dyeing to get it fixed!

I was so careful tonight. I read the instructions twice. I’d done a test run first. I crossed my fingers. But despite all this my fabric dye job has come out uneven. I have NO idea what has gone wrong. The only thing I can think of is that maybe the fabric needed to be unfolded more? Can I dye this again to even out the colour? the organza worked out fine.

Any help or advice really appreciated…..

 

two of the pieces I dyed

two of the pieces I dyed

oh goody, here come the godets, yoke’d to the coursework!

Here’s my latest sample offering. A rather striking combination of yoke waistband modification and yoke inserts. The yoke has worked very well. The godets, well lets say it’s a hello and goodbye experience. I think longer ones might work better, but with the very, ummmmm, brief length of the skirt this is how they turned out.

The positives: it fits (quite snugly in fact), there is no extra ease anywhere by mistake, I think technically it is ok.

The negatives: I don’t think this looks like anything I would ever wear. I made a bit of a miscalculation with adding the side godets. Usually there would be a side seam. Accept I’d eliminated them and turned the upper curve in to a dart. Which meant my 1.5cm seam allowance for the godet was actually eating in to the skirt fabric instead. I needed to lengthen the dart to eliminate a bobble forming from the top of the godet. This might be why it’s a bit snug!

the modified in to a yoke upper skirt pieces (darts removed)

the modified in to a yoke upper skirt pieces (darts removed)

back

back

hello flippy godets!

hello flippy godets!

side profile

side profile

a lesson in grain(ed)

I have now sewn up the toile skirt and attached it to the bodice. The good news, it fits, the pleats work well, and the skirt is lovely and full. The only issue I saw which needed tackling was that the mock waistband wasn’t sitting flat, but standing out like another fold of the skirt. In short, the skirt was too full at the front.

The dress was duly paraded in front of my tutor for perusal and advice. She helped me re pin it to take out the excess fullness. In the process it’s loss some of it’s curve, which I’m hoping to regain in the redrafted skirt front. Unfortunately, I’ve been told my overlapping technique of symmetrical front skirt pieces is not going to work too well, as due to the curve they are actually asymmetric. So I have to draft another skirt piece (yay, not!). I had hoped I’d got everything drafted by this stage.

One further issue raised by my tutor was grain. I have zilch previous experience cutting out circle skirts, so just aligned the edge of the skirt pieces with the selvage as I would with the bodice pieces. Being a circle skirt, this means other sections of the skirt are NOT on grain. Apparently this affects the hang of the skirt. She said the front and back centre seams should be on grain. I’ve been left a tad confused after my fabric shop said that if you were matching a stripe than it would not be on grain. So I guess this is not always true.

I still have to attach the waistband, but here’s an idea of what it looks like. One further photo, I’ve dyed the mini dress using the dye I intend to use for the real thing. Let me say hand dyeing is a PAIN. Stir for 15 minutes constantly, then regularly for 45 minutes? no thanks in future. If you look closely its a tiny bit patchy. The final version should come out a little bit less intense as there will be more fabric to dye. I thought a test run would be a good idea.

you can finally see the three box pleats properly. Just the right size, otherwise it would add too much bulk

you can finally see the three box pleats properly. Just the right size, otherwise it would add too much bulk

for once a well fitting back with no adjustments, something I often have to do

for once a well fitting back with no adjustments, something I often have to do

hello sunflower yellow

hello sunflower yellow

My washing machine should do a better job than me (fingers crossed). I am a little nervous as this fabric isn’t produced any more so I only have one shot.

deciding not to do things by halves

I was sorely tempted today to to plough straight in to cutting out the full sized pattern pieces for the skirt, after the success of my bodice. I firmly reigned myself and sternly told myself to do things properly, given the amount of fabric involved if my calculations were off for the skirt.

Out came the pattern drafting paper. I WAS going to make a half sized version. I asked myself, on further reflection, what would be the benefit, given the amount of new drafting (and calculating) this would require. So I ditched that idea, and went for a full sized sample with the added benefit I could check what it looked like on me.

In short (literally) it all looks good, and come tomorrow I think I’m going to cut the full sized skirt pieces out. When I have a less tired brain than now, and can tackle things better. One good piece of news, my housemate took some photos of me in the bodice so you can see what it looks like on me. It’s managed to collect some creases since sitting on my dress form.

 

the front

the front

the side

the side

the back. Note to self, cotton will crease when left on bed hastily.

the back. Note to self, cotton will crease when left on bed hastily.

Photo on 2013-05-23 at 22.33 #2

bursting (at the seams) with satisfaction

So, today I cut out my bodice toile pieces and have sewed them all together. I wanted to check the fit before moving on to The Skirt (so big, it deserves a whole post all of its own once done!). My housemate is not here to take a photo, so I’m afraid my dress form is centre stage. But, hopefully it will be enough to give you an idea.

Good grief, it actually looks just like what I imagined. Plus it fits, like a glove. No extra ease anywhere, like the dress form has been poured in to it. Never had that happen before, I always have to make adjustments. Maybe all that pattern drafting hassle is worth it after all if this is the result you get first time round. Fingers crossed the skirt results in something similar.

 

the back, still need to decide on the angle of the ends - watch this space

the back, still need to decide on the angle of the ends – watch this space

the side, once I get a lining added (on the real thing) I think things will lie more smoothly. This is quite thin toile fabric.

the side, once I get a lining added (on the real thing) I think things will lie more smoothly. This is quite thin toile fabric.

the front

the front

all bodice pieces read to be cut out, apart from the longest section of the mock waist band

all bodice pieces ready to be cut out, apart from the longest section of the mock waist band

double toil(e) = trouble?….

Maths is something I have happily relegated to distant school memories. Apart from the occasional (calculator aided) addition/subtraction or how much money will I get off percentage calculation it is a subject I have not dwelled on. No longer. Pattern drafting (whether you like it or not) requires some essential maths.

I will soon find out how good my rather rusty skills are. So, since last sharing my little mini dress version, what has happened? not a huge amount, in terms of physical work. Lots of measuring, and ruler work too.

I now have the (full sized version) pattern drafting finally done, and can get on to the business of doing some more sewing after I’ve cut out my toile fabric. I’d like to make a half scale version of the front of one side of the waist, where the skirt and bodice meet. Just to check things are going to work out in terms of drafting, and also that my little inverted box pleats are not too measly in size. The result is some rather large pieces, but at least there are not many of them!

Let’s have a little identity parade…hopefully there will be no guilty culprits later on. I’ve shown the seam allowances on the bodice pieces, and if you look very closely you can see where I’ve reshaped the darts to get a less Madonna esque look with regards to bust shaping.

front and back bodice, before modification

front and back bodice, before modification

houston, we have take off. The bigger skirt piece includes the three inverted box pleats and the front over lap.

houston, we have take off. The bigger skirt piece includes the three inverted box pleats and the front over lap.

front and back bodice pieces. The front now has the triangle front centre piece added. The long pieces will be the mock waist band. The oddly shaped frisbee shape is the collar.

front and back bodice pieces. The front now has the triangle front centre piece added. The long pieces will be the mock waist band. The oddly shaped frisbee shape is the collar.

.

high drama fabric

oh so nearly true for me (got to love Japanese translations!)

oh so nearly true for me (got to love Japanese translations!)

Today I made a quick visit to my local fabric shop to pick up a few odds and ends before class on Saturday. Whilst there I indulged in some mild paranoia, and asked the assistant to confirm they still had plenty of my chosen project dress fabric left. I’d been told they always had it in stock, and had done for years.

So imagine not only being told they don’t have any, but that the supplier won’t be providing any more! Slightly gutting to say the least…seeing the abject disappointment on my face, the assistant returns with a pile of the same fabric, which had been offcuts because of flaws. It’s going to take some careful pattern placement, but I think I am going to be ok! given that it’s taken quite a while to find something that will work in terms of drape and body for the design I want to make, the idea of finding a substitute was not pleasant.

I hope the remainder of my sewing experience with this dress is less eventful…..

gathering the threads – of my thoughts

Having completed my little quarter scale model of dress, I finally feel like I’ve crossed some kind of invisible hurdle. The kind of stage in a dress making project where you finally see all these disparate pieces, carefully prepped, fussed over, pressed and tenderly cosseted in to readiness for the final meeting with all their brethren.

I can now see the benefit of previous hours spent wondering where an earth I was zig zagging, seemingly without direction, or much apparent output. It’s been at times hard to keep the faith that actually I was (roughly) heading in the right direction. I still need to await the final reality check of my grades naturally – don’t take these comments as complacency! there is still much to do.

But, first some more finished samples. Apologies, for the lack of chronological order. These were done a few weeks ago, but I’ve just dug them out of storage bags from class and given them a good press.

I wish in some ways life was more like dressmaking. Give it your all, concentrate, focus and study and you’ll see the progress you make with each project. Unfortunately life is on a much bigger canvas. The steps are invisible until you look back on them, like writing with invisible ink!

 

two firsts. My first proper standard zip insertion (lapped) and also if you look at the back....

two firsts. My first proper standard zip insertion (lapped) and also if you look at the back….

there's my first personally drafted placket!

there’s my first personally drafted placket!

machine smocking this is SO much easier than hand smocking!

machine smocking
this is SO much easier than hand smocking! do you think Dior would approve of the design?

what’s in my diary today (coursework…)

I’m feeling quite virtuous today. Instead of remaining glued to the pages of one of my favourite authors who has just released a new book I have instead been a faithful student. That’s right, you get some more stuff to read! Lady Amberley (in short, me) has been busy writing more dress design diary entries. Fear not, time travelling is not part of the plot. It’s just some “days” (how I’m splitting the chapters of my portfolio) are more complete than others. I doubt reading pages littered with half completed bits and pieces will be of much interest to anyone.

So, here’s what I have so far. Please note, you won’t see much in the way of pictures, as these are already carefully cut out and added to the actual portfolio. This is the text to go with it.

Foreward

Introduction dior

day 3 pattern blocks Dior

day 5 inspiration dior

Feel free to let me know if a) it works for you or b) I have truly lost the plot!

a waist(ed) morning!

I should have known that at some point my relatively straight forward dress design journey would eventually meet a hiccup. Suffice to say drafting an asymmetrical waist band was probably always going to be stretching my skill set, so I guess in some ways I should have seen it coming.

The good news, I eventually got the thing attached looking roughly like I wanted it to. It resulted in chopping off a piece of one side (I split the waistband in to two pieces) and the other piece being a little too short. I also need to add a bit more curve to the point where it meets the centre front waist bodice seam otherwise its going to look a mess. In retrospect, all the above are drafting errors, but you learn from experience, right?

A few other problems discovered. My union fabric does NOT like being turned. I used my trusty organza for the reverse side of the band, and tried to use my tube turner. It was a battle of wills. I won (stubborness is my middle name) but I think I might go for another fabric for the real thing, it will make my life much easier. Besides, I want a contrasting colour so this was likely to happen from day one.

One thing I can certainly say. Thank goodness I am doing this on a mini scale, so I dont have to to worry about using up lots of fabric. It really takes some of the frustration and worries about cost out of experimenting. I highly recommend it.

I think I have got the main steps tried out now. I would like to practice making the inverted box pleats on a larger scale because these ones are just not big enough to make neatly or accurately.

my attempt at drafting (the smaller piece is duplicate for the other side of the waistband)

my attempt at drafting (the smaller piece is duplicate for the other side of the waistband)

the back, this is where the waist band pieces meet, in the real thing there will be a zip

the back, this is where the waist band pieces meet, in the real thing there will be a zip

the front

the front