Thursday, August 22, 2013

A couple of sewing ... successes ? well, close enough!

I mean they can go on my body and not look totally wierd so i guess that's close enough to a success right?
So!  wow! welcome back :D
i've been super busy and truth betold super down this summer and havent wanted to post.  but i realized after reading Roisin's reply to a comment i made on her blog (see, that's one of the many awesome things about her blog, she always replies to comments which makes you feel welcomed and all warm and fuzzy) Anyhow she asked how my macaron dress was coming along since i lamented about it enough over on my comments :")  and i was like duh! i never did post a pic of the finished dress!!!  The pics for this dress were taken back on june 1st for crying out loud!
And on top of that i've even finished another dress since! woot!

well, without more rambling, here we go

The revealing of the long-awaited macaron dress

The pattern is Macaron by Colette.  This is a dress with a pretty short tulip skirt on a fitted bodice.  I have read others talk about how colette patterns are drafted with pear shaped people in mind and that this dress specifically is a good one for that silhouette. Which is counter intuitive - i mean why add volume to an already voluminous part of your body right? but it works somehow.  for me, as a top heavy hourglass , i think it helps balance out my figure.

It is an excellent pattern.  I like the booklet format with a little pocket in the back for the pattern pieces.  I also like the way the instructions are written : easy to follow, clear, direct, everyday language with any sewing terms a new sewist might not be familiar with spelled out for you.  I like also that at the end of the booklet, she gives you suggestions for how you can personalize the dress.  i like that it's a "personal" pattern, you feel likethe designer is with you as you make it, instead of the very impersonal, unclear, no personality directions of the big 4 patterns.

The dress itself is extremely easy to put together even for my new sewist self!  i dont know if it's the pattern itself that is easy or just the the way it's written up makes it easy.  i think it's the instructions because honestly, this dress has magic hidden pockets :D hidden right in the crease of the tulip skirt's box pleats :D. I have never done pleats, only done pockets once and they looked horrible, and never successfully finished an FBA (full bust adjustment).  Now, here's where we get to the prob.  I say this is a super easy pattern and yet if you've read my blog over the past year, you'll know that i've been ripping my hair out over this stupid dress!
It's NOT the pattern's fault!  It's my big boobs' fault :/ .  And also the fact that i'm a newbie bent on getting this sizing thing right and fumbling around trying to do so.  I made 7 or 8 muslins in all :/ and nearly gave up :/. but at no time was it becausethere was something wrong with the design or directions of this dress. 

The only thing i would change about this dress (other than the stupid FBA) if i made it again (which i dont think i will but only because i'm still not super happy about the FBA mods i did and am not confident i can get it better any time in the near future) would be to lengthen it.  i didnt notice it was a short skirt on all the wearers.  my lower legs are nice and shapely. My thighs, even justright above the knee, are not!  they're lumpy and bumpy. so something hitting right at my knees or right below them is better for me.  thank goodness i didnt "shorten here" on this one lol!

I did a swayback adjustment. i think the back and the skirt turned out well. all problems are really relegated to the front.

my dh doesnt like this dress on me but he tolerates it because he knows how proud i am about it lol.  he doesnt think the exagerated tulip shape does some kind of optical illusion that actually makes your hips and thighs area look smaller.  he thinks it just makes them look big.  so if i do make this again, i will probably just put a whole different skirt onto the bodice. but then we get back to the bodice prob :/
ive really got to perfect my fba technique!!!

Next up is my butterick 4443

This was going to be my fourth of july dress : a fitted bodice with princess seams and a slightly flared skirted dress with hand-stitched details and beautiful seam finishings à la Gertie, out of star spangled fabric :D!!!

I was so darn happy with this creation and so excited to wear it and PROUD of myself because i managed to trace, finagle the FBA with palmer and pletsch (thank you again tini!), cut out, and assemble thisdress in like a week or something crazy like that! i mean!  i know some of you can do it in a day but not me lol!  this was amazing for me! i was all like - and i'll make a blue on eand a green one and a pink one and and and . i saw myself with a wardrobe full of handmade dresses, something ive been fantasizing about all the while knowing it's not possible for me lol.  i actually had a glimmer ofhope that i really could have a handmade wardrobe lol.  Pride comes before the fall right?

Now, let me say that my awesome seam finishing got shabby as i rushed to finish up for the 4th (i actually wanted to wear it on the 3rd as i was working in the office part of my job that day and can wear normal clothes in the office instead of my nursing uniform).  the side seams are beautiful turned under and sewn seams.  then the rest are...pinked lol! 
So i finish this guy up other than the hem and throw it on all proud and ... blerk!  the bust is wonky.  too tight across and puckery but also too long, some wierd thing going on in the center panel of the bust, like pooching out or something.

i wanted to cry! i mean i needed to take off the whole bodice! but i had painstakingly inserted a hand-picked zip! it looked awesome!!!!
 and taking off the bodice meant i would have to undo my zip! and risk messing up my awesome side seams :(
only solution, the one i usually choose with my knits that are getting on my nerves, i threw it in the closet and said, see you later... sniff sniff!
I talked about the dress to christophe's aunt and surrogate mother when they came over for dinner one day.  they had me bring it out and said, well, just take the bodice off and add a waist band!  that cheered me up somewhat.  at least it's salvageable like that.
then my dear friend Marie Pascale came over. she helped me fix my colette macaron dress already.  and she had me pull this one out and put it on and said - that's not that bad! we can fix that!
So while she was there to chat and distract me from the 1. heartbreaking and 2. annoying task of destroying my hard work.   i unpicked the front center panel -  YEP! that's right! only the front center panel!  that was all i had to unpick! all side seams and the back zipper were totally untouched! :D
after i got it unpicked, she had me put it on inside out and then she repinned the center panel.  here you can see how much length we needed to take out of that front center panel.

She then pinned up the hem for me and as soon as she left i got to work!!! and here's the result!

it's not perfect.  i somehow got the center panel a little skewed.  it's ok, looks like i'm in moouvement ;).  but taking out that length not only got rid of the wierd bubble at the boobs but also somehow managed to give the bust a little more horizontal ease so it's not too tight anymore. 

i am so happy with this imperfect dress it's ridiculous! lol  i mean, imagine if it had turnedout perfect!  i would live in it 24/7! ;) My daughter (photobombing in these pics btw) already informed me, in front of friends of course, otherwise it wouldnt be any fun, that i had worn the dres every day since i made it :/
thanks alex... dont bother saying that one of those days itwas only for the 30 minutes it takes to drive to work and change into my uniform and 30 minutes back home.  and the next steaming hot day only for the 2 hours we went out in public ;P.  speaking of, these pics were taken after my 12 hour ER shift on the day i only wore the dress there and back which explains why i look like a hot tired mess - i WAS a hot tired mess ;P.

anyhow, i fi can manage to fix the pattern pieces for the front bodice, i want to make another two or three of these dresses  2 or 3 in different fabrics so i can get a little sewing confidence under my belt! i think they are flattering for my fluffy hourglass figure. and they are easy breezy to wear.  can be dressed up with heels and jewelry or look nice and casual with less dressy shoes. and can be worn in to the fall with a little cardie ofer them...which means i need to knit a few cropped ribbed cardies to go with them ;D.
The pattern is very easy and very quick - it is after all a "sew easy" pattern.  after some of the more challenging things ive tried to make (tired = key word here) going to a "sew easy" really was "easy" :D.
the only other mod i made was again the swayback adjustment, taking out 1.5 inches in the lower back.
oh one more thing. i think the waistband sits a tiny bit high on me.  i didnt shorten the bodice other than the wedge shortening of the swayback, and i'm veryshortwaisted so this seems wierd that i should need to lengthen the waisline but i feel it just hits at an unnatural place and kind of feels like "ride-up" and bothers me and makes me feel a little self-conscious. 
i kind of have trouble wrapping me head around the swayback thing and how it effects over-all length. i know my clothes always puddle in the back but is this wedge shape what makes the waistline now too high?
any knowledgable sewists who can help with that question?
thanks for listening to me blab, being patient with this irregular blogger, and all your helpful sewing advice :D
and again tini for the awesome book :D
hugus to all :D


Liana said...

Becca, I think your dresses are adorable! The red one with stars especially flatter your hourglass shape. I don't understand your DH saying that your dresses just make your derriere look bigger. What does he want? someone who is built like a man??? with no waist, no curves? I think you look fabulous. You have made great progress in your sewing and like any craft or talent, you have to keep working at it to get really good at it. Professional tailors weren't born, they studied and sampled and made many, many muslins! So hang in there, you are doing a great job!

Rebecca said...

thank you liana, i tend to forget that i cant be good at things right off the bat, that it takes practice lol. i want to master it right off the bat ;). you know, ive told my dh i think he made a mistake on his orientation lol. he wasnts a mate that is athletic and non curvy and likes the same kind of things as him and knows how to use screwdrivers and kill spiders and stuff. told him he needed a man lol.

Roisin Muldoon said...

Oh my GOSH, Rebecca, both of these dresses are so gorgeous! I don't even know which of the two I like the best because I'm kind of in love with the pink star fabric but the macaron is just adorable on you. I seriously admire you for soldiering through the fitting issues and from here, both dresses look great. Well done!

allison astolos said...

Very cute. I think they are both adorable and they look very good on you. Good job.

I have no desire to sew but I sure wish I could knit like you and Di. Hugs!

Tini said...

I think you look smashing in both and since the fit is good on both, I think, you should make tons of both (you can tape the bodice of the Macaron together, if you don't want the cury part but a plain part). If your husband does not like them, he should put a paper bag over his head :)

Rebecca said...

squeeeee thank you Roisin :D. i'm proud of myself too :D i really want to cut out a second but ive been working a lot lately and just havent had the brainspan to do it, or a decnt enough chunk of time

Rebecca said...

thanks allison :D . i think di and i just knit a lot more htan you do lol. whenever you knit or croceht it is always impeccable. you just don't do it often. love you <3

Rebecca said...

lol tini. i'll try that( the paper bag thing )... not ;)
i dont think i'll make macaron anytime soon but definitely going to make more of the butterick sew easy! cause it's seeew easy!!!! just need to get my enginerr hat on and fix that bust thing!

Beccie Leathley (Sew Retro Rose) said...

I love those dresses Rebecca! I love the fabric you used for the Collette one. I haven't tried Collette patterns yet, but I've been really tempted a few times...

Well done - don't give up, you will get there!!!

Beccie :)
Sew Retro Rose

Tini said...

Rebecca: you could have the paper bag on hand and just tell him "if you don't like the way I look, here's your bag, put it over your head. I LIKE HOW I LOOK and that's all that counts"
My husband always wanted a petit woman, with long brown curls. I'm 1,7 meter tall with short gray-blond hair :)

Isabelle said...

Oh wow, both dresses are amazing and you look fabulous! The fit is so great. Very well done!! I am so glad that you treasure these dresses and wear them proudly - as you should.
You are so gorgeous!

Rebecca said...

thank you beccie :D
the fabric for the macaron was this super duper cheap cotton voile that was nearly sheer so i underlined it with an equally filmy beige voile. first time i underlined so a great learning experience, anyhow everything i make = steep learning curve as far as sewing is concerned lol. i'm working on another b4443 and i redrafted the front pattern pieces but they are still wonky :/ . but i'm not going to give up! ;D

Rebecca said...

tini, i guess they suffer from the grass is always greener on theother side syndrome. reminds me of a joke though.
it's long. think i'll make a post out of it instead of a comment ;)

Rebecca said...

thank you isabelle :D how are you? back home, well rested? ready for la rentrée? et choupinette va bien?