Here's an update on my salmon striped dress, an early experiment in pattern drafting and an entirely hand-sewn dress. Previously, I had bemoaned my failure to get the neckline right on this pattern; the pull of my bra straps in the strap-catchers and the movement of my arms in the armscyes always drew the neckline in, and that created awkward bunching which I would have to fix by tugging the shoulders outward. Part of the problem was the wide neckline which made the shoulder straps sit too close to the joint of my arm, and part of the problem was that I didn't interface or otherwise stabilize the neckline while sewing it, so it "grew".
Recently, I realized that this dress was languishing unworn in my closet, even though I like it and always get compliments when I wear it. So I fiddled with the neck and pinned out the excess into two outward-facing pleats that mimic the other pleats and darts. I hand-sewed these pleats down, and the dress finally works!
I also finally got pictures of myself wearing it (many thanks to a random and confused tourist whom I press-ganged into doing the job), so I can analyze the pattern a little more. (I should subtitle this post "Finally!")
Talking with a family member the other day about how people curate their online content to create an alternate world where they always look nice, their house clean, their work polished, I realized that as much as I value integrity and honesty, I also "put my best foot forward" when taking pictures for this blog. If there's stuff on the table, I move it so you only see my pattern pieces, not my dirty plates. If I take several unflattering pictures and one flattering one, guess which one I post? This is natural, and not entirely a bad thing. (After all, do you really want to see my dirty plates?) But there's a downside to the illusion of perfection. When all our friends and family look so perfect online, we might get discouraged or feel shame for the world of dirty dishes we have.
Since the Kluge Job was a dud, today I'll highlight one of my favorite early successes! I made it from an embroidered yellow cotton I bought at the Mill End Store and a salvaged white cotton skirt with lace insertions and ruffles which I bought at the Goodwill Bins. (The skirt had two layers: the outer layer was stained, but I used the inner layer for this project.) I call this dress my highlighter dress because of its color scheme, like a yellow highlighter used on white paper.
Or should it be "self-made underwear"? Or does that sound like the underwear made themselves?
Much like camisoles, underwear use up tiny amounts of fabric and satisfy the urge to sew something even when I'm not feeling like (or am putting off) a big project. I first made my own underwear several years ago, when I was living off of sporadic temp work: I could not afford the money to buy new undies, but I could afford the time and scraps to make some.
I should note that this post contains no pictures of me in my underwear, so if you clicked from prurience, no such luck!
However, the one-hour dress, a popular DIY pattern from the 1920's, has several points in its favor:
So my sister received the peplum top! We Skyped and I saw how it fit, how it looked, and how she liked it. Here are the results:
One of the first patterns I drafted was for a pencil skirt. I found directions online, and followed carefully, measuring and drawing and fretting about quarters of an inch. Those were early days! I have since used my pencil skirt pattern many times, since it calls for so little fabric, making it a good go-to for stash-busting!
So here's a picture of a bit of lovely golden damask from my stash, folded selvedge to selvedge, with the pencil skirt pieces laid on top. The Center Front (left side of picture) is on the fold. The Center Back (right side) is on the selvedges. Plenty of fabric for a pencil skirt, but why not use bit more of that lustrous fabric?
Quilting, dressmaking, and history plied with the needle...
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