Mending

I have been sewing.

Honest.

Three pairs of Jalie 2908 jeans and two pairs of slim BurdaStyle trousers, just in the last 10 days. Of course there’s no photos, mostly because it’s winter and I have no decent place indoors for photography.

I confess to also making a few garments recently that didn’t work out as planned, and they took the wind out of my sails for a bit. The first was a waterfall cardigan for DD3 which just did not work. I was not happy with it, and neither was she. Fortunately, there is a lot of fabric in a waterfall style, so no waste! It will be remade into something else sooner or later.

The second was a deep red silk velvet dress for DD2 which I was hoping would be a success. DD2 is a difficult client, sometimes, and although she loved the dress, she has yet to wear it, and didn’t want to wear it for the function it was made for.

And the last ‘failed’ project was an olive silk velvet dress that I wanted for myself – actually wanted for Christmas, but it wasn’t finished in time – for a wedding in February. The design was inspired by a green velvet D&G dress I saw in September 2018 Vogue, and I have not seen a photo of it anywhere else. But I am not a tall pencil, and I seem to have become more ‘mature’ in figure recently, so it wasn’t the most flattering of dresses. I did wear it, however, but it’s not a finished project, as I want to change a few things.

And now I’m facing a pile of mending, the largest of which is this inner thigh section of a favourite pair of Roots sweatpants for DD3.

Hundreds of tiny running stitches

And this is just one leg. What you see above is about 30 minutes of work. The patch was put in about a year ago, when I had no idea what I was doing. But I have a better idea now, after taking a visible mending class in February.  In order to do this patch ‘properly’ I should cut away the worn fabric and patch from the outside. But this would not look good on these sweatpants, and I don’t think it would be aesthetically pleasing given the location if the patch. DD3 wants it to be as discreet as possible, and I agree. So I will leave it as is, reinforce all around it to about 5 cm beyond the current patch, and see if it holds up for another year or so.  Here’s the rest of the required mend.

Big mend
Monster mend
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overthinking

I often see patterned fabrics and fall in love with them enough to bring them home with me.  It doesn’t always follow that there is an instant happy marriage between the fabric itself and a specific garment pattern or design, but eventually, with thought, I come up with an idea that I think I would like to wear.

Then I lay out the fabric, and stare at it for a while.yardage

And drape it this way.

crosswise
crosswise – perhaps a bell sleeve?

And that way.

lengthwise
lengthwise

And end up, at the end of a few hours, having not cut even one piece, and a long way back from where I initially started because so many possibilities for the use of the fabric placement come to mind as I play with it, I have accomplished nothing.  I cannot commit, usually out of fear of ruining/wasting such pretty fabric on an imperfect design.

And another block of sewing time is gone.

But I DID make the dress

Well, the bandage dress is finished, and I thought I’d share what I came up with for the bandage bodice, just in case any of you anywhere out there in sewing land would like to have something that looks kinda-sorta-almost like a Leger bandage dress, but without the $4,000 price tag. After doing some research on the Leger bandage dresses, it became very clear that they are a closely guarded copyrighted design, and it would be impossible to even find the fabric (rayon-lycra) in strips in order to stitch them together.Sherri Hill 50014

I had initially thought I would do a Sherri Hill take on the bodice, since I’d become quite familiar with her designs while trying on prom dresses with DD1 earlier this year.  Her elastic dresses are strips of elastic stitched in overlapping layers to a woven bodice. Something like this dress (which DD1 tried on and thought was a too h-u-g-e, albeit fun, dress).

I proceeded along the Sherri Hill lines, did a fitting for an underlining of power net mesh (which was easily pulled over the client’s head), and stitched the elastic, in the round, to make the bodice.

bodice fail

But at the fitting, it was impossible for her to pull it on, all elasticated, over her head.  The elastic also didn’t fit as tight and flat under the bust as hoped once she’d got it on. So, as I had initially suggested a zipper was required, which was not what she wanted, we had a discussion about adding a zipper.  I wasn’t sure what I would do for the zip, as there would be a tremendous amount of strain on any closure.  A lot of unpicking of triple stretch stitches ensued.  In the process, I discovered that the fuzzy nylon that covered the elastic snagged, pulled and warped like crazy if I wasn’t super careful.

Once it was all unpicked, I had an incredible brainwave.

I ditched the power mesh underlining and stitched the elastic together along the length, slightly overlapping each strip, and shaping each layer on my dress form.  The ends of the short pieces are all bound with bemberg lining to keep them tidy.  The bodice is snug and shaped.

It worked a treat.

But how to make that tight elasticated bodice close up?  Stitch the bottom row of elastic closed for a secure base.

zip closure

Add hook and eye closures, and an invisible zip to close over it all as neatly as possible.  Hopefully the hooks/eyes will keep the nylon invisible zip from splitting apart.

Here’s the inside back.

final bodice

Here’s the inside front, where you can see the rows of elastic stitched together and the ends bound with bemberg remnants.

front interior

The skirt was gathered and attached to a length of elastic, which was then attached to the bodice. This picture is from before I re-thought the bodice construction.

skirt

And, to date, I have no pictures of the finished dress on the client.  Hopefully she’ll remember to send me one and I’ll add it to this post.  I was surprised that the dress looked as nice as it did when it was all done, considering the poor quality of the materials.  The bodice was as snug as desired and the skirt hung gracefully to the floor.

 

I do NOT want to make this dress

About one month ago I was asked if I made custom dresses.  I demurred, but the emails persisted, so I gave a quote for the job once I’d seen the dress I was to copy.

But I can tell you that the bodice looked like a very bad attempt to copy an Herve Leger bandage-type bodice, with a very large piece of cotton sewn to the bottom of it in a huge circle skirt.  In the pic that I’m supposed to work from for this project, the skirt fabric looks like it’s been wasting away in the back of a closet for about 18 months, it’s so creased.  And the ‘bandages’ of the bodice are AWOL.

Ms. Rs materials

My quote for labour/design was deemed acceptable, and I was given a bag with the goodies you see above:

  • about 1.7m of waistband elastic for the bandage bodice
  • 3m of 115cm wide very lightweight poly crepe (pictured on the left)
  • 3m of 150cm wide heavy jersey for the lining (pictured on the right)

The dress is supposed to be a pullover dress – no zipper or other openings, thank you!

I have been avoiding this, but today is the first fitting.

*sigh*

I am not working with anything else so I must make magic from these fabrics.  I really don’t know how I’m going to copy that bandage bodice, which is why I’m loathe to tackle this project, so wish me luck.

The skirt will be a piece of cake, I’m sure – a simple A-line jersey lining with a double-width gathered poly crepe skirt stitched directly to the waistband elastic.

The bodice will require samples, trial, error and something called faking it.

I hope it works…

January Slowjo Sewing

January has been a slow rather mojo-less sewing month this year.  I had all these grand plans, and have felt zero compulsion to sew anything.  So I’ve been fixing, mending and twiddling on a few things.

First, I tweaked the bodice of DD2’s Christmas dress (Burda 12/2012 #110).  Originally it looked like this, with ponte and lace all eased into a higher-than-designed neckline.  It didn’t work, and there was an absurd amount of ease to sew into the neckline. And, because it still wasn’t decent enough, I added a triangular lace insert at the CF.  I was not happy with it – it looked so less-than-custom-made, but it had to do for Christmas.

DSC_0096

Now, after lowering the CF on the ponte under layer (the bodice is unlined) as far as it would go – and as designed, I might add – and removing the CF lace insert, it looks like this.

bodice

Not a big difference, but the fit along the neckline is much better.  I’m still getting my head wrapped around fitting DD2 and what looks good on her.  Most of my sewing queue over then next couple of months will be for her, so hopefully I will learn a lot!

Then I agreed (with dread in my heart) to redo window valances.  I always hate being asked to do things out of my comfort zone, because I hate feeling like I don’t know what I’m doing.  I have no pictures of the project, but let me just say that it was an interesting ride.  In early December, I met with the client and the interior designer, and confessed that home dec sewing is not in my field of expertise.  So the designer measured all the windows, wrote them down for me, and off I went with the valances, her measurements and extra fabric from the client’s storage room.  After pulling one of the valances apart, I understood the method of construction, and started in on the project.  Everything was neat and tidy and I was pleased with my amateur work.  Up went the valances, and the client called me after Christmas to tell me that they were too short for two of her windows.  My bad.  I didn’t check the math of my measurements with a calculator.  And, to top it all off, the designer’s depth measurements were off by 2.5cm, so everything had to be taken apart and re-done so the corner box pleats actually hung at the corners.

And I’ve been BUGGED – BUGGED, I tell you – by the little details of the project.  The valances had a centre box pleat, which should have hung in the visual centre of the windows i.e. in the centre of the centre sliding frames.  But visual centre did not equal mathematical centre, so the centre pleats hang about 4cm off visual centre.  Do you follow me here?  And, of course, the designer wanted the centre pleat to hang in the visual centre, not the actual centre. Ugh.

And that bugs me.  BUGS ME!!  Part of me wants to go back and re-do those damn valances a third time, just so they can all be truly custom-made for those damn windows.

BUT…. and this is a big ‘but’…. I stopped to study a valance in my bedroom which was made a couple of years ago by one of the best drapery guys in the city.  He had worked solely off the window measurements the designer had given him, and after carefully looking at all the proportions, I realized that the mathematical centre of that valance was definitely not the visual centre in relation to my bedroom window.

And he is a paid drapery expert.  So I’m not kicking myself anymore.  C’est la vie, and all that.  But I did learn a lesson for the next time someone wants valances made by little ol’ moi.  Experience, experience!  Best teacher ever.

The next project was to give myself a new ironing board cover.

new board cover

I have no pictures of the old one, but I will tell you that the foam padding had melded to the cotton cover through overuse.  I made mine from washed muslin and the leftover cotton batting (from my first attempt to make interlined Roman blinds).  It looks clean and the thick new padding is wonderful.  I should have done this months ago.

Then I put the waistband ties onto a pair of hip-hop trousers for DD1.  I made these last spring, I think, and she grabbed them before I could finish them, and has been wearing them ever since.  Yesterday she was walking around the house in them like she’d had some sort of horrible injury in the pelvic region, and I asked her why she was walking so oddly.  She said she had to walk like a weirdo so the pants wouldn’t fall down.  *headshake* The ties have been hanging on a project board since the trousers were made, so today they finally ended up on my sewing table to be properly finished.

And now I’m working through three projects that were cut late summer:

a safari skirt (Burda 04/2010 #140)140_skirt_large

a silk scarf panel top (Burda 07/2012 #118), albeit with different fabrichttps://i0.wp.com/sewingprincess.com/sewingprincess/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/top.jpgand multiple-gored skirt for DD1 (Burda 06/2013 #132).132_0613_b_largeAnd I had hoped to get myself moving on Jungle January and Chris’s #JeansinJanuary, but I lacked both the conviction and motivation to start in on anything.  So I’ve missed both, but I am determined to finish all my UFOs before I begin something new.

 

Bound Buttonholes and Matelassé

https://www.flickr.com/photos/mezzocouture/21851963980

I’m working on another matelassé jacket, and kinda sorta wanted to do bound buttonholes.  I used a crinkle polyester taffeta, stabilized with fusible interfacing, as the contrast binding and the facing on the centre front pieces of the jacket.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/mezzocouture/21418988843

The matelassé is a gold/olive green/black weave in I guess what you would call a ‘patchwork’ pattern. The gold crinkle taffeta was the best match from my stash.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/mezzocouture/22050056771

Can I just tell you that I decided to make bound buttonholes after the facing and collar was attached?  I had planned to go the lazy machine-stitched buttonhole route, but after a series of trials on scraps, decided bound buttonholes would look the best.  Instead of a straight-forward set of buttonholes, this became a fiddling-redo-rip-out-redo game, but I’m happy with the results.

What’s the best make-it-unnecessarily-difficult-extra-work decision you’ve ever made on a project?

Vogue 1282: Stripe redo

First, I just want to say thank you to all of you who left feedback via the poll on my previous post. I was so pleasantly surprised that most of you (94%) liked the mismatched stripes. I also reviewed this on Pattern Review and the response was very positive again.

But…. I…. just…. couldn’t……  Argh!  My inner perfectionist just couldn’t-shouldn’t-wouldn’t rest easy.  And then I saw The Material Lady’s Drape Drape 2 tunic with perfectly matched stripes and that finished my waffling on it.  Begin digression: And speaking of Drape Drape patterns, I traced off the Drape Drape 2 No. 4 Asymmetrical Top pattern, graded up through the waist and hips and am really disappointed because the L/XL sizes with my changes fit my daughters.  Not me.  The XL size has 33″ measurement for 38″ hips.  Uh… the last time I had 38″ hips I was a 16 year-old teenager with an eating disorder.  I can’t imagine the endless hours of exercise I’d need to get down to that size.  So, no Drape Drape clothes for me.  I’ll stick with Donna Karan! End digression.

So I unpicked stretch triple stitches (Pia has the record, btw…) and made some changes.  First, I deliberately off-set the stripes down the CF like a checkerboard.

Vogue 1282 CF stripe offset

And then I fixed the centre back seam and matched those stripes from the high hip to the hem.  It cost me about 3cm in lost width, but I’m happier – so much more satisfied! – with the result.

Vogue 1282 CB stripe re-match

Perhaps a little less interesting, but my inner nerd isn’t writhing in a striped torture chamber.  😉