fun with FBAs

You all know I mean “fun” in a sarcastic way, right? Ok, good.

I’ve finally managed to start the muslin process for The One Dress over the last two days. (My sis-in-law and maid of honor have taken to calling it the One Dress To Rule Them All, in honor of my ongoing love affair with all things Lord of the Rings related, so that’s what I’ll be going with here. Anyway.)

Cambie FBA, attempt 1First of all, I have to say that Sunni is my hero for starting to carry that waxed tracing paper, because all of the Craftsy videos and couture books were right. This stuff is amazing for muslin marking!  Secondly, I have to say that this dart is going to cause me some issues. This is what my dart ended up looking like after my attempt to work an FBA on the pattern without compromising the integrity of the design. And when I pin-tested it with the paper, it looked like it could possibly work. In fabric, it’s proving far more difficult.
Muslin 1, bust dart 1This is what it looks like after sewing the bust dart right on those slightly curved lines. Waaaaaaay too pointy.

Once I saw that, I decided to try the other side a little differently and compare them to see what direction I need to go in.

Muslin 1, bust dart 2

So this is the second one– for this one, I straightened out the stitching line overall, and tried to stitch into the point in more of a concave curve. From this angle, it definitely looks better.

Muslin 1, front

From this angle, not so much.  I realize that part of the issue is most likely that the darts just go up too high, and I’ll need to end them at least an inch lower. The far more difficult prospect is going to be how to pinch out the ginormous darts and take that big of a chunk out of the fabric without getting those annoying bubbles at the top of the darts.  I may have a bit of trouble in the center front, too, if this picture is any indication. But, to be fair, this test was basically holding it closed behind my back at what felt like the thread-traced lines, mainly to get an initial idea of what I’d need to do with those darts.

Muslin 1, side The side view looks even worse! (And, for the record, this was with me pinning it closed, though I was doing it to myself by feel and only at the very top and bottom. I was also tugging it down to try and simulate the weight of the skirt.)

I took the darts out and played around with some other solutions– just not taking out as big of a dart period, double darts, etc. So far, no dice. So I think I have two choices here: either I can try a more narrow dart and trying to taper some of the extra difference out of the side seam just in the front, or I can try to alter this into a princess seam cut to make it easier to control the curve. I’d much rather do option 1 if I can, because that keeps the design the same. Not to mention that since I plan on overlaying this entire bodice with a patterned lace, that’s one less place I’ll have to try to match up floral motifs.

I do know from this initial test that there are a few other things I’ll have to address, and a few things I don’t quite know about yet. I didn’t take a look at back fitting at all, because my first priority is smoothing out those bust darts before I even try to deal with a zipper. I’ll also need to actually put in that zipper/check back fitting and all before I can check to see if the neckline is going to gap at all  (and where it’s actually going to hit, so I can see if I want to raise or even, dare I say, lower it!) I’m also thinking I might want to make the shoulder bits a little more narrow so it fits more smoothly around my shoulders. But I’ll have to check first to see how nicely the inner edge of the neckline lays, along with the back armhole. There may be some gapping there, but it was hard to tell under the circumstances.
Muslin 1, side seamI’ll also need to tweak the waist seam a little, since the front ended up a little longer than the back. I’m guessing it’s due to my FBA tweaks. (The lengthen-shorten lines aren’t lining up either, but I’m not sure how important that actually is.) So I’ll need to see if I want to lengthen the back or shorten the front to match.

So, how am I doing so far? Are there any of you ladies that are *ahem* a bit bigger up top that have made the Cambie? If so, I’d love to hear your suggestions for that bust dart!

I’m also going to start doing a link list for these dress posts, for an easy reference to the process.
Tracing out the pattern

An hourglass in a pear-shaped world

 It took a little longer to fit the bodice of the Lonsdale than I’d anticipated, but I think I’ve got the kinks worked out now. I really wanted to take my time and do it right with this one, since the fact that I’m basically building a corset of sorts into it means that I need it to fit pretty closely. I also discovered that my phone is a pretty handy fitting tool in a pinch, thanks to the camera! (And much easier to take mirror shots with than my actual camera.)

So I did the FBA as directed in Tasia’s Lonsdale sewalong, and it worked much, much better than my original attempt. But I still had a few things that needed work. Exhibit A: The back was doing this weird diamond-shaped wrinkle thing. I didn’t take any pictures of the muslin once I’d fixed it, but here’s what I ended up having to do:

That off-white bit sticking out at the side is the original muslin. I did have to take some of the slantiness out of the side to the left, where it joins the bodice. I also had to add 3/8″ at the top, because once I did all of the other adjusting, they just didn’t match up anymore. For the center back, I suspected that I needed something along the lines of a swayback adjustment, but I just couldn’t find any instructions for how to do a swayback adjustment in a dress where it actually curved in well above the waistline seam. So, in typical fashion, I winged it and just curved the actual center back seam. It seemed to work pretty well, so I’m running with it and adjusted the pattern accordingly.

I ended up having to make some pretty major changes to the front, too. This picture was after redoing the front with a real FBA adjustment, and it fixed pretty much all of the unsafe-for-public-viewing issues. But there was still a bit too much bagginess in the front for a successful attempt at using the boning, as you can see. So after some fiddling with the front and side seams, I realized that the best solution would just be to add a couple more darts.

So that’s what I did. Pretty different from the originally dart-less bodice, but I think that this will work much better for me. Makes sense, anyway….after all, this pattern was designed for women who are generally less top-heavy than me. Ahem.

But wow…the difference between the original pattern and what I ended up with is pretty crazy!

There ended up being a difference of about an inch between the original pattern width and what I ended up with after the FBA, but the dart that I needed to add in front ate most of that up. I still needed to add about 3/8″ to either side of the waistband after pinning and fiddling with the pattern pieces to “walk” the length of the waistband. So then I added half of that to all of the side seams on the skirt, as best as I could estimate between 1/8″ and 1/4″ on my gridded ruler. I’m not too worried about fitting the skirt, since that’s going to be much easier to adjust as I go.

I made three more adjustments to the pattern– I shortened the ties so it will be an actual halter dress, I split the front bodice lining so that I had a facing of self-fabric for the top and ties (didn’t have enough fabric to do a full self-fabric facing), and I’ll be lining the skirt too. I did manage to get the dress entirely cut out last night. It’s a good thing this isn’t a one-way print, because it took some very creative pattern layout work to get this to fit! I did manage to squeeze it all on with only scraps left over, so one more piece entirely busted out of my stash, hurrah! Aside from figuring out the boning, I think it will be fairly quick to sew together. I actually went ahead and cut out the pattern with my pinking shears so the seams can just be pressed open and not otherwise finished. Since it will be fully lined anyway, it will still look nice, and that will save me some bulk at the seams. I’m rather excited to see how this comes together, and am hopeful again that I can get this all done in time for the Summer Spark Sew-Along!

Wrapping up: thoughts on Me-Made-May (and the month in general)

So now that I’m at the end of another month of me-made, here’s some thoughts and stats….

First off, the day I apparently forgot to post, which was day 16:
MMM'12, Day 16
The “If I Had $1000000” dress, worn with a Modcloth belt and those Montego Bay sandals. Jewelry is the “Earth” set from the elements series. I was a bit ambivalent about the outfit, personally, due to the over-poofiness of the skirt. I’m strongly considering chopping out the organza that makes it do that in the lining, and just letting it hang a little longer. (It also feels a little too short for comfort to me.) However, this was one of the outfits that got the most love in the Flickr group, with 7 comments. (A lot for me.)

Now, some stats:
# of me-made/refashioned clothing items worn: 36
# of repeats: 0
# of pieces of handmade jewelry worn (counting necklace/earring sets that were designed to go together as one): 29
# of repeats: 5
# of non-jewelry handmade accessories: 1
Favorite outfits: Days 3, 4, 8, 13, 21, 23 and 30
Least favorite outifts: Days 2, 7, 9 and 31– the common thread in all of these was that I just didn’t feel like the store-bought pants looked good and/or flattering with the tops.
Separates combinations that I’ll be most likely to wear again: Days 3, 4, 8, 10, 11, 14 and 17
New articles of clothing made: 1 (the “Zeros and Ones” blouse from day 10)
Articles of clothing discarded: 1 (the Pendrell blouse from day 22, due to unfixable fitting issues).
 I’m still on the fence about the t-shirt from day 19, but I guess with the right pair of jeans, it won’t feel too short. So we’ll see.

Other thoughts:

  • Me-made May, June, July or August is not going to be a struggle for me, for a very long time. I’ve been switching out my wardrobe in pieces due to the up-and-down temperatures this spring, and when I was hauling out the summery-est of my warm weather clothes near the end of the month, I did a quick little count…I could probably go for at least 2 more weeks without repeats, depending on how I mix things. And that’s not counting things that are seasonally inappropriate, like all of those jackets I made earlier this year. (Now, if they ever do a Me-Made December or something, I’ll be in trouble for that.)
  • I am surprised at some of the clothes I ended up not getting to this month. It’s not that I didn’t want to wear them, and I can think of at least 3 pieces off the top of my head that I thought about wearing, but just didn’t get to for one reason or another. Mostly weather-related, I think. It’s certainly not that I still don’t like them.
  • A fashion blogger I am not. It’s like I’ve said everything interesting that I can about an outfit, once I’ve blogged the making of a piece. And I still feel a little silly taking all of those pictures of myself.
  • That being said, I did have fun putting the different outfits together! And I do think that my little unspoken challenge to myself to not repeat outfits (and to not repeat them from Self-Stitched September, if possible), helped me to put together some more daring, interesting combinations than I would have otherwise.
  • Though it’s still my least favorite part, having a boyfriend who really likes taking (multiple) pictures of me every time I hand him my camera definitely helped on the photography end of things.
  • The handmade accessories bit was surprisingly hard! I wouldn’t have thought so, given all of the jewelry I’ve made over the years. But there were some days that all I wanted to do was throw on a pair of dangly metal earrings and be done with it, especially if said dangly metal earrings would have gone with the outfit better IMO. There were also days where I’d wished I had accessory options other than jewelry. So I’m trying to expand my repertoire there a bit–I have one in-progress answer to this, and an idea for a second project that also isn’t jewelry, (I think handmade accessories might actually end up being easier in cooler weather, because then I always have the option of knitting a small project! When things are as warm as they’ve suddenly gotten around here, the last thing I want to do is throw on a knitted scarf or hat!)
  • I know I’ve said it before, but this month certainly reinforced that the biggest holes in my wardrobe are casual knit tops and pants. I have plenty of t-shirts, but not that many that I’ve made, so that part of my wardrobe certainly suffers in the me-made months.
  • Since this seems to be a list of contradictions, I did find that wearing dresses is more comfortable than I thought! At least, this time of year. But I still want more jeans/pants!

Other thoughts on the month in general– I’ve found myself very discouraged about my sewing lately, mostly due to the lack of time. Except for the one weekend where I was visiting friends out of town, every single weekend was taken up with long hours at work. So I barely got anything done, and I sadly have to admit that I really didn’t do so great on the Colette Palette Challenge. The top got done, and I have been working on the jeans (which are being more difficult than I’d hoped.) I guess I can’t really call the skirt a total fail, since it was more a case of discovering that I already had that spot in my wardrobe filled with the red dress from day 4, in a more versatile way than the skirt would have allowed. But I still didn’t make it.

As far as the other goals go, I did succeed at Me-Made-May, with only one flakeout day on the photos (and given that I was at work for 11 hours of that day, I think it’s allowed.) And I did finish clearing out my wardrobe, though the pile is still in my room and not at Goodwill. The knitting project did get worked on, though I ended up ripping out most of it in order to fix an issue with my decreasing–it was too much too fast, and looked awful.

For this month, I do want to keep working on fitting those jeans. It’s one of those projects I can do when I have a few moments here or there, but not when I’m around other people due to all of the trying on and adjusting. So I think my new goal there will be to get the jeans muslin fitted and the pattern altered by the end of the month. I’m going to keep knitting on my Strafford tee, of course. And despite my Colette challenge failure, I am strongly considering the Summer Spark Sew-Along. I mean, I only have to sew one thing. Surely I can manage that, right? I do have one particular project in mind, which will also nicely assist me in my Check The Technique list. But I’ll save that for the next post, along with some show and tell….stay tuned.

    And Mr. King made it look so EASY….

    The good news: I’ve managed to scrape together a couple of hours over the last couple of days to cut out and baste together my test “muslin” for the jeans.

    The bad news: the fitting is going to be way more complicated than I thought! I’m going to assume it’s probably my own fault for tracing the pattern the way I did– for lack of good paper to use with the tracing wheel (the only option at Joann’s is terrible), I had to approximate with a wash-off fabric marker. But somehow, not only were the jeans too small all around my thighs, the rise sits lower to the point where my cut line is probably where my seam should be, and they gap in the back. And I still don’t know how to draft the waistband. So no pictures of the progress so far, because it is not going to look good. Or safe for public consumption, for that matter.

    On the plus side, the wrinkles in the front that I had so much trouble with on my last jeans-fitting attempt weren’t that bad, and when I have a waistband to hold the top up, that problem just might be solved. (I won’t know for sure until I have a waistband, because I also need to see what happens when I try to sit down.)

    So I’ve already abandoned the idea of trying to reuse this particular piece of fabric– I’m going to have to do a lot more marking up than I thought, and possibly re-cut the yoke entirely. If it’s bad enough, I may have to just suck it up and make another one with regular muslin, because I don’t want to blow another $18 on twill that I’m just going to destroy. I’m a bit bummed that I blew this one. But I guess it’s better than ruining the more expensive denim, right?

    So far, I’ve let out both the inner and outer leg seams about 1/8″ (for a total of 1/2″ per leg) down to about the knee, and that made a big difference already. At least I can put them on without breaking the zipper now! I think I still might let it out a little bit more, because it’s still a bit tighter around the thighs than I want to do with non-stretch fabric. I can’t continue on it any more tonight, because I have some chores around the house that need to get done, but at least I have something started. And if I can get this figured out, it’ll be a great learning experience!

    I may need to look into getting some of that better tracing paper from some website or other….I’m already cringing at the thought of transferring this back to the pattern!

    The one productive thing I’ve done all day….

    Apparently my motivation to do anything productive decided to take a leap out the window in honor of February 29. But I can halfway check one thing off the list from the last post– I made a croquis! (Yay, I can delete those swimsuit pics off of my computer now!)

    So here’s me, in sketchy form. And here’s what I’ve noticed from looking at this so far:

    1. I guess I’m a little more pear-shaped than I thought, at least it looks that way from the front view. Though my shoulders balance it to an hourglass pretty well. But this explains why empire waist stuff always makes me look pregnant.
    2. I’m not dreaming it… I do have proportionally extra-long arms!
    3. Helloooooo, reason why I always have so much trouble fitting pants–my stomach is pretty flat, but look how far my thighs stick out in comparison!
    4. I think I need to add “swayback” to that list of alterations I need to learn to do and use on a regular basis. I didn’t realize my back curved quite that much.

    Yeah, I should go cut something out now.

    Now why didn’t I do this a year ago?

    As it turns out, I had a rather crafty Thanksgiving weekend. My family has the same routine every year–on Thursday, we go to my dad’s parents, and on Saturday we go to my mom’s parents. My dad’s side is a lot smaller/quieter, so I brought a box of beads and such with me and spent most of the non-eating time making earrings for the craft fair. My original plan was to do the same yesterday, but we also have a yearly tradition of decorating gingerbread houses (though now that the cousins are basically all adults, it’s just the girls that do it) and my gingerbread house was, shall we say, a little involved. So I did that the whole time instead. As for Friday, my friend Nicole came over and we had a pillow-making party! She’s making some as gifts for her nieces and nephew, and I’ve had some stuff sitting around for well over a year to make some for my ongoing room decorating project. We both had a rather productive afternoon…and I have to say that after that jacket, it was SO good to have a quick project!

    So here’s my finished results. The green is a kind of faux silk-looking weave, and the velvet is my salvage from that total fail of a wrap that I was planning on wearing to my brother’s wedding last fall. After all, hand-dyed silk velvet is way too yummy to just throw out. (Even if it did turn out to be a huge pain to cut out, since it kept shifting every which way.)

    I’m happy with the trim on it, too–that was leftover from a minor shirt embellishment/refashion from a couple of years ago. Adds a little more interest to the fabric. (And just ignore the lumpy look of the bolster pillow– I was having trouble getting it to stuff evenly.)

    I know the velvet in particular is not going to stay this pristine-looking–but I don’t believe in pillows for decoration only, and fully plan on using them to shove under my head while I’m reading and such. And I think it’ll be cool to see how it changes as it crushes.

    I also ended up getting an early Christmas present from my parents…

    Meet Donna 2.0! The old one served me well, but it did have its limits. And fell over a lot, since the base was rather unstable. And was constantly tilting to one side. So since a big overall goal for my sewing these days is improving my fitting skills, having one that stays still is a plus. And I think this one will be a little nicer to pin into than duct tape! I’m just getting started on figuring out the measurements– I know I’m going to have to do some padding for sure, because Donna’s a good bit flatter in certain areas than I am! But hopefully I can have all that sorted by the end of the month.

    In the meantime, I started the new jeans muslin tonight. And I have the backs of play capes embroidered and ready to go. And craft fair jewelry, of course. So hopefully, despite having a much fuller workload this week than last, I’ll find some time for crafting!

    Thank you, Mood!

    As those of you who are on BurdaStyle know, they sent out a code early last week for a discount on fabrics (except for the stuff like the silk jersey, boo!) But I still got three pieces and wanted to show them off. I got two yards of each, so I think that should be enough to do pretty much whatever I want.

    Yeah, so you know that thing I was saying about needling to start sewing more solids than prints? Well, they had cotton jersey prints that really caught my attention. Obviously, that is my weakness…

    With the stripes, I’m going to have to be really careful what I make out of this. (Donna’s modeling it on somewhat of a bias, which is how I think I’m going to have to end up laying this out.) But I loved the colors, and it’s so soft. So maybe a nice basic top.

    I am trying to branch out on my usual color scheme– you know, the one where nearly everything I make tends to be some shade of blue, green, black or brown. This one still has brown in it, but warmer colors than what I usually tend to go for, so it should work nicely! I’m thinking maybe a wrap top for this one…though I’ll have to be rather careful how I lay this one out too, now that I’m thinking about it!

    The only thing I don’t like about these knits, really, is that they’re both a much lighter weight than I thought, and therefore somewhat see-through. So I’m going to have to either come up with something that’s automatically layered, or make sure I sew styles that call for a camisole underneath.

    Now, this last one really is branching out for me…

    Yeah. Cherry/tomato/fire engine red. (And here I thought the rusty brick color in the Ayden shirt was stretching it for me!) This is an organic cotton twill, and I’m thinking a basic pencil skirt for this one…I have a couple of thrifted shirts with mostly black backgrounds that I was thinking would look really good with red. (And this would also probably look nice with the previous knit–see, I’m thinking outfits now!) And no way am I wearing red next to my face, because it would look simply awful on me. Especially with my freshly-henna’d hair. Plus I really enjoyed reading Sunni’s pencil skirt sew-a-long posts, and it’s inspired me to give it a whirl.

    I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly they arrived–just two days after I ordered it! And, being used to Joann’s fabrics, it was nice to find some stuff in natural fibers! So we’ll see how they wash and sew up, but I would definitely be inclined to shop there again. (When stuff is on sale, anyway!)

    Of course, first on the menu is my Burda jacket! (Which I have no pictures of yet, other than this one from the magazine.) I worked on sewing the muslin together today, and am so glad I’m doing a test version! I already had to take it in a bit all around, and figured that I’m also going to have to add some length to it because I like the place that the unhemmed jacket is hitting. On the plus side, I already raised the neckline a bit when I traced the pattern out, and I think that’s going to end up looking really good. On the down side, I’m having a lot of trouble with the sleeves–they’re not going in smoothly no matter how I pin them in. (Truth be told, I’m not entirely sure I didn’t put them in backwards, but I’ve tried it both ways and it’s not working either way.) The other problem I’m having is that once I put the sleeves in, it felt too small across the back. So I think I’m going to have to add to the back some– I haven’t tried letting the top of the center back seam out yet, but I think I may need to do that and/or add some fabric to the armhole edges. But I’m not sure how that’s going to work with also needing to take some ease out of the sleeves… any suggestions? I’m beginning to think I definitely need to add a book on fitting to my sewing library!

    Me vs. the flowery explosion, part 2

    And the saga continues! As you can see, taking the sleeves off did help a lot. (As long as you ignore the tank top I’m wearing underneath. Too lazy to change.) Now it’s not so much “bad girls of the Regency era” and a bit more 60s flower child, which is a little more like what I had in mind to begin with. Still not the most flattering fit on me, I have to say…I feel like it looks boxy and huge, and I kind of wish the sash was a darker color. But the orange would have been too much to match, and that weird coral color would have come off too pink in any solid I could have found. (It really is more of a reddish coral color, but I probably would have had to go with a salmon. I am not a pink girl, as anyone who has been reading this blog for any stretch of time knows, and this fabric was a bit of a stretch for me to begin with!)

    If I cut it to about this length, though, it might not be so bad…

    The armholes are still a bit of an issue– I had trouble showing just how gappy they are when the shirt is on, but you can see the ripples. I do think I probably need to take it in there at least half an inch. Also thinking that the easiest bet might be to just suck it up and bias bind it like the pattern called for in the first place. Though maybe if I use some more of that seafoamy green, it won’t be such the shocking pop on the sash.

    Not sure if I’m going to get to playing with it today– I’m just feeling really tired and headachey this afternoon, I spent the morning running errands, I’ve got a total experimental biscotti recipe in the oven that I decided to try spur of the moment (I had to turn it on anyway to make cookies for my dad for tomorrow, at his request), and I’d already decided to grill dinner tonight. I’m not motivated to work on my jeans muslin, either. So I think once the biscotti are done, I’m just going to cut out my next sewing project, since that’s relatively brainless compared to tweaking fit. (Besides, cutting is one of those things that I need to take advantage of having actual motivation. One of my least favorite parts of sewing.) And then just play video games the rest of the day. Because I got myself a Wii this week, and it’s Saturday, and I can, darn it!

    But I am hoping that I can finish this top, the jeans muslin, the next project (a maxi-dress) and maybe a reconstruction that’s been simmering in the back of my mind all summer, by the end of the month. I have a secret project for July, which I can’t actually start yet. And it would be nice to get these couple of things taken care of first!

    Slowly moving along….

    I know I’ve been quiet lately. I really haven’t been that productive, honestly…it’s been difficult for me to find time to craft this fall! But I do have a little progress to show, so here goes…

    1. The skirt fitting class. The lessons are all up, the chats are done, and I spent most of it feeling behind because of how long it took me to fit the muslin. But I know I wasn’t the only one in that class having trouble with it–and mine was relatively easy compared to some. I did finally get the muslin fitted pretty well, I think, and so since I had some unexpected time off yesterday, I made my master pattern.
    To give you an idea: I made my muslin from McCall’s 3830, a basic straight skirt, in a size 14. The black lines are the the original waist and darts. The red and orange ones are what I had to do to make it work– 1″ seams on the side or more, tiny little darts, the waistband lines up with the red line, and I had to make a contoured waistband to use as my default because a straight one was way too gappy. (I did have a larger view of the muslin with the two lines, but I seem to have accidentally deleted it from my camera. Oops.)
    This is my master sloper pattern that I made yesterday. At my mom’s brilliant suggestion, I put it on heavy non-fusible interfacing, because that would be more durable than paper, easier to store than posterboard, I can see pattern lines through it, and I can iron it! So, theoretically, if I make a skirt from this pattern it should fit quite well.

    Given all that I have going on, my original plan (which I formulated about halfway through the class) was to get my sloper made, and then put this aside and try fitting another pattern with it later. I don’t think that’s going to be happening, though– some of the ladies in the class had the idea during the last chat to do a sewalong to work on our second skirt muslins, and the teacher said she’d try to stop in and check on our progress every so often. So I kind of feel like I should do that while I can still get the help.

    Item #2: I was house/dogsitting this weekend, and my plan was to use the time to get a good chunk of my bedspread quilt for my new bedroom done. I actually did make some rather good progress, considering that the plan evolved into also hanging out with another friend who came down to keep me company while I was alone in the house/helping her a bit with her Halloween costume/taking a couple of hours to go to a flute recital. (My first flute student from back when I was in college is now a college senior majoring in music ed, and she had her recital on Saturday!) My quilt top consists of 15 blocks, which will have strips between them, and then borders and stuff. But I got all 15 blocks sewn together with little drama, other than thinking I’d lost half of the pieces to block #4. But I kept moving through them, and my suspicions that they’d gotten stuck with another piece proved true. (#14 to be exact. That’s what I get for trying to sort them and watch FlashForward at the same time!) I also got all of the leaves fused onto the blocks, and started appliqueing a few of the stems. But I didn’t get very far on that, because the lighting in her living room wasn’t the greatest and my machine hasn’t had a working light for years, and I was getting rather tired by this point of Saturday night anyway so I gave up and watched the last of my Star Wars trilogy run without sewing. This is a sample of two of the blocks, just to get an idea of how they work together. I think I’m really going to like the way it turns out!

    What do you think?

    I’ve been so bad at keeping up with this blog this week…between trying to recover from my brother’s wedding/stay caught up on work/use almost all of my free time working on my Pattern Review class (which I’ll probably post on later, once I have time to make a muslin to show for it), I just haven’t had time to write!! But after the huge fiasco that was sewing my dress for my brother’s wedding, I’m thinking that maybe I should get a bigger head-start on making a dress for a friend’ s January wedding that I’ll be attending. And I’m weighing my options, so I’m blatantly fishing for feedback on this one!

    This is the pattern I’d picked out, Vogue 7762. I’m planning on trying the one sketched in purple in the middle (which is actually also the one in the photograph) because I love those funky elf sleeves. And I have a problem with finding long-sleeved dresses that don’t look frumpy on me, but since it’s January and I get cold easily, long sleeves are a must. I don’t think a sleeveless dress and shrug are going to cut it. Problem #1: When I bought the pattern, the sketch was on there and in the pattern catalog, and the photo was not. And in the photo, the dress looks a little…boring. I don’t know if it’s the color or the way she’s posing, or what, but I liked it much better when it was the sketch! But I’m thinking that making it out of a print instead might liven it up– I kind of like the look of it with the print on the sketch to the right.

    So question #1: Print or solid? (And if you say print, should I go for something really graphic or more understated? I’m thinking understated since I don’t want to draw attention away from my friend the bride, but I still want to look good! And, admittedly, funky prints are way more my style, as you’ve probably figured out if you’ve been following this blog for any length of time.)

    The second issue: The dress calls for a woven. And it looked fairly fitted on the sketch and the pattern drawing when I was looking at it. But when I was reading it more closely after buying it, I noticed that it called the dress “semi-fitted”, and that set off some alarms for me because one of my usual biggest fitting “problems” is my waist. It’s not a bad problem to have–it’s just small compared to the other curves, so I guess I’m pretty much an hourglass figure. But that means I have to be very careful about wearing clothes that aren’t fitted at the waist, because that can easily make me look pregnant! Also, there aren’t really any darts around the chest. So what I’m seriously considering doing is making this dress from a knit instead of a woven. It would probably be more comfortable that way, both for the hour-and-a-half or more drive to Baltimore and if I actually make it out to the dance floor (we’ll see, because I’m not going to have a date for the wedding. I’m not a believer in asking some random guy to go to a wedding for two people he doesn’t even know just so I don’t have to sit by myself. I don’t know anyone I could ask anyway. And it’s not like I won’t know anyone there–my best friend is a bridesmaid. I just won’t get to sit with her for dinner, that’s all.) Also, from a sewing standpoint, I figured then it would be a lot easier to make it more fitted at the waist and still accommodate the fact that I’m not flat-chested without getting weird “I don’t fit” wrinkles.

    So question #2: Go with what the pattern says, or take a chance on a knit? Also, other than eliminating the zipper and making it pull-over, and maybe eliminating the back dart, any advice on such a drastic change in textile?

    If I don’t go with a knit, I need to figure out what to make it out of. The dress calls for “Lt.wt. Wool Crepe, Soft Faille, Silk Like Crepe, Matte Jersey and Lt.wt. Double Knit.” I don’t want to go too lightweight, though… I’ll get cold!! And I can’t wear wool because then I’ll break out in hives.

    Question #3: With the potentially big fitting issue, should I just go for a different pattern altogether? If so, any suggestions for what won’t look too old or frumpy or high school on an almost-29-year-old?

    Decisions, decisions….