Sunday, December 5, 2010

I Want to Sew for Me!

After finishing The Carpenter's shirt, which feels like it took ages to complete, I was feeling the need to make something for ME. I'm sure the Selfish Seamstress would approve. Not only did I want to make something for me, me, me, I wanted it to be quick. So two Sundays ago, I made a gathered skirt: I realize this is a less-than-chic look, but at the time I didn't care. I wanted something quick and I wanted it simple. Nothing simpler than a gathered skirt - I didn't even use a pattern. I cut two rectangles, 40 inches wide by 29 inches long, for the body of the skirt, and I cut another rectangle, about 5 1/4 inches wide, for the waistband. I made the waist 29 1/2 inches long and I think that has made the skirt a little too big in the waist. I need to make it a little tighter in the future. I put in a four inch hem to give the hem weight. I used a red zipper because that is what I had on hand, so I used a red button, too:
This fabric is from my stash, and I bought it at The Fabric Place in Massachuestts about six years ago. It was on the wool table, but I am pretty sure it is 100% polyester - I could tell by the odor when I ironed it with steam. No burn test necessary - there is no more distinctive smell than polyester when it is ironed!
Fortunately, it wasn't bad to work with, and it doesn't wrinkle. It got the job done for a quick project, just to satisfy my sewing soul. If I make this skirt again, I will shorten it by 2 inches for a less dowdy look, and to make it (hopefully) more vaguely rockin'.
This afternoon I wandered into the sewing studio (a/k/a the entire downstairs of my house) and I wanted to do something, but not take on a big project. So I made a muslin (gasp!) of a strapless bodice from a vintage pattern just to see how it would fit me (size 14, bust 34). Here is the front:
Here is the back:

And here are the front and back pattern pieces:

The bust fits fine, but the waist and hip area is a tad tight. I think I need to add an extra 1/2 inch in the waist/hip area to make it fit better. Here's my question: should alter the pattern at the side seams, or should I narrow the darts to add the extra 1/2 inch? Does it matter? I'm leaning towards making the darts narrower, but I don't know the "correct" way to make this alteration. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated!

Parting Shot: For Thanksgiving, the Carpenter and I went to Williamsburg, VA. My favorite photo I took all day at historic Williamsburg - he was squirrel hunting:


Vicki W said...

Oh you horrible selfish person. At least you look happy with yourself and you have a cute skirt from it! lol!

Audrey said...

I know exactly what you mean about making something quick but satisfying after a big project. It is a cute skirt. Re your question about where to add fabric at the waist. My first thought was add it at the side assuming the vertical bust dart was fitting your contours in that area well; rib cage to full bust. But I would also check the horizontal grain of the fabric at the side in the bust area. If it is being pulled down towards the waist on the side seam, I would let out the dart until the grain was horizontal again and take in the fabric at the waist either at the side seam or in the vertical bust dart to get the best fit. This is how a bodice is draped on a body or dress form. It is a little hard to explain. Another benefit of a muslin is that you can try both methods and see how it affects the fit.

Summerset said...

Oh, it looks like a cousin of Wellie!

Let's see, I agree with Audrey. I think if you make the darts narrower, then the bust portion is going to get shallower. That means that the dress with narrower (smaller darts) would fit a body with A cup better than a B cup and one that also has a thicker waist. If the portion at the bust and cup area fits correctly, then I'd add at the side seams, starting somewhere between notches 11/12 and the "add or shorten length here" lines. Also, measure your pattern (it's easier with these old patterns, you can see where the seam allowances are and measure around them) and compare that your body measurements. You'll then know how much to add. You could put it on, and start taking out the side seams from the waist up, little by little and seeing how far the fabric spreads, and pin in a wedge of fabric. Then you can take it off, draw a line halfway down the wedge and know where your new seam line will be. Then all you'd have to do is add that amount to the pattern plus seam allowances.

Miriam said...

Wow Kim! Who knew back in our college days you'd get into sewing and I'd get into paper! You do beautiful work! Miriam