Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Shooting Down the UFOs

I’m slowly getting through a stack of unfinished objects, in spite of my tendency to jump into something new every time I walk into the sewing room. I finished the striped shirtdress today! Yaaaay!

This is a wonderful cotton blend fabric I got from FabricMart.
I have some confusion as to which designer it came from, as my packing slip says Jones NY and the fabric label says Calvin Klein. Probably I mixed the label up with something else in the huge piles of fabric. Anyway, it’s supposed to be a shirting but it’s got a nice weight to it, as well as a subtle sheen.

After struggling to make it into a loose-fitting dress, I realized it really would have been better used for a fitted dress with structure, or possibly even a lined pair of pants. I do think the dress came out nicely in the end, but it took some molding and carving to reshape it.

The pattern is a very straightforward button-front tunic from 1982. It has several collar and front band options that I like, plus it has the same straight-sided shape of my favorite vintage 70’s shirtdress.

First thing I discovered is that the pattern runs extra-large. I normally use size 14, but I always measure the pattern pieces to find out how much ease the manufacturer has included. (I still haven’t gotten into habit of making muslins. Someday I’ll learn.) In this case, there were eight to ten inches of ease – everywhere! I won’t go into all the pattern modifications and garment alterations, but I did post the details on Pattern Review. In summary, I tucked, folded, pleated, and darted almost everything.

Then there was the issue of the fabric – lovely, weighty, and stiff, it looked like a long cardboard box hanging from my shoulders until I did all the alterations. The pattern would do well in a drapey silk or a lighter-weight shirting rather than what I used. The inspiration piece in my closet is made of seersucker, which I would put into the same weight category as my shirting here, but it may be that 40 years of life have taken some of the stiffness out of it. I guess when this new dress is 40 years old it’ll be a bit softer, too. Ha ha HA.

The dress without belt, etc. Sleeves are still a bit stiff, and collar stands up almost too much.

I will roll the sleeves up, flatten down the collar, and probably wear a belt.

Shirt tail hem – this is one reason it took me so long to finish. Curves!

Eight waist darts added!

So that is another one down, many more to go.

I started on another UFO today, a mock-wrap African print dress that should be finished by tomorrow. Then I should take a short break to assess the sewing area mess. I still have three RTW items waiting for alterations, but I may justify putting those off because they are summer weight clothes in bright colors, so I’ll tell myself it’s okay for them to sit in the closet for another 6 months. I have two more dresses cut and ready to sew, but to be honest I’m just tired of dresses now. Also, they are very spring/summer (pink cherry print cotton, and apricot silk with painted florals), so it might be some time before I get an opportunity to wear them? I don’t know.

It’s great to get these projects done, especially while I’ve been fiercely cleaning out closets and dumping accumulated craft and sewing stuff. Lots of junk out, a few nice pieces in, and clean open spaces. Let’s see if we can keep it that way.

Have you been invaded by UFOs or do you manage to finish everything you start?


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