Sunday, 3 April 2016

Prioritising work clothing over costumes for a while

Due to a massive restructure (dividing the division that I work in a government department into 3 separate entities with a new reporting line for each) I have employment uncertainty as my unit doesn't exist in the new order that starts on 1 July.  I'll find out around the end of this month if I'm being made redundant or redeployed and if redundant if it's 1 months notice or not much more than that with an end date of 30 June.  So I'm proatively job hunting as well as aiming for redeployment.

However I'm facing the reality that my work clothing has deteriorated ... I barely have things I'd wear to a new job. Some but not a weeks worth.  I'm working with files which are grubby etc so not having quality hasn't been a major problem until now.

At least 2 of my planned dresses were in prints that aren't work appropriate - martini glasses or mermaids.  So I've bought 2 vintage fabrics that I can use without facing an awkward conversation.  A dark maroon/brown print and a blue/green sateen with zero stretch. Like pockets I don't do stretch wovens.





Saturday, 2 April 2016

Cutting out the March dress in March

Inching my way to productivity, I also got my March dress selected and cut out in March.



I selected the Anne Adams 4843 and the red/black vintage print and will use the contrast black for the lapel collar.  I compared the bodice of AA4571 with the AA4843 and although the pattern size is 22.5 & 26.5 respectively there was a change in size numbering so that there's 1 size difference.  Other than being one size larger and having neck not shoulder darts on teh back there wasn't any difference between the two bodices in regards to size so I simply used the 4571 bodice with the 4843 skirt pieces. I cut the hips wider as I'm concerned about sitting ease, better to need to take in than be faced with too small. Especially after my Lilly Rose disaster.



Oh and I'm going to stitch darts under the bust not leave them as tucks. I need skimming under the giant boobs of doom, not extra fabric fluffing out to resemble a potato. I'm going to make three-quarter sleeves and stitch a shaped cuff in black on it (no extra volume) to work with the black revere. And zero pockets.  Me and pockets aren't a thing.

Cutting out the February Dress in March

I got to the point of having to do the intitial fit alterations  height + FBA (full bust alteration) on my January dress pattern and balked.  Doing it properly is the only way it's going to work and I just wanted something simpler to sew. So in March I finally got my February dress patternwork done and the dress cut out.

I'm using Anne Adams 4571 with my strawberry print fabric and a green undercollar.  I tried navy or raspberry and it just looked drab. The pale green and yellow would make me look ill, so I went for the green.  I might even have buttons in stash, once I find some old shirts that I was going to patchwork a throw blanket from. If I can't find them quickly then I'll buy some new ones tomorrow. Done is better than procrastinating.


I added 1cm at the side seam cos it seemed like a snug fit, added a 4cm FBA and made the mock up.  I ended up having to do a square shoulder alteration, adding 2cm at the shoulder edge (1.5cm on the back, 0.5cm on front) tapering to zero a the neck. I also had to do a narrow shoulder alteration of 1.5cm and raise the underarm by 1cm. Plus lower the bust point and shorten the dart as it finished far too close to bust point.  It looked better to move the underdart ending too, but not  necessarily shift the darts closer to the side seam.

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

shelving my UFO Lilly Rose floral dress

Last Saturday I went to the sewing guild group and took my Lilly Rose ufo, and the December dress.

Yes, December dress is still unfinished in March! No progress pics because it has zero hanger appeal. It looks like a shapeless sack with cute pockets. I hate pockets, but the collar on the dress will look ridiculous without the pockets.  On Saturday I moved up the 3/4 waist belt up to a more flattering place and shortened it as I'd marked. The new placement is ideal BUT the carpenter's mantra of measure twice, cut once holds true for sewing.  As I shortened the waist belt I did think "huh, that's quite a bit" and lo, behold it was far too short ... an 8" gap in the back. What was I thinking? I realised I marked the wrong end of the belt pieces. So I need to recut, stitch and re-insert them. I got some 1cm or narrower bias tape for the sleeve hem, and 1.5cm bias tape for the hem itself. Oh, make the collar pieces too. Plus I need to cut a neck facing - the pattern says to use self bias but I'm not going there.  I should finish it this month HAH.

The Lilly Rose is a bust. I finished the second side seam, inserting the zip so that I could try it on. Whatever issues I had with cutting it out that included having to let out skirt seams so the skirt wasn't too narrow for the waist yoke, well it's too tight overall so grabby in the wrong way. The only fix I can think of is to unpick the skirt/yoke seam, lower the top edge of the skirt (so it's wider), reshape the panels so the top edge fits the yoke but the hip is wider and get more contrast fabric to add a border to the hem.  TBH I'm just not feeling the love after all the hassle. I want a pretty new dress that doesn't have so much UGH and potty mouth associated with it.

The January dress hasn't even been mocked up. I'm staring at the front bodice pieces going umm, full bust alteration how?  Need to mock up and finesse that but I'm needing something easier than that right now.  No more fiddling and trying to fix things.

I compared my (unblogged cos I haven't even mocked up January's) February dress pattern to a blouse pattern that fits and all I need to do is the FBA and get cracking. Oh and raise the underarm level by half an inch, but not the bodice length cos YAY half sizes!

I also bought another vintage half size pattern on The eBay a couple of weeks ago, and it's just as cute. I see it in my future ... if only I can cure my procrastination. but hey, I'm no longer anaemic after an iron injection in my "hip" that for the next week felt like I'd been kicked in the *ahem* by a mule. Is this going to be my March dress?


Okay, I've stopped buying fabric and aiming to use stash, stash and more stash.  However today I bought another half size vintage dress pattern. This time on Etsy ... I love that half sizes fit plus I love vintage cuteness so I'm sure that I'll be getting more of them. I like the mail order brands eg Anne Adams or Marion Martin because they're very much RTW rather than high fashion.

Monday, 22 February 2016

marginally productive - slept strange hours on the weekend

I had trouble sleeping on Friday night, dropping off well after 3am, only to be woken just after 4am by a smoke detector in the building. It was the ground floor landing and hitting the reset button with a broom didn't stop it. So Amy (ground floor neighbour) was the only other person who reacted at all - insane considering there is only 1 set of stairs we can use to evacuate the property.  She called the firies (aka fire brigade) cos the last time someone ignored a smoke detector there was an actual fire, and there's an empty flat right in front of this detector.  The firies said it was faulty and dismantled it so it would stop.  Got back upstairs to bed about 4.45 and just couldn't get back to sleep. UGH

Went to the sewing guild and got cracking on the December dress, but ran out of brain about half 2, so grabbed a lift home by 3pm.  Thought I'd have a 1hr nap at 4pm, and then go to bed later in the evening. Except I slept until 1am .... a solid 9 hours.  Had something to eat & read until dawn after 6am, when I napped til 8.30am.  

Ran around doing dishes, laundry, sorting out the stuff between the old chair and the bed because I got my new winged armchair delivered.  Lovely 1950s furniture with castors on the bottom :D  It makes me want to clean up all my messy surfaces and do some culling. Both Ikea drawers are now fixed so I can reinstall them and put the patterns back and cull while I do that.

After lunch on Sunday, I shopped for groceries ... something I've avoided doing all year, so that's another winning thing.  But by the time I got home I wanted another nap, which I did not succumb to for fear of sleeping until 1am again. Without a functioning brain I still had had the smarts to not sew anything cos I knew I'd just have to reverse some newbie error. So I read for a while and then watched DVDs (Monsters Vs Aliens, Stardust) until it was bed time. Didn't want dinner either.

Friday, 12 February 2016

Not quite abject failure but not much to show so far

A combination of summer heat (I don't have air conditioning at home, and my main windows face west) and a suddenly active again auto-immune disorder (aka The Evil) has impacted on how much sewing (and other real life things) I've been able to do this year. The first is beyond my control, and the second is a bit demoralising.

I planned to head up to the Roaring 20s & all that Jazz festival last Saturday in a fancy new 1920s dress, and got very close to finishing the dress before another bout of The Evil flared up. Instead of going to the Charleston Challenge, high tea and visiting a pub with a dixie jazz band, I went straight for the high tea in 1930s clothes.  Nothing like wearing a pretty hat and fun with friends to feel better about yourself. Bygone Beauties were even able to have a variety of gluten/dairy free treats for me.




I still want to finish the 20s dress this month as there's a historic dress picnic in early March. A fresh deadline means it won't hang around to become yet another UFO.

I thought I had some photos of progress on my UFO and January dresses but the only thing on my camera is this adapted sleeve for my Lilly Rose UFO.  I eyeballed the extra for a small puff at the top of the sleeve, as I'm fairly sure it's what I did with my first dress in this pattern. Hoping to finish that dress this weekend as the flare-up seems to be over.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

January dress - pattern progress

I've not yet reached the cutting out stage, but I did locate the fabric in storage and pre-shrink it.  I also discovered that I'd catalogued it as being 150cm wide, when it's only 112cm wide. Thankfully I still have plenty of fabric, but there won't be enough left over to make a blouse or shirt from it too.

I've started copying the original pieces. The 7 smaller pieces were traced onto sandwich paper, and I need to set up a larger work area to trace the wider pieces onto my architect tracing paper. So glad that I bought it, after I decided life was too short to stick longer pieces of sandwich paper together when I could buy a 45metre roll in a choice of widths. 

I'd like to cut the mock up out tomorrow night, so that means tonight I need to finish tracing off the pattern pieces, and raid the mockup stash. I'm wondering if I can get away with a full bust adjustment, and there's only one way to find out.  Though I will also need to do the height adjustment on the bodice pieces.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Needing a non dress-a-month 1920s dress



Last night I got my January dress fabric out of storage and pre-shrunk it. I also discovered that it's only 112cm wide, not the 150cm. I'd thought for the past 6 years.  Thankfully I have enough fabric for the pattern, though there won't be enough for a dress and blouse.

My Dress-A-Month plan is external to any costume sewing I have to do, so the Australia Day weekend I'll be making another dress to wear early in February.

The Roaring 20s festival is on next month in the Blue Mountains and I've nothing suitable in either my real life or costume wardrobes (yes I have one for each).  To be honest I'm so not a flapper era shape. What I am is a bit of a nerd/geek/dork who cares about being well dressed.  So I also scoped my 1920s suitable fabrics, and with a lot of flip-flopping on decisions I'm going to use some silk/cotton voile I bought near the end of 2007.  It's seafoam, a colour that isn't out of period and angular enough a floral to be art deco.  I don't think I'll ever get around to using it as a sheer crinoline era dress - my original vision - but I can get use from the fabric now. I still might have 10metres left at the end so we'll see if I can have my cake and eat it too.

I'm borrowing a pattern - mainly cos I refuse to have bare arms as my shoulders are narrow and my arms and bust are not. It makes me feel uncomfortable and I can't quite see this fabric in the dress pattern I have (Past Patterns 3212, a 1925-26 dress) or maybe I should.  I'm borrowing a Vintage Vogue pattern 2535 from Desir Brulant, which has a capelet to cover my upper arms.

Now I'm flip flopping on the pattern to use.  I'm not usually so indecisive, so it shows that i can't see myself in this era.