Sunday, April 18, 2010

Magic Darts

So being someone who does very little sewing of modern clothes, my dart knowledge is very minimal. 16th Century clothes don't use them at all and mid-to-late 19th Century clothes only use them at the waist, so the whole bust dart concept isn't one that I've really worked with.

When faced with the gaping armscye on the Dior dress, I had a vague idea that I could take a dart there and then shift the extra fabric into another dart. Did I have any idea of how to do this in real life? No, I did not. Threads magazine to the rescue!

For Christmas, the Husband gave me the complete set of Threads fitting dvds. I can tell right now, I'm going to get so much use out of these. The DVD made it perfectly clear how to shift the fabric from my dart to the existing bust dart. I took the dart in the muslin and marked it with a pen so that it looks like this:

Then I transfered the markings to the pattern, cut the dart, and taped it closed along the dart lines so the pattern curved from the dart. Then, I cut down the center line of the existing bust dart to release the tension, open up that dart, and get a smooth pattern piece again.

Et voila!

The fact that you can tranfer the extra fabric into ANY dart is going to mean good things for my Victorian fitting too. Hurray for darts!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

I Don't Think This Is What M. Dior Had In Mind

So, the first muslin of the bodice of the New Look dress. Where to begin. How 'bout with:




Ok. Here's a photo of the first muslin. Let's look at the areas that could use some, shall we say, improvement.

In this photo, the shoulder seam is in approximately the correct position, as is the bottom of the back. Note the placement of the bust. See that lumpy section about halfway up my chest? Yeah, that's where the bust darts are. See the slight curve of black right between my chubby tummy and the muslin? Yeah, that's my actual bustline. And let's not even talk yet about the gapping at the armscye.

So here's the same muslin with the bust shifted to the correct position. Note the placement of the shoulder seam and the way the back rides up. Fix needed: Increase length of "strap" in the front.

Here is muslin #2 with the front adjusted.

To adjust the front, I cut the pattern piece across from the armscye to the neck and added two inches (I measured the distance from the actual position of the shoulder seam when the bust was in the correct place to the position where the shoulder seam should be). Then I corrected the curve on the arm.

As you can see, there are still issues to be addressed. The armscye still gaps and will need to be adjusted. I'm still figuring out how to shift the extra fabric into the side dart. Also, the shoulder is much too wide. This is supposed to be a sleeveless bodice with the edge of the shoulder hitting right at my true shoulder point. You can also see that the back is riding a bit high, even though the shoulder seam is in the correct place, and the armscye in the back is a bit tight. I think this can be corrected by adding a bit to the back of the shoulder as well.

Next up: fitting the armscye, bust, and back length.


So I'm officially the worst blogger ever. No new posts in 9 months? What the hell? It's not like I didn't do any sewing or costuming. Just no blogging. I suck.

Anyway. New endeavor. Summer dress inspired by Dior's New Look.

For those of you who don't know, in 1947 Christian Dior introduced his Corolle collection. After years of rationing and war-time starkness and thrift, Dior brought femininity and luxury back with one fell swoop. His new collection, inspired by the clothing of the Belle Epoque according to M. Dior, was all nipped in waists and padded hips and beautiful fabric--lots of it. It was coined the "New Look" by Harper's Bizarre.

This dinner dress from Spring/Summer 1947, called "Cherie", is typical of the New Look (photo from the Metropolitan Museum of Art)

My dress is inspired by Dior's New Look and drafted initially on my Wild Ginger PatternMaster Boutique pattern drafting software. It's the first thing I've drafted with it, so it's sort of my test. Needless to say, the measurements I entered need some, um, adjustment.

The dress will hopefully turn out looking something like this:

For the fabric I've chosen a white cotton lawn printed with blue flowers. I wanted something light, summery, drapey and feminine. Since the fabric is very sheer, I'll be lining it with cotton the same blue as the flowers. The fabric is here:

My goal is to have this done by May 8 when the Husband and I are celebrating our 10th anniversary.

Next up, fitting the bodice. Yikes!