Tag Archives: monthly stitch

Bossy Pants

(Dear Readers! Friends! Tired of my wordy prologues? Tl/dr: there’s a poll at the bottom. Enjoy!)


A boyfriend once told me–repeatedly–that I am terrible at taking direction.

Let’s just sit with that one for a moment, shall we? A boyfriend repeatedly told me that I am terrible at taking direction. Why on earth, you might wonder–I certainly did–would I want to, need to, or try to, take direction from a boyfriend? Excellent questions all.

Putting aside the inappropriateness of his remark (on so many levels!), it does happen to be true.

It’s not true at work. But outside of work?

I like good rules–the kind that help societies and communities function well and for the benefit of everyone. I’m quite happy to pay taxes, for instance, and stop for stop signs, and I actually loathe shoveling the sidewalk with an unholy passion but I do it as soon as I can for the benefit of people who are using mobility aids or strollers or what have you and need that concrete bare. No problem, or at least not much bitching.

But a lot of rules are really dumb. They exist either for no benefit to anyone whatsoever, or to preserve unearned benefits for one group at the expense of another. I joyfully break those rules.

I actually dye my hair red for the sole and express purpose of clashing with my clothes. All that stuff about “redheads can’t wear pink”–or orange or yellow or whatever dumb thing–inspired me to spend money and time making my hair red every six weeks so I can wear pink–and orange and yellow, sometimes all at once–just to poke those rules in the eye.

And the idea that I should go about my life happily Taking Direction from anyone, including random strangers, is just weird. Like the man outside the grocery store who said, “Miss! Your purse is open. … Excuse me! Miss! Your purse is open! … MISS! Your purse! Is open!” At which point I looked at him, said “I heard you the first time,” and he stalked off in a huff that I hadn’t immediately corrected my pursing misdemeanor.

Or the time when, out with a large group after a dance evening, two men–neither of whom I am interested in in the slightest–had a conversation about women while staring right at me.

Man 1: Sometimes women are just too independent.

Man 2: Yes. Women can’t be too independent.

Man 1: Women who are successful and strong might have a hard time getting a man.

Man 2: Yes, a woman who wants to be with a man shouldn’t be too successful.

I do believe I stared at them in open-mouthed shock at the idea that I should be making myself lesser and my life smaller so that they could be attracted to me.

Generally, the fastest way to get me to not to something is to tell me I must do it, for no good reason whatsoever. I believe this has served me well in life. I truly believe I’m alive today and relatively functional because of this bone-deep, Canadian Shield-like stubbornness.

And yet today, Dear Readers, you have an opportunity to tell me what to do.

(Do you see how long it took me to get around to the point?)

The Point

Mind you, it’s limited. You can vote for what piece of fabric I should sew up next as the Monthly Stitch’s Miss Bossy challenge for April.

Though true to form, the instructions said participants should choose three pieces of fabric for readers to choose between, and I could only narrow it down to four. Three of them are pieces I’ve had in the stash for a few years and have struggled to find the right pattern for, so now you get to force the issue.

Anyway, here they are:

This lovely Liberty of London silk-cotton voile. It’s very light and fairly sheer, though with the mint-green background not unwearably so. I have about 2m.

Half-width. Full-width is 56″, I believe.

This linen/rayon/spandex blend. It’s as stretchy and drapey as a jersey, but it has a linen-knit-like texture and the rayon makes it very cool to the touch. I love this print, but it’s been a challenge to use as a) the stretch is entirely horizontal, so I can’t cut it on the cross-grain, and b) it’s very very narrow at 42″ wide. I have about 2m.

Full width. It is pretty.

This yellow Anna Maria Horner cotton–with I think a bit of spandex, as it has some stretch on the cross-grain. About 1.5m. I love this print! So much clashing.

Half-width. Full width is 56″. I love those climbing roses.

This Nani Iro double gauze, from off-white to orange on the cross-grain. Also 2m.

Full width.

They’re all beautiful, they all deserve to be worn rather than stuffed away in a closet for posterity, and none of them are too fussy for sewing so I should realistically be able to fit them into my April sewing plans. None of them were so expensive that I’ll be gutted if they don’t work out. And every one is going to be a challenge to find a good pattern for.

But which one?

What do you think?

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