Sunday, June 8, 2008

The heat is on

Apparently the creative part of my brain is heat activated. The whole reason for making this shirt for Mario was because I got stuck on the dress and needed a break. So yesterday afternoon, after solving the heat issue in the workroom by installing the air conditioner I always said I didn't want in there, I did all the buttonholes - and the only one that gave me any trouble at all was the buttonhole on the collar stand, which is a matter of a small area, too many layers of fabric and not enough patience on my part.

I was so pleased about the buttonholes that I went on and did the hem. The buttons, however, have yet to be sewn on because I was going to do them last night while we were in the living room but it was too hot in the living room (the air conditioner having been put in the workroom window instead) to turn on the lights. So I browsed my new issue of BWOF by tv light and then, at about 10:00, I decided I needed to visit my dress.

Where does it come from, when all of a sudden your mojo comes back? I walked in, took a look at the skirt that I couldn't get to hang properly from the bodice, took a handful of straight pins and it went right together. I just didn't have the angle of the skirt back hanging properly, and I needed to raise the front a little more, a waist seam smack at the widest point of the hip not being anyone's best look. Within minutes, I had it basted together and it actually resembled what I had in mind all along. It did seem to sit a little awkwardly compared to my idea, but I decided that was because the skirt was flat-fronted and I needed something to define my waist. So I made a sash, Liberty on one side and tan cotton on the other.

After breakfast today I retired to my nicely cool room and made magic. I doublechecked my work from last night and the skirt still worked, so I sewed the joining seam and pressed it. Then I started thinking about the sleeves.

I'd wanted to do something with a gather that would tie into the collar, but I couldn't think exactly how I wanted to do it. Claire suggested a small sleeve from Butterick 4799 in response to my post Pattern Recycling. Thank you, Claire!

What I ended up with was a combination of her suggestion and my original idea of a gathered sleeve. I measured how far over my shoulder I wanted the sleeve to come, then doubled that measurement and cut out a sleeve-shape. A sort of sleeve-shape, anyway. I machine gathered the top back to the original 9" measurement and pinned it to the dress, which was resting comfortably on Evelyn.

Once I had the shape I wanted, I hand-gathered the bottom of the sleeve so that it lightly cupped the top of my shoulder. I checked how much fabric I had left and there was enough to make (non-bias) tape for each sleeve. Since the dress is lined with white batiste, I simply turned the rest of the armholes under and will hand-sew those seams.

Trying the dress on with the sleeves and the belt, I really liked the look but still felt that something was missing. I decided to add a pocket. Of course there wasn't enough fabric left to make a pocket, so it's a three-parter, bottom, stripe of gathered accent fabric, top, the whole thing lined in batiste and sewed to the right hip. The top of the pocket is right at the seam line, which looks more flattering than it sounds. Once it's all together, I'll post pictures on me.

I love working flat-out like that, when it's hard for my fingers to keep up with the ideas my head throws at me. I worked up a sweat sewing in air conditioning, and it feels fabulous.

Tonight, those shirt buttons, so that I can start thinking about the finish work on the dress.


Anonymous said...

Great looking dress.

Kat said...

I just can't wait to see the finished dress :) ! And this is the kind of weather where everyone wants to stay inside anyway. Isn't it going to be at least 100 degrees today in the Philly area? We have a high of a stinking hot 98.

Claire said...

Wow! You have taken this dress up 15 notches, not that it wasn't already fantastic! I love the sleeves and pocket.
It is funny how all of a sudden something will simply fall into place that we couldn't figure out previously. It always seem to be a 10PM too. ;o)
Our temps are supposed to be around 98 today and over 100 tomorrow. Whew, too early in the year for this heat.

The Mad Tatter said...

I LOVE the sleeve detail!

Mojo is like a cat; the more you want it, the more it avoids you and the more you ignore it, the more it wants your attention.

Gretchen the Household Deity said...

I love the look of that pocket!!!! I will totally be stealing that idea someday. Can't wait to see this dress on you.

Tany said...

So beautiful! Well done!

Kitty Couture said...

Oh. My. Goodness. This dress is shaping up to be one in a million!
The sleeves are so adorable.

I'm with you - sometimes a project drags on and on and feels like it will be a disappointment; then suddenly, all falls into place, the fabric starts behaving, and inspiration flows!

angie.a said...

This is such a cute dress Karen!