from this side.  I tossed both the pattern instructions and the general guidelines for installing an invisible zipper.  I vastly prefer this method.
  • This side zipper is also almost entirely unnecessary.  It's inaccessible for me-my T-Rex arms can't zip or unzip it easily while I'm actually wearing the damn thing.  Plus I haven't used it since putting it in.  There is enough room to just pull it off and on over my head.
  • The puff sleeves are cute but they are a little snug.  I also made a mistake in the construction order and I have an exposed seam that should have been covered by the lining. 

I am feeling very meh about this dress now. . .  and it's a bit of a bummer because I was seriously pumped before.  

I don't think I will finish this as is.  In fact, I think I will take it apart, make some more alterations, and then put it back together.  I still love the color and at this point it's gotten personal.  I can't let the fucking pattern win.  It thinks it has beaten me!

I did a little more internet research and here's what I think I will do.  

  • Raise the waistband back up an inch or so.
  • Make a tilted waist adjustment
  • Reconstruct the sleeves and add a little more ease.
  • Remove the side zipper and put it in a center back seam*.  It will be a lot easier to fit and make changes once I do that.
I'll have to pick the whole damn thing apart and re-cut a few pieces but eh. . .  I can do that while listening to podcasts and thinking about all the stuff I haven't been writing for this blog.  

The plus is that it shouldn't take me long to sew it back up again once I get started.  I know how to do all the annoying bits now.  

*I won't share with you the various contortions that make it possible for my short armed self to pull up my own zippers.  It would be really awkward for us both.

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