To continue where I left off last week, I want to share the next project in my capsule collection experiment. This dress was actually the first garment I completed for my summer capsule collection. I had it finished in time to debut it during Me-Made-May. My progress on the remainder of the plaid collection has kept me from posting it.
After choosing my patterns, I was most eager to begin work on the dress I'd selected. I'm a sucker for envelop art, and Simplicity 2104 lured me in. Those box pleats! How could I resist? Sewing this pattern was easy and fuss free. I made my standard fit adjustments. The dress looked great on Midge. So, I was surprised that it fit me so poorly when I tried it on.
Immediately, I'd wished I'd increased my side seams for a closer fitting waist and taken an extra half inch from the length of my bodice. But these are tolerable. The biggest problem I had was with the high bust. You may have noticed that there isn't a gathered neckline incorporated into the original pattern. Gathering a line of stitching across the neckline was the only way I could think to save this dress from disaster. Without the stitching, the neckline stands-up on its own and hangs WIDE open. I've never had this problem before. Usually, I take my bust measurement from the apex, and everything else falls into place. Not true here.
I was able to leave the back as it was originally drafted. The fit across the shoulder is decent but wider than I'm accustomed to, and I find I'm often pushing at the shoulders to keep them up.
Then, there's the side closure. The button/snap side fastening closure is something I'd never done before. I wouldn't mind it except, I cannot get the overlap pleat to lay properly- Not for all the pressing and fiddling in the world. I'm very conscious of it while I'm wearing the dress. It's probably not as noticeable to everyone else, but It drives me crazy.
There are some things about this garment I am pleased with. My horizontal lines throughout the entire construction match PERFECTLY. They look so good, it bothers me I didn't put the same amount of time and care into matching the vertical lines, albeit, I'm not sure that would have been entirely possible, given the volume of the skirt and the amount of pleating.
I had big ideas for Rochelle and Tasha's September SAL, Fall For Cotton. I'd narrowed down my patterns and started dreaming about the fabrics I'd use to sew. Then, Mike and I made a big decision and started loading our belongings into boxes. All the yarn, all the fabric, is packed and stacked in moving boxes in our living room while we wait to close on our new house in the suburbs. There has been a good deal of stress. A fair amount of mixed emotions. And, a lot of anxiety over this change. That's not to say there hasn't been excitement and anticipation; the dogs, in particular, are overjoyed to learn they will have a yard. We will have much more space than we do currently, which means a designated sewing/knitting area. And, Mike will have 1/3 the commute he has endured since we moved to Chicago.
I couldn't handle any more "new" happening in my life. I decided to turn my attention to older projects, tying up loose ends, if you will.
Early summer, I was fabric shopping when I fell in love. I was certain I needed to make something with the fabric the instant I saw it. I just didn't know what. A dress? A blouse? Shorts? Or, perhaps, all of the above? I purchased 6 yards of fabric and turned to my pattern stash. I chose a dress, a blouse, and a shorts pattern. Then I selected a coordinating blouse and skirt pattern and complimenting fabrics to pair with the separates I intended to make.
I made the dress promptly. Later in the summer, I set to work on the remaining projects I'd planned. Then, I ran into a snafu with my shorts. Progress stopped. My original goal was to finish my capsule wardrobe and post these projects in a series to show how one fabric works in variety of situations. In order to follow-through, I need to get these garments completed before it's too cold to photograph shorts!
Coincidentally, all of the fabrics I'd chosen to work with are cotton. Rather than not participate in Fall for Cotton, I decided to use it as an incentive to get this outfit finished.
My favorite element of this blouse is the rolled tie collar. The pattern instructs the sewer to hand baste an enclosed loop of fabric at the top of the button band. This little piece helps the ties to lay beautifully crisscrossed at the neckline without a bulky or unruly knot. I took great care to match my plaid on the side seams and across the button band; I'm very pleased that I spent the extra time to line them up.
There's a mash-up of eras represented in this ensemble: the fabrics are contemporary, the skirt pattern is from the 70's, the blouse pattern is from the 50's, and, my best guess is, the buttons are from the 40's. I planned this to be a summer outfit, but it was cool yesterday, so I put on some tights and my Grace cardigan; this is easily transitions into a fall weather appropriate look! BONUS!
In addition to the quickly approaching SAL deadline, I had extra motivation to get these garments sewn. Sunday afternoon I had the pleasure of gathering with some incredibly talented ladies (Around the table L toR: Me, Mari, Sally, Debbie, Gail, Meg, Narayani, and Liz).
We shopped for fabrics at Textile Discount Outlet, and got to know each other better over lunch after we swapped patterns and fabrics. It was my first meetup. I had a wonderful time and am looking forward to future gatherings and adventures!
And, there you have it! I know, this is a whole lot crammed into a single post. I want to send a HUGE thank you to Tasha and Rochelle for hosting the SAL! There's still time to participate, if you'd like to join the fun! See the challenge rules and deadlines: HERE. Also, if you are looking for some wonderful blogs to follow, I will vouch that all of these women are as delightful as they are talented.
CHECK THESE LADIES OUT!
... to bring you Finn in his bear sweater! Isn't he incredibly handsome? I find him completely irresistible, both with and without super-imposed animal ears, and he knows it! Thanks for the spot of sunshine little buddy! O.K. You are now free to return to your regularly scheduled programs.
Sewing basic, daily-wear garments is a top priority on my list of sewing goals for 2013. Yet, three-quarters of the way through the year, I haven't worked very diligently towards achieving that priority.
It's very easy to fall in love with the envelop art on vintage dress patterns, regardless of their practicality. I have a hard time trying to convince myself against sewing them exclusively. However, my daily uniform is much more consistent with the list I made here than it is with tulle petticoats and frilly dresses.
So, why is it a complete chore for me to regroup my focus towards more versatile and practical garments? In addition to their overwhelming function, garments like this Scout Tee or the Datura Blouses I sewed earlier this summer are MUCH simpler and far less time consuming than say... the 40's dress I sewed for Rochelle's Sew for Victory SAL.
As a person with limited sewing time, isn't that time better spent working on garments that will see repeated use and wear? While making 'staples' doesn't excite me quite the way it does to hand stitch a hem on a full skirted party dress, I do adore them when they're finished. I've already worn my scout tee a handful of times since I finished it.
Or, should a crafter with limited hours to devote to her craft work exclusively on projects that make her heart flutter?
How do you choose your projects? Are you the type to sew/knit only those things that you know you'll wear, or do you throw practicality to the wayside? Have you discovered the secret to achieving balance and harmony between these two worlds? Do tell!