Sew little time!
Well, so much for that.
Life is busy. My time is rarely my own. Work is busy. Motivation is hard to hold on to. Same old story, nobody needs to hear it all over again.
So, a project! A good 8 or 9 months ago I ran into an old acquaintance at the OBDM wool day, who told me they were dying to see more of my sewing projects on my blog. I've been thinking about this a fair bit, and keep it in mind whenever I embark on a sewing project... trouble is, once I get in the zone, I totally forget to take photos. So I end up with a shot of pattern pieces on fabric, and the finished item on a dress dummy.
I really DID try with this one. I had this lofty notion of a sort of tutorial that might be helpful in this age of online shopping... and forgot to take lots of pics. But there are some, so I'll do my best.
For my birthday (26!) a few weeks ago, I bought myself this dress on Modcloth.com. My bust size makes me a 10 (according to their sizing chart) and based on the comments that the dress was cut big, I bought an 8. Lucky I did, because when it arrived, it was HUGE!
The husband, who is not known for his fashion sense, commented that I "look like Ponyo", and it really was not flatteringly drapey or anything - it just looked like when you wear a fitted garment that is three sizes too big - ridiculous.
You can see the light coming through under the arm. You can see where the dress gapes under the arm around the side of the bust. The dress form is set to my measurements in these pics, and you can see how much extra fabric there is at either side.
Now, just to make things complicated, this dress is fully and beautifully lined. All the raw edges are inside the lining, and the inside is all beautifully finished. This would have delighted me, if it hadn't been such an unflattering shape.
At this point I do want to mention that Modcloth does have a returns policy, and I did consider returning it for a smaller size. However 1) I would have had to pay postage to the US and 2) There was no guarantee a smaller one would be the right shape, and then I'd have less fabric to work with to make it nicer.
I was initially planning to take apart the entire bodice, remove button bands and collar, and alter the bodice pieces and the linings and reseam.... and then I looked more closely at the fabric. It's a very light cotton-blend voile, and really wasn't going to stand up to all that seam-ripping and re-stitching. So I did the Mickey Mouse version.
First I took the sleeves out. I didn't photograph it, but I marked with a tailor's pencil the point at which the gathers started on the inside of the armhole and the sleeve. I needed to keep track of placement for the sleeve, because taking in the bodice will reduce the armhole and the sleeve will need to be gathered more to fit in the same hole neatly.
After the sleeves were out (and I'd recovered from the dizzying moment where i remembered what I'd paid for the dress and how upset I'd be if I couldn't put it all back together), I pinned the side-seams where I thought they needed to come in based on my dress form. I love the dress form, but it assumes the placement of your inches are funny places sometimes, so I always try on as I go too.
I basted by hand (super-roughly) using very bright thread so I could try it on.
It was now a little tight across the front of the bust, so I rebasted until I was happy with the results.
I sewed two rows of straight stitch (about a 2) on either side, and then a row of zig-zag over the outer straight row (if you were enough of a sophisticate to own an overlocker, this is where I would use one). I then cut the fabric back to my new side seams (only needing to breathe into a paper bag occasionally).
Here is where I forgot to take any progress shots because I was totally in the zone, by the way. The seams shots were just taken on my lap two minutes ago.
I unpicked the gather stitches at the top of the sleeves and ironed the pieces out flat. (Side note - I didn't want to cut the sleeves down even though they were a little big for my liking, because the cuff and button details were perfectly rendered and my mother didn't raise no fool).
I pinned the sleeves in to the marks I'd made on the armhole indicating where gathering started, and made a new mark on the sleeves pieces in a new colour. I unpinned and sewed gathering stitches between the new marks, repinned into the armhole and gathered until it all fit nicely.
I reattached the sleeves (with bated breath) using much the same stitching as the side seams.
And it now fits! k I am relieved, and delighted, and so deeply in love with the print I want to buy acorn earrings or squirrel themed jewellery to go with it...
And I know it's totally bad form to leave you with a dress-form pic and not a proper "see it fits" glammed up shot, but I'm tired, my skin's bad and my photographer needs lessons. I'm wearing it tomorrow with a newly completed cardi, so will rattle up a properly styled pic for then. And I might even post it within the next decade!
Anyway, sorry to spam you with all the pics! If there's anyone left out there, that is :p
Ms Spider xo