Sulphurous delight

My 50s sheath made up in 70s lurid sulphur-yellow rose-printed corduroy that I warned you about in the previous post is finished and I’m delighted with it!

Who knew that mashing up two such disparate decades would work?! Love it. So soft and cosy. And the fit is great – the only thing I’d change for next time (and I suspect there WILL be a next time) is to bring it in a bit at the top of the back seam where it’s a bit roomy because I have no shoulders.

Otherwise, usual adjustments, blahdy blah, lengthened bodice, widened hips, same old same old.

I would like to make special mention of lsaspacey for two reason. One, is her series on designers on the Colette Patterns blog is awesome. Secondly, she requested that I make the sassy neck detail (done) and talk about the instructions for this given my proclivity to charge ahead without reading them properly. Let’s have a close look at the neckline, eh?

Right. Now the eagle-eyed among you will notice that the wee pointy bit does not line up with the raglan sleeve seam. It’s set back about, oh 1.5cm. How could this be? This is not in the pattern illustration! They lied, again!

Nah. I just didn’t read the instructions again. I sewed the facing on in one fell swoop whereas I should have stopped and started and pivoted and so on to work around this seam. Never mind – it worked out ok, but next time I’ll do it right, if for no reason other than penance, and I feel I owe it to lsaspacey…

Bad drafting indignation

So we rabid fans for old stuff love to shakes our heads nostalgically and talk about how modern sewing patterns are made for the masses and fitting is a dead art, woe, lament, etc. Old patterns were just so beautifully drafted, we say.

Not always so. I’m going to show you a zinger of an error in a pattern I’m working on. It’s a small thing… but surely, because it’s a small thing, the fact that it’s wrong is more puzzling and infuriating.

Here’s the offender – Simplicity 4232, a ‘4 Season Dress’ they say. Cute, eh? Raglan sleeves, French darts, sassy next detail.

Here’s the pattern piece for the bodice. That’s quite a deep dart, non? That’s to be expected because it’s doing the work of both a bust dart and waist dart. Ambitious little thing. Sure to go far in this world.

Let’s see how it lies when the dart is sewn and pressed flat. Traditionally you press bust darts down so let’s examine that first…

Oh my, that’ll never do. See how the dart isn’t caught in the side seam the whole way down? What’s that little triangle going to do flapping away in there, unrestrained? It’ll fray and make a weird bump on the outside, that’s what it’ll do. No no no. So maybe it’s meant to be pressed up? I advocate pressing up anyway because if you’re going to have extra bulk hanging about, wouldn’t you rather have it enhancing your bustular region rather than upgirthing your midriffery? I’m not the only one who feels this way – pattern~scissors~cloth is a bit more scientific about it, though…)

Oh my word, that’s even worse! Outrageous! You can imagine my indignation as I made up my muslin. Well, let’s see how Simplicity explains this disaster! Get me a time machine so I can zip back to whenever this pattern was made so I can shake my fist at the Simplicity patternmakers!

LOOK AT THAT! They don’t even DRAW DIAGRAMS accurately! Those bust darts are huge, how on earth are they little skinny slips of things now?


TRIM darts and press open.

Trim them.

Ahahaahahhaaa. Right.

My tip to you…. read every word of the instructions. Don’t just look at the pictures. Because old patterns were so beautifully drafted and they thought of everything.

By the way, if you’re easy offended by anachronism and the colour pallette of the 1970s, look away now.

I’m making this dress (with trimmed, open darts) out of some printed corduroy that my sister in law gave me when her mum cleaned out her fabric stash. I love to think the her mum had plans for a suit, or maybe overalls for this. And believe me, that gold colour is even more radioactive in real life. So awful it’s good. I”ll be like a walking velvet painting and eyeballs will be insulted everywhere.

Housecoat conversion

Remember the housecoat? I’ll remind you. Here’s the before (which, in the tradition of all ‘before’ pictures has been taken in poor light with the subject looking frumpy and sad).

Cue happy tinkly music for the big reveal!

Well, sort of. I’m only half-convinced about this one. I’m still viewing it with caution. It still looks…. housecoaty.

Here’s what I did.

1. Choppped off sleeves and skirt. Relocated skirt pocket lower down. (There was a patch pocket with one edge in a side seam.)

2. Chopped off bodice at waist level after humming and hawing about putting in a waistband.

3. Despite measuring twice and cutting once, realised bodice was too short. (How? How? Curses!)

4. Made waistband using another bodice pattern: sewed darts then cut band, which ensures you get the right curve. Had to make band narrower than I would have liked because I was left with not much fabric to work with due to poor cutting (see 3.).

5. Trimmed bodice. Gathered under bust. Attached waistband.

6. Took in yoke at bust to made defacto bust darts. (I decided to keep the yoke and frilly collar because I’m lazy.)

7. Gathered skirt top, attached to waistband.

8. Shortened sleeves and reattached.

9. Added new buttonholes and buttons. Closed up one of the old buttonholes that was now in the wrong place (can you see in pic below?) Mended bits where buttons had torn fabric.

10. Hemmed it and thought about how it probably took longer than making something from scratch and how it still looked like a nanna frock.

Now, where are my ugg boots, dearie?


Housecoat chic

Why, why, why? Why is she showing you an ugly muumuu of a housecoat?

Because she bought it for $9 at the op shop. Because the fabric is a thick polished cotton in one of her favourite colour combos… dirty royal blue and poppy red. Because she’s made the effort to capture a ‘before’ picture in the hours before a dazzling reworking of this monster into something cool.

She hopes.

Well, at least it won’t be bejewelled with maggots.