Thursday, December 29, 2011

Collette Pastille Dress

I bought the Collette Pattern book purely for chapter 2: developing a thoughtful plan. I was not disappointed: it had just the right kind of advice I needed to hear.

She talks in her book about being curious and how that might lead you to make useful discoveries. Well I was curious, and my questions were, "am I too old to be wearing Collette patterns?" and "am I too fat to be wearing a sheath dress? (US size 14, European 44)"

Collette patterns have a lovely, youthful aesthetic. I thought perhaps I might be able to pull off the Pastille dress, if I could mutton it up a little. First off I broke up the neckline by pivoting out the FBA as gathers. Secondly, I lengthened the skirt, removed the knife pleats, converted it to an A-line and added some pockets.

The front bust gathers: the fabric is a vintage black and white polka-dot seersucker.

I then made my first running pass at the fitting.

Here is the first version, with some of the fitting issues resolved, but a few more adjustments required. The waistline came out and in - the more fitted I made it, the more unflattering it became. If I take in the waist, you can just see exactly where the Christmas cake went. Still, it does not hang correctly with the skirt so I need to do something.

Verdict? I think this dress has potential. The fitting is very difficult for me, and I do not know if I can achieve the perfection that they did with their model. However, I feel that if I can get into the same ballpark, I'll be happy.

Now excuse me, I'll just go and wear it for a few days before having another crack at it.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

On things being perfect for Christmas

For reasons too personal to divulge on the Internet, we do not celebrate Christmas. Until now.

The slippery slope started at Kindy, where my son made xmas decorations and wanted a tree for them to go on. And after a tree, the realisation of presents dawned, and before we knew it we had a stack under a tinsel (borrowed) tree and even some lights I picked up at an op shop.

And then the guilt and obligation began. For some reason I felt compelled to make my husband something (the most precious thing I can give him being my sewing time) and I bit off one way more than I had time to chew. My husband has everything he wants and needs - is not materialistic and wants nothing more than he already has, so I decided I'd make him a bag to carry his scrabble board and dictionary in for when he goes out for scrabble nights.

It was way more complicated than I imagined, and required much measuring and cutting. While my son was still at kindy it was manageable, but the whole thing turned into the biggest nightmare when kindy stopped and I dumped him in front of the TV hoping to grab some uninterrupted time to finish the job. While at the ironing board, I turned around to find him trying to prise open my overlocker with a knitting needle because he was trying to fish out the money from my purse that he had pushed down through the slots in the side of the machine. You could probably have heard the shouting from your place.

So far, so very not christmas.

That's when I gave up. 3 seams from the end, I was ready to bin it because I hated and resented it. The seams and finish are - to my eye - not something I can take pride in.

And that's when I remembered the Zen expression, "everything is perfect as it is."

The wonky zipper insertion, the pointy corners, the lumpy bias finish, all perfect as it is. While my husband took out our son for an hour, I finished it and wrapped it.

And then I made a perfect-as-it-is trifle with a gluten free sponge cake that stuck to the bottom of the pan and curdled custard.

Happy holiday season to everyone out there, may you enjoy all that you have, in its own perfection.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Putting the shirt into "tee shirt"

Ottobre 05-2007-08 Jersey shirt blouse

(you can back order any Ottobre magazine by going to their website and selecting the "single issue" button.)

This is the Ottobre tee "shirt" pattern. It's made of cotton lycra, in hyacinth blue.

This shirt fought me every step of the way. I unpicked nearly every seam (no exaggeration). Maybe I just had too many "shoulds" - I should sew something for summer, I should use a pattern I've tried before, I should sew it in comfy wash and wear fabric, I should sew something in a good colour for me, and I should make it a bit funky.

The thing about "shoulds" is that they just grind all the fun out of things. Jung had a theory about inanimate objects taking on the vibe of their owners. Perhaps the sewing machine and fabric were conspiring to let me know just how much they didn't feel like making this. (Actually, the fabric told me later that it would have prefered matching thread and clear buttons, so perhaps that was the source of its grudge).

At any rate, it's done! And I like it! Phew.

I used white thread and white retro buttons. I sewed a "gimp" buttonhole, this is the first time I've used this function on my machine. The buttonholer zig-zags over a piece of thick thread to strengthen the buttonhole on knits and stop them distorting. And look how well it holds its shape!

I converted the long sleeve into a standard tee short sleeve by splicing it and then gathering it onto elastic.

I learned an important lesson from this project. Without inspiration, there is no motivation. I need to find a way to sew those day to day basics in a way that is more creative.

Because like diets, discipline alone does not work.

Friday, December 2, 2011

a little bit of whimsy

Harumph! My son published my last post (push the orange button) before I could get my photos up and now I find it has been deleted. Double harumph!

Here in essence is how it went ... liked Karl Lagerfeld's designer pattern for Burda (10-2010-136) - wondered if I was too old/fat to wear it - smirked at the 6 inch front zipper (really) so juvenile! so childish! - completely smitten by the elasticated waistaband (just in time for Christmas)

- made skirt, lengthened it by an eternity, and now so really enjoying the fact that I sneaked in a piece of whimsy before December's austerity regime begins.

I haven't quite decided on the hem finish yet - still umming and erring about whether I should add the cuff or just a narrow hem as is. My preference is for the narrow hem. There's enough going on already.