*ahem* Ta-Da!

2012-Dec-12, Wednesday 02:00 pm
chebe: (gerties sew-along 2010)

It's a dress! Actually, it's the Crepe dress I started two years ago! (You can find previous posts with the tag gerties crepe sew along.) The astute among you will notice a couple of things.

Firstly that it's finished. I didn't want to risk posting another in-progress update in case I put it down and ignored it again for another few months. But yesterday was the annual Crafters Sugar-overdose Night (which has unofficially become the TOG Christmas party), and I was determined to have something to show at it. So despite my intense hatred for hemming I spent all of Sunday doing just that, and felt the relief of actually finishing something. This is my first (non-costume) dress, so I now feel justified in calling myself a 'dressmaker'!

As Craft Night is directly after work I ended up wearing my dress to work. It was a peculiar experience. I have never worn a dress to work before, not even when I worked in retail. Skirts sure, but not a full dress. Being the middle of winter I made one concession, the stockings were swapped for leggings, so please excuse the bagginess in the photos.

Secondly, oh observant followers, you'll have noticed that you've never seen this fabric before. Indeed, the project came to a rather definite halt when I gave up on the fitting and was about to cut the fashion fabric and realised that the fabric wouldn't work well with this dress design. Time passed, and I happened on an online fabric sale. The moment I saw this fabric I knew the dress was back on!

Here, let me do a twirl for you! (These photos are not instagrammed, just shot in poor, yellow, light. That first photo was taken with flash and shows the colours better.)

Photos! )

Did you spot the pockets? Pockets! Such wonderful inventions. Okay, since this was a sew-along I should talk a bit about the actual construction. The lovely patterned crepe is rather translucent, so it is underlined with black polycotton, which gives it a nice (but slightly stiff) body. Although, the hand-basting took such an impossibly long time that in future I will be saving this technique for particularly special gowns.

This was also my first time doing facings, and it was an adventure. The points on the neckline could have been done better. And my interfacing was so delicate that I melted a few pieces with the iron. That took getting used to. And they are so light that they have to be tacked down in several places to stop them flipping out. (That is one advantage of the underlining; I can tack to the lining without having the stitches visible on the outside.)

My usual method of seam construction is straight-stitch finished with overlocker. In some places, like the skirt side-seams with the pockets, I had to leave the seams open, so I overlocked both sides. Speaking of pockets; I initially put them in the wrong way around. So I had to cut them out and put them back the right way around. Silly mistake, and reminds me to not sew when I'm tired.

Other than that my skirt is 62cm long measured from the waist seam. The ties don't want to lay flat and keep compacting, and there seems to be a bit extra fabric in the body, but I figure that's part of the pattern. I am glad I spent so much time working on getting the fit just so, because this really is a very comfortable dress to wear. (Like it was made for me or something :P )

Here are some shots of the inside of the dress )

Okay, that's that. *dusts off hands*
chebe: (GirlDayDreaming)
Woah. Don't you hate it when time gets away from you, for weeks on end? After last you heard from me I was at Electric Picnic (running electro-craft workshops with the amazing Cat and tog), after which I found myself in Rome (for what I thought was a holiday but featured more walking than I'd anticipated). I attended my first Freshmeat training session (and then my second just yesterday *ouch*), and have come down with a head-cold/sinus-infection which I am attacking with a vast quantity of medicines. I had been holding off on posting here until I got some photos to add, but I kept forgetting to copy the Rome photos from J and the tog websites are in the process of moving hosts, so alas I have no pictures. (Maybe that's a good thing, I was indoctrinated at a young age in the ways of my parents holiday slides... carousel after carousel of slides...)

But, I figured I've been silent too long, so you get some waffle instead. At the moment I'm reading two books that I'm enjoying immensely.

Books )

In other news, my Colette patterns; Jasmine and Clover have arrived, and so enthused me that I think I've gotten the sewing bug back! But first things first; have to finish that Crepe! I've decided (inspired by the aforementioned two books) that I'm going to go with the last set of darts I'd tried (removing them didn't work out as well as I'd hoped) even though everything in all the sewing books say that darts shouldn't extend above the apex. It simply comes down to the fact that that's the shaping my body needs, so that's what I'm going to do. No more mock-ups, next stop, cutting the real fabric!

[Next steps: (1) Underlining & cutting out fabric, (2) Stabilising neck and arms, (3) Final pre-sew checklist. Check have enough underlining fabric is prewashed, and have fusible interfacing.]
chebe: (gerties sew-along 2010)
I've had enough of darts, so I thought, why not just get rid of them? It's not perfect but it will do. I'm attempting to embrace the not-skin-tight vibe of this dress, but it's counter-intuitive. I'm going to try and match up the skirt panels too, this is just one I'd made earlier. (It'll be nicer when I do it properly with pressing and everything.)

Read more... )

Next step; real fabric, and underlining. Woohoo! *is exhausted*
chebe: (LanternReflect)
You may have noticed a certain lack of posting around here lately. I have no excuses, last week I used the remainder of my free time to meet up with assorted friends.

Then, on Saturday morning, I slipped, wet runners on painted concrete stairs. I fell, feet first, only about three/four steps, and I'm extremely lucky that I was wearing my backpack properly; it acted as a buffer, protecting my back from the steps, and actually keeping my upper body upright. But, it had the side-effect of channelling the entire force right down my back, to the ass that I landed on. Again, luckily, I'm well padded in that area, so no major damage was done. But consider this; the force was such that when my coat caught against my ribcage the button ripped out and went flying across the stairwell. This isn't to gain sympathy, it's by way of trying to explain how badly I bruised my tail-bone. I can stand fine, I can lay on my side dandy. I cannot sit. Not without pain, and great pain if I shift in just the wrong way.

Which means any activity that involves sitting has been shunned. Which, sadly, is most crafting, especially use of the sewing machine. Then, college started back. The days are long, the workload intense. And all that sitting is so enjoyable! I'm sorry to say large crafting projects will have to take a back-seat for now.

Speaking of which; I haven't forgotten about the Crepe, as much as you'd hoped I had. But limited as I have been, I've had to resort to research. *gasp*

Just what is the bodice supposed to look like anyway?! Unlike the other Colette patterns there aren't any pictures of the Crepe in their Gallery. So I resorted to going back through the blog. It's a pleasant read if you find yourself with time that needs filling. And I came across the post about the Crepe, with nice large images. Is it just me, or does that second picture, the close up of the bodice, have the very same dimpled darts I was complaining about?

Unconvinced that they should be this way I found pictures of a vintage dress with very similar dart arrangement. This bodice seems slightly more fitted, and lacks the dart dimples. But the waist darts don't extend as high as mine either. A quandary! Could it be that the pattern is actually drafted to be not only a bit baggy (understandable in a wrap), but also to have those unflattering darts? And, steady yourselves, was it intentional?

Dear readers (seriously, still reading?), I don't know what to do. If the pattern is drafted that way I'll have to alter the side-seams to take out some of the extra fabric, but that could have undesirable consequences. I have to say, I prefer the flatter, more fitted vintage bodice. Which do you prefer?
chebe: (gerties sew-along 2010)
I was happy with the style of the dress, I was satisfied with the sizing, but I was not happy with my darts.

I read around, looked high and low for information; all of which said it was undoubtedly my poor technique to blame. So I practised. Couple of places (1,2) said to go down in stitch size the last 1/2" or so, to run the last few stitches on the edge of the fabric, and leave a long enough tail to knot. People said to use a tailoring ham (I improvised with rolled-up socks). I heard about the rites of the cult of Pressing. Then Gertie had a few pointers. (I actually really like the one about snipping into the seam allowance.) She also had a similar dilemma a while back. I tried them all. This was the result.

Yet more darts )

One problem. Matching up the dots in my fabric is going to be impossible. If it was panelled it'd be doable. I might have to try that yet. Or find another fabric. Or settle for this dress being a lost cause and just go for it. Any which way, I've pressed my fabric and it's airing now. Cutting out begins soon. For better or worse.
chebe: (gerties sew-along 2010)
Firstly, thank you, all of you who voted to help me choose a fabric for my wrap-ties. In the end, much like myself, you all were torn, fairly equally among the Navy Spots, Los Muertos, and Pirate Skulls. In face of such a deadlock I had no choice, but to involve The Mother. The Mother has many years experience working in fashion, and has declared that things should be kept simple. She has voted for the Plain Black fabric. It also turns out that The Mother has a magical veto power, previously unrealised.

I'm still not sure, but on the plus side, I get to keep those other gorgeous fabrics for other tops and skirts! Have cake, and eat it too? What a strange feeling.
chebe: (gerties sew-along 2010)
You know the dress pattern I'm making up? Need a reminder? Well, I've a problem. I picked a patterned print for the main fabric. Quite apart from my fear of matching up all those seams, is the fact that I'm useless at matching prints. I'm a solids kind of girl, generally mixing in one patterned piece with plenty of solids. Nice and easy.

But now I have to try and find a fabric to make the contrasting wrap-tie out of. Add to this my personal 'style', and it's becoming very difficult to find an appropriate fabric. I want to actually wear this dress when it's finished. So I'm going to have to face the fact that except for a handful of days in the Summer, I will be wearing it with black opaque tights, and most likely some form of black footwear. I had an idea of using dark charcoal, in a solid, but couldn't find it in anything other than satin. So this is what I have available to me. What do you think?

Bear in mind, my hair cycles from red to orange, and back to red again. I am the kind of pale that burns in ten minutes and never tans. And most of my wardrobe basics are black (but I'm not afraid of a bit of colour).

Pictures )

Poll #5659 Help! Fabric choices for wrap-tie
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 4

Which fabric combination do you think works best?

View Answers

1: Pirate skulls
1 (25.0%)

2: Plain black
0 (0.0%)

3: Los Muertos
1 (25.0%)

4: Floral
0 (0.0%)

5: Navy spots
2 (50.0%)

6: Eyelet
0 (0.0%)

7: Red sequins
0 (0.0%)

8: Other, please elaborate in comments
0 (0.0%)

(I don't actually have enough of those last three fabrics, but can probably get more of something similar.)
I was also thinking of maybe edging the neckline and hem with black satin bias-tape piping. Or making a slip underneath that would leave some black or silver netting peeking out under. Previously suggested colours were pink or yellow. But I don't know. Help! Please!
chebe: (gerties sew-along 2010)
... it's just complaining. I'm so behind in the Crepe sew-along! I still want one more go at the darts on my mock-up, then I have to cut out the underlining, cut out the fashion fabric, attach one to the other, stabilise my neck-lines and arm-holes, fuse the interfacing to the facings, and acquire a contrast fabric for my ties! Everyone else is about to start sewing the whole lot together. And I can't even make any progress until Saturday! *flail* I'm not giving up, but I will have to ask for an extension.
chebe: (gerties sew-along 2010)
Made it to tog today for some fun meet-up sewing with the other local people I know doing the Crepe Sew-Along. I added some test skirt pieces to the bodice mock-up. It's not part of the sew-along, but I was so surprised that at how big the waist was on me that I figured I had better check the fit of the skirt. By my measurements I should be a 14/16 in the hips, but then I would be in the waist as well, and we know how badly that turned out. I'd cut a straight 12 in the bodice, so I figured I'd try a straight 12 in the skirt too.

Pics! )

It fits! Wrap skirts generally have a lot of ease to play around with, so this is probably a factor. Even so, I still have plenty of ease left in the skirt! At full length you will definitely still be able to make out the A-line of the design. I don't know how you did it Colette Patterns, but you seem to have developed a shape that fits me perfectly! I picked the size based on my high-bust measurement, and the only thing I had to change was the darts. True, wrap-dresses have a more relaxed fit than most, but I'm definitely encouraged to try more Colette patterns.

My front darts however. Have not improved with the added weight of the skirt and pressing. I may rip off the skirt panels and start altering the darts again. I'd settle for something less fitted if it meant I could get rid of those seams/creases through my bust. Then again, maybe it won't seem like such a big deal in the morning.

In other news, more sew-alongs are cropping up that I'm tempted to join, but really shouldn't. There's a really neat looking 1940's inspired Swing Dress one over at Casey's Elegant Musings. But it's starting now, and I'm just getting started on making up my Crepe dress. And in February Peter of Male Pattern Boldness is doing a sew-along of the Men's Shirt that is on my list for the year. I'm doing my best to resist, but they're making it so hard!
chebe: (gerties sew-along 2010)
After posting in the Flickr group I received a comment that confirmed what I'd suspected, but had been willing to over-look in the name of an easier life. Namely, that the front waist darts were too much to the side. Here, this is the bodice, worn inside-out so you can see the seams more clearly.

Darts, lots of darts. Image heavy )

So, yeah, there will be one more mock-up post. I'm going to wait a little while and see if there's any comments in Flickr, then I'll try the size 12 skirt on for size. By measurements I should be a size 16, but by measurements my waist should have been a size 14/16 too. Plus, it's a wrap skirt, so it will have lots of extra ease/fabric in the skirt as part of the style. This doesn't suit my shape, tending to make me look larger, so anything I can do to minimise the volume is a bonus. It was a bit of work, but the difference a simple dart made to the fit makes me glad I bothered.
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