Mad Men dress part 2

Wednesday 30 September 2009
I'm loving all your comments on a dress I didn't actually make, can't wait to see what you all have to say when I actually do make something wearable LOL!

Anyway as requested, here is a picture of the one remaining muslin on my dressmakers dummy because it is the too small version and there was no fitting it on me:

The other muslins I made have been taken apart and cut up to make paper patterns after I folded and pinned out the excess and drew new cutting lines on, so nothing to show for them except a pile of fugly fabric pieces. This muslin was rescued from the rubbish bin after you all showed interest in it, maybe I should have pressed it so it doesn't look so bad. The first version I made exactly to the pattern (which was too big) turned out beautifully, so it's not the pattern or the instructions, it's just my lame pattern grading attempts.

Anyway, on to the questions and comments. Rachel - I got the pattern from an op shop or garage sale quite some time ago, but I don't know the pattern company because I can't see any company name on it whatsoever, the pattern number however is 5162. I have a feeling it may be a mail order pattern, because it's not in a proper envelope, it's just a bit of paper folded in half with the pattern pieces inside. It's a miracle it all stayed together really, I see so many patterns in the op shops with random tissue pieces floating around. This is a photo of the pattern sheet:

Judy Ross - here is a photo of the front bodice and skirt (the back is pretty plain), and the pattern instructions for creating that pleat on the front:

For the view with the drapey bit at the front, it is actually an extra bit of rectangle piece of fabric that gets sewn onto the front under the belt.

Jean - I attempted to take excess width out across the front evenly, ie a bit from the middle, and a bit from each side because I needed to take 4 inches out, but I didn't try it just taking out the excess in the middle alone. One day when I'm crazy enough to try this again, that will be muslin #5!

Kristine - I did try to overlay this on a sloper I already have, but the sloper I have is for set in sleeves, and this dress has the dolman type sleeves with a gusset underneath, so I couldn't find enough commonality to make it fit. Another possibility I had was to change the sleeve type to a set in sleeve, and just use my sloper by transferring the darts on the bodice to my sloper because I did manage to get the skirt part to fit. However, I ran out of steam before doing this!

And thanks to Anna for letting me enter in the Mad Men competition anyway, but it definitely does not deserve to win since there are so many great dresses already entered.

Sadly no sewing yet this week, I've been busy cleaning all the nooks and crannies in the house after a crazy dust storm we had here last week. Here is what our backyard looked like last Wednesday morning during the dust storm:

And here is what it looked like the following morning when the dust had blown away:

Just crazy! But the good news is that Anna is finally sleeping through the night, well 7pm to 5am which is a painfully early start to the day but it is a vast improvement on her habit of the last two months of waking every hour of every night. I'm looking forward to improved energy and concentration to get things done now yay!

The dress I've sewn 4 times and still haven't made....

Wednesday 23 September 2009
To prove to you all that this blog isn't just about baby clothes and terror nursing tales, I wanted to do a big reveal of the dress I had been making for the Mad Men competition over at Sew Retro. This is what I've been making, a vintage pattern from an unknown pattern company and unknown date, but it looks a bit sixties to me:

I had planned to make it from a fuschia/deep purple wool crepe that I have in the stash picked up some time ago from either a garage sale or op shop. I also had picked out the perfect brooch and shoes to go with it.

But.......It is for bust 38 in., which is about 4in. too big for me so I need to grade the pattern down a few sizes. Also two pattern pieces are missing, including a gusset piece under the arm so I need to draft one somehow with hardly any pattern markings to go by, because it is one of those old style patterns with just the punched holes. And if all that isn't enough challenges, it comes with instructions that give BWOF a run for their money in terms of brevity. So all that called for a fitting muslin, which normally I loathe doing because frankly I'm a little bit lazy.

However, after four, yes four muslins all I have to show for all that time and effort are a dress that is way too big, a dress that is way too small, and two dresses that just sit wonky and wrong all made out of fugly fabric from the stash. No goldilocks moment at all (ie no just right dress!). The problem is that the pattern is asymmetrical with all those darts and funny tucking of fabric to make the belt on the skirt front on one side only, so it is not that simple to just take some extra width out evenly across the front.

So having made this four times over and still no wearable dress, or even a UFO to show for it, I'm calling it quits and am moving on. I don't have enough time, patience or sleep in reserve these days to dilly dally around on a dress that I probably won't wear for ages anyway, and it's not like I don't another pattern or 600 to choose from! In fact, I've already found another although it too needs downsizing, hmmmm maybe I'll keep looking......

A little sewing.....

Friday 18 September 2009
Even though it's only early spring it has been absolutely hot hot hot around here this week. In our usual bad timing we've started doing work around the house again after a little lull, finally getting around to finishing the floors in the house since Anna is starting to show signs of crawling soon and we figured that old cracked floorboards with holes and nails in them aren't ideal for little knees and hands. So my poor dad and husband have been slaving away in the heat, whilst I've had the luxury of my mum here to help with Anna and I've managed to get a little sewing done.

Some more curtain panels for my sewing room done (yawn), sewing room almost clean (double yawn) a muslin and some pattern tweaking for a dress I'm hoping to have done by the end of September to enter the Mad Men competition over at Sew Retro (probably way too ambitious), a couple of UFOs further progressed (but still not finished) and a little pair of shorts for Anna that were just too cute not to make.

I used a vintage Simplicity 8040 pattern, which in a quirk of coincidence was printed in 1977 - the year that I was born. The good thing about kids clothes is that they use so little fabric, that I managed to make these shorts from leftover red linen that I made this jacket out of, along with some polka dot cotton for the pockets that was in the scrap fabric pile. They are very simple to make with an elastic waistband at the back, and the pockets are simply sewn onto the front of the fabric.

They are a little baggy around the waist, but they do stay up over her cloth nappy and since summer is still three months away she'll have plenty of time to grow into them. And they seem to pass approval, given the little dance she gave after giving them a thorough checking out:

And the last word on the biting during nursing - Anna seems to have stopped doing this now thankfully, it was getting more than a little annoying. And at mother's group on Wednesday two of the other mums reported that their little angels had started biting them too, so I had a silent chuckle to myself and then passed on all your tips!

how to make a messy room even messier.....

Wednesday 9 September 2009 bringing even more stuff into it. Good stuff though. Useful stuff that I scored at a bargain price so I couldn't possibly pass it by. I went to a garage sale last weekend and this is what I scored for the princely sum of $50:

Nothing too exciting fabric wise, mostly lining fabrics, although included in that stack is 5m of black wool crepe and a supersoft white knit. However the roll of white iron on interfacing and those two monster rolls of cardstock for patterns are totally worth the outlay, that cardstock alone is a good score.

So even though my husband sighed and rolled his eyes when he saw it, I squirrelled it away into my sewing room, you know, out of sight out of mind. I've been diligently cleaning too this week, I'd say I'm about 75% done and then I can take a photo for posterity! I've also done two panels of curtains out of the six I need to do - the windows in my sewing room are very long (one is 6m long alone).

Thanks everyone for chipping in about the breastfeeding and biting problems, the other mums in my mothers group look at me aghast as though I have a psychopath feral child! But it sounds like it's pretty wide spread. I've tried saying no very firmly and in an angry tone of voice, but she gives me a coy little smile which I'm sure I'll see again when she becomes a naughty 2 year old! So then I tried not giving any reaction and instead just detaching her, but then she doesn't seem too bothered at all by that. I tried giving her something else to bite on (a facecloth) but she just started playing with instead. Sigh, so much attitude from one so young!

However, I've noticed that Anna mostly bites during her last feed of the night so I think she's either tired or not enough milk is coming out and that's why she's biting, so by paying attention and unlatching when she stops feeding and before she starts biting seems to have fixed it for now. Carolyn - I did plan to breastfeed for at least 12 months so I can put her straight onto cow's milk rather than try to start bottle feeding formula at this late stage, so hopefully I can last another four months.

Tomorrow I'm heading into my work to sit through a meeting on another restructure to make sure I don't come back to some crazy situation next February. I couldn't rustle up a babysitter so I have to take Anna along, but if it does get boring at least I'll have an excuse to leave ("sorry everyone, the baby needs changing!). At this point in time I'm not too concerned, I know I'll definitely have a job and maybe a change in management would be good.

Anyway I'm hoping to do some shoe shopping tomorrow when I'm in the city, the weather is hotting up around here and I'm thinking of spring outfits plus I haven't bought a new pair all year! In fact I've cleared out about 10 pairs, so I think I'm due some new ones, maybe even ones with (sensible) heels....

viking tunic or BWoF?

Friday 4 September 2009
I was flicking through the stack of BWoF magazines that are piling up around here unused because I am otherwise occupied with my UFO odyssey, when I came across tunic 121 in the 4/2009 issue:

Looks very much like the viking tunic I made recently for my friend don't you think? I guess fashion really is circular.....

Speaking of the viking tunic, here it is in action:
I've put aside the viking sewing for now, and am concurrently trying to sew curtains for my sewing room, clean my sewing room and work on a UFO or two. I know I should concentrate on one task at a time and that way I would get through things quicker, but sewing tab top curtains and cleaning are sooooo boring!

Thanks for all your suggestions re: Anna biting while nursing. I am trying them all, so far with varying degrees of success. She is such a stubborn little thing! Yes Janine, she does turn her head whilst still attached, and she also squirms, kicks her legs, scratches, pinches and pulls my hair - feeding is certainly not a peaceful magical moment with her. And a second tooth has erupted this week, she has been chowing down on those teething rusks like crazy, although to look at her she looks like she's smoking a cigar: