Sunday, October 31, 2010

Fitting the low-back dress

For the Burda low-back dress, I made a straight 40 for my first muslin, and the fit overall is pretty good.  The front looks great, although I need to make a bust adjustment.  The back was a bit trickier, especially since it's difficult to see the back without twisting or arching your shoulders, which changes the fit.  (Mad props to the Mr. for helping me mark my alterations after I forgot to bring my muslin to the Southeast Michigan sewing meet-up on Saturday.)

Here are the alterations I'm planning to make:

1. Fix gaping at the armhole

This is a pretty standard alteration, and I've done it several times before.  I pinched out the extra fullness at the armhole to create a second bust dart.  I'll transfer that to the flat pattern, then use slash-and spread to combine it with the original dart.

2. Create a curved seam at the center back

As drafted, the pattern is baggy in the small of my back, and too tight at the top of the back.  So I'll create a curved seam-line, adding about 5/8 of an inch more width at the top, and removing about an inch lower down.

3. Shorten the back

When I stand straight, the edges of the v-back ripple and stand away from my body.  Lynne helped me decide the best way to fix this.  I pinned out a wedge-shape section just below my shoulder blade, which tapers to nothing at the side seam.  I'll transfer this to my flat pattern and remove the wedge, which will shorten the back edge, while leaving the side seam length unchanged.

 No dilly-dallying on this project, since it needs to be done for a wedding in a few weeks, and I can't count on finding much time to sew over thanksgiving.  So hopefully, I'll have a finished dress to show you soon!

Back and better than ever!

I've taken a bit of a hiatus from blogging this fall, more or less unintentionally.  What have I been up to?  Well, the Mr. and I completed our first marathon in October, which was quite an accomplishment for both of us.

 I'm also working hard to finish my degree, and I'm on the academic job market as we speak.  I won't bore you with the details, but being on the market is an incredibly time consuming and fairly stressful process.  (If you're curious, you can read more about it here.  And if you want to get a sense of who I am in my professional life, you can check out

Despite all this, I'm glad to say that my sew-jo has returned with a vengeance, and I've got several projects lined up that I'm really excited about.

First of all, I'm working on a version of Burda 1-2010 #125, the low-back sheath dress with the interesting darts.  I've made my first muslin, and need to make a few fitting adjustments, but I'm really pleased with how it's shaping up so far.  The line drawing of this dress looks a little boxy and ho-hum, but in real life the darts are super-flattering.  I'm making it in purple poly satin, to wear to a wedding later this month.

I've also gotten totally inspired by Gertie's Lady Grey Sew-Along, and I'm in the planning stages of my own version of the Colette Patterns Lady Grey coat, which will fill a gaping hole in my current winter wardrobe.  I realize I'm a bit of a late-comer to the sew-along, but I'm totally geeked about the project.  If you haven't checked it out, Gertie's tutorials on how to construct the coat using traditional tailoring techniques are amazing.  All platitudes about the internet age aside, I'm overwhelmed by the generosity of people like Gertie, who share so much time and knowledge with anyone who wants to learn, and with the inclusiveness of the online sewing community in general.  Even if you don't plan to participate in the sew-along, I encourage you to check it out.  Like I said, I'm super excited and inspired about this project, and I'm looking forward to taking my technique to the next level.

I've also got a couple of other projects in the queue, including the trench-coat from the famous September 2010 Burda magazine, and my second version of McCall 6163, which I contend is actually a great pattern if you leave off the collar and silly sleeves, and resist the urge to add tassels to the sash.

I'll write more about these projects soon, but for now I just wanted to say: it's great to be back!