August 27, 2014

Things considered

There is still a new garment I haven't shown you but I thought I would break up the relentless stream of things with some pondering about sewing...
I'm kind of torn about what to make next. 

I got started on this 1930's dress. I measured the bodice pieces and was fairly confident that the stamped numbers may indeed be the bust and waist size of the wearer this pattern is intended for. 

When getting the pattern out of its envelope, I was very impressed to find it in what seemed to be its original factory folds. It seemed pristine apart from a rather obvious repair (yellow tape) of the sleeve/yoke. This pattern belonged to a lady who thought nothing of tearing a pattern sheet to shreds with her tracing wheel (that happened to two or three Gracieuse pattern sheets. The ones from which the most designs were sewn) so it makes me assumed she never used this pattern. Maybe she got it as a free sample, an attempt to convince professional dress makers to use patterns from this company? Of course, I'll never find out.

Anyway, I decided to use a stash fabric: blue mystery fibre stuff, fairly lightweight and drapey. It seemed a good match for the flowing skirt and softly shaped body. It's been in the stash for a while and was bought cheaply. Perfect for a wearable muslin.
It was a bit annoying that there were no straight grain markings on the pattern. It's an unprinted pattern and there were no other markings than the points of darts and pleats and the notches. 

The, extremely limited, instructions tell you to "baste the shoulder pleats, try on and adjust when necessary" and then sew. Which seems like sound advice until you realize you can't actually test the fit until those shoulder pieces are in place, holding up the dress. 

I've started sewing them and I'm not happy. The illustration makes the shoulder pleats look like perfectly even pin tucks but in fact, each one has a different width and lies at a different angle. The ones which are where a shoulder seam would usually be actually contain fairly substantial darts. It's clever, but really difficult to get right in a somewhat shifty fabric. And they were even regularly space to in the pattern itself...

On the seconds one, I missed one notch and didn't find out until I had sewn up the next three pleats at the wrong angle. I'm not really feeling like unpicking and reverse-engineering all that...

In fact, I had just about decided to stop working on this dress but blogging about it kind of makes me feel like I should go on...

There are some other considerations though.
I'm going on holiday next week, and this time it won't be just hiking and other sporty stuff. So, I want to bring some nice things to wear as well. 
However, dresses with big skirts don't make for practical packing (fortunately, we're not flying so I don't have to deal with restrictions on luggage) and bringing things which will need a ironing doesn't seem like a great idea either.
Plus, we are going to Scotland so the weather is a bit of an issue as well. Here in the Netherlands, we've just had a week and a half of autumn (after many weeks of serious summer) but today is looking a bit brighter again. I know Scottish weather to be sort of similar but more extreme. Four seasons in a day. That kind of thing. Not the easiest climate to pack for.
The gathered dress that didn't work out was supposed to be for my 'travel wardrobe'. In its absence, I guess I should try and make another nice dress in jersey. Or a another nice-but-simple dress in a fabric that doesn't require a lot of attention. Or separates. I never quite caught up with my need for nice tops...

Or I should just give up on the wish to overhaul my wardrobe for this particular trip and pack from what I have. It's not like I'm being judged on how I look on holiday...

The thing is, there are a couple of projects clamoring to be made:

This jumpsuit. It's been on my mental to-sew list for at least a year although it has evolved over time. I have the fabric for it: fairly thick black linen with a feint windowpane texture (of course, you might ask if it's wise to sew linen in late August).

This dress. First featured here, it hasn't been far from my mind since. I've got fabric for it. Orange and white stripes. And since last week, I even have the perfect orange buttons. Orange usually looks good on me but I have some doubts about this fabric. However, not enough to make me stop loving it and the idea of making this dress from it.

And this dress. The most recent of these ideas, and always envisioned as a red dress. Every girl should have dress, don't you think? I though my crepe was going to be red (when I used Dylon dye in Tulip Red) and started thinking about designs for it. The crepe came out hot pink and I used it in my bias cut experiments. The wish for a red dress stayed with me and this design came into being when I knew I wasn't going to use that crepe.
There's also fabric for this one. Fairly soft (but still with a bit of body) cotton in that slightly dulled red which does work on me.

These three distract me from more practical sewing plans.
Oh, and there are still my grandmother's blouse and skirt and my aunt's coat and dress to alter...
What's seamstress to do? ;)


  1. > What's seamstress to do?
    Go on holiday and enjoy it. Don't rush your projects and pack stuff you already have. Once you are packed, and if you have time, do some quick alterations before you leave.

    Scotland in the autumn sounds wonderful. Have fun! Post pictures when you get back.

  2. Forget the envelope sketch - I love the way the shoulder pleats have a more organic feel. Brings it into the current fashion sphere. :)

  3. I think the red crepe dress sounds most practical for your Scottish vacay.
    I understand why you want to have a special wardrobe since it's not a sporty trip. For people who love clothing, special experiences are often recalled with an overlay of what one was wearing. It feels like the memory is carried in the clothing. And red is a joyful and passionate color!