Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Pockets and Plackets

Getting to the skirt now. Decided to put an actual placket into the front skirt opening.
This particular example of a placket seems a bit modern to me...but it's a good one :).
For the pockets. I had some extra piping, and why leave it laying around with no place to go. So I inserted it into the front panels of the pocket openings for wear and design.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Bodice completed

Here is the completed bodice top with piping set in neck and sleeves. The sleeves were very good to me and set in right away...lots of pins, basting and sewing slowly.  Now I'm debating on doing hook and eye closure or go to the buttons as the pattern suggests.  I'm thinking I can always do the buttons, if I don't like the hook and eye. I know the button band will lay flatter with the h&e.

(The sripped dress is a costume my gramie made back in the 1970's I think it was. So interesting to look inside and see how she finished things.)

On to the skirt now!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Bodice redux

Documenting the process as I go, for later reference and learning.  Here's the bodice with the back on top to show the shoulder seams.

Here is the bodice front...ready for side and shoulder seams to be sewn together. I've stitched the lining and fashion fabric layers together all around.  The lining was about 1/2" longer in the pleat/dart area (visible at the lower left waistline) so I eased that extra from the lining into the waistline by pulling gently on the FF. I read that a lining should be actually a bit larger than your shell. Whodathunkit?
Underlining aka flatlining a garment seemed excessive to me...now that I've worn a bodice with an underlining, I really like the structure it gives to the garment. I picked up some great tips on flatlining over at Historical Sewing . Especially the "Best Flatlining Tip Ever" which I used on this version.  This pattern doesn't underline the sleeves, which is nice. It seems I'm never wearing costuming in cool weather...why is that? ;)

Here's a shot showing the easing of the curves of the front bodice into the straight lines of the back bodice. I think that I'm used to seeing this curve in the back seam if memory serves, but since this seamline sits to the back of the shoulder it makes sense that you'd make the curve on the bodice front.

Saturday, March 8, 2014


So I decided to try a simple fix that was suggested by a couple of people on sewing forums that I'd often thought of but never attempted and that was to take out the excess fabric in the neck area by pinching said amount out of the pattern piece and smooshing the resulting bubble flat...just mash it down.  When I was looking at this smooshed bit, I looked over at the armhole and though....why don't I slash and pivot and allow that bubble to escape into the armhole. It has seemed a bit small to me anyway, and I thought, why not...as someone said to me some designers made dozens of muslins before getting the fit they wanted...I'm just after a flat neckline!  So I did it and it looked fine...

,,,then I made bodice muslins out of them and do a comparison. Here's a side by side collage of  Opt #1-right side (smooshed pinch), and Opt #2-left side (pivoted neckline to underarm):

I remind myself that this is a  workdress and isn't supposed to fit without some bagging and excess fabric here and there, beside the fact that weight from the skirt will sort some of this out....but it does make me want to play with the pattern more....that's for the future. Right now, I'm really pleased with the flat neckline and the ease with which the dress seems to fit. I won't feel that I can't scrub some linens and sit and the spinning wheel doing some longdraw spinning and worrying about gaping necklines or a constrictive fit! Weeeee.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Redrawing lines after shifting

After pivoting the pattern to reduce fabric in the neckline, I've redrawn the neckline and the armscye.
At first I wondered if I was actually reducing anything since I was, in a sense,  redrawing things back the way they were.  So this post is detailing what I did so that those helping me can see what I'm thinking in my head.

Here is the neckline...

and the armscye...

now to cut a muslin and see what changes it has made in the fit.

I decided to try the new adjustments onto Dresda to see what I have now. I raised the wasitline to a bit above my natural waist...however, I'm still getting excess fabric at the neckline....
also have pulling over the bustline and lots of excess at the side, which I can pleat in ...however now on the back the center back is pulling away from the center line.

It appears that every time I make an adustment to the neckline and the the excess fabric returns. So I must be running in a circle here somewhere.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Playing with Pattern Alteration

Clothing has seldom fit me the way I would like it to. We all have this problem because one size just doesn't fit all.  In my last post I put up some pictures of an historical pattern I'm trying to get to fit me. The pattern is fine except for some gaping at the neckline that I want to get rid of. I don't want to hide it I want it gone.

I've played around a little bit with getting a pattern to fit me, even had a class that taught me quite a bit, but this fix seems to be a bit more of a challenge and not an uncommon one...gaping fabric at the neckline.  The bodice on this dress has a 1.5" gaping at the neck front. That's a lot. Now, granted, this pattern is taken from a 1870's workdress that most probably didn't fit any better than this does me, but it fits me so well everywhere else there just must be a way to get that gaping out so the button band lays neatly against my chest front.

I've taken some suggestions and tried some slash and pivot techniques, but I'm really in a completely new arena here, I'm just unsure of what I'm supposed to be doing. 

So the suggestion was to take a pleat in the neckline taking out the excess fabric there. Slash the pattern down to the underbust pleasts and let the excess fabric from the reduction in the neck land there...easy enough to deal with by taking the pleats in a little more or adding another one...but then what does one do with the changes in the pattern lines at the neckline, armscye and waistline...let me show you what I mean.

I've made the pivots keeping the Center Front on the straight of grain.

So what does one do at this point? Do we true up those changes in the neckline and the armscye? Or does that put one back to where we were at the start...this may seem a really silly question, but when you're only grasping the concept by the outside edges...it's really not all that silly :). 

So that's where I stand to date, still working on it...

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Fiber includes clothing yardage too!

I love costumes, don't have that many opportunities to wear them, but sometimes wearing a vintage outfit to do my wool spinning demonstrations is fun. So I found this pattern called Isabella's Workdress, and thought I'd try my hand at sewing it together.

The pattern taken straight from a vintage dress. My muslin mock up has a few fitting issues, that more than likely weren't an issue for a work dress, but I have the idea that I can get it to fit me a bit better than it does...but I need help...help from people who understand pattern design.

The following pictures are made with the muslin lining and the fashion fabric as a finished top...the muslin fit me so I went ahead and put the fashion fabric onto the muslin lining,
front view
 but it wasn't until I did this that I saw a big problem, the front neckline has major neck gaping.

1.5" gap
I've taken up the front shoulder seam of the front of the bodice at the neckline about 1/4" but it doesn't seem to be making much of a difference. I might try to take it up a bit more in that area to see if it will help to pull in that extra inches. The other thought is to actually change the straight line of the button band into something more serpentine...in at the top, out at the bust and back in at the waistline.

Here is a look at the shoulder seams..the back is a bit longer than the front much like contempo patterns are, but there is quite a curve to the front shoulder seam...wondering if that has something to do with the excess neck front fabric, or if it can be changed here somehow?
The seams on the dress also sit differently than contempo patterns, as the shoulder seam drops off the shoulder, and the side seam sits to the back of the center line:
drop shoulder-side seams set back

You can also see that the back of the neck seems very high and tight against the neckline. Maybe some adjustment here would change the front neck gaping?  
back neck

And the waistline on the back is much lower than that in the front....the waist line is marked with the large pearl headed pins:

The back waist is 1.25" longer than the front.

So there you have it...I appreciate any suggestions.  :)

armscye-front facing left

Great thanks go out to Lindy, at Timeless Calico for all her tips and help with this dress as well. She's been a great source of help and information for the fit and style of this dress, without her input I think I may have not tried as hard as I am to get this to fit me in a contemporary stylish way :).

example of serpentine center front line 

Note the center front line on this bodice diagram. I'm thinking of changing the original straight front center line of the original pattern to something more serpentine like this.