Monday, November 21, 2011

Anne Adams, we meet again

On the drafting front, Anne Adams and I have had our differences before.  But I'm happy to say that with the continued improvement of my sewing skills, I was able to take it in stride this time around, and I really like the finished product -- definitely a "make again" dress!  (Incidentally, I picture Anne Adams as a stern, bespectacled home ec teacher.    Whereas Marian Martin seems just a little bit more fun-loving.)

Anyhow, the dress!  It's a mail order pattern (number 4753) from the 1950s.  I like it a lot, but short of extreme plastic surgery I will never have the bosoms to fill it out.  I'm wearing a padded bra in these photos.  It doesn't make a dent.   (But I will  wear the dress anyhow, though maybe not to work.)  I had hoped that the lightweight fabric would make the extra leeway look more like ease and less like space for rent ... it almost does.

With trusty sidekick, ready to investigate
the Case of the Missing Boobies.

I wasn't sure how this was going to work out, so the fabric's some cheap stuff nabbed from the clearance section at High Fashion Fabrics a few months back.  The plaid's approximately lawn-weight, and the burgundy material is also fairly lightweight.  And has a sort of polished shine on the "right" side -- ew.  So I used it wrong side out.  There's not actually any burgundy in the plaid, but it "goes", as they say.  The dress is fully lined in a pink poly-cotton batiste (As usual, I just cut the pattern twice, and cut interfacing from the facing pieces and fused it to the lining pieces at the appropriate places.)

I shamelessly re-used the belt pattern from the Colette Peony to make the belt for this dress.  Since the sides were too angled for me, I lopped off the angles -- now the pattern pieces are just two rectangles.   I used the plaid for the gathered section in front, and the burgundy fabric (with some interfacing) for the back pieces.   I really dig this belt -- it's fairly easy to make, and looks more refined than a simple tie belt.

Look how I matched my plaids for once!

This was one of those patterns that bore signs of previous use -- the skirt pieces were pinned up to make the length shorter without losing fullness.  (I decided that losing fullness was the better route, and just lopped six inches off the bottom).  The previous seamstress had already shortened the sleeves as well -- not quite evenly, but it worked out without much fuss.

Now, the drafting issue:  the bodice piece had this little hump on it, and I could not for the life of me figure out how it was supposed to fit with the neck yoke.  The instruction illustrations don't show them, either.  I ended up just trimming them off, but I am bemused.  Why on earth were they even there?

Original version with "hump" on top,
shown with my "humpless" second draft.

I'm working on another version of this dress, this time out of rayon challis, which is one of my favorite fabrics.  I removed about an inch off each side of the upper bodice, and I'm hoping that plus the more drape-y nature of the challis will resolve the issue in the bust area.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Colette Peony: round one complete

I went back to the Colette Peony, and this time I got it done!   I ended up tossing the first version of the bodice I made (well, actually, I used it to dispose of a dead bird that had crashed into the living room window ...) and just re-drafted the thing using my old standby Butterick 6149 as a guide.  From the armpits down, it's pretty much 6149 -- I was not even close to filling out the bodice as drafted!  From what I understand, Colette patterns are drafted for a C cup.  I'm a B, so I expected it to be a little loose, but clearly a larger under-bust measurement is expected as well.   Rather than twiddling with dart size and placement, I just took the easy way out, and more or less got away with it.   I also brought the neckline in on the sides about 3/8", and scooped out the front neckline about 5/8" because (not to be dramatic or anything!) I felt like I was choking in the first version.

Needs a haircut.

I think it's perfectly wearable as is, but the fit in back needs work.  Deeper darts at the back neck, and maybe shortening the bodice length in back will help.  It also feels tight when I extend my arms forward, so I need to figure out the best fix for that.  And eek, as drafted the skirt is pretty short!  I finished it with self bias binding so that I wouldn't lose any length, but as a work dress it's pushing it.

There are some neat little details in the design that I love: like the neckline, and the two gathered areas in the front of the skirt.  It looks early 1960s-ish to me.  And the belt -- I'm not that big on belts in general, but I love this one!   I need to do some re-drafting on it: it's too loose, and expects you to taper in at the waist, which I don't, so it's sitting a little low.  But I love the design, and will use it to make belts for other dresses too.  I actually made it twice:  the first time I tried to use the main fabric for the gathered part, and it didn't gather nicely, so I did it again using the lining fabric, which happily is a really good match color-wise.

The dress fabric is Tencel twill, purchased from the clearance area at JoAnn's last year.  I made a skirt from it already too, and have enough for one more garment, probably.   The lining's a poly-cotton lawn.  I expect to make another Peony at some point, from aubergine lightweight suiting material.  I'm not sure I want the longer sleeve as originally planned, as I like moving my arms a lot, and do not wish to feel constrained.  :)  In fact, I might go sleeveless.

While pondering the sleeve question, fitting changes, and other deep earth-shattering issues, I have pretty much finished another dress.   I had been away from my vintage pattern stash too long, so I dove in and came up with a nice 1950s mail order pattern.  I can already tell that I'm going to love it!