Monday, March 31, 2014

Smocking experiments

Last year, I inter-library-loaned a 1948 book on smocking Stitching for Style by Nelle Weymouth. Finally, I'm getting around to trying some of the designs.

This is lazy-smocking, as all the thread tails are on the right side of the fabric, and I did the work on scraps of $2 polyester lining fabric.

I had high hopes for the Columbine pattern, but three out of the four flowers look rather sad. My favorite is the lower right one.

I like the Rose Trellis quite a bit - I can see it on the yoke area of a blouse or on the sleeves somewhere.

I may sit down and try a few more patterns, since I have more of the green left.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Butterick 6701, 1943 vintage reissue blouse

1943 reissue pattern from Butterick (2000), now out of print.

"Fitted blouse, has shoulder pads, princess seams, shaped hem and button trim with snaps. A: lined, above-elbow sleeves. B: long sleeves with slits/hooks and eyes and back peplum."

This blouse is a princess seam, but the seams go to the shoulder, rather than to the armscye. I like this kind of princess seaming better than the seams that go to the armscye.

I've made this blouse before, view B in a mustard yellow linen. I liked it but the linen was a pain - wrinkle wrinkle, needed ironing all the time. That blouse is long gone.

So this time I dug around in my dwindling stash of fabric and found enough cotton-blend eyelet to make it again. This time, I did view A, a view that is supposed to be lined and has less of a rear peplum than view B.

I had made my previous alterations directly on the pattern pieces, not something I do often. I had lengthened the body 1 inch and generally cut out a 22 with some extra flare at the hips. It was easy to trace over in my currnet size. Whew!

I eyeballed a full bust adjustment for the center front piece, after tracing the pattern over with an 18 shoulder/neck (based on my high-bust measurement) and a 22 waist and hip.

I played around with changing the shoulder line a little bit as I knew I would not be using shoulder pads for this garment. I took about 1/2 an inch out of the side back at the shoulder seam.

I remember having to enlarge the sleeve pattern quite a bit, and my memory was confirmed when I unfolded the sleeve and saw all my painstaking alterations.

I decided the alterations were still good, and traced it over, just changing it at the sleeve head to an 18 from the 22 I had originally altered. I added 1" above the elbow and 1/2" below, and a total of two inches at the sleeve head, tapering to less at the wrist.

Due to my messing with the sleeve pattern, my sleeve head is perhaps gathered into the armscye a bit more than the design intended, but I think it looks all right.

I did not line this, neither did I create facings. I bashed out a lot of bias strips in a not-totally-far-out blue poly-cotton broadcloth and just faced the edges. Then I pressed the bias to the inside and stitched around the edge from the outside.

The inside is finished to the extent that I bothered to cut the pieces out with my pinking shears.
I used some largish sew-on snaps to close the front.

I do get drag lines on the upper arm when I have my elbow folded even the smallest amount - this could be in part due to the missing shoulder pad. Or just my fat arms? Both!

 I'm not actually sure what the differences are between an armscye and sleeve head that is designed to have a pad, and ones that are not. I should figure this out and do a better job on the shoulder fit next time.

The waist at a 22 fits nicely, but I needed to let the center front opening flare a bit more than designed to accomodate my shrinking but still present cookie-belly. I do like the shape that gives the front of the blouse.

Overall, I'm pleased with this. The eyelet fabric (which used to be white but I dyed it blue years ago with Dylon machine dye) makes the blouse a bit dressier than I intended, but I'll be wearing it to my stepson's pre-wedding meet-n-greet so I think it will fit right in.
When I make this again, I'll be skinnier, but I think I'll still make the front pattern pieces a bit longer, as the blouse over a modern rise pant leaves a little bit of a gap at the center front. Over a skirt or pants that fit at the natural waist. it looks just fine, but then again, that's what it was designed to be worn with in the first place!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Vogue 8788 wrap dress, 1954 reissue

Hurrah for reissued vintage patterns!

I love a nice wrap dress, and it will be a useful piece as I continue to go down in size.

I don't feel particularly emotionally or financially attached to this garment, as the whole thing cost a mere  $13.09 US plus tax.
Including the pattern.
I used Joann Fabrics' 'Symphony' broadcloth and a 50% coupon to buy the 5 yards required, and the pattern was on sale, and the thread was on sale, and the two packages of hem binding I used (label dated 1969) came from the thrift store for a whopping 30 cents a piece.
I prefer rayon binding over polyester. I have a whole roll of Hug Snug in a blue that is lots darker then the dress so I was glad to have the Wright's on hand.

I finally had the wit to use my high bust measurement for this garment, coming out somewhere between a 18 and a 20, depending on inhalation or exhalation. I chose to exhale. Then my waist is a 22 or thereabouts, as I chose to inhale for that measurement. Switching across 3 sizes on a pattern where the fronts and backs extend out a ways and wrap around did not yield a completely obvious path. But I made do.

Then I further complicated things by doing a slapdash full bust adjustment, to take it to about a 20. Not content with a pattern resembling a particularly gruesome crime show corpse, I added insult to injury and lowered the bust point 1 inch.

The back extensions wrap around the waist and hook together. That worked. The front extensions are supposed to do the same, but in the back. Mine missed by a bit, probably due to our friendly neighborhood slasher. So I used the tie option.

Oops, I see that the back rucked up a bit under the tie. Hm. It will be nice to do the pattern again when I'm more consistently sized top to bottom.

I let the dress hang on my tailor's dummy for a day or so, then got my husband to mark an even hem for me.

It's raining cats and dogs so this is a particularly inappropriate dress at the moment, but I'm looking forward to a pretty dress that I can wear when I want a little lift.