Sunday, February 26, 2012

Dress form upgrade, and a blouse in progress

Oh blog, how I have neglected you. Oh sewing. how you have languished in the background while I pursue other endeavors. What have I been up to for the last month? Well, some school stuff (valid excuse), some video-gaming (a little less valid), and some knitting (gasp! how could I!). After finally having finished the Honey Cowl of eternal frustration, amazingly enough I didn't give up knitting but launched myself into several other knitting projects. I have since finished a second cowl for a dear friend, a cowl for myself, and I'm working on a cowl for my mother-in-law. I know! I will try to get some photos of the recipients modeling their cowls so you can see the results. For now, here is me in my bandanna cowl:

And here is a link to the free pattern. The yarn was a gift from my friend Rebecca (thank you Becca!). It's called "Fleece Artist Blue Face Leicester Aran." Yarn names are a mystery to me. I know they are all secret code, but I haven't deciphered it yet. Anyway, it only took one ball of the stuff, and after I figured out how the heck to do short rows, it was a satisfying and speedy project.

With all this knitting going on, I've begun to feel like I'm cheating on my sewing. The real problem is, my sewing drove me away. First my bra project flopped. I don't wanna talk about it, but hopefully I will try again later and will have something positive to report back. Then I tried to whip up a Meringue (from the Colette Sewing Handbook) without doing a muslin first. The result was a very lack-luster fit. I've abandoned it for now but hopefully will fix it later. I also decided that no further sewing could be accomplished until I did something about my dress form. Do you even know about Eileen?

She is my duct tape stunt double. We've had a somewhat rocky relationship. We started out quite close...

But I grew to resent her for 1) being bright red, 2) being homemade and not sleek and professional, 3) having lopsided parts due to a rush-job by Josh, and 4) slowly sliding down the pole I mounted her on until she sank all the way to ground level. How can I fit anything on a dress form that sits on the floor? Highly inconvenient! But after doing some research on dress forms and reading a lot of forum postings over at, I began to appreciate Eileen a little more. No commercial dress form will match my crazy measurements (size 6 at the waist, size 14 at the hips? ha!). And who wants to spend a lot of money on a dress form and then more money on the special supplies to pad it out to the correct measurements, which will still only be a rough approximation of your shape and not a true body-double, like Eileen. So I finally took charge of the situation and built her a proper stand.

Ta da! I drilled a hole through the curtain rod which runs through her and inserted a dowel for her to rest on. And there she sits, like a canary on a perch. Only too late I realized that the dowel must be several inches shorter so that it doesn't get in the way of dresses I am fitting. Duh. But once I fix that, she'll be just about perfect. I also need to stabilize the pole with some L brackets at the bottom, and I would like to replace the casters on the bottom (bad idea, they don't roll well at all) with a ball-bearing lazy Susan type apparatus. But this is still a big improvement. She's very nearly my height, and I'm already dreaming about how easy it will be to mark hems now. Hooray!

Here she is, modeling a muslin of my next sewing endeavor:

And here is the pattern:

In my effort to be a more practical seamstress, I chose this blouse pattern because it's interesting but would also be very comfortable and wearable. And here is the pretty floral print that the finished version will be in:

crappy cell phone for scale
It's a Swiss dot that I got at Joann's, of all places. Apparently they are starting to carry nicer apparel fabrics to meet to demand of the fashion design program at IU, but I'm not getting my hopes too high. But this fabric seems to be a fairly decent cotton, nice and light. And I'm going to look for some grey lace that I can use to trim out the pleats or the yoke. The only thing holding me back now is that I think the blouse is too large as is, but I'm hesitant about how to re-size it. I could just wear it cinched, like so:


 But doesn't that still seem like a lot of extra fabric? It will drape a little nicer in the fashion fabric, but I still think I need to take it in. But where? The side seams? Darts in the back? I'm off to experiment...

1 comment:

  1. Ooh I love this blouse, hooray for the 70s! When I've made similar 1970s blouses I usually do darts in the back, but I should really do them in the front as well. If your cotton is lightweight enough, though, you might be able to leave it as it is.