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Made this dress the other day from a tank top and an XL men's t-shirt.


I've been getting frustrated with my lack of clothes that fit vs. the short amount of time I have left before the baby is done incubating.  Which is to say, hardly anything fits anymore but I only have a few weeks left, so I don't want to bother with making (or buying) fancy new stuff.

I cut the tank top off under the bust, saving the lower half for the belt.  I cut the t-shirt into a trapezoid and sewed the new side seams.  Then I just sewed the two together at the 'waist,' easing them together.  I cut the bottom of the tank into strips for the belt, sewed them and turned them, then hand-stitched the belt to the back of the dress for about 10 inches.

This was another experiment in sewing with knits.  I can now say that a single (interlock, jersey, whatever) knit is relatively easy to sew, but a ribbed knit is more of a pain than silk chiffon.  It's just soooooo stretchy.  Without a serger, there is absolutely NO stitch that has enough stretch.  I got the dress together fine, but the belt was hell.  I'm sure my seam is going to pop at some point.  It's fine while wearing, but tying and untying it are more delicate.

It's comfy and economical, though.  And it shows off my bump so well.  ;)

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Yesterday I finished making two pairs of jeans for the man, a project I started a couple weeks ago.  I re-drafted the front of the pattern to cut the CF on the straight grain and include an attached fly underlap/facing.  I'm using the fly method from Nancy Zieman's Busy Woman's Sewing Book, which is totally 1980s but still really useful and relevant.  I picked it up used ages ago.  The method is way more streamlined than what I was doing before.  I still need to tweak the pattern front a little for next time, since the attached facing isn't quite long enough; I needed to angle the topstitching a little oddly so I wouldn't hit the bottom zipper stop.  In the book, she reccommends aligning the bottom stop first and then cutting off the excess tape (and teeth) at the top, but I use metal zippers in jeans and I didn't want to mess around with cutting them.

I used demin made of 45% organic cotton and 55% hemp for these, since I couldn't find the same 100% organic cotton I used for the last six or seven pairs.  I made one pair from it a few months ago (version 2.0).  It's crisper, like linen, and shrinks more progressively.  Also, I think the cotton has a bit shorter staple.  But it's nice fabric and the first pair seems to be wearing well.  Now I think he has plenty of jeans for a while.  I still have denim for another 3 pairs which I'll probably make next spring.

So now I find myself without a project.  I've been waffling over the idea of making maternity clothes for months, and now with less than 2 months left, I think I'm giving up the idea.  I have plans for one more drawstring skirt and one empire-waist shirt that I may or may not get around to.  Both would be things I could still wear later, but I'm not sure I want to bother.

I do have a few baby things I want to make.  I bought a sleep sack the other day and copied the shape of it.  I have a few pieces of flannel that I plan to make some more sleep sacks out of using the pattern.  I have some other flannel that I plan to hem into simple recieving blankets.  And I also have a few quilts in mind.  I made a bunch of 9-patch blocks a few months ago, and now it is time to do something with them.  Probably I'll make some booties and mittens eventually, too, but she won't need them for a little while.  And I want to embroider some kind of hanging for her room, but I think I might make that a project to work on after she's born; embroidery is something I can work on quietly, in short spurts, with her near me.  So right now I think the quilts win.

New apron!

Jun. 23rd, 2009 04:36 pm
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I sewed this up this morning.  My favorite apron stopped fitting a few months ago and my other apron is starting to feel uncomfortable.  I made this one with a high waist to go over my bump.

a couple more photos )

Yay!  Apron!
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Preamble:  I try so hard, when I am at events, to not think too much about taking photos of my costume, since it makes it harder for me to stay in the moment and have a good time if I am keeping my eyes peeled for photo ops, and besides, everyone else is usually snapping them like crazy anyway. 

So I really shouldn't be disappointed when I find out later that the photos I tried to get my husband to take of me at home, beforehand, are all blurry, and I end up with one good one from the event, one with my tongue sticking out, and none of the back.


I swear it didn't look that wrinkly in front when I left the house. 

I closed the front with pins.  The front is straight; there isn't any shaping under the bust.  It just looks that way because I kept resting my hands on top of my bump and crumpling it there.  For some reason I thought it would be a great idea to ease the neckline seam onto a piece of twill tape to stabilize it and keep it from gaping, but I guess I got carried away, because it ended up a little bunchy.

The petticoat is from a couple years ago.  I tied it, and my pocket, up high over my bump.  The hat is the giant one I got from Jas Townsend.  I just box-pleated a little ribbon for around the crown and made 2 ribbon bows with a button in the center.  I tried wiring the edge but that didn't work for me, so I ripped the wire off and left it plain.  It was great for keeping the sun off!! 

The neckerchief is a bit of the fine cotton lawn I bought for the chemise dress, cut in a triangle and hemmed by machine.

Simple, comfy, somewhat accurate pregnancy costume, I think!

The picnic was great fun, even though we got about a million weird/rude comments from strangers. 

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Undress Jacket: In wearable condition.

Suit Coat: Needs buttonholes and buttons. Otherwise wearable.

Yesterday, I started doing what I generally do 2 days before an event when I'm a little behind with sewing. I tried to think of everything that could be left off without the end result looking too unfinished. Sleeve ruffles on the jacket were out, as well as super-fancy trimmings on the hat. My HB's tricorn was out a week ago.

I know I could have put the coat aside to work on my own project, since it wasn't looking super great, but there was no way I was going to do that. I promised my poor husband a new suit and I just wanted to finish the thing and cross it off the list. So yesterday I put in the lining and this morning I added the pocket flaps and set the back pleats. It's looking. . . not so bad. I'd give it a 4 out of 10.

I also put the lining in my jacket. I cobbled it together out of 3 different fabrics (that's a period technique, right?). I fussed with getting the sleeve to curve properly around the elbow for a while, and eventually ended up with something tolerable.

So today it's buttons and buttonholes, hat trimming, and a neckerchief. I don't even feel rushed at this point. I'm making an effort to enjoy the process and it's working.

The only thing that's annoying me is the weather. It's been so yucky and humid. I am so, so sick of hearing radio weather people describe days like this as 'beautiful,' as if they even know what's it's like outside, sitting in their air conditioned studio. In fact, most people get to sit in the AC all day at various workplaces when it gets crappy, and they are the same ones who always say how great summer weather is!

It's so humid that all the smooth surfaces in my house, even the freshly clean ones, feel sticky and grimy, and all the paper I have laying around feels damp and is curling up at the edges. Tomorrow's high is 87 but with much lower humidity predicted. I hope it's not too bad out at the park.


Jun. 17th, 2009 08:37 am
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I went to Jo-Ann yesterday and got a piece of grass-green linen for my undress jacket which was 60% off, making it $3.19/ yd.  Yay!  I think it will go nicely with the skirt/petticoat, which is a greyish blue, and the ribbons I'm trimming the hat with, which are olive green.  I'm sure I have some scraps of something around here I can piece a lining out of.

I finished refining my pattern yesterday.  It looks so cute!  I'm so glad I ditched the chemise dress idea. 

It feels really good to be enthusiastic about sewing again.  I haven't been for months.

Just a few days left before the picnic.  I have a lot to do, but somehow, instead of feeling rushed and overwhelmed, I feel glad to be immersed in a project.
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I went to start my chemise dress yesterday and felt totally uninspired.  Everything I visualized and/or draped over my body made me feel huge, fat, and dumpy.  I know I'm just planning a one-time costume and it doesn't need to be great, but I still don't think it's worth my fabric or effort to make something that I will feel so unattractive in. 

I'm realizing the thing that makes chemise dresses pretty is the fact that they are not a simple, unfitted sack.  Over proper stays and with back piecing, they have a nice line.  So while that may have seemed an easy solution to the maternity costume issue, I don't think it's the right one.

Plus I was having serious doubts about the white.  I don't really want to wear an all-white dress to a picnic in the park.  I'll be fussing over it all day, trying to keep it clean, which is impossible.

So, new plan.  I was flipping through Patterns Of Fashion and decided to make an 'undress' style jacket.  I already have a skirt that fits nicely over my bump.  I made a pattern and mock-up yesterday.  It's fitted in the back and hangs full and straight in the front.  I'm having a little issue with fitting it over my modern undies, but even if I had the time, I wouldn't want to fuss around with a maternity corset or support garment.  I am pretty sure a horizontal dart extending from the CF to the bust point will give the appropriate shape.  I know this is a period detail, but I'm not sure if it was ever used on this type of jacket.  Oh well, I'm going to do it anyway.

The only snag: I need to buy a piece of new fabric for this.  Sigh.  There goes my no-new-fabric resolve.  But I dug through the stash to no avail.  I will probably end up with the Cheapest Cotton Ever, but I don't care.  If I have to choose between wearing a.) modern clothes, b.) unflattering chemise dress, or c.) jacket I need to spend money on, I don't mind spending a little.

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Nothing near as exciting as being as costume con, sigh.

I've finished the baby sweater back and half the front.  I started the other front this morning.

Made HB a pair of new jeans with the revised pattern.  I used a great new fly method which I will probably rant about further in future.

Yesterday I cut mock-ups for the man's 18th c. suit.  We bought fabrics last week: 50% off linens from Jo-Ann.  A tan one with a brown pinstripe for the coat and breeches, and a plain chocolate brown for the vest.  I'm going for the plain but well-tailored look (if I can pull it off).  More American Revolution (civillian) than French Revolution (aristocracy).

I got our hats in the mail from Jas. Townsend.  The wool felt blank that I'm planning to tricorn-ify fits his head okay, but it's not very fancy.  Which is to say, it looks like a $20 hat.  Which it is.  The straw hat I got Is much wider than I wanted, but I knew that in advance.  Probably I will enjoy the extra width once I'm out in the sun.  The straw is nice quality, excpet where it looks like there is a slight jog in colors where a new braid was joined in. 

Yesterday I also went out to Treadle and got some white cotton lawn for my chemise dress.  I'm following the diagram in The Cut Of Women's Clothes, except that since this is a pregnancy costume, I won't be pulling it in at the waist, just under the bust.  I have a crap ton of nice green satin ribbon which I will probably use both to trim the hat and to make a 'waist' sash.  Anyway, I'm probably not going to make this until a couple weeks before the event, so I can make sure it fits properly.

Until then, I'll be focusing on the man's suit and some modern everyday things.


Mar. 16th, 2009 11:00 am
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Spring is finally starting here.  Last week, counting on my pay from the dance dresses, I went to Jo-Ann's and bought a big heap of summer cotton prints (and a few solids) to make into simple spring and summer clothes.

I'm planning things that will accomodate a changing shape, so lots of drawstring-waist skirts and a couple empire-waist shirts.  I'm also planning to work the knits I bought last summer (and never completed anything from) into a couple big-belly-friendly dresses.

I'm excited.  I love warm-weather sewing.  Simple, quick, cute, and satisfying.

I still need to put another couple days into cartoon costumes, but I'm not going to work too hard over them. 
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