Thursday, July 31, 2008

It's Done!

It's done! It's Done! It's done!

The Empire Dress I was sewing for my daughter to wear to the Regency Ball at WorldCon is at last complete despite such unexpected (but always inevitable) disasters as having to take apart and resew a completed French seam. Not to mention the last minute run to Jo Ann's for more elastic.

I wish I could post a picture of it, but as soon as I finished the second hem -- there's an overskirt -- I folded the dress, sealed it in a box, and rushed it to the Post Office. At left is a picture I snapped as I was sewing the casing under the bust.

I was very pleased with my choice of fabrics. The outer layer of the dress is a translucent polyester with tiny white dots and a very subtle crinkly texture. The inner layer is a light peach cotton polyester. (Jo Ann's calls it Symphony Broadcloth.) I was worried it might be too crisp, but it softened up nicely after washing. The combination of fabrics really looks much nicer than it sounds.

Now to clear up the sewing shrapnel from this project. (Am I the only one whose work table looks like an explosion hit it?) Then I'll be able to see my way to clear to working on other projects.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Still Working on the Muslin

Grumble, grumble.

The instructions for this dress (Folkwear 215) are not as clear as they initially seemed.

On the skirt back there are two cutting lines -- one for gauze weight fabrics and one for heavier fabrics. I'm not sure how to define "gauze" or "heavier."

Also, the instructions about gathering the back of the skirt are a little confusing. How is one to gather between the stars marked on the pattern when one set of stars is not actually on the pattern?

Update: Okay, I finally figured out what must have been meant by the cryptic reference to gathering between stars when there's only one star on the pattern piece. But couldn't they at least have told me what size elastic to buy? (As you may have gathered, I don't like experimentation.)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Even more craziness!

Okay, so I've added another project to the ample servings already on my plate.

My daughter, who is going to WorldCon, asked if I could sew her a gown to wear to the Regency Ball. She knew I had a copy of Folkwear's "Empire Dress" (#215) and thought it would be an easy thing to whip up since the simple version has elastic in the neckline, waist and sleeves. I felt a bit intimidated because there would be so little time to put it together and because my daughter lives two states away so fittings would be out of the question. Were I a prudent seamstress, I would have said, "No way, girl!" But instead, I said yes.

I decided to whip up a muslin and then mail it to her so that she can make sure that the bodice fits before I cut into the fashion fabric. And she can also let me know where to hem it. Well, this muslin hasn't gone together as speedily as I'd hoped, but at least I'm working out the pattern's problems now which should make the final version go together much more quickly.

I wonder if I shouldn't have gone with Simplicity 4055 instead? It's the commercial version of Sense & Sensibility's "Regency Gown" which you can see here.

Carolina Crossroads will have to go on the back burner again since the little girl's dresses must also get done before summer is over!

And now, I really must get back to the sewing machine.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Still Working

Bet you thought I'd fallen off the face of the earth! Well, I haven't done much sewing lately, so I haven't had much to write about.

The past few days have been particularly busy. On Thursday I drove my mother to a funeral. On Friday I drove both parents to a wedding. Nothing was scheduled for Saturday, but my mom and I ended up taking my aunt to the Urgent Care because she was experiencing pain every time she took a deep breath. So today I was more than ready for some R&R. I decided to turn on the air conditioning, put on some music, and settle down for some serious work on my Carolina Crossroads quilt.

I've cut and pinned the pieces for thirty more Step 3 Nine-patches! Then I had to stop to cut some more blue strips. Seeking more variety, I was digging through my drawer of blues when it occurred to me that some of my smaller scraps could be used for the 2 5/8 inch squares in Step 4. So I had to stop and cut some of those and then sub-cut them into teensy quarter-square triangles. Whew! Those guys are tiny! And then, of course, I had to put one of the Little Pieced Triangles together just to make sure that my cutting and measuring was accurate.

I guess that's one of the advantages of finishing this quilt after the mystery is complete -- if I get tired of working on one step, I can refresh myself with a brief digression to another. I expect to finish the 30 Nine-patches tonight, having told Fillius Minor to fix his own dinner tonight.

The fabric underneath the CC parts is the gingham I bought to make summer dresses for my three little granddaughters, a.k.a "The Wild Girls." They may be rowdy, but they love to wear dresses. (The white eyelet is for the collars.)