Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Marian Martin 9488

I have watched this pattern on eBay for ages, always bookmarking it, letting the auction pass, and watching it re-list and linger un-purchased. While no one else seems to like it, I am attracted to the blouse, which is odd because I am rarely attracted to 70's patterns. But, I have great hope for this one because of that unique shoulder yoke. One of my favorite patterns, perhaps my most successful sewing endeavor to date, is the 1930's Butterfly Sleeve Blouse. I have made it twice and have cut the fabric for a third. I attribute its great fit to the shoulder shaping, which uses a yoke to construct the shoulder and the fluttering sleeve all in one. The gathering over the bust and artistically fit shoulder seems to work for my figure and shape in a way that other patterns do not.

While this Marian Martin design is from about 40 years after my favorite blouse, it shares similar characteristics of 1930's fashion. The most characteristic fashion trend from the 1930s to the end of World War II was attention at the shoulder, including butterfly sleeves and banjo sleeves. Patterns were designed with broad, rounded shoulders cut in one piece with the yoke. Darts were replaced by soft gathers. This pattern fits the 1930's bill.

I might try it out in a 70's style dot, not polka dot, but more graphic.Grey and white is striking me at the moment, like this Amy Butler design. Or it might also be calling me in a Liberty floral, something small and colorful, like the Claire-Aude, Poppy & Daisy, or Lou Lou Isabelle A. Heck, maybe I could go all hipster on this and do a light weight, feminine plaid. I wonder how the pattern lines would match up? I bet the mismatch at the seams would make it interesting.

I might even try out the skirt, perhaps in a cotton chambray or light denim for summer, or even a colorful corduroy for the winter. I have not been having much luck in the actual construction of vintage patterns lately, but heck, I am pleased that at least my imagination and desire to sew continues to thrive. Marian Martin, here I come!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

We all scream for ice cream.

Is it hot where you are? It is hot, very hot, in San Antonio. So the best solution is ice cream. We actually ate the ice cream pictured at a lovely little scoop shop in Denver called Bonnie Brae Ice Cream. They make their own waffle cones there, so it smells really good. They also have Sam's favorite flavor, butter brickle. For some reason, it seems that the only place to get butter brickle is in Colorado. They just don't have it in Texas. I had rum raisin, and it turns out the secret is soaking the raisins in rum.

It's really too hot right now to do much of anything except eat ice cream. And it is very hard to type a blog post with an ice cream cone in hand. So I will leave you today with some images of chilly treats and a mandate that you get a cone this weekend. Let me know what flavor you have, and enjoy.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

4875 Tissue Fitting and Muslin: Part II

So let me lay it out there for you fine readers. In June I spent $80+ working with a "fit specialist" on this pattern. I spent an entire morning trying on tissue paper pattern, making additions here, tucking out subtractions there, and when I left I was assured this pattern had the changes necessary to fit. You can see images and construction details here. But somehow in fabric that pattern is now vastly too large. So what gives?

I know, I know. The fitting process is not a magic trick. Tweaks and adjustments continue with the fabric muslin and into the final garment, so I can't be too hard on the imperfections of my first draft. But then again, look on. This fabric version is so far from functional. Essentially, I need to go back to the original bodice design and start again. And that doesn't seem like something I should have to do after I pay a trained professional to help me. Am I out of line in my frustration?

Please take a look and tell me what you think. If you open the images in a new window or tab you can see them larger. Share your insights and advice, and if you see fit issues that you know a solution to, by all means share.

This is the bodice. Notice how it hangs far, far away from my body? It reminds me of a tent-like mu-mu that I sometimes see older women wearing in the grocery store without bras. That is not the look I am going for. On a positive note, isn't my sheet fabric pretty? I like the flowers.

Here's a profile. You can see how much excess is across the entire front, even when the side seem stays where it should.
Yeah, a lot of bust room. I do believe it is way too much.
This is the bodice if I manually gather up all of the excess at the side seams. This is closer to the look I want to achieve. It should be fitted, but not like a sausage casing. In other positive thinking, have you noticed by awesome belt buckle? I got it at the Renegade Craft Fair in Austin earlier this summer and it is one-of-a-kind made of a cross-processed photograph. I love it.
Here is the skirt with the addition of a center front panel (see here for description of alteration used to achieve this). It's weird when the skirt is so big it makes me look skinny in comparison. I am not used to that.
From the side.
Here is the back (with the front gathered to help it fit as it should), which went unchanged. I think the original back fits well.
Here is the front with a manual gather. This gather pulls up nearly the entirety of the center panel we added for width, meaning I am almost back to the original pattern. What gives?
And a profile with the center front panel gathered out.
The moral of the story is that I am sure I wasted my time and money on this tissue fitting. I am not sure I will find the sewing help I need in my fair city of San Antonio. Maybe in New York, maybe in L.A., maybe in Portland where the sewing scene is thriving...? Heck, maybe in the small towns of the Midwest where women have been sewing for decades and have knowledge that comes with practice. But I feel like I am slowly exhausting my resources and my funds and my sanity one by one here in San Antonio.

I want so much to sew attractive clothing. I am not asking to sew something that makes me look like a supermodel, but I am asking for something that fits comparably, if not better, than ready to where. Is that possible? Will the fates give me success someday?