subtitle – When DIY Goes Wrong
One of the first things Raul and I did after we opened E1S1 was to move Raul’s personal machines and fabric stash from home to the studio. As we unpacked fabric to sort, fold and store in the cabinets, I very politely created my own stash of fabric that “spoke to me”. Because yes, I am now an aspiring fashion designer. *__*
There was a beautiful stretch fabric with tiny stripes of gray, lime green and purple that I decided would be fabulous with some purple cotton shirting. In my mind, it would be a dress with the striped fabric making the pencil skirt bottom and the cotton making a “blousy” top. I should pause here to say that I’ve not ever made a blouse in my life. But details, details! I wasn’t about to let that stop me.
I had plans to attend an event with friends and pondered what to wear . I’m pretty low maintenance these days, my work attire looking more like the contents of a gym locker. But I knew that my super-awesome dress would be the perfect ensemble to make me look like a grown-up. I even had the shoes and accessories all picked out.
So fast forward to the weekend before the event – the official story is that I chose to make separates instead of a dress because it would give me more styling options. I could wear the skirt with different tops and the blouse with different bottoms. The REAL story is that I am an impatient sewer with a short attention span and I used the energy I should have used to make the dress to whine, wheedle and try to get my husband to make it for me. I’m sure you can guess how that turned out……….
I could have asked for help, but I was determined to do it myself. The skirt turned out “kinda ok”. I’ve actually become pretty good at drafting patterns for bottoms. I took my measurements and traced out the pattern with tailor’s chalk on the fabric. The skirt was essentially a front and back with two side seams, a hem and elastic in the waist. It fits a little big in the waist but I’ve not quite figured out if it’s because it really is too big or if it actually fits properly and I’m just accustomed to clothes off the rack that fit like sausage casings. But I digress…….
The blouse is where it started to get tricky. I really needed a pattern but didn’t have one and I was determined to do it myself. I knew that I wanted a somewhat loose-fitting top that was slightly off the shoulder. I wanted full sleeves with tight cuff to make a tulip effect. But how to make the magic happen…hmmmm……. I knew! I’d use a t-shirt as a pattern! And I’d use an adult extra-large so that it wasn’t too tight.
It started out “kinda ok”. I cut the armholes a little smaller because they just looked too big to me (I should pause here to mention that although I am pretty smart, my ability to accurately estimate size and distance is virtually non-existent). I also did some tailoring magic with the neckline (that whole off-the-shoulder deal). I tried it on and while it was a little short and the armholes were way too big. it was kinda ok. I figured we’d just add some pieces to the bottom and make a sash. Voila! A new design element. ^__^ I got really exotic and pieced together scraps of the striped fabric with pieces of the purple fabric. I was a serging fool as I pieced this thing together. And we were still “kinda ok”
Well, next step (in my mind) was to add a facing to the neckline. I am proud to report that I cut out my facing and after a minor adjustment and making love with the iron and the pressing ham (LOVE the “ham”!), I had a top with a beautifully faced neckline. But here’s where things went from “tricky” to “seriously?!?!” That’s right. It was time to add sleeves.
Since I didn’t have a pattern, I knew I had to rig something up and rock it out! Raul took pity on me (actually, I think he just got to the point that his head was about to explode watching me) and showed me how to draft a sleeve pattern using a tape measure, curve ruler and piece of tailor’s chalk. I remain convinced that you can rule the world with a tape measure, a curved ruler and a piece of tailor’s chalk – especially if the chalk is a pretty color! Once again, I got exotic and went a little father afield then I should have. I curved that line way out because I wanted big, dramatic sleeves. I also created some sort of weird insert situation. I am fuzzy on why I did that, but I think I measured it, thought it was too small, created an insert but cut out too many so just included the extra ones (hey, why not!). And again I thought to myself “that looks kinda ok”……
Well, the sleeves were too big for the armholes. But I did some creative pleating along the shoulder to make it fit and wound up with a slightly puffed sleeve. I was sooo proud of myself. It looked really good (except for that one part but let’s not live in the past…). It was all good until I tried it on though. You see, in my excitement about having successfully added sleeves, I’d forgotten that the top was to be slightly off the shoulder. Who knew that slightly off the shoulder doesn’t really work with slightly puffed? Here is a picture:
The blurriness of the image somehow reinforces the sheer ridiculousness of it all, don’t you think?
I used up all the purple fabric so I’m thinking that if I do some pleating around the front of the neckline to close it up some and put the shoulders actually on my shoulders and cut the sleeves down to a reasonable size, I’ll have something wearable. I’ll let you know how that works out…….
Today I plan to make a dress but this time I’m going to ask for help.