Saturday, August 25, 2012

upgrade, midgrade

This is how I used to iron:

This is how I now iron:

This is how I used to cut fabric:

This is how I now cut fabric:

That's right. I bought an upright ironing board AND a counter-height cutting table. I now have my own sewing room (!!) and I finally live close enough to an IKEA (!?), so I've been shoppin' til I'm droppin'. For the past year I've used a godawful tabletop ironing board for all my pressing. It had awkward little obtrusive legs so I couldn't even drape a pant leg over the edge to iron one layer at a time, and the board was so lightweight that I had to practically chase it around the room as it scooted away from me. My last apartment was tiny and I used my dining table for my sewing machines, and my floor as my place for ironing and cutting.

No more! Consider my back pain-free (except when I wear my Target heels to commute to work, but that's an unrelated issue). I'll share with you my sewing room in its entirety once it's a bit more decorated and organized. In the meantime we can talk about the dress I was wearing in all those - ahem - candid photos above, that I made with my new big-girl equipment...

Another solid color knit dress?! Get outta town. This one is Simplicity 2281, a Cynthia Rowley design from last year I guess. I'm trying to sew through my pattern stash and I'm down to the last dozen or so that I haven't touched at all. This is mostly because JoAnn's is now quite far away from me, which could be a good thing, but it means that I've resorted to sewing up patterns I'm not that excited about. I still have a grudge against Cynthia from when she was a guest judge on Project Runway All Stars and made Mondo cry. This may have colored my judgment of her pattern line as a whole. grl, DON'T mess with Mondo.

I made View A, the one without the alien wings. Long story short (yeah right): I do not like this pattern that much. I was worried about those sticky-outty tucked sleeves on my broad shoulders from the get-go, and I should have trusted my instincts. My heart-shaped face needs a lower neckline than this. Also, gathers? I decided awhile ago to stop making stuff with gathers, but I guess I forgot because this dress is chock full of them. It's just so, youthful.

And it's a tad too big. I should know by now: save the side seams for last so it's easier to adjust later. I wasn't sure how to do that with the full bodice/waist lining, though, and I always get nervous steering away from the instructions because I've made mistakes when I assumed I was smarter than the patternmaker. I ain't.

Can't even use a belt, the waistband's so wide. In the pattern's defense, I think I used the wrong fabric... I made it out of ponteroma knit, which is pretty thick and stable. This dress has a fully lined bodice and waistband, so the end result is really heavy. Knit dresses don't need linings, but I wasn't sure how else to finish the bodice and the back keyhole thing. 

Ugh. Homemade, much? Don't make gathered skirts or neck bows in thick fabric.

I trimmed the seams as much as possible but they're so bulgy. Here's an example of the thickness of ONE sewn seam, where the bodice, bodice lining, waistband, waistband lining all come together at the sides:

Seriously now. It looks like a pastrami sandwich. Thank goodness I recently bought a walking foot.

The thing about sewing... you have to make the whole damn thing before you can determine whether you even like it. Luckily this one didn't take too long (no zip) and the fabric was inexpensive, so it's not like I regretted skipping a muslin. Towards the end I was skeptical but thought that it would look better once hemmed. I still wasn't thrilled, but I finished it all up anyway because I know I'll wear it in fall, layered under jackets and scarves. I do like the color and it's certainly comfortable (duh).

Anyway, I'm sorry this is the second post in a row where I've whined about my finished item. I should plan my next project more carefully so it'll be something I (and you) absolutely love. I think I will ditch the pattern-stash-bust idea and splurge on a rad new pattern. But what?! Should I wait for Colette to release their fall line in a couple weeks (yay)?