Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Not a good sewing night

Last night I didn't have any extra work to do, and I got done with the work I did have earlier than expected, and there was nothing good on TV, so it was a good time to get some sewing done. Too bad I couldn't get anything to go quite right.

First of all, I've been working on a Vintage Vogue pattern for a dress with a sort of weirdly shaped neckline, that forms into an almost sort of triangular opening in the front, with basically 3 points. I can't find an image of it online and I don't have it handy to scan, but it looks a little like this pattern, but without the gathers on either side and straight lines, not curved. (And honestly, I guess I should be happy that it's not more like this picture... this looks even harder!) It also has an option for a collar attached to it, and I wanted to make that version since it seemed a bit more casual looking to me, and I had visions of wearing this to some outdoor singing gigs with my red cowgirl boots and red lipstick, or to summer daytime parties with footless tights (even summer is cold enough for tights here in SF) and red ballet flats.

I'm making this out of black eyelet, which I love, but that caused some problems with attaching the interfacing that was called for in the collar and in the neckline facing since my interfacing was all white and would show through the eyelet lace. So originally, I put the interfacing on some black muslin and used that for the interfacing on those pieces.

Well, I just couldn't get the collar and neckline facing to assemble correctly. It looked terrible. And at first I thought that it was because the black muslin and the interfacing attached to the pieces was just too thick and was keeping it from bending into the right shape. So I ripped it all out, and bought some black interfacing to use instead. Last night I tried to reassemble it all with this version, and it still wouldn't come together right! The points weren't clean enough, the back of the dress was sort of gathered and wrinkled in a bad way, and the collar didn't line up right.

I'm really bummed because I love this material and I don't have enough left to do an easier dress with. So tonight I'm going to rip it out again, and give up on doing the version with the collar, and hopefully I have enough eyelet to cut out the neckline facing again and this time I don't think I"ll bother with interfacing, but just use the material plain or maybe with a black muslin backing to it. And if THAT doesn't work I may have to give up entirely and just make a skirt instead of a dress.

I also worked last night on this tunic dress, Butterick 4920, that I originally saw in blouse form (you can do a blouse or a dress with it) on a couple of blogs including Stacy Sews and Cat Fur Studio. The blouse would probably get better use, but I decided to go for the dress just because I had a ton of fabric for it, a pretty and smooth dark wine colored jersey that I got at one of my favorite SF sources for cheap cheap fabric, Fabrix on Clement Street. I chose the burgundy color as a replacement for black. I'm trying to get away from wearing too much black, and since the other dress that's giving me fits is black eyelet, and I also have a bunch of black poplin for a sort of mod shirt dress Burda pattern I just bought, I needed to branch out. This color is dark and deep enough for evening or for a more somber occasion (I have a wake to attend in NYC in April, and I might wear it for that) but isn't the same old black.

Quick word on Fabrix: I love it because it's so inexpensive, I always find (metered, but still) parking when I go by, usually on Monday afternoons on my way back from therapy, and the fabric is all on huge bolts at least 60" wide so you get lots for your money. The drawback is that they have very little in the way of notions. Well, that's not totally true, since they have a lot of ribbon by the yard, and a huge bin FULL of buttons, but you have to sift through the buttons for, like, hours to find all the matching ones you need. You also really have to look for a while to find the good fabric, because it's all sort of piled up everywhere and some of it is not only cheap (as in, inexpensive) but what I like to call cheap-ass (meaning tacky and not well-made). But I love the process of digging through lots of stuff, I find it entertaining and even calming, so that isn't really a drawback to me.

But back to the tunic dress. I shouldn't complain too much because it did come together mostly pretty well, and the fabric drapes beautifully, but the finished edge on the front modesty panel neckline gapes, isn't stitched straight, and looks yucky. It's because I'm not good at sewing details on stretch knit. I think I'll have to fix it by turning it under once more and somehow blind stitching it down in the hopes that the stitches won't show.

So my bad sewing night last night wasn't all bad I guess, because the frustration just made me more determined to come home tonight and fix it all. I hope it works out. I really want to make enough items to wear mostly things I made myself on my trip to New York, so that's an ambitious goal that I can't meet if I have to keep ripping stuff up and starting over again. My next adventure: learning to make buttonholes, so I can make some blouses (one from white lace, another from a sheer black with pink roses) and that shirt dress! Maybe this weekend if I don't have to work! Ooh, and I want to make an Easter dress too. More on that later.


Stacy said...

I am in a black phase, too - everything I pick out is either black or has black in it. I'm trying to get out of that color (or colorless?) rut that I'm in, but I keep gravitating toward it!

I'm not sure what your stitching looks like, but I'm sure no one is going to notice (especially if the color is dark)! I find that on certain knits I have to use a small strip of iron on (stretch) interfacing to the hems for them to look nice. If it's really stubborn and still looks wonky I may also use some fusible hem tape. The type that I've used is permanent (so you never really have to stitch on it if you don't want to), but still stays pliable - if you wind up stitching over it, it makes a nice clean perfect stitch.

Hope that helps - I'm looking forward to seeing your version!

Holly said...

thanks, that's great advice! I'm not so much worried about the stitching itself, but the folded under hem part sort of falls forward and gapes. There's room to turn it under again and tighten it up on the sides under the tunic drape, so I might do that and sue the interfacing or hem tape like you suggest. I'm always worried that iron on stuff will eventually come off if I don't stitch over it, but maybe I'll try it anyhow if you say so.