Friday, April 27, 2012

Silent but deadly

Fart jokes aside, I've been so quiet lately for one very simple reason- I found my stride and somehow it didn't include stopping to talk about it! Let's remedy that right now, shall we?

In addition to making some period-inspired toys for the kids to take to events, I finished my new dress pattern, and I've been working on my new dark colored wool dress. I fully intended to document that whole process and share it with you, but after the first round of fitting, I was a little embarrassed to share the photos. They were highly unflattering, as the process is not something you want to do in public anyway, so I decided that I wasn't going to share them.

I can, however, share with you a little about what I did and some things I've learned.

First, I LOVE the lacing strips I made.  They have made this entire process 20 times easier, and I've used them three times already.  They are now my favorite thing in the world.

I started the whole dress fitting process using some corduroy fabric.  A bottom weight, denim or light-weight canvas would also have worked.  Using a heavier cloth for the fitting was suggested by Mathilde, and I believe that for larger women, with a lot of fleshy bits to get into line, the stiffer fabric is a must.

Once my corduroy pattern was finished, I transferred it to muslin (so I could store it easier and write all over it), then also transferred it to my lining material- a light green linen.  I assembled the linen pieces (which only extend to my hips), attached the lacing strips again, and wore it around the house for about an hour.  This allowed the linen to ease in and stretch out.  I then had my mom (who helped me with the fitting all along) pin the lining to fit it again.  After taking it apart and making the necessary adjustments, I used that final lining pattern iteration as the pattern for the wool.

At this point, the wool dress is assembled, but there's still a good deal of work to be done.  I have to tackle the sleeves still (I need to create a pattern for those too), and finish the majority of the seams.  Then I'll do eyelets for the lacing and buttons and button holes on the sleeves (six each).  Oh, and the hem.

When I tried it on last night, I was superbly pleased with it.  There's nothing I can do about certain aspects of my own physiology (I do have 4 kids, after all), but it's comfortable and definitely has the corseting qualities it's meant to.  Now I just keep repeating in my head: "Don't screw it up!"

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