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I am a mother, a grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge was published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon



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Saturday, July 9, 2011

FBAing Vogue 1236

I actually think my process with this pattern is part of a larger discussion. That discussion would include my continuing evolution as a sewer who is working towards having her sewing reflect who she is really is and what works for her. It takes time.

OK this is where this is going.

In the old days if I made something and it was too tight-short-funny somewhere or weird I would toss the pattern, hang the garment up, make myself wear it a few times and then give myself permission to throw it out. Probably I would mark it all up to a "bad pattern", at least for me. My approach to handling this wadder of sorts was to go on the prowl for another pattern, a better pattern.

This was my standard operating procedure, and a category into which I would have put Vogue 1236 at least partially for the issues I listed before, although they were mainly the result of operator error.

However there were things I really liked about this pattern:

  • The neckline fit and the shoulders were well-situated on my shoulders. This is a well drafted pattern and that's the areas where so many summer dresses don't quite work.
  • I really liked the full all in one type facing, you can see it here is an in-process shot before the final pressing of the first version of this dress:

This is why sewing a designer pattern is so enjoyable.

But I needed to have done a FBA, I know I did, and so I went back and gave this one another try. We will know tomorrow when it is hemmed and the pictures are taken, but I think it worked.

The challenges of adding to the bust in this dress were not wanting to interfere at all with the design lines - not the slightly pegged shape of the sides and hemline, not the neckline with those nice pleats that stayed put without any flipping up (whatever the shot above may look like). And a side bust dart was out with the strong vertical lines of this dress.

So here is what I did:

1. I located my bust point by measuring down from the inside neck edge of the strap for length and out from the side seam  (note I couldn't measure from the centre front because of all that pleat action).

2. I drew a line from the side seam to the bust point and also down from the middle of the shoulder so I could get in the ease that wearing the first edition made me realize I needed for bust space even at the upper bust.

Here is what the pattern piece looked before I cut:

And after I spread it to get in that extra bust fabric. Super easy and I think it worked. You can decide for yourself tomorrow when I get the pictures of the finished dress done.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Inner thighs and dresses

First of all thank you to all who responded to the burning question of how to make undergarments to deal with inner thigh chaff under summer dresses.

Most informative.

I have found one pattern with potential, Jan Bones' shortie leggings  .Beth at Rusty Bobbin has made a pair and they look interesting. What I like about this pattern (which I have ordered) is it looks like there is some sort of crotch piece, so the obvious issues with a seam could be avoided. When I get the pattern and have made the up you will be the first to know.

I also wanted to talk more about Vogue 1236 and my failure to use my head and add a FBA when I was cutting out.  Here is the pattern piece and the issue:

As you can see, exactly what a person with their wits about them would notice and understand, is that it is as exactly as illustrated in the garment photo. The extra is deposited in the centre under the neckline and not over the boob area. I mean if you took those tucks out of the equation you would look at this side seam and say to yourself "I'm gonna need a FBA/dart there aren't I?"

I wish I had said this to myself.

Now the question is do I like this dress enough to go back and do a version 2 and see if I can customize it to fit?

I think I better. I am wearing version 1 as I write this and it is a great summer dress overall. So my job tonight will be to fool around with the pattern and hopefully cut out another of these.

Side note: Last night, one phase of my family dinner party ended up in my bedroom with me throwing all my summer sewing on the bed for niece, sister and sister's MIL to look at. I realized that nearly everything, apart from a few tops and pants, has been dresses. I love summer dresses. It is more or less all I sew and all I wear.

I wish I could say the same about my winter sewing. In winter I do a lot more separates and pants, although with all the heating we have there inside most buildings there is no need for pants once you have made it to where you want to go. So one of my ambitions is to make more winter dresses, of the highly wearable kind, if the pattern companies cooperate.

Now back to work. My weekend hasn't started yet.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Here is my finished version of Vogue 1236. 

Full view, over exposed in the wind

Headless view with dog and motorcycle. My photographer felt getting the bike in was more interesting than my face
I am happy with it and found it an interesting and easy sew. Of course because it is a narrow skirt it is cut short for function, as there is no walking slit, as well as for fashion. And because this is a pull over dress the neckline is open but then cut fairly fitted from the upper bust down so it doesn't look baggy.

I made a mistake because I made the assumption that the neck tucks would release enough fabric for my bust - in fact the extra in the tucks is focused around the neck only and this dress narrows pretty quickly again at the bust. I definitely needed a FBA, you can see by the stripes, and I let out the side seams at the underarms as much as I could, which helped comfort if not really adding where I needed it.

All in all though a fun around the house summer dress but I would make some real changes if I were ever going to make it again so I could wear it to work.

And I think it looks just fine without the belt.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A give away and an update

I finished the seersucker Vogue number last night, man is that a fast sew, and will be posting pictures tonight when the photographer and I get home from work. I really like it, although it is a little short and yes it definitely needs a FBA - which it doesn't have. More on that later.

I tried the belt and it didn't do a lot for me, as expected, except to accentuate the fact that there is no waist there. As a result, in a rare moment of self-perception, I have decided to give away these waisted numbers, both to the same address please. In my mind I can't just throw a pattern out, that would be a waste of money, but if I spend money instead to send them to another sewer, well that's OK. Here are what I am putting in the mail, which is no longer on strike and going again in this country:

Just email me your address through the link on this page and we are in business.

I am just going to sew things I know will suit me, my sewing time is getting precious.

On other news I had some appointments yesterday and it turns out that some disc thing has slipped out in my jaw and the doctor told me to eat soft food and not talk if I didn't need to. He wondered if I had stretched out my ligaments by talking so much. Well as someone who is lecturing six hours straight until December and as one of four girls, this is unlikely to happen. At least blogging is quiet.

Now off to work.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Mental sewing

I will tell you what the aging process is like. 

It's the changes that happen, starting from you teenage years and picking up speed each decade, where more and more you just see the other things in life as things you are doing when you really want to be sewing. You also just enjoy your sewing more. The more you sew it's less about finishing something to get it on your back than a time when you enjoy your own company and your own process. More and more sewing is my work and my work, although I do love it when I am there, is something that gets between me and my projects.

It's that Sunday night thing and the realization that I go back tomorrow to more than full-time and will have my skates on until half-way through December.

I didn't sew all weekend.

My husband spent the weekend putting on new roof tiles with help from our youngest son when he wasn't working. I gathered up flying tiles and told everyone to wear hats and hydrate from the bottom of the ladder. I have also done mega cooking as I have two family dinners this week, my dear youngest son's birthday party starting 60 minutes after my last class, and an extended family do later in the week to send off a niece who for some reason is going to go to Guatemala to work in the mountains. Good for her for doing what she wants but it's a bit of a worry. Won't be saying that though at the dinner, my sister will kill me, and am focusing on food. Made two cakes, did a big shop, got salads and meat ready for tomorrow (Cuban sandwiches, frozen strawberry pops for Scarlett, bunch of salads) and did a strategic plan for the do on Thursday.

I enjoyed the cooking and tried to tune out the sewing machine calling to me from down the sewing room.

I figured out though while I cooked what I am going to sew next. 

I have three Vogue Designer summer dresses in the line-up that I am doing to do before I do anything else.

Since I am the only sewer in Blog land who hasn't made these yet, I feel this is both a priority and obligation.

Here they are:

I picked up some wonderful seersucker, about three yards for $4.00 at the local sewing guild sale and it is perfect for this dress. I have it cut out downstairs and added my usual to length. Unfortunately I think it is still going to be too short, a couple of inches at least above the wrinkled knee cap. My new anti-chaff pants might show too.  Of course looking at the pattern and seeing it is a narrow skirt without a vent, the short length is probably necessary so you can actually walk. I have cut out the tie but don't think it will suit me, for belly articulating reasons. However I remain delusional and will make it and see.

I am the only person alive who hasn't sewn this. What more is there to say?

This will not suit me as elastic waists require a waist and are not my best look. The old H shape is not advised by Vogue of course for this dress. However, see delusional above, and because I have red and white fabric like the picture, I am going to make it anyway and am hoping I will be surprised.  I live on hopes like this. 

When I first saw this pattern I just fell in love with it. Since then, once I had acquired both the pattern and fabric to match, just looking at it makes me tired. Will doing a FBA be a hassle? Will all those pleats just make my gut look like a gut.

Help me with this one.

I will make it if someone who is not delusional thinks it would suit me or I will send off the pattern to whoever thinks it would look far better on them than on me.

Off I go to get hit on the head by roof tiles and to take another cake out of the oven, and to plot a route to my sewing room.