30 March 2015

More garment sewing

The rain (and laziness) kept us in yesterday, so instead of going to see an exhibition I settled down to making "the ladybird dress" from: the fabric impulsively bought at Olympia earlier this month, a pattern that's been hanging around for five or six years, a zip picked out of a charity shop garment years ago, thread that didn't match but was the right tone ... and just when I thought I had everything needed, it turns out that the bodice needed to be lined (to finish the armholes) ... at which point the stash obligingly supplied some plain cotton, a bit stiffer than the ideal but "it'll do".

First difference from sewing as I remember it from my youth was that the pattern needed to be cut to size - in this case, a different size at the top and bottom, to match my measurements. In the aforementioned youth, patterns came in different sizes, and types - Misses, Juniors, and (do I misremember?) a type for mature figures - and in the envelope you'd find just the one size, 10 or 18 or whatever. Then as now, the pattern pieces were printed on enormous pieces of tissue paper, and had to be cut apart anyway, so cutting out to your size isn't extra work, just needs a bit of care and is more accurate in terms of eventual fit. 

Soon the pattern was laid out and ready for cutting out - double check and take a deep breath -
2 metres of 60" wide cotton = a sleeveless summer dress
The dress has a dropped waist and panelled flared skirt, perfect for adding pockets - you can see them integrated into the seams of the skirt front. There was just enough room - once the hem was taken up to my length - to fit everything in. The fabric requirements given on the envelope were rather more than the length I had bought so optimistically. I did wonder whether to piece the bodice lining out of the same fabric (in my youth I was a dab hand and that kind of thing) but went for the easy way instead. Too much danger of attaching it with the wrong side out!

Here are the lined bodice on the left, and the pockets inside the skirt on the right. Next time I'll take the top of the pocket up to the waist, to be sure it won't flap around inside the skirt; this time, if the pockets do flap around, a finger-crochet thread cord will join them.
Bodice and skirt are now joined, awaiting insertion of the (dreaded) zipper ... some research is needed on that one - I vaguely remember a method of basting the seam, machining the zip to one side (were teeth centred? maybe not), flipping it and top-stitching, then laying it on the other side of the seam and stitching from the right side of the fabric, which - once the basting was removed - created a perfect overlap. 

Another difference in sewing "then" and "now" is that I seem to need to constantly check the instructions, even though a few moments before I was perfectly clear on what needed to be done. Mind you, even "then" I did a lot of checking and re-checking. And "research" - for several teenage years, books on sewing were my favourite reading, either learning something new or revisiting familiar techniques - they were vividly re-created in my imagination, with underlying skepticism about whether something would actually work in reality, and an eye open for short cuts. 

While sewing I remembered the joy of spending the day, or the afternoon, making something new to go out in that evening. That would be one of my favourite ways to spend the day, even now.


beatrice De said...

Courage, you will succeed !
Juste when to that private foundation * L'Hermitage * in Lausanne. Exibition ;
* de Raphaël à Gauguin *Drawing from a private collection.
I keep Bernard's drawing 's book, very preciously !!!
Hum !

On my blog, a travel to Egypt I have done in 1983. If you go up the Nil, you will see, what had give me this idea to scan so many dias. You can see as well, other shops windows pictures.
Keep well. Bisous.

PS You can put comments on my blog as well.
For bricolage, many on the blog * tricot, couture et bricolage... Clic on the little picture on the right hand side. Please.

Felicity said...

love that fabric! I used to enjoy making my own clothes - anxiously consulting the pattern instructions, my sewing for inept book and the sewing machine manual.

It sounds like a lovely cool dress for summer.