Friday, August 26, 2011

Self-Stitched September

Expect this face in my outfit photos.
Guess what: I'm participating in Self-Stitched September.

I'm going to shoot for daily outfit pics, but they are not going to be photo-shoot-worthy and may feature weary, haggard expressions.  (I have two twelve-hour days this semester--my teaching schedule is all out of whack.)  We'll see how many I decide to post, but I'd like to document my outfits for myself at least.  The idea of having a month's worth of pictures of myself to reference five or ten or twenty years in the future is very appealing.

I figure I've got three skirts, two tops, one pair of pants, two pairs of shorts (if you count cut-offs I made myself!), and two dresses in regular rotation, plus a couple more of these 40s shirts in various stages of construction.  I can totally do this.  But just in case, I'm counting my me-made nightgown (previously this dress, but too comfy not to sleep in) and apron.  Everybody needs a loophole, right?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Shirt Progress

It's a shirt!  I have spent so long on this project just trusting the books--"yes, David Page Coffin's Shirtmaking, of course a yoke should extend no further than the fullness of the shoulderblade; yes, Dress Pattern Designing, unquestionably that is what a collar ought to look like"--that to see it actually come together is just heartwarming.  It's like that moment when a baby's cute useless legs become functional walking machines.  Or something like that.

(As you can see, my shoebox system is still in play.)

Doesn't Dottie look handsome?

Also, I baked this peach cobbler the other day.  Super easy: four chopped large peaches, half a cup of sugar, a splash of sherry, and a nice cakey cobbler topping, 375-degree oven for forty-five minutes.  I do not peel my peaches because I think they are better this way.


Monday, August 22, 2011

Back On the Horse!

Oh, sewing setbacks.  You might recall that I ran out of fabric for this blouse; well, I went back to Joann's to grab an extra half yard and they'd sold out of it.  Sigh.  (Also, I need to just suck it up and buy online--yes, the delayed gratification is killer, and paying for shipping always makes me sad, but I am so sick of choosing between the same five shirting cottons.  Plus their seersucker is all coarse and unpleasant lately.  Joann's, you are now notions only as far as I'm concerned.  We are breaking up.)

Because I am excellent at rolling with the punches, I picked up some similar-weight cotton for future shirts (which makes me sound much more confident in this pattern than I actually am) and decided to do a contrast yoke for the current one.  New Vintage Lady does it all the time!  It is a totally valid choice, and very period accurate!  This is what I am telling myself.  Anyway, what I've got looks like this:

Monday, August 15, 2011

Shirtmaking--It's More Difficult Than You Might Imagine--& Some Gender Thoughts

I have a full pattern for what I am calling The 40s Blouse (for lack of a better name)!  Do you know how many pieces go into a men's-style tailored shirt?  A lot!  Is the answer!  I've got a back body, front body, collar, facing, yoke, and sleeve.  (I hit a bit of a roadblock when I ran out of fabric for the outer yoke--whoops--next time I will definitely buy more than a yard and a half!)

The thing is, I started this project without any real idea how a women's tailored blouse is put together.  The RTW shirts that Dear Partner and I own haven't been very helpful, since we shop at the decidedly low end of the spectrum and our clothes take all kinds of labor-saving shortcuts that (David Page Coffin claims) are big no-nos in bespoke tailoring.  I decided to construct mine much like a men's casual shirt--without a collar stand--which my Reader's Digest guide says is done with a facing.  What?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Some Things I Am Doing This Week

  • Drafting a blouse!  I'm thinking saddle yoke, notched collar, buttons up the front and a slightly longer version of the sleeves on my Sweetheart Dress--all in all something much like the blouse to the right.  I've got David Page Coffin's Shirtmaking and I'm not afraid to use it!  I picked up some cheap purple gingham in the quilting cotton section, so I'm thinking my first try will be sort of a wearable-muslin--I won't be too awfully disappointed if it's not perfect.
  • Making an apron for (with) Dear Partner!  Neon bikes on one side, adorable owls on the other.  It's all happening.
  • Failing abysmally on what should have been a relatively simple six-gored skirt!  Everything that could go wrong has.  First off, I picked exactly the wrong fabric--an incredibly loose, ravelly wool-silk basketweave that would have been much better suited to a pattern with fewer seams.  You live, you learn.  The waistband wound up uncomfortably tight, which wasn't the end of the world--I figured I'd just construct it with less overlap than planned.  Then, I somehow made the zipper opening a full inch and a half longer on one side than the other.  What?  To top it all off, even with a very narrow zig-zag finish, the seams still look awful and are dropping threads all over the place.  Six-gored skirt, you are banished to the Box of Shame.
  • Aaaaaand teaching high schoolers how to read and write short stories.  It's harder than you'd think, guys.  I keep looking wistfully into my sewing room, wishing for the time or energy to just test out this new yoke pattern--but it is not to be.  I'll be back with y'all next week, I promise.

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Sweetheart Dress

Oof, this took me forever to write.  I've been TA-ing a creative writing camp for high schoolers, and it's more exhausting than I expected.  I'm lucky to have such talented kids, though.  I'm learning a thing or two for sure.  In any case, here's that long-awaited Sweetheart Dress:

Dress:  A short-sleeved, full-skirted dress with a sweetheart neckline and a lapped back zip.  Did you notice how it has sleeves?  Yes!  For real!  They're darted, even, or sort of pleated (can't tell the different with sleeves), which I find much easier and more attractive than gathering the sleevecap.  It's my new favorite technique.

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Best Apron Ever

I'm running a little late on a full outfit post for this dress, but in the meantime, check out this story in pictures: