What I wear, when I wear it, and how it works on my bike
I spent most of the weekend in the sewing room. First, I pulled out all the fabrics and measured them. I looked up some receipts on the computer (the ones I had–any truly ancient fabric is pure speculation) for care instructions and content. Then I made a list. I seem to have a lot of yardage in the maroon/crimson/violet/plum end of the spectrum (the colors in the thumbnail have been instagrammed and are not at all true). Then I went through the patterns and tried to match fabrics to patterns.
Then I just wanted to buy more. But the Ralph Rucci fell down the list and the new jacket pattern moved up. I don’t have a fabric for the Rucci–although I’ve got five yards of a navy-print cotton that I don’t know what to do with. It seems unlikely that I’m ever going to make the Hawthorne I bought it for.
I stitched up a new muslin for the “Cloister” dress, with a square shoulder adjustment and a long waist adjustment. I’m not sure whether the latter was strictly necessary, but the muslin seemed to fit well.
I’ve had this pattern since 1994. In 1994, I also bought 5 yards of some sort of woven purple stretch fabric–it feels like it has some wool in it, but I know that in 1994, I could not have afforded five yards of anything of significant cost. Also, it does not feel like a high quality wool (or high quality fabric of any kind, actually), but it’s a pretty color and it stretches enough for the pattern and I might as well make the damn dress finally.
Cut out the bodice and discovered that the fabric is pretty sheer. My muslin was the cream bamboo I used to line the finished-but-unloved Vogue 8685, so I decided to use it as an underlining, even though it clearly shows light through the dark fabric. There’s nowhere near enough to do the skirt, so I will have to where a separate slip.
Then I cut the skirt. As I sewed the gathering stitches across all 60 inches of the skirt panel, two thoughts occurred to me: (1) really, you want 120 inches of gathered thick wool-ish material sitting right on your hips? and (2) you’re really going to be able togather 120 inches of fabric into a line you don’t hate the look of?
Well, I guess the answer to (1) is yes, but the answer to (2) is pretty much No. I did try at first, to pull the back of the skirt into pretty gathers, but I gave up almost immediately and yanked out the gathering stitches.
I placed the skirt to the bodice, matching the markings–the gathers are supposed to exclude about two inches at the hip–and pinned the skirt in place at the match points, leaving the rest free. Then I made gentle folds, evenly distributing the bulk between each marking, basted them in place, checked the appearance and sewed them down. Much easier, much more attractive.
But then I was exhausted, but I found myself wondering why the dress did not have pockets. If Claire McCardell felt clothes needed to be practical, comfortable and feminine, why did this dress not have pockets concealed in the voluminous skirt? So I cut some and added them to the side seam of the skirt (in the manner of Colette‘s Crepe dress), but I did not stitch up the side seams of the dress. I was–like I said–tired and began to worry that I’d rush and make mistakes.
I did choose a button for the back and for the hood from my stash, but I need to get a bit of embroidery thread that matches to make the loop.