Well, it's been over a week since I've posted! My three regular readers must be in withdrawal! ;) In previous months, I've managed my blog by creating a long queue of posts (often written multiple posts in a single marathon session) which I schedule for upcoming Mondays and Thursdays. Then I ignore my blog for a while and work on sewing and photographing things while the blog marches on without me. I check in to see if people have commented. What happened last week was that I ran out of scheduled posts at a time when I was too busy to make more, and hence the dry spell. However, being busy with work is, as my Dad says, "the right kind of problem"!
So what have I been up to? Click Read More for an overview. There will be no pictures or geekery today, though.
Last week I did the bulk of the sewing on a ball gown based on Butterick 6190, (Wearing History's Teens Era gown), in a modified view D. I'll finish it this week and it will be worn to a ball on Saturday! It will eventually make a good blog post because there were some modifications to the bodice which are interesting, especially when sewing for mature women. And I would like to show how I "regulate the hem from the waist" (Victorian terminology) and talk about the benefits of this old dressmaking technique. So look for that soon-ish! I also shortened curtains and hemmed pants. I even finished and mailed off the two shirts I've been making for my brother! Finally! Look for that post in the next month...
I did not get any more work done on my robe de style... I shall have to wear a different gown to the ball. But I do intend to finish it, perhaps in time for Christmas.
My housemate has Amazon Prime...! And she showed me I could watch Wolf Hall on it! So I-- I tried to-- I got distracted by Ekaterina: The Rise of Catherine the Great. That was really good: the acting was nuanced and subtle; the costuming and sets gorgeous, the production smooth, the ugliness of the time (torture, secret prisons) shown but not overshown, and the storyline uncompromising. And now I'm starting Wolf Hall. Neither show bears split attention, so they cut into my sewing productivity quite a bit.
A friend of a friend dropped off four 18-gallon tubs of sewing stuff, mostly fabric, from her mother-in-law's stash. The MIL had died and the family was clearing out--a textbook example of Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy (SABLE). Obviously, I love free cloth, but not all of it was suitable to my needs or likes, so the first thing I had to do was go through it all, making sense of the stash. And I had to do it immediately because the tubs were clogging our living room!
The collection had its stories to tell.... this woman had clearly been sewing since the sixties (a few yards of some truly terrifying nuclear orange prints!), but had done most of her work in the seventies (lots of scratchy synthetics in earthy tones, umber, pistachio green, et cetera). She made garments, but didn't like finishing them (lots of almost-done clothes with nothing left to do but the hems! Maybe she didn't care for hand-sewing?). Sometimes she pinned her pattern pieces on the fabric, cut them out, and then never went any further, leaving me with the choice to either sew the pre-cut pieces up and see what I get (but seriously, do I have time for someone else's UFO's when I have so many of my own?) or pass them along to someone else, who would probably use the fabric and chuck the pattern. She was apparently tiny (some pants I couldn't even drag past my thighs!), and favored pale purples and dark blues. She liked to salvage fabric from blankets and Ready-to-Wear, and so I found oddly disassembled things.
I did get several retro prints, and in sufficient yardage to really make something, so that was lovely! And I stocked up on lining fabric, which has a funny off-gassing acetate smell, but will be very useful once it's washed. However, the bulk of the stash was not for me. Having taken first rights of plunder, I next shared the wealth with a few other friends. One took some burn-out velvet for a curtain project, and another, an old Steampunk friend, took all the lavenders and mauves, and a bunch of other stuff too! I was delighted to see her take the blue striped shirting, since it was good quality and in her colors. The rest will go to Goodwill.
In trade for the fabric, my Steampunk friend gave me a nice selection of vintage patterns! I'm super excited by the 1940's ones, which actually look like they're my size! The Forties were such an interesting time for construction, fanciful seaming, and economical yardage requirements. I look forward to carefully tracing the old patterns and making my own versions... you know, when I have time! I also took some Fifties ones, with the intention of making the narrow-skirt variations rather than the full skirts. And some Sixties mod dresses. And some Seventies blouses with the big Ralph Lauren style bow at the neck (you know, when Ralph Lauren was designing the tweedy equestrienne look for all the women who wanted to look like Princess Di?).
SORTING AND PURGING
And now that I had new fabric and patterns, I had to sort them and integrate them into my stash, which led me to discover some stuff I'd been holding onto which I could purge. So then I started going through my pattern collection, getting rid of my early self-drafted patterns which I've since either improved on, outgrown, or replaced with a Big Four version.
Then, feeling determined, I cleaned my room and sorted old paperwork and destroyed a bunch of bank statements from 2016. I felt very accomplished when my room was nice-looking again!
I have an upcoming project involving lots of leather, so I've been researching tips and techniques for sewing with leather.
I'm also thinking about all the things I want to make, and how much I don't want to leave any half-done for a future seamstress to wonder at. I need to be disciplined about setting aside time for steady production of the projects I care about, and determine to finish one before starting on another!
And that's your update, so you know I'm still around and will be posting more when I get my act together!
[EDITED 11/18/2017 and 4/28/2018 to add links to subsequent posts.]
Quilting, dressmaking, and history plied with the needle...
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