Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Hawaii looms large! The dress...not so much.

My self-imposed deadline for having this dress done in time to take it with us to Hawaii is fast approaching, and I'm beginning to fear I won't make it in time. I still haven't done a stitch on the actual fabric, though I have cut out the lining for the bodice and determined I'm not going to have enough of the lining fabric to make the midriff lining, which puts the quantities in doubt for the outer fabric, as well -- and I finished off the bolt when I bought it.

I have been working on it steadily, though! I finished making the duct tape dress form last week only to measure it and find it doesn't really match my measurements, at all. Waist, under-bust, and bust are all too large. Top of shoulder down, over bust, to under-bust, is too small. I don't even know how best to adjust for that kind of measurement error. I'll have more thoughts on what went wrong with the dress form later, once I'm done with the dress. For now, it's sitting on a chair in the dining room with the shreds of an attempt at fitting a muslin pattern piece to it still pinned on, and I moved on to Plan B.

This involved enlisting R's help in fitting the muslin to me. And me explaining what a dart is, and how to make it, all while having him wield sharp pins in the vicinity of sensitive tissue. Tailoring 101 for both of us! We got what we thought was a pretty good approximation of the bodice pieces fitted to my body, and I made a first attempt at it on the muslin. It was ... better than the pattern, but still a bit off in a number of places. With the completed muslin bodice on, we attempted further modifications, then I spent the rest of the evening sketching out how best to make the pattern fit those mods. I've never done any of this before; when I was sewing for myself 20 years ago, I a) mostly fit the patterns as designed and b) where I didn't fit, I didn't care. Now, I a) don't so much fit the patterns, and b) am much pickier about having properly fitting clothes.

So, now, though it may have been a little impulsive, I've taken my modded pattern and gone ahead and cut out the lining with the actual fabric I intend to use, without taking the time to make another whole muslin bodice to test the mods. I'm going to sew in the darts, maybe even go so far as to baste the shoulders and side seams (of the lining) together and throw it on right quick to see how close I am, before I cut the modded bodice front out of the outer fabric. This, of course, will all be after I've had time to practice some seams on the scraps of the lining, so I know which stitch type I like best on this stretchy fabric. And this is all happening after I get off work, AND after I run out to fetch a zipper foot and more lining fabric so I can cut out the midriff lining.

I have two, maybe two and a half more evenings to work on this. I told R I needed to be down to only the zipper and the hem by the time I wrap up on Thursday evening, or it won't get done. That's my line in the sand. I simply won't have time for anything more than that on Friday, what with the cleaning for the house-sitter and packing that needs to happen.

If it isn't done in time for Hawaii, though, it isn't a wasted effort; the trip was the catalyst but I tried to choose a style I could wear for any number of occasions. It's a solid-color fabric that goes with a lot of stuff I already own, and I also have at least 2 other knitting projects planned that would coordinate very nicely with it, besides the short cardigan I've swatched for and want to start on the plane. I'll get back on the sewing as soon as I get unpacked from Hawaii, and should have something lovely to wear for the remainder of the summer.

I'm not giving up yet! I'll push through as long as I can afford to, in hopes of finishing. Just preparing myself for the fact that it may not be enough.

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