Friday, March 19, 2010

Size matters!

Yes it does! The last week and a half I've been working on my red gown. It is fitted with a boned corset type foundation so I needed to make sure that it would fit perfectly before cutting into the silk crepe. One thing I've learned is that the body measurements listed on the commercial patterns (with the exception of Burda) are completely off. They leave entirely too much ease for the measurements listed. I've learned that it is best to take your measurements then look at the finished measurements for the pattern and choose the size that has the correct amount of ease. It is helpful to refer to an ease chart like this one. The gown I've been working on is a perfect example. My bust measures 35 inches. According to Vogue's size chart, this would be between a size 12 and 14. I made a size 10 and sized it 1/2 inch smaller than the pattern. The finished bust measurement for the 10 was 36 inches. The foundation of this dress has 10 strips of boning to hold it up since it is an off the shoulder style. If I made the size that corresponded to my measurement, it would have been huge. As it were, I made the muslin using the 10 minus 1/2 inch at the bust, plus 1/2 inch at the waist and plus 4 inches at the hips. The muslin fit perfectly. I was afraid that the added bulk of the foundation might make it tighter than the muslin so I cut the garment with 1 inch seam allowances at the side seams so that I could fine tune the fit.

I tried something new. I bought stainless steel flat chain boning. Typically this comes in precut lengths with little tips on both ends of the boning strips. I purchased a 12 foot roll, cut it with bolt cutters and applied the ends myself using two pairs of needle nose pliers. I needed all different lengths for this and I have several more projects that need boning. I have to say that I love this stuff! The plastic stuff curls and it is uncomfortable. This stuff curves in all directions so it moves with your body. It is typically used in dance and theatre wear. Here is a peek at what the inside of the foundation looked like:

The foundation is covered with drapes that twist together at the left front and get stitched down to the top edge of the foundation layer. I was really pleased with this dress and I think it may be my favorite gown so far. I love the Belville Sassoon styles and I have several of their gown patterns in my queue. Here are the finished photos:

Here is me in the gown!

There was a photographer at the banquet who took some lovely photos of our group of six and I will post them when I get those copies. Of course we DAR-lings all had our proper white gloves on in the photos taken there! We must always be prim and proper at our DAR functions!

Kitty Cam: This one is from Ems--Chelsea takes a snooze on the window sill.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

New projects!

I've been really lazy. I should be finishing up my 2 lace sweaters for the SKC KAL. I have one sleeve to do on the red mohair Birgitte and I'm ready to divide the sleeves and body on my top down Sylvar. I need to get them done in time to wear them before the weather gets hot! I have a couple of spring sweaters to make and my nephew's wife is pregnant with a girl so I have to plan that project! I think I will knit wool stuff in the summer. I have several sweaters I wanted to make for the winter that I didn't get to. I really don't wear summer sweaters so I'm thinking that I will work on them in the summer to have them ready. I will also try to tackle the Gail shawl which will be nice for summer.

Right now, I am focused on sewing. I've made a wool skirt but I need to line it before it can be modeled. I received the lining in the mail 2 days ago and I'll work on finishing that up after I make my new project which has a deadline. I had shown this pattern before:

I ordered the fire engine red silk crepe and from Golden Silks. It is simply gorgeous! I also ordered matching Bemberg rayon lining and sew in interfacing from Vogue Fabrics. I had ordered a color card for Ambiance lining from them a while back and it has been a real time saver. I have swatches of all 35 colors which I can use to match my garment fabric so now I just go online and order the lining. It sure beats driving to Rockville! I am now waiting for the stainless steel boning as this gown has a boned foundation.

I have to say that these more recent gown patterns by Belville Sassoon are crazy. I've always been good at reading the directions and knowing what to do but I had to literally study the instructions for this pattern 3 times in order to digest how it is constructed. The other thing is that there are 20 pattern pieces! Each piece is cut on a single layer of fabric as the gown in asymmetrical so there are separate side pieces for each side of the bodice front and back as well as bodice center front and back pieces. The skirt is the same way. The drape pieces are bizarrely shaped. Anyway I cut out the basic bodice and skirt pieces in muslin after carefully taking my measurements and redrafting some of the pieces. I will be fitting the muslin today.

Once that is done, I figure it will take me two nights to cut out the fabric. I have to cut it out on the floor since the fabric is opened to the full width. I dug out my gardening knee pads in order to do that comfortably. I don't know why I hadn't thought of that years ago!

I love evening gowns and I'm tickled that now I have occasions to wear them. It was with that knowledge that I picked up another pattern at the Vogue sale:

This is another tricky one! My problem with this is the way the pattern is sized. Sizes 4-6-8 or sizes 10-12-14 were my choices. I bought the larger size but a 10 is too big at the bodice and will need to be sized down. This dress has no side seams and the zipper runs diagonally. It is going to be a tricky one to alter. I love it though. I like the color shown and think a muted olive green would be gorgeous!

I also picked up another Vogue dress pattern and a McCall's pattern:

I included the line drawing of the Vogue dress to show the details which are quite interesting. I love the McCall's dress. It is the type of style that is really flattering on my body type. I have stash fabric that will work for that one!

That's it for now. I have to do my Sunday facial and get sewing!

Kitty Cam: Harley is in his favorite morning sunny spot!