Friday, May 30, 2014

Trimming Corners and Clipping Curves

Dear Mom,
Something about warm weather makes me want to sew. I've noticed that every spring I catch a sewing bug. Mostly the result is discouraging, but apparently not so discouraging that I am immune the next year.
So, a few weeks ago when we were visiting The French Seam, it should have been no surprise that I would walk out with fabric and a book. I was clearly under the influence of a potent strain of the Sewing Bug Virus this year. The book I purchased is this one: Simple Modern Sewing. I didn't need to turn more than a few pages before I was HOOKED. I was excited. I was ready to sew a whole new wardrobe.

And then I got home and started looking at things a little more closely and realistically. I quickly realized that my ***ahem*** American Figure was not necessarily compatible with the Japanese women for whom the patterns were clearly designed. I could feel that cloud of discouragement blowing in. And then I got tough. I made a decision. NoWayNoHow was this Simple Modern Sewing going to defeat me! By golly, I took 2 years of tailoring classes in high school. Okay. So that was 35 years ago, but SO WHAT. I could surely figure out how to make this simple modern jumper, designed for a Japanese woman, fit my American Breasts. Mrs. Goodwin and Mrs. Roos were gonna be proud.

I made adjustments in width to the pattern, based on the finished measurements and suggested ease provided in the instructions. I honestly measured myself and immediately shook off the shock of that. I made Muslin #1 with an old twin size bed sheet. WAY too big. (this made me happy) I took out the adjustments and sewing Muslin #2 using the original pattern. It fit okay, but the armholes and bust darts were too high. I stood before the mirror and studied that muslin and figured out where to cut the pattern and how much length to add for the gravity induced location of the mammas (or should that be ma'ams?). I channelled that tailoring instruction Mrs Roos taught me all those years ago and I sewed Muslin #3. I did it.
And now that all the pattern alterations are finished, this is a very simple dress and the sewing of it is a breeze. I used tailor's tacking to mark the pattern. I clipped the curves and trimmed the corners. I under stitched the facings. I was In. The. Zone.

My original goal was to sew sleeveless summer jumpers that I could either where over a tee-shirt, or under a cardigan. Now that I've made 3 of them, I am also considering other pattern alterations for pin tucks, or pockets, or that apron style dress I see on Pinterest but cannot find the pattern for. I also think I will make some winter jumpers in wool to wear over turtlenecks and under cardigans, with tights and boots or leggings and funky shoes.  Like I said, when I left the fabric store I was ready to sew a whole new wardrobe.

Here is what I've done so far:
This is the first one, in a linen-like fabric. I admit this is a bad photo of both the dress and the knitted thing. That shawly cardigan thing is my most recently finished knitting. It is this pattern from the Spring 2014 issue of Interweave Knits. I used some Classic Elite Firefly yarn that I had in my stash. The fabric for this dress is not linen, but behaves like linen in every way except the wrinkly part.

The shape and size of this cardigan is not compatible with Elle. It was just about impossible to get anything even close to a decent photo.
The cardigan will serve its purpose (of covering my upper arms and dressing up the jumper) but I will NOT be making another one. It felt like I was knitting this thing for ev er.

Next up, a sunny summery combo:

I knit this sweater a while back and almost got rid of it. I am so glad I didn't! It is perfect with this dress. The cardigan details are on my ravelry page.

And last (so far) is this one:
I really like this one even though my reason for making it is a sad one. I needed a dress for a funeral but didn't want to wear my usual black dress. This looked just right with a black cardigan and my little black patent leather flats.

As I said, this jumper is super simple- no buttons, buttonholes or zippers. Just an easy pullover with a flattering boat neck. Here is a close-up of the shoulders.
With the success of these dresses and my alterations, I've caught myself considering other patterns from the book. I would feel so absolutely liberated to be able to sew and wear clothes that I like, that fit me, in fabrics and colors of my choosing, without being held hostage by the fashions and fit available in the shops. Like I said. Potent Strain of the Sewing Bug.