Sunday, January 27, 2013

Dressform, Part Three and Getting There!

What you see here is the completed cover but totally unpadded. That will happen shortly but I thought I would share a few construction points first.
The cover is princess seamed, something I had to makeup myself on Vogue's muslin pattern. I would suggest using a princess seamed  sheath dress pattern as an easier way to start this project. Hindsight it  twenty twenty, you know!

The question of how I did this alone has been brought up. I didn't. Hubby was indispensable, particularly in helping to find my waist. When the bodice was complete I sewed the zipper in the center back seam. It extended a good nine inches beyond the bodice waist. I would deal with that later. Then I put on a black elastic cord tied around my waist and wore it while I finished up the skirt section. When the skirt was done, still with the bodice and elastic on, I had DH mark where the black cord was every two inches with a red frixion pen. This would come out once ironed. He got it spot on, bless his heart. You can see his wonderful work in the next photo.  That's the elastic cord on the right and the zipper bottom is hiding underneath.


Once my waistline was established I pressed under the waistline seam allowance 5/8ths of an inch all around the skirt section.
Then the fold of the skirt waistband was matched up with his marks. I topstitched the skirt in place. It was a perfect fit so I knew he got the waistband right! Yahoo! After topstitching I also zigzagged the same seamline for a bit of insurance. This is ravelly fabric and the zipper and waistline got extra protection. 


Then I found the end zipper stop and marked the seamline. I stitched the skirt closed from there down. Now I could install the final leg of the zipper.
  Double stick Wonder Tape was really helpful here. Now the zipper was complete and I could give it a fitting on the form. That is what you see in the first two pictures.

I have wide hips and they cut back in at my thighs. My dress form wasn't long enough to accommodate this change in shape and I felt it was important. Let's say if I wanted to make a pencil skirt, this shape would matter. Plus I had to figure out how to end the bottom of the cover. It couldn't just hang there. I wanted a longer dress form. DH came up with the idea of some heavy corrugated cardboard and duct tape. He helped me wrap a ring of the cardboard around the bottom of the form to get the right length. This would be impossible without two people. Once I got it on, paying particular attention that the bottom edge was parallel to the floor, I cut darts in the cardboard ring. I cut slits almost to the bottom edge and starting duct taping everything tight as could be. Now what you see is pretty nasty but it will be filled out with batting so I am not worried. And, I've got my longer length. Now I can run a drawstring in the bottom of the form and pull it up snug and tie it off once it is all padded.

 Cross your fingers for the next phase.....Bunny

Saturday, January 26, 2013

My Friend, the Dress Form

I spent the entire day today working on my body duplicate. I think I came pretty close. As you will see from the first muslin, there is much room to subtract before I have a skin tight duplicate, picture of which I will spare you and myself, although those jeans don't leave much to the imagination. 


This is made from Vogue's Muslin pattern, Vogue 1004. This is a sloper to be used to check fit on your Vogue patterns. In my case it was made without any ease in order to duplicate my body. If I went by the pattern measurements I would have taken a size 12. But I have never worn a twelve pattern in my life. I used a size eight. The interesting thing is the skirt part of my dummy fit perfectly out of the envelope in that size eight. The top was made much smaller to accomodate a narrow ribcage and shoulders. So the eight was just fine for me. If you use this pattern for a dummy get it two sizes smaller than the measurements suggest unless you have broad back issues or such.

You can see above it is large at the start which it should be if it is a sloper. The interesting thing is that once I started substracting fabric the shoulders and waist ended up exactly where they needed to be. I like that I ended up with one shoulder lower than the other, a true copy of my asymmetry, which you can see even in the above pic.

The process? I began by cutting out the size 8 exactly as it was on the pattern, not doing any of my usual changes. I used big stitches, the easier to rip out and I added a zipper up the back. First I tucked out vertical adjustments. Then I tucked out the horizontal ones as in an FBA. I had to move the "bust box" down a tad and I made a dart at the center front, between my two apexes. By the time it was all tucked and pinned in the strangest fashion, making the thing look plastered on me, I took it off. Then I rotated those tucks into darts and cut  princess seams on the front and back to accommodate some of the rotation.  My plan was to first make the bodice and then do the skirt separately. Once all stitched up, separately, I would try them on to find the final waistline and do any further tweaking, at last that is the plan for now.

I took the thing off and cut off all seam allowances.  Just to back track, before I started sewing,  all horizontal balance lines and straight of grain lines were marked in.  OK, back to cutting off the SAs. I then traced everything to oaktag, added back the seam allowances, cut my toile ( get it?) and started sewing.
I have been sewing all day. I had a decision to make before starting full bore on this project. Did I want to make it in good ole muslin or how about something a litte prettier? I found a home dec toile at JA's and thought it would be perfect and pretty. I cut it all out and other than the side seams, which I am leaving undone to get the zipper in, the bodice is complete. I will finish the skirt tomorrow and hopefully start stuffing this babe. I am in mortal fear of what this will really look like. So far, no surprises, as my hips really are much wider than my upper bone structure. But will it be one of those dress forms that will have a piece of fabric thrown on it all the time so I don't have to face what I look like? We shall see........Bunny


Sunday, January 13, 2013

Real Sewing Returns

I am finally starting some real sewing, after this hiatus I am ready to roar. The remodel is finally complete. The holidays came and went and the nasty,nasty flu is but a memory. I even got the final leg of my sewing room re-org complete today. The "fabric closet" which joins the studio with the back "fabric room" got a thourough going through this morning and a total scrub down as well. What to begin with?

So many things have been backed up in the queue but it made logical sense to me to do my dress form re-do. I am sure you have seen Kenneth King's custom dress form in Threads recently. There have been more than a few successful outcomes out there in blog land of this technique. Oh, you remember the duct tape form my BFF and I did? In late August I think the heat and humidity just did it in and all sort of sagged in the most awful way. At first I thought it was just continuing to mimic my ever changing and aging shape but truth be told, It just died. So a different "mini-me" has been on my mind ever since. To get started I picked out my Vogue Sloper pattern, Vogue 1004. It's been around for years. I never have quite gotten the sloper thing, at least the part where you make it work on a different pattern, so I never took this out of the envelope till today.

 I folded the skirt pieces under to just give me the hip length needed to cover my current dress form. At this point all pieces have been cut out, marked, and are ready to sew. I did NO alterations to this pattern as tempted as I was. This is a size 8 and upon reading the finer print I realize they are nowhere near my own measurements. A disadvantage of this pattern is that it comes in one size, the one you decide will work. Since I usually use a Vogue size 8 and then do my usual alterations, I went with an 8. I followed the initial instructions for measuring and quickly realized I probably have the wrong size but I know if I had the "right" size it would be swimming on me. Anyway, you can see the very generous seam allowances so I think in the end I will be fine. Also, the pattern does provide pieces for different bust cup sizes. According to the measurements on the directions I needed the D front. When I alter a pattern it is always to a C cup and that's been fine so we will see how this turns out.

Here you can see the horizontal balance and grain lines marked in with marker. You can't see all the other lines, every single one of them, which are marked with waxed transfer paper and a serrated wheel. Love that technique!
I will say, this sloper pattern has LOTS of information inside, six pages both sides, on how to do all sorts of alterations. It's a great reference. But remember, they are teaching you to make a bodice sloper, something you can use to later fit patterns. I am going for a skin tight facsimile of my personal body space so it will be a tad more snug. I am going to sew everything up with big stitches right where they want me to. Then I will do further adjustments. I will probably wait for my BFF to come over for that next weekend. Then it will be Stuff the Dummy time, yahoo! Cross those fingers.

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I am still languishing over the pattern for my winter coat. I will probably be sewing it over Fourth of July! Some years back I tried on a 3000.00 swing coat at a store in Boston, can't remember which. It was the most beautiful thing I think I have ever tried on. It was simple and exquisite black wool. It took everything I had to not hand over the plastic. Ever since that day I have been craving me a gorgeous swing coat. I have seen on PR a few iterations and the upper part of the current patterns seems to have a lot of volume. The sleeves are huge as well, which I do understand is a nod to it's retro roots. But all that fabric would be overwhelming on me. I want a narrow upper chest and a wide triangle at the bottom. Today while looking for this sloper pattern, which required that I go through every pattern box I own, I found this forgotten swing coat pattern that may be the one.
It's from 1995. I like the collar a lot as it fits the need to keep the neck extra warm in this climate. Other patterns and their collars have never been just right. This one is. The sleeves also don't seem to be as voluminous as other patterns currently available and I like that. Given that the date of the pattern is 1995, around the time when I tried on the 3000.00 coat, those shoulders shouldn't be as wide as those of the eighties but a muslin will prove that out.  I also like that this coat has long sleeves. Every other SC pattern I have seen has 3/4 sleeves and that won't work up here. I also like the version shown with the tie belt. So this may be the one. It's McCalls 7947. But first  I have to get my "mini-me" put together!....Bunny

A Quickie No Sew Project

I sure hope you don't get the flu. I am getting over being sick enough to be out of work for a week and sicker than I've been in many many years. I wouldn't wish this on anyone. And I and my three co workers, who were just as sick, all had our flu shots, too!

This was a small no sew project that  gave me a bit of sewing satisfaction this morning. I guess I should call it Faux Sewing because not a needle moved on this one.
I have two of these chairs. They have never been outside or in the sun at all. But they have been in my basement packed away for seven years. They are heavy duty, sturdily built and worth saving. I have always loved them. But age has faded their glory. I switched them out in the big remodel and brought them upstairs to replace two nasty chairs that I never liked. We have a "light" look to the great room and I think they fit in nicely. But those big boring cushions.....oy...

 I got 2 1/4 yards of home dec fabric and just cut it in half. I serged the raw edges.


 I centered the cushions on the fabric over on my island, just a convenient spot. Then  I proceeded to fold and pin with safety pins. The straight front piece needed to be nice and flat.


So it was a simple matter of fold and pin. I may make a nice piped cushion further up the road but this gave me some immediate satisfaction, something I really needed after not having sewn for a while. I like the result.
In the spring the chairs will go outside to be spiffed up. My research has shown me that a gel stain will make these look like new and then a quick coat of urethane spray to finish. I think they will look great when all is said and done but in the meantime they look better than what was previously in this space. I think you can see their potential. When hubby was in a furniture moving mood I had to take advantage and get them up here. Now on to some real sewing! (The camera angle makes it look kind of skew but it's not.)

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Always learning!

Sophie and I spent an afternoon  teaching Bunbun to finger knit. She had long lengths of these finger knitted creations all over the house. A girl after my heart! She is quite fast at it and told me her art teacher taught them all how to finger knit. This would be a wonderful way to make trim for a Chanel jacket! Anyone else out there know how to finger knit?

ETA: I just found a great video on Youtube that shows how to do this. Sophie asked me to tell you that she was the only one in her class that figured out how to tie things off. She also told me it comes out better with multi colored yarn as this video says.