Almost Sewing

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We are moving out of our temporary residence this weekend and will make do with the chaos in our still-being-renovated home. I dropped by this afternoon and there was a flurry of activity. Painting, assembling cupboards (thanks, Ikea), scrubbing blobs of drywall mud off the floor and laying down flooring - wild times!

Yesterday I was purchasing light fixtures (still haven't found a pendant for over the table) and decided to treat myself to a trip to Fabricana - one of the big fabric stores in the general area. I want to make a couple of skirts for the girls. I spent nearly 20 minutes trying to decide on fabrics for Lucy, but then I realized my effort would not be appreciated - I need to take her to the fabric store herself. So I found fabric for Clara instead.

This is my inspiration skirt. However, I will not be making patchwork for the main skirt body. Two reasons: 1. none of the fabric stores in my area carry a variety of those pre-cut charm packs of assorted fabrics and 2. assembling 6 or 8 fabrics is crazy daunting to me. But I like the waistband with bow and the hem band, so here are the fabrics I chose:

The top two are quilting cottons. The bottom is a lightweight poly satin. I plan to wrap the satin around the raw edge of the main skirt, rather than hem the satin and stitch it to the skirt. Should be nice! I just need to measure Clara and do a little math.

What could be more fun than an Uno game played by a seven year old, two five year olds, and a three year old? (Watch out for that little one, she's good!)

A Little Slapdash Sewing

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So. I still haven't begun to take apart the chambray dress. But I am very pleased with the way I finished the armholes, so I thought I would share that with you all.

To recap: I added both a lining and piping to the bodice of The Monique Dress. Everything was going very smoothly, see?

 I dutifully graded and clipped the neckline seam allowance, then I tried to turn it right side out as described many places about the web (most recently at The Slapdash Sewist). Alas! The straps are quite narrow and with the addition of corded piping, there was no possibility to turn the bodice right side out through the shoulder "tunnels".

I posted the above photo in the pattern modifications forum at Pattern and got one response telling me that there was nothing to be done with the piping already in place. Well. I knew there had to be something. But here I am, away from home during renovations, all my sewing references packed away, etc. So I made something up.

First, I picked out the stitching along the armholes.

Then, I made bias strips from my lining fabric (bemburg rayon). This is not an easy task without my rotary cutter and mat. Slippy slippy slippy.

I then pressed the bias in half lengthwise and pinned it to the armhole, raw edges together. I used a technique I like to call "The Thousand Pin Method".

Next I stitched the bias to the armhole using my zipper foot.

Here are my stitch settings for that part: a straight stitch almost 3mm long and moved to the left almost 2mm (to get the stitching as close as possible to the piping).

I then graded and clipped my seam allowances. Here you can see that I made a "sandwich", if you will, of the seam allowances. The bodice seam allowance was left as is, but clipped. The piping seam allowances were graded one side shorter than the other. The bias was left as is (it didn't add significant bulk, and I felt it would help hold everything in place).

The next step was to trim away the seam allowance on the armholes of the bodice lining. This proved to be fairly easy because the holes from my previous stitching were visible. Then I pressed the bias back over the bodice lining and secured it again using The Thousand Pin Method.

Finally, I hand stitched the bias to the lining. I think this is called a catch stitch, but all of my hand sewing has been self-taught, so don't quote me on that one.

Here's what the finished armholes look like: on the inside

and the outside

And to entertain myself through all of this craziness, I watched episode after episode of Mad Men. (I am trying to catch up to the current season.) While watching a show with fabulous vintage fashion might be inspiring, I suppose it could also be a tad distracting...

Oh, woe.

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I am defeated and heartbroken. (Hyperbole is the best, don't you think?)

The Monique Dress. Made of dark wash chambray. That I lined. And added corded piping. And increased the waistband so as to make me look less pregnant. And added side seam pockets.

Tonight I got David to pin me into the thing and have him mark the seam line so that I could insert the lapped zipper (another pattern change from the invisible zipper called for) and hem the dress tomorrow.

It's not flattering. As my very kind husband put it, "The weight that you have lost doesn't show." (Diplomatic, isn't he? He should really work for the UN or something.) And the bust darts are screwy.

Woe is me. I have to take much of it apart. I have to fix bust darts. I have to remove piping from the current waistband. I have to re-draft the waist band to make it wider yet. And add piping to it. And reattach the skirt. And remake the lower half of the lining (waistband and skirt).

And then I have to insert the lapped zipper and hem.

It will be cute. One day.