Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Blog For All Reasons

Anybody who has been dabbling here in Damselfly’s Pond for any length of time has, I’m sure, come to realise that I tend to flit around from one project to another. There’s always a knitting project - or several - on the go. Occasional forays into spinning and dyeing, both botanical and synthetic. A little gardening, some blather about family and vacations to visit trees/rocks/water, and a goodly smattering of opinions on everything. (Except maybe religion and politics. My mommy warned me they could be rather contentious subjects.) Lately I’ve been Sewing Obsessed. Kinda. Did you notice?

And it’s starting to really pay off! I’m definitely getting to where I have some control over that biggest of bugaboos: fit. Yay! I feel like it’s been a college education course to learn the skills though. Apparently I have more than the average number of “fitting issues”. But I’m finally figuring out how to compensate and each time I make a garment I’m fine-tuning my basic shapes. Kind of wearable muslins. I now have a basic front, back and sleeve for stretch fabrics that I’m pretty happy with, plus an armhole and sleeve for wovens. My shoulder princess bodice is getting close to perfection but the armhole princess needs a little more work. What I don’t have yet is a basic skirt block which hopefully shouldn’t be too hard to do. And then…pants. Which frightens me quite a lot! I want two types: for wovens and for stretch fabrics. Pants are tricksy at the best of times and I don’t have the best of shapes to fit them on. I’ve got the Pants for Real People book however and as long as my sewing mojo sticks around, I know I’ll get to it. Eventually. Ultimately I’m trying to wean myself away from buying any more commercial patterns. If I have to adjust the fit anyway, I might as well start with something that fits and add the design features to it. Saves money, if not time. And hopefully I get a better result.

Meanwhile, I have one and a half more garments to sew from the two pieces of fabric I cut out awhile back. I’ve already made the Black Banana Skirt and the slinky Sleeveless Tunic, both blogged here. Yesterday I started sewing the Yoke Dress which uses both the black rayon ponte and the black/gray slinky fabric. For inspiration I swiped knocked-off borrowed Style Arc’s Laura Dress:


However, I used my own stretch pattern blocks and drafted my own pattern. The front yoke on their dress is actually a straight line! Who knew? Mine is curved and with a little of the bust fullness eased in. It’s also a little more fitted and has pockets. Not to diss Style Arc but I like my version better. (She says rather smugly.) I should have it finished up today. Then one more garment to go in the black ponte, a cowl-neck tunic with long sleeves. Not bad: 4 garments from just under 5 metres of fabric. Only tiny scraps left. BTW, the Thread Catchers that I made work a treat! The one on the serger catches the cuttings as I sew. No muss; no fuss. I need a tailor’s ham now…

While I’m on the sewing subject, I’ve been reading sewing blogs. Of course! I’ve probably mentioned this before but there are quite a few of the younger ones who are totally enamoured of the “retro” look of the ’40’s, ’50’s and early ’60’s. I don’t know if it’s the Mad Men craze or just a new-found desire to look super-girly as an abrupt change from the ubiquitous jeans and a t-shirt. I hope they don’t harbour any illusions about the limited role of women in those eras. I grew up during the latter part of those decades and I, for one, have no desire to go back there. Which is probably why that is sooooo not my style. But if you have somewhere to go to in a red lace-encrusted wiggle dress and killer heels, then go with my blessings! Just don’t try to run for the bus, ’kay?

What I enjoyed a lot were some good tutorials (for techniques like zipper applications, linings, full bust adjustments), some excellent and occasionally humorous writers and the fact that few patterns fit any body right out of the envelope. Here’s just a few of my favourites in no particular order:

And many more. Check out other people’s blog rolls. You never know when somebody will resonate with you. Or there’s the social sites for sewing folks:

And for fabulous drool-worthy garment inspiration, this person shares a lot of my personal taste (but that’s OK if it’s not yours):

Thanks to Shams for sharing Karyn’s Pinterest page. BTW, you can still see things even if you aren’t a member of Pinterest. As long as you don’t mind the site’s popup hanging around!

Bottom line, I sew for both recreational and practical reasons. I hate shopping and can’t find what I like in stores that fits me, suits me or that I can afford. If I make it, I get pretty much exactly what I want. Or a near-facsimile. Works for me.

Off to sew.

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