After days of fog and greyness, it was an extra bonus yesterday to sew in the sunshine, several hours of it, timed for when I was in the studio although - to be honest - I was in the studio most of yesterday. That was first bonus. An entire day of slow stitching. My goal was simply to...
... enjoy the process. To cut and pin and stitch and press as accurately as possible and to enjoy each step of the way and to not even try the garment on until it's completely finished BUT, I didn't totally abandon all reason. My stash has been cleaned so many times that it's full of fabrics I like so I chose to work with the ones I liked the least because while the odds of the project being sewn with precision were high, the odds of it being wearable are another thing.
It's been a while since I've sewn with such a crisp cotton as the black and white print. I loved the way it pressed. The purple is a remnant. Again, I'm not sure what the term for this fabric is. I've noticed that I'm not remembering details like that as well as I used to. URGH - aging! LOL - I can still sew. Good. Enough. Whatever it's called, the design is recessed and surrounded by a napped surface, another thing I didn't think about until later. This pattern is not suitable for napped fabrics - LOL. Oh well.
I actually read the instructions before I started cutting and the facing made no sense. It's drafted in two pieces with a seam that intersections with the seam in the central portion of the lining and the seam of the main garment body. Why? That just creates extra bulk.
I taped the two pattern pieces together, eliminated the seam, and traced the two pieces as one placing...
... two new notches on the facing, one to match to the seam on the central lining and one to match to the seam on the main garment body.
Here's how the facing looks sewn to the central lining. Eliminating the seam and changing the sewing order made it much easier to work with. Steps 5 and 6 made no sense to me either.
In step five, pattern piece 8 is the back neck facing. In step 6, pattern piece 9 is the hem facing. See how the stitching stops 5/8" short of the edges and how piece 9 has notches along it? The central lining is supposed to sit into this circle of facings. You would stitch to the dot, turn, stitch to the dot, turn and stitch your way around the entire seam. Why? Why not sew piece 9 to the bottom of the central lining and then sew that piece to the rest of the facings stitching from the bottom of one front facing to the bottom of the other? SO MUCH EASIER. That's what I did. It worked.
I rarely read the instructions but when I do, it annoys me to come across steps like these that complicate rather than simplify sewing. With my accumulated experience, I'm able to disregard and change them to a way that works however, a beginner sewist might not be confident enough to try and instead would just follow along and be more frustrated than necessary. I want to encourage you to what if the instructions. What if I changed that piece? What if I sewed that seam differently? What if I trimmed and graded that seam even though they're not asking for it?
When I'm sewing a simple design, I don't even read the instructions. When I'm sewing a more complicated design, I glance through them, change what I think needs changing, and sew from there. When I'm refashioning, I'm totally winging it all on my own. And you can too.
The more you what if the instructions and try out the changes you think might work, the stronger your sewing skills will grow. You'll make mistakes. That's okay. Most are fixable. It's only fabric. They are making more each day. More importantly, both your mistakes and your successes will teach you a tremendous amount. Eventually, you'll find yourself rarely referring to the instructions at all and that's a wonderfully confident place to be in, one where you can slice and alter and adjust and change and design and sew all on your own. And then, you'll be what iffing in new design directions.
I sewed from ten in the morning until five in the afternoon yesterday and was four snaps short of finishing when I had to to get ready for knitting. I'll finish today and try it on and we'll see. The pattern is drafted for a 26 1/2" - 28" waist and mine is significantly bigger than that. It most likely won't fit but I will be able to figure out where on the pattern to widen the waist.
Talk soon - Myrna
Grateful - a thoroughly enjoyable day in the studio focused on the thrill of sewing not the frustration of fit