All posts by Andrea McDowell

V8685: Go To Work

I don’t seem able to go to Queen W without coming home with some fabric; when I was last there, introducing a local sewing friend to the joy that is the textile district, this fuschia ponte knit told me it really wanted to become a long-sleeved dress.

Well, who am I to stand between a bolt of ponte and the deepest desires of its knit heart?

And after working out the fit issues with V8685 with the red bamboo jersey dress, it seemed that it would be a fairly quick and rewarding project. Which was true. And because I could alter the tissue in advance rather than trying to alter the fabric pieces after they were cut, some of the difficulties with the red one were solved nicely (like the shoulders).

The Front.

Alterations:

1. Removed 1″ from the armscye, front and back.
2. Cut a 12 everywhere, except grading to 14 at the hips
3. Did an FBA on the front, rotating the darts into the tucks
4. Took out 1″ from the centre back length
5. Took out 1″ from the sleeve cap, and then another 2″ in the sleeve itself. Which turned out to be about 1/2″ too much, but I can live with it
6. And took out about 1 1/2″ in width from the sleeves, which at first were baggy as hell. Even now they are pretty loose

The Back, with draglines I can’t see in real life, but there they are.

Because the ponte has a decent amount of structure, and because the fitted skirt on this version doesn’t have the weight of the full skirt on the last one, I didn’t have to interface the bands or yokes and I didn’t need to make it quite so tight. I replaced the neckline facing with a strip of bias tape cut from a matching cotton satin, to prevent the neckline from stretching or sagging out over time and reduce bulk. The dress holds it shape nicely and is super comfortable. And I got to wear it for the first time presenting a talk on my community climate change impact adaptation planning project as part of a panel on community engagement strategies.

The Side. Imagine those sleeves if I hadn’t slimmed them down.

(“Community Climate Change Impact Adaptation Planning project” is, to be fair, half the talk, since the project title is so bloody long.)

It was a nice little confidence booster, and I’m betting I’ll be getting a lot of wear out of this one over the winter.

Sizing Note

According to the BMV size chart, I am a size 16/18. This dress was cut in a size 12 with an FBA on the front bodice pieces, grading to a 14 at the hips. As you can see it is still not too tight. I love this pattern, but be warned: size down.

Embroidery on Clothes for Bec: Collars

(I’ll be posting a project shortly with an embroidered collar, and rather than clutter that post with a lot of background information on embroidered collars, here is an info-dump to be read in conjunction.)

A nicely-embroidered collar can be a fun and fairly easy way to work some embroidery into a clothing project, taking a basic neutral garment and turning it into something a little special.

Shirt with beaded collard from Tristan America

A badly-embroidered collar can be a fun and fairly easy way to turn a basic neutral garment into something that looks so unbearably amateur in six months you’re not sure you can wear it.

Collars have a big advantage for beginning embroiderers: They’re small, so it doesn’t have to take long to stitch up even if you’re new.

Collars also have a substantial disadvantage for beginning embroiderers: They’re highly visible and right near your face, so you will be carrying any mistakes around in a prominent location.

What’s a newbie to do?

You can make a regular collar and be extremely careful. Or you can make a detachable collar.

Of course, a detachable collar presumes you have a collarless shirt, dress or sweater (or several) to attach it to. I’ll assume you can manage that part, being enterprising sewers who know how to make collarless garments on which a collar would not later look completely foreign. I’ll also assume that you’re basically familiar with collar construction, and then gently nudge you towards David Coffin’s instructions on making plain detachable collars. And then we’ll get into the business of embroidering them (which of course also works on regular collars).


Here is an incredibly fancy detachable collar:

dg collar
D&G. I know this one is detachable because you can find photos of the dress without the collar elsewhere.

It’s hard to picture it being worn, ever, with anything but a cocktail dress. I can’t zoom in enough to be sure, but my guess is a stiff black silk, stabilized, backed with a lighter black fabric on the reverse. The silk would have been embellished before attaching to the reverse, and given the bulk of the embellishments that may have had to be done by hand. It would be heavy, for one thing, and stiff, for another, but it is beautifully done. It looks like clear crystals outlined in goldwork.

Here is a much less fancy embroidered collar:

This one’s not detachable, but you can see your range of options pretty clearly. Assuming you can transfer the script neatly to the collar piece this would likely take about an hour. It’s just a backstitch in plain black cotton floss.

HOW TO

  1. Mark the area to be embroidered

The easiest way to do this is if you haven’t yet cut out the collar piece. Trace the cutting line and the seam line onto the right side of the fabric where you can clearly see them. Interface the whole thing as you normally would. If the interfacing is non-woven or a stiffish woven, you’re probably fine; if you’re using a loosely woven interfacing on the collar, stabilize the area to be embroidered separately.

Interfaced, cutting lines traced, seam lines traced and basted

If you have already cut out and interfaced the collar piece, trace the seam lines on to the right side. You can baste the whole thing to a stabilizer and hoop that, and just cut the excess stabilizer away when you’re done embroidering.

If you really, really don’t want to have to do this and really, really have a problem with hoops, you have a few options: either embroider using a pattern or style that minimizes any travelling threads on the reverse (this is what will cause pulling and warping) or resign yourself to being very patient as you go. Stop periodically and give the collar piece a good stiff tug to ensure that the embroidering threads are loose enough not to pull or warp the collar. Still stabilize, but just the area to be embroidered.

2. Pick your pattern or motif.

Colour contrast, size of pattern, heaviness of stitches, heaviness of threads, and any light-reflecting embellishments will have the biggest impact on how much attention the collar draws. If you pick something heavy, either because the stitching is very dense or the materials have weight (beads etc.), this may affect your choice of stabilizer, so be prepared to use something stronger if you choose an embellishment style that is very heavy or dense.

3. Ensure it fits nicely within the collar.

You won’t just be sewing the collar piece to the under-collar; you’ll also be topstitching or edgestitching. It’s best if you can leave at least 3/8″ of empty space between your motif and the seamline. If not, you’ll be topstitching on top of the embroidery. That’s not necessarily a problem, but it does affect the look of the collar and it’s best to choose your preference in advance of stitching.

4. An iron-on transfer or tracing/freezer paper is your best bet.

If you have an iron-on motif already, figure out how you want to position it on your collar, then trace the collar cutting lines or seam lines around it before you cut the motif out.

If you are tracing your own motif, same: trace the cutting lines or seam lines as well. This will let you get a perfect mirror image when reversing the pattern on the other side of the collar.

If you’re doing a cross-stitch or other canvas embroidery style, you can use waste canvas instead and count your stitches. This is a bit more work as you’ll have to baste the waste canvas to the collar piece and remove it afterwards. A higher number on the waste canvas equals smaller stitches; keep in mind this means more stitches, and more time stitching. A lower number means an easier, faster project, but maybe not quite as elegant or neat.

Waste canvas being basted to the collar piece. The embroidered area was later drawn on with a thin red marker

5. Hoop and stitch

Or use a scroll frame etc. Scroll frames have the advantage of holding the entire project flat and taut, and the disadvantage of extra steps if you want to use them for a small piece. In this case I basted the collar piece to a scrap piece of muslin and cut away the embroidery area in the back. But once the set up was done the stitching was a lot easier and there were no hoop marks on the finished piece.

6. When you’re done, and you’ve pressed the collar piece nice and flat, and it’s ready to be attached to the under-collar, I recommend using a regular zipper or piping foot to sew them together. Then you can stitch as close to the embroidered area as you need to.

7. Pressing:

Don’t press your stitches. If you need to press the embroidered area, treat it like velvet and use a needleboard or a towel so you don’t flatten your work.

~~~~~

IDEAS

Embroidered collars can be delicate.

(satin stitches, mostly)

They can be pretty.

(From here. satin stitches and french knots–and by now you are probably seeing that this was done a) on a purchased shirt, after collar construction, b) by a beginner (look how much neater the left hand side is than the right) and c) without stabilizing or a hoop, causing those bits of pulling and warping.)

They can be shaped

Vivetta floral embroidered collar

(machine embroidered; shaping of the collar also done by machine satin stitch. You can shape a collar with the same set of techniques you’d use for a scalloped hem, but I won’t get into that here)

They can be a bit cheeky and odd

PageImage-493549-2513543-IMG_2108

(all satin stitch–check out how neat the borders are and how flat and shiny her floss is) (also: deliberately assymetric is a nice choice if you’re not sure how accurate your mirroring is going to be)

(satin stitches, back stitches, french knots, and some straight stitches it looks like)

(satin stitches, back stitches, french knots, maybe some buttonhole stitches; it’s cute and graphically it’s a lot of fun, but as embroidery it is not stellar. Still, it’s totally wearable.)

They can be ornate and dimensional

Spanish Charm. We found Loly Ghirardi’s work on a blog and just loved her hand-embroidered collars. Follow her tips and make this one that she designed especially for us. Loly Ghirardi is an argentinian who has lived in Barcelona for the past 15...

(I love this one. The work is gorgeous, the colours are fantastic, the collar is nicely put together–wow. She’s got fern stitches, fly stitches, a ton of woven picots, and pistil stitches. The fabric is a bit wobbly, which I think is a result of embroidering at least part of it after the collar was assembled, and the weight of the thread on a fabric that looks fairly light. From Senorita Lylo.)

(Another one by the same person, this time on a printed fabric. Just to give you a sense of how you can work with embroidery on a printed fabric.)

They can be incredibly fancy, like the D&G one.

A warning on the fancy stuff: The plus of using colourful and casual threads like cotton floss or crewel wool, as a beginner, is that mistakes (so long as they aren’t too numerous) look intentionally-wonky and charming rather than slipshod. The same does not apply for thread painting, goldwork, stumpwork, beading, or other fancier embroidery techniques. Then mistakes, even in selection of materials, just look sloppy and translate pretty directly to becky-home-ecky. The fancier the materials you’re working with, the less room for error you have.

It’s like this

Your daughter wants to sign up for a fun neighbourhood activity.

She has a disability–she’s scared about how people will respond to it. Respond to her. If they’ll point or stare (it happens). If they’ll ask her rude questions (it happens). If they’ll act like she doesn’t belong there, like she’s lying about it, making things up (it happens). But she wants to go, and it could be a good experience. Making friends, learning new things, being a kid.

The facility isn’t accessible. The facilities are usually not accessible so this doesn’t surprise you. It’s a community with limited facilities; maybe this was the best they could do. You, your daughter and (sometimes) her walker learn to negotiate the stairs that are the only way in.

One of the leaders of the group acts like everything related to your daughter’s disability is an enormous imposition. As if you are lucky she is allowed to be there at all.

She makes stupid arbitrary rules like all the kids need to stand. Your daughter can’t stand for very long wihout her walker or some kind of support. At first she tries to follow this rule and ends up in pain after every meeting. You coach her to advocate for herself–to take the damned chair and sit down when she needs to, because damn it, she shouldn’t be in pain after a fun community activity.

You worry about how off-site trips are going to go. You go around the leaders, communicating with the head office to ensure it will be accessible and she won’t be excluded. You don’t want to make things awkward by making the (adult) leaders (whose job it is to implement accessibility in the meetings and activities) upset (in case they aren’t able to control thesmelves and blame your kid and take it out on her).

She has now participated in two full years of this group. It is the start of the third. The leaders have had two years to get used to your kid, her physical limitations and her walker. You show up to drop her off and are told they will be in out the neighbourhood. That their route uses stairs. That she cannot bring her walker on foot. That the car is too full to bring her walker. Your daughter cannot come to a two-hour on-foot activity unless she is willing to hurt herself to do it.

Appalled, you turn around and go home.

On your way to the car, one of the leaders asks you to take home some cookies to sell.

The organization, via the head office, has a wonderfully inclusive accessibility policy.

The policy is obviously flatly disregarded by the local volunteers.

It happens. Volunteers are hard to come by. Hard to discipline; if they don’t follow the rules, they can quit. There’s no penalty. It’s hard to maintain oversight. It’s not like head office visits the individual groups to monitor accessibility. They only find out about problems when a parent calls to complain. Most of the volunteers are wonderful, and do everything they can to make sure that every girl can participate in every activity, that this is planned ahead of time and communicated.

But not all.

Some of them act as if they believe that disabled girls should stay home and not trouble people with their needs.

But you and your daughter have paid the registration fee like everyone else, and it’s the fucking law that there be no barriers, so you call to complain.

The head office is going to investigate. They seem shocked and genuinely upset abut the experience your daughter had, and you’re relieved that they’re taking it seriously. You hope something will be done that won’t result in the volunteer resigning and thus breaking the group. But this is a peace you’ve bought with your silence for two years now and you and your daughter can’t pay that price anymore. Pay it with days of sore ankles, sore backs, sore hips, tears, baths with epsom salts, motrin doubled up with tylenol.

Your daughter is a person who is empathetic and compassionate, much tougher than she should be, who tries hard to be good and doesn’t want to be a bother, who wants to follow the rules. She expects to be excluded, stared at, bullied–because she has been. She came home that night angry and hurt. She felt singled-out and less-than. In her words, she felt “degraded.”

The next night she cries on your shoulder.

Not because they hurt her. Not because she was excluded. Not because she missed out on an activity. She expects all of that.

But because she hadn’t been able to advocate for herself in that moment. Because she couldn’t find the words to say that would fix it.

She blames herself for being treated badly, then blames herself for not being able to say the right words that will fix it in that moment.

That is the weight carried by a visibly disabled thirteen-year-old. That is how much she already expects of herself, to be able to participate in the things that other kids do without a second thought. To bear the pain and anger of mistreatment so well that she can respond with perfectly persuasive eloquence.

This is the world we’ve made for disabled people. Disabled kids.

It’s not their job to fix us. It’s our job to fix it.


(And you can apply this, with some changes, to many groups in our society that face discrimination. That they are so often expected and even required to face the pain, anger, humiliation, even violence of being excluded and attacked with grace, equanimity, composure and eloquence–to take on the burden of education and conversion with love and compassion towards people who extended neither–is inhumane and inhuman.)


We live in a province with two pieces of legislation that require organizations, businesses and institutions to remove barriers to full participation for disabled people. The groups always have fantastic policies in place, with wonderfully inclusive language. And yet I know whenever Frances starts something new, or goes somewhere new, I need to budget time to call people about removing those barriers, often more than once. It’s exhausting and demoralizing. And I think about my little girl having to do this for the rest of her life, and–

I Shall Forget You Presently, My Dear: Cambie/2

One more Edna St. Vincent Millay. Then I promise I’m all done with her for a little while.

Flouffiest Skirt Award Winner hands down, I think. The t-shirt is also new: a renfrew hack with a gathered neckline I probably won’t write a post about.

So it’s been a busy summer, in the best possible ways. Lots of dancing, bunch of concerts, lots of time with friends old and new, and a good smattering of dating. Plus, of course, sewing. Not necessarily as much sleep as my doctor would advise but that’s what we have caffeine for and I can always catch up in the fall.

Four of those five are nothing but pleasure. Dating–oy.

I like being single. February workday mornings after a major blizzard, ok, I wouldn’t mind having a guy in the house. But most of the time I love having my little house all to myself and my girl. I like being able to decorate it any which way I choose. I like not having to answer for how I spend my money. I like having the bed to myself. I like being able to leave an emormous pile of fabric and a stack of sewing projects in progress on the dining table for weeks on end. I like never feeling any pressure to spend my evenings watching a TV show I really hate to make someone else happy. I really, really like never ever having to pick a grown adult’s dirty underwear off the floor so I can move it two feet to the right into the laundry hamper. It’s well worth doing the yard work for. Or as Frances tearfully said one day when she was (needlessly) terrified that I was going to bring an xy-person into our lives, “I really love our single lives together!” I love it too. Maybe somewhere out there is someone even better than all of that, but he’s going to have to be. Better. Than all of that.

Which means dating, for me, is just getting out of the house, meeting new people, doing something fun, and who knows, maybe at some point finding the someone who’s better than all of that (it does seem unlikely that such a person would just materialize in my living room while I sit there in my pjs working out the fit on a new dress pattern). But I’m in no rush, and if it doesn’t happen that is perfectly fine.

But oh, Dear Readers, the number of times I have wanted to vent here about the assclown(s) I just ditched. It amazes me that in 2017 so many guys still seem to have the expectation that a single woman of 42 must be so desperate to be with somebodyanybody that they can behave any which way they please and a girl will just lap it up.

The Back. Which looks pretty much the same as The Front and The Side.

Most recently I had the pleasure of informing someone of why I, and I suspect most women in Canada, are going to be uninterested in dating a man who spends most of his time as a semi-professional internet troll, hating everyone except a very narrow band of straight mostly-white conservative guys who belong to the Proud Boys and read Rebel Media. As you can imagine, that excludes most people. It certainly excludes everyone I care about (so far as I know).

He actually provided me with his full name in a message and begged me to stalk him, which was how I found out about his online activities.

Pretty sure he doesn’t know what luddite means. By definition people on twitter are probably not luddites.

I harbour no illusions that being turned down for a date by a woman on a dating site is going to result in the kind of wholesale character transplant that would be necessary to encourage someone like this to start treating people with courtesy and respect, and if someone expresses a single off-colour opinion or even revolting come-on, I either block and delete or ask them a polite, pointed question or two before blocking and deleting. And most of the friends I asked about it recommended blocking and deleting, saying that they feared how someone would like this would react to anything harsher.

But to me, this is exactly the kind of behaviour that enabled the win of Trump, and is exactly the kind of behaviour since then that Trump’s win has emboldened: proud, public displays of hatred. This idea that we can just Nice awful people into better behaviour, that if we talk to them in exactly the right magical way they’re going to change everything about themselves and become good after a lifetime commitment to being horrible, that the important thing is keeping the conversation polite and on some mythical high ground–hell no.

 

We don’t do this with other antisocial behaviours. Sure, we hope people are going to do the right thing and pay their taxes, but if they don’t, we have an entire enforcement apparatus to ensure that they do regardless of whether they think taxes are good or neutral or evil or a sign of the apocalypse. And we spend a lot of time in kindergarten teaching that violence is wrong; and for those people whom the lesson did not stick, we have large, well-funded police departments to deter violence and prosecute violent offenders. (Its efficacy and fairness being up to serious debate.)

Yet when it comes to hate, we just … smile and keep talking until every individual’s mind is individually changed and they do right out of the pure goodness of their hearts? Just no.

Some people are hateful. Who they hate is going to change, but they’re going to hate. No one can change that. You can only change the cost/benefit analysis of acting on that hate.

Being one person, I can’t enact or enforce legislation; but I can confront this kind of thinking and behaviour when I see it. I think as individuals oftentimes the only thing we can do is make it clear that there is a social price to pay for being this kind of person, and it’s important to, because not doing so ultimately reinforces their ideas that everyone actually thinks the same way they do and they’re the only brave souls willing to express it. But I do really hate it when this kind of thing intrudes on what is supposed to be, basically, a fun social activity.

I was very careful not to call him names, and I was also extremely blunt.

It did not go well.

Of course, most people find themselves written up unfavourably on anti-racist blogs through no fault of their own. It could happen to anyone. Also–I don’t think he knows what satire means. By definition if you mean what you are saying, it’s not satirical.

Mind you: “well” in the traditional sense isn’t what I was aiming for. But this was a guy who’d been very careful to keep all of the misogyny, racism, islamophobia, violent threats, homophobia etc. off of the dating app. So I thought if I engaged him I might be able to flush him out and report him. And while he obviously had made serious investments over the years in being an awful human being and is unlikely to change, he might pause before expressing it if he knows it’s going to interfere with his orgasm supply.

It’s ok to say terrible things about muslims if you have a masters degree in Christianity.

He was stunned and heartbroken to find I was not impressed with his digital footprint.

I dunno, this seems kind of misogynistic. And posted publicly under his name. Which he asked me to look up.

Dear Readers, to call these things walls of text would be a disservice to the construction feats that texts are capable of. These things were the motherfucking Donald Trump Mexican border wall of text. They stretched from horizon to horizon. I’d get one monster message, and stare in astonishment as the little typing-bubble popped up immediately beneath it.

It’s ok to instigate a campaign of harassment against someone who says something about your brother you don’t approve of. I looked up the tweet–I was a masochist, what can I say–and it was just someone speculating that the proud boys get off easy with law enforcement because of family connections.

It took me seventeen screenshots to capture his last message to me.

words fail me on this one
I dunno, does this count?

I reported him.

HE WANTS ME TO SPEND A YEAR ARGUING WITH HIM ABOUT WHETHER OR NOT HE’S A BAD PERSON.

Oh my god honey. Why don’t I take the stuff you post on the internet and run with that idea now.

The funniest part was him going on and on and bloody on about how at least he puts his name on what he writes and stands by the consequences, unlike antifa–a word I never used but he could not stop talking about them–and then tagging each message with this disclaimer:

And then any specific tweet or post I pointed out as being gross, he has since deleted. Not to mention that this Proud Boy, who has listed Proud Boys as his employer on LinkedIn and has a Proud Boys tattoo on his shoulder, started distancing himself from the Proud Boys philosophy as soon as he found out he might not get laid on its account. His bravery and conviction are truly astounding.

These assholes are why we’re all suffering through Trump.


Millay wrote a poem that I think is perfect for the age of internet dating (so about 100 years ahead of its time), possibly because being in a lifelong open marriage gave her lots of experience in brief encounters.

I shall forget you presently, my dear,
So make the most of this, your little day,
Your little month, your little half a year,
Ere I forget, or die, or move away,
And we are done forever; by and by
I shall forget you, as I said, but now,
If you entreat me with your loveliest lie
I will protest you with my favorite vow.
I would indeed that love were longer-lived,
And vows were not so brittle as they are,
But so it is, and nature has contrived
To struggle on without a break thus far.
Whether or not we find what we are seeking
Is idle, biologically speaking.

The Side, accidental hair-toss edition.

I think it’s safe to say that I’m not going to forget this one–but I won’t remember him fondly, that’s for sure.

So in addition to the regular pleasures of online dating including dick picks, inappropriate come-ons, regular harassment, and guys who mistake it for a therapy app–let’s add the odd conversation with out-and-proud neo-nazis.

And this entire post’s only tangential connection to the sewing project is this:

I said no to a date (to someone else who is safely non-bloggable) to stay home and sew this instead because I knew it would be more fun, not to mention the garment won’t make inappropriate demands on my person or my patience. If I don’t want to wear it one day, it’s not going to pout or throw a rage-tantrum. It’s fun to wear and it’ll never send me dick pics. It goes without saying that it’s not going to post hate speech on the internet.

(I do have a Sewing Rule when deciding on a date: If I know or reasonably believe I would have more fun staying home sewing or reading a book, I say no.)

It’s the skirt half of a Sewaholic Cambie view B, sewn up in and lined with a silk-cotton voile (bought half-price because that’s the only way such a thing is cost-effective). It’s airy and unbelievably flouffy. I could have five kilogram bags of flour strapped to my thighs under there and you’d never know. It has pockets in the front that you completely can’t see except as extra flouff. The construction was standard: join, gather, attach to waistband, install zipper, join lining and outer, finish hems.

The Front.

There’s a second half to this project that will hopefully be done and posted sometime soon, so you may see this skirt again.

You probably won’t be seeing anything about dating again, unless and until someone exceeds the neo-nazi. Please join me in hoping that that never happens. I feel like I spent the weekend dragging my brain through sewage.

An actually work-appropriate skirt: Burda 07/2017 Skirt #113

I loved this skirt when I saw it in Burda:

770x967_bs_2017_07_113_heft_large

But of course I couldn’t make it black and white. Friends would probably worry about my health if they saw me in clothes without colour. So instead:

 

bloggish-225
The Front

Where the white was replaced with a large-scale multi-colour floral on a black background. Both are cotton satins, not at all stretchy–and despite Burda’s directions, given the ease and boxy fit, you don’t need stretch. This is my now-standard 38/40 combo and it is nowhere near tight. I probably could have gone down another size, particularly given the faux-wrap in the front and the walking room it provides.

bloggish-306
The Side

It’s not a really complicated pattern, once you have it traced and cut out. Tracing the pieces out correctly and cutting everything out on grain so that the print is aligned over the bands is the hardest part. Also a note of warning, in case you overlooked it as I did: Both sides of the front have a facing on the bottom rather than a hem, so don’t add a hem allowance, just a regular seam allowance. And the instructions will try to tell you that underlining the facings will keep them in place, but the skirt will laugh in your face if that’s all you do. Some extra stitching is needed to keep them from flopping down at the bottom.

bloggish-308
The Back.

The skirt front is two pieces when constructed: the right hand side with all the bands on it, and the left hand side underneath that is all cut out of the main fabric with two standard darts. You then baste them together across the top and treat them as one piece for the construction of the skirt.

I really like it. It’s boxy but comfortable and striking with the large print and the bands. Plus it has so many bright colours in it that it kind of matches by accident with half the shirts in my closet.

bloggish-318

It might also be fun to make up with a solid for the main skirt and the print on the bands, if you like the overall pattern but find this a bit much. I’m a fan of a Bit Much personally, so this works for me.

The Penitent: Burda 2016/10 Skirt #106

More poetry! I’m sorry, but when I was writing the other one this came to mind and it seemed like a fun poem to build a post around. (Oxymoron for those of you who hated english in high-school, maybe, but give it a shot.)

The Front. I decided to go for maximum colour with this one.

The Penitent

I had a little Sorrow,
Born of a little Sin.
I found a room all damp with gloom
And shut us all within;
And, “Little Sorrow, weep,” said I,
“And, Little Sin, pray God to die,
And I upon the floor will lie
And think how bad I’ve been!”

Alas for pious planning —
It mattered not a whit!
As far as gloom went in that room,
The lamp might have been lit!
My Little Sorrow would not weep,
My Little Sin would go to sleep —
To save my soul I could not keep
My graceless mind on it!

So up I got in anger,
And took a book I had,
And put a ribbon on my hair
To please a passing lad.
And, “One thing there’s no getting by —
I’ve been a wicked girl,” said I;
“But if I can’t be sorry, why,
I might as well be glad!”

Come on. It’s awesome.

(I once recited this poem to a boy when he asked if I’d memorized any of the very large number of poems on my bookcases, and his response was, “Did she get the guy?” What? That’s not what this is about. Don’t be That Guy.)

The Back

(I mean, obviously the narrator of this poem has “got” any number of boys, which is probably the Little Sin she’s trying and failing to feel sorry about in the first place.)

Anyway. Here is a sewing project in which one can try and fail to feel gloomy, sorrowful, and guilty (pattern link). But also in which one might be able to accomplish a little light sinning.

The Side

The silhouette is a basic pencil skirt, but the front darts were converted to those lovely diagonal seam lines. It’s slightly more time consuming to make, but just slightly, and the front seaming makes it worth it. Other than that it’s fairly simple.

Seamlines

The Burda original was sewn in white wool and lined. This is hot pink cotton satin and unlined. It has a walking vent in the back and the most god-awful vent construction instructions in history, which I ignored with, I think, decent results. The seam allowances are serged.

For a while I toyed with the idea of doing some piping or hand embroidery along the front seams (Burda instructs a hand running stitch), but instead I decided to top-stitch at a 1/4″ with a rayon embroidery thread in a slightly darker shade. It adds just the right amount of emphasis to the seamlines for me.

Sizing Note

This is a petite pattern, but I found I needed no alterations to make it fit (I’m about 5’8″). It’s meant to be a fairly long skirt. As usual with Burda, I had to size down by one to get a good fit, so while I should be a 20/21 in their petite sizing I made a 19/20. It is not snug; I have easily an inch of ease in the waist.

Sewing in Spanish: Patrones 370 Skirt 19

The extent of my Spanish is the very small amount that penetrated through the two-foot-thick barriers I erected around my skull when Frances watched Dora as a small child. Which is to say: not much, and nothing specific to sewing.

I’m also not generally a fan of midi skirts or hi-low hems. But here we are: a hi-low midi-skirt in light yellow cotton twill, from a Spanish sewing magazine.

The only way I could get the front slit to show was by staring at it. Maybe it’s self-conscious.

And you know something? It was pretty easy. Getting the pleats pointed in the right direction was the hardest part, but arrows are fairly universal in meaning and otherwise it was just–you know–a skirt with four pieces, pleats at the waistband, side seam pockets (that you do have to draft yourself but hell, it’s just a standard pocket shape, drawn to the waistband so that it’s nice and stable). Sew the front together to the notch to make the front slit. Invisible zipper extends through the waistband. Front slit was serged and turned once to make it neat, as was the hem.

The Side. Poofy pleats and a high-low hem, and accidental pigeon-toes.

And now I have yet another yellow garment.

(It amazes me that once upon a time I thought I didn’t like or wear yellow much.)

(I mean, I have three yellow t-shirts, two yellow blouses, two yellow skirts, two yellow dresses, and a predominantly-yellow striped skirt. I wear yellow the way other people wear black. Apparently. All I need now is a pair of yellow pants, and I mean that sincerely.)

The Back. I’d already worn it to work once, hence wrinkles.

The one downside of yellow being, again, that it is always somewhat see-through, and this is no exception, even though it is fortheloveofgod COTTON TWILL. That’s like denim. See-through denim. How is that possible? But I don’t care, I love it, I’m wearing it.

Now I’m trying to fight the temptation to get a subscription. I should fight that temptation, right? I don’t need another sewing magazine subscription.

Hieroglyphic Sewing: Knipmode April 2017 Top 2

I’ve heard of Patrones, Knipmode & La Mia Boutique from sewing bloggers and on forums, but have never bothered to buy them before. In part because it’s a bother: none of them are available on news stands in Canada, so it involves some hunting, online ordering & exchange rates in order to procure them. And in part because I wasn’t sure how much I wanted to mess around with patterns where all of the instructions would be in languages I can’t read.

The Front (is too short). But the neckline is cute.

Then I made the World’s Most Complicated Shirtdress (thereabouts) and thought, if I don’t need to look at the instructions to make a shirtdress, maybe I can make things up that are basically instructions-free. And I ordered one or two of each and picked a pattern from each that looked simple enough to be a good test of instructions-free sewing. First up was this different-but-easy Knipmode t-shirt pattern in leftover yellow cotton jersey.

The Back. Once again, yellow proves to be transparent. But it is a cute neckline.

(I’m writing this in early June, by the way, in case it gets published well after other posts that make mention of the new sewing magazines.)

The Side. The sleeve gathering is cute. I clearly need more sleep.

I didn’t look at the instructions, because they were in Dutch. Google translate helped me confirm that it was made up in a jersey and that “mouwbies” means “sleeve band” and “heupband” means “hip band.” Otherwise I traced, cut and serged.

And it’s … ok. The armscye is too big (story of my sewing life) so I’d shorten it by 1″ or so on front and back if I were to make it up again, and this jersey being yellow is–though not thin–translucent. Why. Anyway, you can see the facing. And last but not least, the front was about 2″ shorter than the back. I have no idea if this was a pattern error or a tracing error on my part, and I don’t care enough to go back and see for something that’s so easy to fix.

Armscye too big. Sigh.

So I don’t know how much wear I’ll get out of this, but I did learn two things:

  1. I can sew in Dutch.
  2. I can make a few modifications to this and end up with a really cute and different t-shirt pattern, so long as I make it out of something completely opaque and not too drapey.

Burda 5/2017 Blouse 109: Flounce Forever

It’s the Year of the Flounce (as well as the Year of the Sleeve) and I’m just going with it.

 

Blouse with a tie, raglan cap sleeves, and a cut-on flounce, which means the fabric needs to be drapey, light and double-sided. There are no closures, so the waist needs to be large enough to pull on over the bust (more of an issue for some than others).

Technically this is a petite pattern, which at 5’8″ I am not; but believe it or not, I still had to shorten the armscye by 1/2″ front and back, and the bust dart was still about an inch too low, necessitating much weird sewing to avoid weird pointy bits.

The Front. Not Great. And look! Still had weird pointy bits. !!

I also did an FBA, which introduced a fisheye waist dart in the front. I tried it with and without the dart, and with is better IMO.

For construction, I serged any exposed seam allowances and used the sewing machines for the seams. It’s very tidy.

Insides.

The pattern works. It all goes together properly. The sizing is as portrayed in the description and photos. It’s a cute idea. And yet … I don’t love it. That old bugbear: I don’t like blouses without closures on me. If it were a really drapey fabric it might be ok, but this is not drapey enough to make up for the lack of shaping inherent in a pullover woven top. Even with the waist dart. It’s just very boxy. I think it can work with a fitted skirt or pants with a good snug waist, but otherwise probably not.

The Back. Lots of movement at least.

The fabric is a cotton voile bought years ago and just sitting around waiting for the right blouse pattern. At the time of purchase I thought the right blouse pattern was going to be much bigger, so I have some left over. And I’ll be using it on something with closures.

The Side.

Vogue 1353/2: An Abbreviated Version

Somehow or other this beautiful linen jumped into my shopping bag when I went fabric shopping with a friend. It was insistent on being turned into a big skirt, but all of my skirt patterns–even the pleated ones–have curved hems. A curved hem would not have looked right with this lovely poppy print, so I used the skirt part of the V1353 dress pattern, with wonderfully flat hems perfect for border and linear prints, and added a narrow waistband.

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And then added a narrow band of matching bright pink cotton voile to the hem to finish it off. Just something a bit different. I cut two 2 1/2″-wide strips of the voile, sewed them together, matched the width of the skirt hem, folded it in half, and sewed it to the bottom edge of the skirt.

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The Side. You can’t really tell that the pattern is askew from front to back.

I’ve made this as a dress three times before:

Test

Rainbow

Birds

And I have nothing new to say about the construction or sizing on this one. This is a mid-weight linen, and I used a white cotton voile to line it. The seam allowances were serged before sewing them together; the hem on the lining is just serged, to keep it light and floaty; the hem on the linen skirt was serged to the hem band. That seam was then edge-stitched to keep it from flipping down after wear.

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The Back.

The pattern repeat wasn’t quite tall enough, and I didn’t have quite enough of the fabric, to line up the pattern perfectly between the front and back. Thus everything is about 2 1/2 inches higher on the back. But I don’t think it’s visible to a casual observer.

The zipper goes right through the waistband. There are no other closures.

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I Need A Nap

It just so happens that it perfectly matches that coral voile blouse and a pink t-shirt I already have, plus the pink voile that I was planned on making into a top–fate, right?