Friday, February 15, 2013

Done... Sort Of...

The blouse is done... sort of. Even though I conserved thread as much as possible, there wasn't enough to safely venture forth on the button holes and the one store in town that carries that brand was closed by the time I realized more was needed. I'll pick it up today.




This trick with the collar stand was learned so long ago that I no longer remember from where or who but it's wonderful. Stitch the fused band to the neckline from the inside with right side matched to wrong side. That way, the hand stitching will end up under the collar and when your collar is open and folded back at the front, the neat seam will show.




My fabric is very light weight. I'd serged the hemline as shown below and didn't like the way the fabric pulled so on the sleeve I attempted using the fusing technique from t-shirts and it worked well and provided enough body to support the hem without over-weighting the garment. I'm not sure if this is an actual recommended technique - I need to do some more research - but I tried it and it worked in this case.




After Pearl let me know where to find the finished measurements, I knew to reduce the blouse length by 3 1/2" only that's more easily done before cutting out the pieces than after sewing the garment together. I played with chalk lines and a dressmaker's ruler until I got as graceful a shape as possible and then...




... cut along the line and fused a strip of bias cotton tape to strengthen the hem, zigzag stitched over it, pressed it up, and stitched it in place. It's okay but I prefer the lighter and more malleable fusible interfacing so I'll cut narrow strips of it for next time.




Here's the finished back. Millicent is slimmer than me so it's snugger on my body (but wearable) and I was right that the shoulders are about 1/2 - 3/4" too wide so I'll pin and play and figure out how much and then alter the pattern for next time. I read somewhere to do that alteration along the princess seam instead of at the shoulder point because there will be less impact on the shape of the armhole although it'll be higher which means I'll add the same amount in additional cap height to the sleeve.




Here's the front minus the buttons which are basic white. Even though there are a few corrections for next time, I'm really pleased with how it turned out and the lines are quite flattering for my figure. I think I'll sew another one - LOL. I highly recommend the pattern - Butterick 5678 - with modifications if you happen to have narrow shoulders and wider hips like me.

Last night, I started reading Over-Dressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion by Elizabeth L. Cline and I was totally shocked by the following paragraph. She writes...

I owned sixty-one tops, sixty T-shirts, thirty-four tank tops, twenty-one skirts, twenty-four dresses, twenty pairs of shoes, twenty sweaters, eighteen belts, fifteen cardigans and hooded sweatshirts, fourteen pairs of shorts, fourteen jackets, thirteen pairs of jeans, twelve bras, eleven pairs of tights, five blazers, four long-sleeved shirts, three pairs of workout pants, two pairs of dress pants, two pairs of pajama pants, and one vest. Socks and underwear notwithstanding, I owned 354 items of clothing. Americans buy an average of sixty-four items of clothing a year, a little more than one piece of clothing per week. 

I couldn't relate to that on any level. It's possible - but highly unlikely - that I own sixty-four garments in total and the majority of my wardrobe is at least three years old. If I could add one wearable garment a month, that would be a major step forward toward having a complete wardrobe that actually works. Right now, it's so hit and miss and I have so few garments that I'm having trouble dressing myself which is ridiculous considering I sew but a fact none the less. I've spent far too much time working on fit and muslins and not enough time on actual clothes to wear. When I do make something I enjoy, it gets worn too often plus there's the problem of my fluctuating weight. We'd need to narrow that number down even more to what is in my closet that I can actually fit in to -  a number substantially below sixty-four. Later in the chapter the author goes on to say...

Building a wardrobe over time, saving up and investing in well-made pieces, obsessing over the perfect hem, luxuriating in fabrics, patching up and altering our clothes are old-fashioned habits. But they're also deeply satisfying antidotes to the empty uniformity of cheapness. If more of us picked up the lost art of sewing or reconnected with the seamstresses and tailors in our communities, we could all be our own fashion designers and constantly reinvent, personalize, and perfect the things we own.

YES YES ! ! Perhaps the book will encourage me in my goal to tone up, maintain, and make ongoing and sustainable progress toward sewing a wardrobe that works.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - a wearable muslin

18 comments:

  1. I love the shirt, beautiful color and wonderful details.
    I wonder about people and their disposable clothing as well. I don't own even 50 pieces of clothing (including belts which I wouldn't have) but each piece will out last 50 pieces off the rack.
    I think anyone who owns 350+ probably really needs to purge as described in Tim Gunn's book. If they really, totally loved (and fit) every piece they would never be able to decide what to wear in the morning.

    One piece a month sounds ambitous to me, good luck. I look forward to watching your progress!

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    1. Thank you. I'm looking forward to seeing if I feel comfortable wearing it as there are so many pretty blouses that it seems time to venture away from knits to some sort of 50/50 balance at least as opposed to 100 percent knit.

      I've never been a person who has a lot of clothing and I can't imagine myself ever being there but I would like more selection and variety.

      I can sew a piece a month no problem. Can I sew a wearable piece a month? Different question.

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  2. The blouse is lovely, I'm really looking forward to seeing it modeled! The princess seams are a wonderful way of fine-tuning the fit.

    I too started reading Overdressed a while back, and was floored by the figures. It's incredible how people can accumulate so much clothing, there must be pieces that never got worn in the span of a year! If I recall, the author did bag up most of those clothes after analyzing their wearability (I've got a lot more to read of the book).

    When you wrote about your own clothes situation it rang bells! I'm in the same boat. Since I've not worked outside the home in almost 6 years, the few clothes I had have worn out, and have not been replaced even by RTW. I'm really feeling the pinch. I've been trying to sew a wardrobe for ages, but it's slow going. My own fit issues have required muslins for every new pattern I've made over the past several years, and this is really starting to knock the steam out of me. Creating a set of slopers/blocks has recently been topmost on my list, as a way to speed up the process of creating a garment. I hope!

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    1. Thanks. I'll pick up the buttonhole thread this afternoon but I really REALLY need to figure out how to get some half decent pictures in this house. I haven't managed the lighting yet and I'm too self conscious to take them out on the street with 112 other units staring on.

      A couple months ago I realized that some of the alterations I was making weren't necessary because it wasn't that I had a petite armhole, it was that I had a narrow back. I needed to adjust the back and back sleeve cap by 1/2" but I didn't need to petite the front, back and sleeve cap. HUGE change and has made everything much easier. I discovered the adjustment that finally worked by reading - page by page - Fit For Real People and Fast Fit. Like a novel. Analyzing every option. I'm really glad I stuck with it because sewing is flowing much better now.

      Good luck with your own journey. Sew something for fun before sewing is no fun. That's why I did the Vogue jacket and this blouse without trying them on until they were done or almost done. I wanted to simply enjoy the process. The little girl coat early January was similar. It's important to recharge these batteries too.

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  3. The blouse looks really good! Thanks for the tip on the collar stand - it took me a minute to visualize exactly what you were doing, but then I got it - excellent idea.

    I have a sleeveless blouse that has a finished length I like (at least, I liked it the last time I wore it - it's been a while!), and was going to adjust the pattern for length accordingly. I've never used a pattern with the various cup sizes, I'm looking forward to seeing if I can skip bust adjustments completely.

    I started reading "Overdressed" as well, and was blown away by what the auther had in her closet. I'll probably not own that many clothes in my LIFETIME, never mind at one time. How many clothes can you wear at one time?

    I have a small (and I mean small!) wardrobe for work - essentially it's a "uniform". I made up a spreadsheet with all the possible combinations of tops and bottoms, and I've got enough combo's for 6 weeks without a repeat. Works for me!

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    1. You're welcome for the tip. Wish I could remember where I learned it to give credit but I've been using it for so long...

      Almost all the patterns I've ordered recently have the cup sizing. It's just so much easier.

      That seemed like a lot of clothing but obviously other people can relate. I wonder if they think about it differently after reading that paragraph. I would LVOE to see your spreadsheet. How fabulous. Like a SWAP. Mine is easy jeans + top + cardigan most of the time.

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  4. Blouse looks super - that collar tip is brilliant! I must grab Overdressed and have a read of it. It might be the 'kick' I need...J

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    1. Thanks. I've picked up the thread now so I can do the buttons and wear it around and see what I think. The wearability test.

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  5. I always love your posts. Must subscribe.

    I recently read Linda Grant's "The Thoughtful Dresser" and enjoyed it. She has some trenchant observations about women who've given up....

    Next up is "Overdressed." There has to be a middle way between the severe minimalism that some recommend (the 10-piece wardrobe) and the worst of "Overdressed."

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    1. Thank you.

      I've read The Thoughtful Dresser twice so far and it is a fabulous book. I always get something new from it. Overdressed had so many reviews I decided I should see what it was about. I'm not quite a 10 piece minimalist but I lean more toward that than overdressed... although... LOL... I can be overdressed for an event because I love dressing up and having a reason to do so.

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  6. Thank you for that collar tip! "Of course" that's the sensible way to do it, but I certainly hadn't figured it out ;-)

    I loved, and was appalled by, "Overdressed". Read it this past summer and have been recommending it widely ever since. Love that line about "old-fashioned habits" - YES, indeed.

    JoyceP in WI

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    1. You're welcome. I love efficiency, organizational, and make-it-look better tips like that. There's something about improving your workmanship that makes my heart sing.

      How did the book change your outlook?

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  7. I've been reading quotes from this bookk all over the blogosphere and along with hundreds of others heartily agree with most of it. I think a very minor revolution is going on in the sewing world, maybe spurred on by economics, but that is not all of it. Having started to seriously have a handmade wardrobe this year, I realise what my particular problems has been in RTW. After so many decades in RTW we have been brain-washed that we ought to conform to this size or that. Sizes which were standardised for the manufacturers convenience and not reality. Women struggle to achieve this size or that to fit into clothes, when the beauty of handmade - couture - clothing is that our clothes fit US. We may not be perfect, but then perfectionists are never happy, how can they be, but we can be CONTENT that we look the best we possibly can in well made clothing uniquely our own. Thanks for your blog, I enjoy reading it.

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    1. The book is making me aware of things I'd paid no attention to - how the garment industry shifted, how shopping shifted, what the stores are now full of, the buyer mentality. Very interesting but not always something I can relate to. I may have noticed on a subconscious level because I've become less and less of a shopper although I've never been much of one. I spent over twenty years working from home in another area of sewing and mostly lived in jeans and a black t-shirt plus cardigan. Only desperation made me go shopping. It's no fun when the clothes don't fit plus I dislike cloning and don't want to wear exactly what everyone else is wearing. I've always been attracted to uniqueness even from a young age. One of my uncles is an artist and his house (and approach to life) was always far more interesting than anyone else's. Over the past few weeks I've become aware of the larger numbers of sewing blogs and the increased interest in sewing especially among younger women. I hope to see a similar shift among all ages because as you said, it's fabulous to have clothes that fit and that are uniquely our own. And sewing is fun. And great therapy.

      I'm glad you're enjoying the blog. Thanks.

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  8. Great blouse -- I love the polka dots! I've read "Overdressed" and actually wasn't too shocked with some of the numbers. I know people who have clothes in their closets that have never been worn (tags still on) and clothes that have been bought "in bulk" because they were cheap and they wanted the style in every available color. I've always loved to shop, but since I started sewing more regularly, I've become less enthusiastic about spending money on RTW and more critical about the quality of the clothes that are out there. Thanks for the thoughtful post!

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    1. I must be naive. I'm still surprised to find clothes with tags in the second hand stores. After I started to sew fashions again - and especially the more I learned about fit - the less satisfied I was with the look of RTW never mind the fit. Clothes that fit feel and look SO MUCH better and especially clothes that fit and flatter and are made of a quality fabric.

      When I'm waiting in line-ups, I find myself analyzing fit and figuring out what I would need to do to correct the fit of the garment on the woman in front of me. It's a dangerous occupation at times but a learning one - LOL.

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  9. I like your blouse. The buttons will set off the style.
    Your neckband instructions are very helpful and I'll try this myself in a few months.

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  10. Thanks. I posted about the buttons this morning. Let me know how you like the neckband method. I'm always looking for ways to sew more neatly and I love how it works.

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Thanks for commenting. I appreciate the feedback and the creative conversation.