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:

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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:

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

Burda 01/2017 skirt #114: If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try, try, t

This skirt tested my fitting abilities to the limit. Such a pretty pattern–

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–and so many opportunities for the fit to go disastrously wrong, most of which I found on version #1. So:

Version 1

To tweak the fit with something low-risk, I made the shorter variation out of some leftover wool. And promptly discovered it was much too big all around. Why does this keep happening? At any rate, I ended up taking it in–several times. The lining was much too big as well, which was hard to discover in advance as it was a single piece cut on the fold with two darts and joined together in the back. I had to sew it up with about a 4″ seam allowance to get it to be the right size.

I feel like I’m making up the size as indicated on the pattern but maybe I need to recheck the measurements because this was pretty ridiculous. Anyway:

Multiple unstitchings and restitchings later, I finally got something that is mostly ok, but it’s still a bit wavy and weird in the back. It’s wearable, I think, but not great. So instead of moving on to the nice fabric, I thought I should make another test version:

Version 2

This time with the longer version and the drapey godet in the back, out of a poly/rayon/spandex fabric. ($6/m. Can’t beat that.)

It’s red. Hurray!

The adjustments on this version worked really well. It only needed a few tweaks to fit just about perfectly.  Except for the lining, which was still way too big.

The Side

When wearing, I discovered that the front waistline is about half an inch too high, and that the waist as a whole is about an inch too loose to stay put. So these were tweaked for version #3. You’ll notice that the drapey godet in the back does not drape the same as it does in the pattern drawing. More on that in version #3.

The Back

Version 3: Wherein I Found More Fitting Issues

Apparently I over-corrected the fit for version 2 out of the stretchy fabric, because when I cut it out of the not-stretchy silk-wool blend, it didn’t want to zip up. I was able to loosen it enough to make it technically work, but I was worried about the stress on the seamlines so I re-cut the ruched side pieces and the upper back pieces. It worked perfectly and it is now very comfortable.

Skirt much boxier than advertised, but still cute.

It is a really fantastic fabric–and even after needing to recut some pieces I still have enough leftover to make a handbag–and it doesn’t drape the same as the red one does, so the back godet is an issue. It’s interesting still and I like it but, meh. It might have been better if I’d gone for the version where the godet is two pieces sewn together down the middle, so the grain runs differently. But it’s too late to find out now. (But it’s not too late for you, Dear Readers!)

The Back. It is ok.

I still love that side pleating bit.

I think, given that it’s silk-wool and fully lined, this is one I can wear in fall and winter. So I’ll just pretend I got a head start on next season’s sewing rather than having taken forever to make up something from last winter. It is a really cute pattern. I highly recommend a muslin, as the fit is challenging to tweak with the seamlines; I also recommend making it up in something very drapey and using the two-piece godet in the back to get a better drape. But it is overall a cute and very different pencil skirt pattern.

What a Waste of a Lovely Night: The Yellow La La Land Dress

(For those of you who read The Monthly Stitch: feel free to skip, because this is almost exactly the same post I put up there.  There are two small exceptions:

Look! A picture of me dancing in my La La Land dancing dress was put on a poster for a dancing event! And then my Monthly Stitch post on this dress won a small prize, so yay!)

The Monthly Stitch’s July hacking** challenge came along just at the right time to kick my butt in gear and get me making this dress I’ve been thinking about all year: a hack of the yellow La La Land dress Emma wore during the What a Waste of a Lovely Night scene, based on the Sewaholic Cambie.***

(You can read the post about the Cambie experiment to use as a hack** for La La Land here. I’ll try not to revisit my obsessive fangirling too too much in this one. Quick summary: I knew I wanted to hack this dress as soon as I saw the movie last year; the Cambie was the closest I could find to it, with the separate waistband, sleeves joining along the top of the bodice, and a full skirt; and I made up a straight Cambie a month or two ago to work out the kinks and figure out what I’d need to change and how.)

Possibly the best part of making this dress was the built-in excuse to watch the movie a bunch of times so I could be sure to get the details just right. Research, right?

La La Land (2016)
Mia (Emma Stone) and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling)

The second-best part is the dress itself. I love it, but it was a big undertaking and I’m glad to be done with it. Maybe once I’ve had a chance to wear it out dancing once or twice, and have recovered with an easier project or two, I’ll decide I love it even more than watching the movie again.

The Front. Close enough for government work, I say

Pattern Alterations and Changes

Skirt

I drafted a 3/4 circle skirt pattern to replace the Cambie skirt. I wasn’t sure what type of skirt the La La Land Dress had, but given the lack of darts and the movement when she’s dancing in it it looked to me like some kind of circle skirt, and I wanted to be able to spin without it going all the way up to my waist* and the movie version didn’t look as full as a whole circle skirt. So 3/4 it was.

I used the circle skirt radius calculator here to draft out a 1/4 circle portion of the 3/4 circle skirt and then used 3/4 of the 1/4 circle portion as the pattern.

I did line the skirt since yellow is, regardless of fabric type it seems, generally translucent when worn. Why is that? The lining is very short; I didn’t get enough of the voile to make it longer. But it covers what it needs to cover to make it something I can wear in public. After wearing it a half-circle might have been a closer match, but live and learn: I can’t imagine making two yellow La La Land dresses, but if this is something you might try, go for a half.

Bodice

The front of the Cambie was altered to be straight across.

I altered the bodice darts to be slightly narrower, to allow for gathering similar to the La La Land Dress. I didn’t get quite as much gathering as I wanted, but it’s similar enough and I’m happy with it.

You can see the bodice gathering here. I love the hand-painting on the fabric but was not ambitious enough to try to replicate that

The back was shortened, and straightened to allow for separate sleeves.

Gathers. Also, dear god, a full human fits into the movie version. A full human about half the size of this full human.

And then the Cambie sleeves were altered to make for a cap with that straight bit over the shoulders, and the join altered for the square front and back necklines. Originally I had them about as wide as the movie version, but I had Underwear Visibility Issues, so I moved them in a bit.

Square back neckline, very swishy skirt

The only thing about the original Cambie pattern I didn’t change was the waistband.

The Back. Picture Ryan Gosling off to the right.

Just typing that out exhausts me all over again.

Fabric & Lining

The main fabric is a bright yellow Fabricland rayon, and the lining is the coordinating bright yellow Fabricland cotton voile. Neither were expensive. Then again, the yellow La La Land Dress was made from a cheap Joanne’s polyester the costume designer got on sale, so this may be unique in that the handmade knock-off of the movie dress cost more than the original. I’m ok with that. I intend to dance in this dress, outside, and polyester would not have been pleasant.

Dress, zipper, lining.

Construction

Mostly assembled per Cambie instructions: assemble bodice and skirt, attach each to waistband, install zipper; repeat with lining except for the zipper; sew right sides together along the top, leaving space for the sleeves; sew sleeve outer to sleeve lining, baste into sleeve openings and check fit; hand to allow hem to settle; hem. Nothing here differed from that general order. The only minor change is the hem, which I serged and then turned up once. I hate fussing with the fullness on a wide, round hem, and this makes it just a bit easier.

Sizing Notes

Sewaholic patterns are drafted for pear shapes, which I very much am not; the sizing chart puts me into a size 8-14, but a fairer comparison taking into account body-type differences would be a size 8-10. And this dress is a size 8 with a hefty FBA.

There’s a lot of volume in the hips on both Cambie dresses, and in the 3/4 circle skirt replacement, so the limiting measurements for fit are bust and waist. Both have generous ease–2-3″–so you have room to size down if you want something more fitted, and if you go ahead with the size indicated by your measurements, you won’t end up with a tent.



***Already posted over at The Monthly Stitch. Apologies for those of you who are seeing this for the second time.

**Yes, I said hacking, and I’m not sorry.

*This utterly, utterly failed, as I found when I wore it out dancing. Actual conversation afterwards:

B: I love how floaty it is!

M: Yes! It really goes quite high.

Andrea: It sure does. A little higher than I was planning.

M: Maybe make a pair of matching yellow bicycle shorts.

Andrea: Yeah… believe it or not I made it less full so it wouldn’t go up all the way like that.

B: Really? But it wasn’t so bad.

Andrea: Yes it was. That’s ok.

M: Really, yellow bicycle shorts! Then it looks like you did it on purpose. And you can put “salsa” across the butt.


If you haven’t seen the movie…

…and would like some idea of what I’m talking about: the scene with The Yellow Dress


“A Lovely Night”
(performed by Ryan Gosling & Emma Stone)

[Sebastian:]
The sun is nearly gone
No lights are turning on
A silver shine that stretches to the sea
We’ve stumbled on a view
That’s tailor-made for two
What a shame those two are you and me
Some other girl and guy
Would love this swirling sky
But there’s only you and I
And we’ve got no shot
This could never be
You’re not the type for me
[Mia:]
Really?
[Sebastian:]
And there’s not a spark in sight
What a waste of a lovely night

 

[Mia:]
You say there’s nothing here?
Well, let’s make something clear
I think I’ll be the one to make that call

[Sebastian:]
But you’ll call?

[Mia:]
And though you look so cute
In your polyester suit

[Sebastian:]
It’s wool

[Mia:]
You’re right, I’d never fall for you at all

And maybe this appeals
To someone not in heels
Or to any girl who feels
There’s some chance for romance
But, I’m frankly feeling nothing

[Sebastian:]
Is that so?

[Mia:]
Or it could be less than nothing

[Sebastian:]
Good to know
So you agree?

[Mia:]
That’s right

[Sebastian and Mia:]
What a waste of a lovely night

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