Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sewing without a plan ... and 3 ghostly garments

The Sewing Lawyer has always been mightily impressed by the entrants to the various "SWAP" contests.  That anyone completes these grueling marathons is a wonder, especially if their marriages or significant relationships remain intact.  What is this thing - a sewing "plan" anyway?  How could anyone actually settle ahead of time on pattern and fabric combos to make 11 (or whatever other double-digit number the SWAPpers aim to make) garments that would work together as a complete wardrobe?  How do they keep motivated, or even interested?  How can they stand the deadlines?

It's beyond the Sewing Lawyer.  She has occasionally read the rules and has always immediately dismissed the idea of participating.  She prefers to (mentally) endlessly reformulate a stream of projects which may or may not employ fabric, patterns and other bits from her stash, thumb aimlessly through her stack of Burda magazines and bulging pattern files, examine each and every bolt in the local fabric store to see what's new and what's deeply discounted, while waiting for inspiration to strike.  There is rarely any kind of deadline other than hoping vaguely to be able to make something-or-other before the season (or fashion) for it has completely passed.  The only advantage to be gained from not seizing the day and putting scissors to cloth is that the potential sewing disaster or fashion faux-pas is avoided, or at least put off for another day.

In the meantime, the Sewing Lawyer bumbles along making things that strike her fancy from time to time, and (mostly) turning out garments she's prepared to wear out in public, which sometimes even coordinate.

Ya, I'm exaggerating but right now it sure does feel this disorganized!  Since the last post, I've got three ghostly garments which have been slapped together to test patterns and fit to show you.  It is probably not a great idea to have this many ideas on the actual go.  One of the patterns has even been translated (well, cut out) into actual fabric!  But more on that later.

First up, I've improved the Material Things "Fearless Jacket" muslin immensely and I'm warming to the idea of actually using it to make out of my luscious lamb leather.  I took the muslin completely apart, adjusted the tissue in the places I had already identified, and recut the pieces.  I was at about size 0 (if there had been such a thing) on the MT tissue.  After sewing it together again I realized that it was still too big!  If I was at 0 before, I guess this is size -2.  In the Big 4, I would usually choose a 10 as my base size.  The new tucks are out of the side front and centre/side back seams.  The other change that needs to be made is to raise the armscye to improve mobility - the muslin looks ok while I have my arms at my side but when I raise them it's not a good look.

My second muslin is supremely uninteresting, but it's the one that's getting made first.  This is from a 1990s Burda envelope pattern which I have made before and wore to death.  I still really love the picture on the envelope.

I made a muslin only to check how much too low these armscyes are - I'm raising them by 2.5cm (1") so the answer is - a lot!

My final ghostly garment is a muslin of Vogue 1183, the second Kay Unger dress released this summer.  I could tell from the measurements printed on the pattern that this dress was going to be a snugger fit than V1182, my cocktail dress.  Before cutting out the muslin, I separated the skirt front into two so there will be princess seams instead of darts.  The back already has a corresponding seam and the bodice is princess-seamed all over the place, so this change seems natural and adds more opportunities to adjust fit.  For the muslin I cut a size 10 in the bodice and midriff, transitioning to a 12+ at the hips.

It is too snug.

Besides that, there is something strange happening at the join between the bodice and midriff at the front.  It almost feels like I need an FBA (!).  I notice that several reviewers of this dress on PR had a problem with the overlap gaping - they did need an FBA.  Mine isn't gaping so much as the leading edges of the front are pulling up on the midriff piece.

Here's another picture (in which the left neck edge is not folded under).   I'm going to mull this over some more but if you have a suggestion for how to fix this, please put it in the comments!

But the strangest thing is that the skirt front is too long on me just below the midriff, around the level of my actual waist. I've pinned out a wedge/tuck that is about 2cm deep at CF and tapers to nothing at the side seams.  You can see it better in the side view to the right.

I really like the way the midriff piece curves downward in the back.

The back fits pretty well except for the too-tightness of it.

It's also too short for my taste.  The muslin hits about 1cm above where I'd like the finished edge to land, and it includes the hem allowances!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Idea overload

I'm in major future-potential-project muslin mode so I have nothing to show.

First, I'm trying to fix my Material Things jacket muslin.  I took it apart and trimmed the pattern an obscene amount before putting it back together, but it is still too big!  I figure I'll be down to a size 0 in the MT size chart before long, which is just ridiculous.  I am going to make a muslin of the Burda leather jacket too, as I'm still not sure if the MT pattern is what I want to make.

I muslined another jacket, an unlined sort-of-safari jacket Burda envelope pattern from the 1990s.  I made this pattern way back when but no longer have the garment, and I wanted to check the armscyes (yes, they were too low on the body for my current taste in fit).  I've got some crepey woven wool earmarked for it, and lining to do Hong Kong finished seams.

I want to make a dress to wear with the jacket. I was going to reprise a sheath dress made from a much-tweaked Pattern Master Boutique pattern but then got the bright idea to try the other Kay Unger dress (Vogue 1183) instead.  It's a real fabric miser and I have only 1.2 metres of the softest, finest Zegna wool...

Oh yeah, I also had to go back to work.  Less time for sewing.  Phooey.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Swearing off Material Things patterns now ...

Just remind me if I seem to be falling off this particular wagon.  I don't like the way they, or at least the two I own, (don't) fit me.  

Earlier this year, I tried out the "Fearless T Shirt" pattern.  Yuck.  

I spent much of yesterday trying to kill two birds with one stone - namely actually sewing on my new machine (which turns out to be an interesting back-to-basics learning experience) and making a muslin of the "Fearless Jacket & Vest" pattern.  I'm planning to make a leather jacket.  

Now there are only 3 reviews of this pattern on PR.  Two give it a glowing "love it" type thumbs up while the third does mention that it was too big so she had to give the vest she made away.  Well, my experience is more like that reviewer's.  Ms. Podolak might say that it's my fault for not reading ALL of the information on the back of the pattern envelope, which does include the finished garment measurements (OK you can now all mock the the Sewing Lawyer for not reading the fine print).  It turns out full disclosure is made of the fact that size 6 (my bust size) has 12 cm of ease at the bust (that's a whopping 4.75"!!) and size 8 (my hip size) has 15 cm of ease at the hip (holy cow; 6").   

But the "fashion drawing" on the envelope is so very misleading.  If that drawn jacket showed 15cm of ease it would have been standing visibly away from the skinny hips of that "model", as indeed my too-real muslin is doing on me.  

If this were a waiver clause in a contract, I'd say the ease measurements should have been in RED and large bold type; perhaps saying something like:



All of that said, I like the lines of this jacket, and to its credit it does have a ton of seams to take in.  I experimentally pinned out (a lot) of extra fabric last night and will work with it a bit longer before starting a muslin of the pattern shown in leather in September's issue of Burda Magazine, which is really pretty!  It's shown on a real human being ... and it's Burda whose sizing is quite predictable (but I think I'd move the sleeve zips to the back seam).

Oh yeah, the armscye on the fearless "fitted" jacket is too deep on me as well, and it was drafted for Ms. Gorilla Arms.  I'll be taking about 2.5cm (1") of length out through the upper chest and sleeve cap and at least the same out of the length of the sleeve.