Monday, May 21, 2012

In Progress

I think I mentioned wanting to do more in-progress posts a while ago, but I've clearly failed! To remedy that, here's what I'm working on:


That's my Lonsdale (version 2.0) with the zipper basted in. I kept looking at this dress sideways once the bodice was sewn up, because it looked impossibly small. (I had elected, after my very first bodice muslin, to go with the size 8 rather than the 10, despite the fact that the waist measurement listed is smaller than my own by an inch. I suppose we could chalk that up to a preference for less ease?) Anyway, thankfully the thing zips up fine, although I will admit that it probably is a smidge snug. When I finally sew it in for good I think I'm going to use 3/8" seam allowances instead of 5/8", just for some breathing room.

 I have to admit, this dress is making me feel like a total sewing goddess yet a total fitting failure. This fabric is a dream to sew and I'm really proud of my work. That said, the bodice is seriously out of whack. This is most embarrassing considering that I made both a muslin and a previous, failed version of this dress. However, I think the things that failed about the first version (mainly, too-short fixed straps) distracted me from seeing other minor flaws.

Firstly, the FBA. The proportions are spot-on, but my dart placement and execution could be improved. Thankfully, this busy print seems to hide that so it doesn't really bother me, even if the stupid dart points will not stop puckering. Secondly, the bodice length. I thought I had it right the first time - in fact, I even lengthened it slightly on this version. (The first incarnation was shortened by 1.5". This one was shortened by 1.25".) However, it definitely needs another full inch removed from the back and sides. Unhappily for me, it definitely doesn't need that inch removed from the front - so I suppose my FBA actually wasn't that great after all, because it didn't add enough length to compensate for my bust.

OMG, how to deal with this? I have no idea. Can I just taper down on an angle from an inch up at the side seam to nothing at the centre front? Will that result in a triangle-shape at the bottom or will it all even out once worn? I have so much trouble with spacial thinking! Anyway, I'm a bit dispirited that I have to basically rip this thing to shreds and then put it back together again, but whatever. I just need to remind myself that I actually like sewing. (And seam ripping for that matter. Honestly it's just the moving target of a finish line that bothers me.)

In other handmade news: all of a sudden I'm desperate to knit. Unlike most people, I get most enthusiastic about knitting when the weather turns nice. (As K.Line observed, it's probably because we can do it outside. Also, I can tote it around without also having to tote around coats and umbrellas and other winter accessories.) The yarn for two new sweaters is calling from my cupboard, but I don't have the headspace for them at the moment. Instead, I decided to cast on a Noro striped scarf:


I've also decided to join a Ravelympics team this year (Team Canada! Woot!) and I'm pretty excited about it. Excited enough that I wish the Olympics were longer so I could plan on entering more projects! I'm not sure what my strategy will be yet... one big thing or lots of little things. Sadly, I think I would probably get more satisfaction from the latter. I really am a project (as opposed to process) knitter.


  1. The fabric for your Lonsdale is gorgeous! I hope you can work out the issues. I believe it will all even itself out if the back is too long and you just reduce it to nothing at the front.

    1. Thank you! I was worried it would be a bit stiff but it's pretty and it fit in my budget :) I'm glad to hear it should even out... I think I'm just terrified of ruining it altogether but making a cutting error!

  2. Man, I wish I had some suggestions for you regarding FBAs/fit. Somehow it feels like my fitting skills are getting worse instead of better! Is that possible?

    I'm excited to see your finished dress and your Ravelympics projects! I'm tempted to join in on the fun, although it's so damn hot in my apartment in the summertime that I'm not sure I want to spend a week sweating into wool!

    1. Haha... trust me, I feel the same way! See my question to K.Line below. It's like my brain can't even understand simple construction anymore, I'm too close to this project. LOL.

      You should join in! I really love knitting in the park in the summertime, on a blanket under a shade tree. :)

  3. I saw that WIP on Ravelry. I love it! And can you explain your question a bit differently re: tapering down the angle. Email me, if you'd like. I'm having difficulty putting it together in my mind.

    BTW, according to the fitting gurus, it can take (though doesn't always) a number of muslins followed by a number of wearable muslins to perfect a pattern made with a woven fabric.

    This is not unusual. Just keep on. You love the dress, it will be great on you, I'm sure. Just keep making it and making the revisions you require.

    And think about buying Sarah Veblen's book. I think it could help you to demystify some of these things.

    PS: Thank you SO MUCH for your help today. It has made such a huge difference.

    1. Thanks so much! I will consider the book for sure.

      What I mean to say is that I definitely need a full inch taken out of the whole back of the bodice and at the side seams. But, I don't want to remove length from the front (as much as possible - if anything it could be longer, but that ship has sailed!) So, considering just the front pieces: if I take off 1" at the side seams, tapering to nothing at the front centre seam (essentially turning the lower edge of the bodice front into a triangle pointing downward) will that even out and lie flat when attached to the waistband?

      Now that I'm typing this it seems a stupid question. I'm just terrified I'm misunderstanding how this works and I don't want to make any irreversible cutting mistakes!

    2. OK, I don't own the pattern so I can only go by the envelope line drawings.

      I think that, in a perfect world, you'd unpick the zipper (sorry for suggesting this!), cut length off the back ABOVE the waist and leave it at that. Since you're short waisted, that might work. It would be best if I could see it on. Send me a picture if you like. BTW, I'm not suggesting you do all of this. I know how miserable it is to revisit a practically finished project. I'd rather just start from scratch.

      Moreover, if you sense that the FBA isn't substantial enough, you can always make it bigger when next you make the dress. Just remember (I know you know this cuz you've said it to me) that the FBA can be tricky in terms of adding width in the bodice. Mind you, if this one's a bit snug, that could work to your advantage next time you make the dress.

    3. Oh, the zipper is only basted in, although I am going to have to unpick the seam binding and all of the waistband seams :-/ Oh well!

      But what I mean to say is: yes, I'll definitely cut the length of the back above the waistband. But, that would leave me with a back bodice that's 1" shorter than the front. So, I'm assuming I should taper it down to the centre front? Yes? That won't be too steep a grade?

      I'll have to puzzle out the FBA thing... it fits perfectly aside from the length issue. Thankfully I don't find I have the same problem with excess width when I'm doing an FBA with darts instead of princess seams, because of the ability to simply rotate the fullness and merge or split the darts. (In this case, I completed the FBA on the dartless bodice by adding both horizontal and vertical darts.)

    4. I hope you don't mind jumping in on the FBA/bodice length thing! If I'm understanding you right, you're shortening the length of the bodice 1 inch at center back, and at the side seams. But the front, as you mentioned, doesn't need that length dissapearing at all.

      I can only pretend to quite understand what you're visualizing, but I can picture how it seems wrong to take away 1 inch at one point in the pattern, but not everywhere else. However! The distance this fabric has to travel across your bust is a lot longer than on the back, and since on you this distance is longer than on B-cupped people, it is totally logical that the difference in length at center front and center back on *your* pattern, will be longer than the original pattern.

      To answer what I think is your question, yes. It's totally fine. No, that's not too steep of a grade. Fabric going across substantial curves (larger busts), need steeper grades and bigger darts to lie nicely over the curvy shapes. Wearing the dress and pinching out the excess from the bodice at the side seam, you should be able to go towards the center front and find the point where you don't need any extra pinching. That's where you stop taking out length from your pattern. Make a nice curve towards the 1 inch mark at the side seam, and you're good!

      I'm sorry this turned into an essay, I'm quite the chatter! Let me know, I can draw you a picture of the pinching and patternpieces such as I'm seeing them in my mind, if you think that'll help!

    5. (I'm not sure if this is replying to the correct post - if not, this is for @indigochild)

      Thank you! Don't worry about the length, I love long comments and I'm the queen of writing them :) Thank you for the reassurance. I was sort of perplexed I suppose because I already added length to the front when I executed the FBA, so I'm surprised it needs so much more! But that's good to know. I will definitely pinch it out (vs. just making a flat adjustment) as you suggest... sometimes I have to remind myself to be a little more organic about these things! I'll let you guys know how it goes once I'm able to do it.

    6. I'm looking forward to how it comes out! (whoa, look how concise I'm being this morning! ;) Good luck!)

  4. I feel for you with your fitting problems. I'm getting a bit lazy about muslins - I do them but then I can't face doing more than one. I'm usually grateful that they fit around the waist and concentrate on that area and then have a not so great fit at the top! I admire your patience. You seem to be in it for the long haul and I'm sure you'll have a great dress at the end!

  5. This fabric is gorgeous! I can't wait to see the finished result! I know what you mean though about being dispirited with this project. I'm working on a simple buttoned down shirt right now, and after my second muslin I'm still not happy. It feels like such a waste of time when, after hours of trying to figure out a fit, it still looks off...Sometimes it makes me question the whole purpose of sewing (not for long though)...But if you put it aside for a few days, you'll soon get the mojo back...