19 August 2012

Summer Sewing: State of the Progress Address

After a couple of summer successes, things began poorly last fall,  when I decided to take a 1-day course to make this dress:
cute, right?

This is not a complicated or difficult dress at all.  But I've been trying to find more structured outlets for garment sewing, as I've long been at the point where some instruction and guidance would be helpful, to make sure I'm doing the best and most efficient things possible when sewing.  I was really excited for a class that involved sewing a real outfit, something I would actually have chosen on my own to sew and wear.

I should have known things weren't going to go well when the class was moved from September to October, a little late for such a breezy little thing.  Unfortunately the class's instructor's fitting strategies were "cut it to be approximately ok and fiddle with it till it looks alright."  Obviously this works for her, but it's not my style at all, and not being a novice sewer, I knew before even cutting the fabric that it would likely not work.  It didn't.  I ended up with something that would need a ton of reconstruction work to save.

The rest of the winter was similarly frustrating.  I kept sewing, but with the exception of a couple of pencil skirts, nothing got finished.  Something was not quite right about everything, the kind of annoying not quite right that you know you won't forget over the course of the day and you'll be pulling and tugging at your outfit for eight and a half hours, and I still have three or four dresses I put together but never finished because they needed more tweaking.  Several weeks lost trying to successfully expand sleeves for a Colette Peony--only to realize after finally giving up on the sleeves that the bodice really didn't suit me anyway--

Why, self, why?  You know high neck + big boobs = nothing good.  Why even bother?

  --did me in, and I stopped sewing for a while and focused on skating. 

Then the summer finally arrived and with it, the realization that for four glorious months I didn't have to sew anything with long sleeves, and then a missive:  DRESSES SHALL BE MADE, AND YEA BUT SHE SHALL WEAR THEM.  I bought patterns and more fabric with a vengeance, pored over books, changed my mind on a daily basis about what would be produced this upcoming weekend.  I have no social life and I refuse to even consider my long-languishing-not-quite-finished dissertation; there was no reason not to make a dress every week, maybe a top or skirt occasionally.

Ahem.  Yes.  Well, I was perhaps a bit overly ambitious.  I failed to fathom the extent of my own laziness.  But here are a few things that have been finished.

Coastal Breese pattern from Make It Perfect

Burda Style (envelope pattern) 7253

Jamie pattern from Sis Boom
Easy Kimono Dress from PatternRunway
Two of these have made the cut and are actually in my regular wardrobe;  the pink candy-striped dress and the floral sundress.  The black satin dress was winning the award for Best New Sewing Win--until I plopped down in my chair quickly and awkwardly at work and discovered--on the first day I wore it-- that I really should only use stretch fabrics for sheath dresses.  Sigh.  Due to that malfunction, I've been afraid to even try the yellow linen dress, which is too bad as it looks fabulous on me.   

Overall my verdict is:  semiproductive.  Summer's not yet over (thank goodness) and I still have stuff on the needles, so to speak, but I have come out with a few new staples for the wardrobe and am at the moment looking positively towards the fall.  I just made a birthday order from another Vintage Kenmore group member, and I think when Phyllis's new little sister arrives there may be more--she'll supply me with stretch stitches, a semi-free arm, and a center needle position that should give me more versatility in choosing presser feet to help me. 


Maura said...

I can't believe you made all these dresses. They are beautiful. The yellow is my favorite but they are all amazing. you rock!


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