Before I start, I want to take the time to give a shout out to Barbara Emodi and her exceptional book, “SEW…the Garment Making Book Of Knowledge”, it’s worth every penny and then some. Just filled with tidbits of brilliant info. So far, just to name two off the top of my head that I’ve started using, is plugging the iron into a power surge strip with a little lamp to remind me to turn the iron off when I leave the room. How many times has this saved me from pulling out of the neighborhood only to turn around in a panic, rushing back into the house to make sure I didn’t leave the iron on? I turn the iron (and the lamp) on/off via the power strip switch. Genius! And put a wool blanket under the ironing board cover? Because wool retains the heat when you’re pressing? Again, sheer enlightenment. But…let me tell you…the wool does indeed hold heat. I’ve burned myself and have to learn how to be even more careful ironing. She had a great one about pockets and linings and I need to get the book and re-read that part. I remember thinking what a clever trick it was but couldn’t quite remember it while putting the two little pockets on the front of this dress. But I was In-The-Zone and didn’t want to interrupt the flow to go get the book. I will look up that specific little trick for next time, tho. So thank you very, very much Barbara Emodi, you are a true virtuoso!
A thing that swirled around in my mind for meditative grokking purposes during this project, is the subject of fabric itself. I thought about different fabric types and the characteristics thereof. The first two Gap cloned dresses were made out of a light quilting cottons, the difference between those and the fabrics this time around and the pink challis dress is night and day. You can press cotton and it will take it like a boss. You can steam it, put a crease here or there and it will stay, it’s not a sissy fabric. It’s rough and tumble and takes it on the chin. The straight of grain on cotton is the damned straight of grain! It stays on straight of grain with military precision and unless you’re dealing specifically with something cut on the bias, it will hold it’s shape no matter what. Other fabrics? Gently, gently. Just like with the pink challis Gap cloned dress, everytime I handled this dress, I was overly conscious of stretching it out. It’s just a thing, doesn’t really matter one way or the other. I choose fabric on what it says to me when I look at it or touch it. Just something that rolled around in my mind this time around.
The first mod I made was to drop the waist line about 2.5”. I may even drop it another inch next time. I don’t even like where the waistline is on my sloper, it does some weird demarcation on my body that is not at all flattering. Dropping it gives me a longer line from the bust.
This project went so smoothly that I’m not sure what to accredit for it. But here’s the thing, I know what my obstacles are, the things that cause me to make mistakes…I get in a hurry (I just need to finish this!!)…I sew long past the point where I get tired and lose focus…then I get irritated and try harder…and the loss of focus gets worse. You know the feeling, the hurrier I go the further I fall behind. Last week, I came across a sewing blog somewhere where the gal was writing about just that. She wrote that towards the end of sewing a project, she gets into a head space where she wants to wear it right now and starts getting rushed as the daylight starts to dwindle and then she starts making mistakes. Because rushed. And tired. I wished I had bookmarked her post but at the time, I just read it and thought “Oh, yeah. That’s me to a T.” (7/4/19 P.S. Found it!! https://tinyurl.com/y6qntwod )
THEN…I listened to a Vlog from a new gal I found, Cathy Hay, about patience in sewing. Take it one stitch at a time, let sewing become meditative, get into the flow and that’s just what I did. Those two things, the sewing post and the Cathy Hay Vlog got my attention. So on this project, I slowed way down. And I breathed. And I patient-ed. I let go of a dead line and just let this be. I walked into the sewing room every day and did just what was in front of me. I didn’t give myself a made up, arbitrary brick wall deadline that I could feel bad about when I missed it. This little dress would be finished when it was finished and not before. And it worked out perfectly. I’m loving the patient sewing thing.
So now, in no particular order, although I did follow the pattern instructions except for when I attached the collar. I did that last. For reasons that I can’t exactly remember right now. I think it had to do with sewing up raw edges to prevent them stretching out and as the neck was stay-stitched, it could wait. With this fabric, raw edges made me nervous. Barbara Emodi had a thing or two to say about that in her book, as I recall. If I remember correctly, she also recommended stay-stitching the armsceyes. Anything that was cut on the bias, she advocates stay stitching. I need to review her book again. I do know that I thought it was more important to go ahead and bind the armsceyes before attaching the collar. So that’s two things I’ll be going back to the well for in her book. Great book, can’t stress that enough.
The pics below of the little pocket construction is where Barbara Emodi’s pocket with a lining trick would have come in handy, but I made do.
Button band is contrasting, as per usual. As promised from my last post about inseam pockets~
Now, when I turn the pockets inwards, there will be no raw edges, period. Which makes me enormously happy. However, I was so focused on the raw edge thing that I wasn’t paying as close attention to how I positioned the pocket bags. The pocket bag is wrong side to wrong side, it should’ve been right side of pocket bag to wrong side of skirt so the inside of the pocket would be pretty. Whatever. Next Time. I’m not going to let this ruin my chi or throw my chakras out of alignment which just sounds uncomfortable and we’re headed into a whole ’nother direction this time around, uncharted territory as it were! Imma just live with it for this one.
Then, to attach the skirt~
Three Little Rows of gathering stitches….
This fabric did not like basting/gathering stitches on the machine and would not slide across the thread easily. It snagged and caught and became to tight to move so I unpicked the rows of machine stitched stitches and redid it with a running stitch by hand. The hand stitched gathering worked like a charm. (Again, and we’re meditating, and we’re meditating….) I fit the gathered back of the skirt to the back of the bodice, and “stroked the gathers”. But in future, instead of distributing the gathers evenly throughout, I will stroke the gathers more toward the center back and leave where the side seams meet more straight and smooth, not gathered. The cut of the sides of the back skirt flare out, more in a slight circle skirt fashion which made it stick out on the sides in a way I don’t much care for. I need to sort that out, redraft those back side seams to more of an A-Line skirt.
Fitting the front side panels to the sides on the front of the bodice. Aaaaaaaaaannnndd…
After attaching the side panels to the bottom of the bodice, I clipped to the pattern mark to turn and sew down parallel to the button band.
Sewed it on. Presto Bingo. Now..the top stitching. I played it slow and careful, I kept my eye on it but…could’ve been better. However, I’m zen-ing and patient-ing and Jedi Mind Control Master-ing and not about to quit that now. Good Lord it felt good to be in the flow.
(Why does this pic look so washed out? Interesting. The dress is not washed out, it’s the pic.) I would have left this pic that makes it look so faded out, but this one really shows how crooked the top stitching is. No matter, it will “quilt out” with laundering. Later…it did occur to me I do have an edging foot that I’ve never, ever used.
So, aha! Here! When I started to top stitch the collar, I broke out the edging foot and look at that! How perfect is that??? How many garments do I own with crooked, uneven top stitching when for just the want of changing out a presser foot….I shudder to think about it!
This is my only shot of the undercollar. When I *first* sewed the collar on, I did it upside down. The undercollar was on top and the upper collar was under. Also made the collar stand backwards, too. No worries. I unpicked it, but at that point, realized that I was dead tired and seeing double, so after unpicking I put it down, turned my machine and iron off, switched off the lights and went to spend the rest of the evening watching TV with RD. The next day, I turned it over and sewed it again the right way round. And actually did a much better job of it 2nd time around than the first.
I am overly impressed at just how well this pattern is engineered. It’s been out for a several years, sewists just rave over it, and they’re right to. This pattern is a gem. The collar went together like Legos blocks. I will definitely try more Grainline patterns from here on out. See the armsceyes? Bound in the contrasting. Can’t help myself. Hemmed by hand, and all those buttons.
A word or six about the fabric. It was something in my stash and I don’t remember the particulars. It’s a linen something, but extremely soft and drapey. During construction, I thought I was experiencing the same problems as with the last dress where it wouldn’t stay on grain but in the end…it worked out beautifully. Everything is on grain. But since I thought I was having the same problems, I gave it a good grok and decided the next time I have fabric that behaves like that, I will cut everything out individually and not double the fabric.
I will absolutely make this up again, but with changes to the back skirt. I would even like to see the back skirt pleated, I think. I think that would just be darling. And I want a top of this. Same as the dress, but instead of a loose, gathered peplum, I will sew it straight. And if the fabric I choose to make the top out of has a definite pattern (think a plaid) maybe put the front side panels on the bias.
Ok…music wise. Been playing and learning some new songs. Two of my new faves:
(The piano in The Way is so much fun!)
Between sewing and playing I’ve not had so much time for housework and/or laundry and I’m okay with that. Every now and again, I think about letting RD get me a cleaning service but I don’t want strangers roaming around in my house. And when it does get to be too much for me, it just takes one day of putting my nose to the grindstone and getting everything sorted out. Started today, cleaned master bed/bath and reconciled the bank account. The rest of the house will fall into order in just half a day. By tomorrow afternoon, I should either be back on the piano or in the sewing room or both. Got a guitar buddy coming over this upcoming week to play songs with so much learning of new material going on over here. If I don’t end up with carpel tunnel syndrome first.
Ok…life here in my beloved Idaho is really good. We’re all happy and doing good. Summer is finally here and the garden is beyond gorgeous! Yay, 2nd year plants, amirite? I can’t believe it’s mine! Even the dust bunnies are happy ’round here! Who am I to sweep them away?? Ha! Ha! Ha!
May God bless all those I love!