Monday, February 8, 2016

Wardrobe, another DIY

 

Want to see what I've been making? Lo, it is a nice day, with some light in it. (If this is winter, I like it very much). My trusty assistant and I filled a basket with accessories and went out into the sunny garden for a few photos.

I've talked before about my struggles with following a pattern--even a good one--and getting a nice fit. I don't think I'm shaped all that weirdly, but must be I am, or else I am too picky, or something. Anyway, because I don't really know (yet) how to modify a sewing pattern to make it fit my particular self, I have over the years sort of accidentally made a couple nice things and also a whole big bunch of sad failures.

Also, I don't like to install zippers, or make buttonholes, or wear things that have elastic in them. I don't like facings. I don't like to use any kind of interfacing. I will set in some sleeves, but only if I have to. I like plain and easy, but it's got to fit, and it's got to be comfortable. That seemed like too much to ask, and I gave up on sewing clothes a couple times. I thought I just couldn't get what I wanted, but I found out I can. I love it when I get my way.

I made a dress from a (really lovely) pattern, and it was a fail. I made another dress, from another (really lovely) pattern, and it was also a fail. So I put them in the donate bag, got out my big paper and drew the dress I really wanted; loose and easy, but with some shaping. No zippers, nor buttons, nor elastic. I used a couple dresses from my closet as a guide, to make sure I was even close to getting the right size, and I used a french curve to help me figure out the neckline. (French curve? Oh my goodness, so nifty! How does it really work? I don't know! I just use it by placing it over the sketchy curved line I have drawn and scootching it around until I find a curve that looks right...ack! I know there's more to it than this, but life is for learning.)

Feeling bold, I did not make a muslin. (I also did not make a muslin, because, truth be told, I don't know what to do with a muslin. I don't know how to take what I have learned from making a muslin and apply it.) So I got out the pretty fabric and just cut it out. And just sewed it. And put it on. And friends, I smiled. I danced! I drove Doc crazy by making him repeatedly agree that it was amazing. I have worn this many times, and it is such a thrill. I loved everything about it, especially the plain and perfect sleeve, but a variation occured to me, and I was fired up, so I got out some more fabric and tinkered a little. Quick change...

Brr! A real model gets to put on a parka between shots.

This is the same dress, but with a little more room in the hips and a little pleated cap sleeve. When I put this on, I smiled, danced, laughed with glee. Look what I can do! I can make my own clothes, and they are good!

Whoops, it's slightly windy--watch those petticoats...

Did I stop there? Well, no. I started thinking about yokes, and about a nightgown pattern I made up a couple years ago. A few adjustments to the neckline, and done.

[Headmistress at an English boarding school. She's strict, but sweet, too. Teaches the older kids to drive in her vintage Citroen...]

This fabric is a wool plaid that I thrifted. (I know! Score!) Coming soon: the square yoke version. Honestly, ideas are coming practically on top of each other.

I started thinking tunics:

It's soft, comfy, versatile. Next time, the neckline will be lowered, and sleeves will be long. I wonder, if I cut it on the bias, will it drape more? Will that stretch out the neck opening too much? There's just one way to find out. Do it and see!

As I've said before, I come from a very crafty tribe. We all figure if there is a need for something, might be there is a way to make it ourselves. My clan of aunties are artists, every single one, and one auntie is a top-notch sewer of clothes and furnishings--she can make lined drapes and formal gowns and for-sure clothes with buttonholes and facings and the whole shebang (*waves to Auntie B*) and in the early 80s, maybe I was about twelve or thirteen, my lovely mama decided to teach me to sew for real. We went to the fabric store and picked out an easy dress pattern--it had six rectangular body panels, waist ties, facings, and a zipper--and a tiny, eighties-style calico print cotton fabric. It was simple and fun; we worked together on it, and I couldn't wait to get home from school, so we could get back to it. She made me do everything myself, and the sense of pride when it was done was huge. I wore that soft, plain dress into tatters. I was still wearing it in college, when my hair was wild, with big earrings and long underwear leggings and engineer boots, and a bookbag I made out of worn-out jeans. As a DIY girl, I'm so grateful to have those sewing skills, even as I disregard most of them. Thank you, Mom.

26 comments:

  1. Wow...I am so excited for you! You look beautiful and so proud of what you are creating for yourself. Oh, how I admire your abilities. You go girl!...*applause, applause*!!!

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  3. We are not worthy!!! Well done you! Wish I could throw things together like that and have them turn out so good..... Can't wait to see more. xxx

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  4. those are all adorable! wish you had a pattern to recommend, but good for you creating it yourself!

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  5. Oh you've nailed it! I made so many failures before I got good at sewing and I couldn't be bothered doing things properly like my mum kept showing me but slowly I have built up a bank of experience made by myself because I was too pig-headed to listen to anyone else. Not saying you are a pig or anything but just do it your way Kristen. It is making you happy I can tell. I love the brown one at the top best. Love Jo x

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  6. Wow, great dresses! I haven't sewn for myself in years, but I have had a shirt style in my head for awhile and I just might try it. It's a hippie style top like the kind I made in 1970:) Can't wait to see more of your results!

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  7. I love them all and I love that you love what you made! I especially adore that plaid number -- and you scored the fabric at the thrift store!! Heading out right now to my thrift store. Missed seeing cat dog.

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  8. Well done! It's so nice to be able to do for yourself!

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  9. Love the boots and leggings! Absolutely makes those dresses cute but not too daring (or cold!). Love the yoked plaid - great design feature. Thanks for the shout out!

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  10. Wow that's fab, well done, your so brave I wouldn't know where to start!xx

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  11. They all look so cozy and comfortable. Like some have said the plaid is gorgeous and the shawl......did you make it? Perfect accent piece.

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  12. i love every single look....you've styled all your outfits wonderfully!!! I'm hoping to find that perfect dress pattern (I think I might have found one!!! squeeeeeee!!!!) No zippers, no facings, no buttons....my kind of sewing!!!

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  13. I love them all, especially since you made them yourself!! My favorite is the tunic.. I also love the fact that you're my age and can still pull off a shorty dress! Go you. ;)

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  14. Have you seen this book by Lotta Jansdotter? http://www.amazon.com/Lotta-Jansdotters-Everyday-Style-Accessories/dp/1617691747/ref=pd_cp_14_4?ie=UTF8&refRID=11ZXC21X4EQHSVDCVEKW#reader_1617691747

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  15. Love so much ... and your black and grey tat

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  16. Good grief I was waiting for a dress, and you've created a whole wardrobe, with boots and leggings and shawls gaaah! From scratch even! Every one is a winner, though my fav is the first one in floral 'cause I love that fabric. The sleeve tuck on the blue one is adorbs. They all look so good on you. I have been pondering the french curve thingy, but I don't even know where to buy one - Joanns?
    I'm signing off here now to go dig through my fabric and pattern stash. Dang it now you started something :)

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  17. You are adorable and I am in love with your new wardrobe, everything you made is fantastic. I am looking for an easy dress pattern for summer, no way am I going it alone. You did fantastic.
    Hugs,
    Meredith

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  18. Hi Kristen! Loved reading about your makes and seeing you modelling them so well!!! I love every single one of them. I think I need to sew something soon!!!! (currently addicted to tapestry crochet which I only learned a week ago!)
    Ingrid xx
    Myfunkycrochet.blogspot.be

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  19. I now have tunic lust - I love it (and wish I could sew)

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  20. Very impressed! Impressed of England. Also, your shawls/scarves are just lovely.

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  21. love your new dresses and tops, GREAT JOB, just deciding what you really want and doing it.

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  22. love your new dresses and tops, GREAT JOB, just deciding what you really want and doing it.

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  23. I always try to write something new for my site as well but I cannot do so…

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