As you know, one of my sewing goals is to sew more lovely things for myself. Because, unlike my children, I actually need new clothes. And unlike one of my children, cough cough Joe cough cough, I actually appreciate hand-made clothing!
So far, it has been a bit of a learning experience. I realized that if I'm going to successfully sew for myself, I am going to need to learn more about fit. One technique I definitely need to master is the "full bust adjustment," known in the biz as an FBA. I recently had myself properly sized for a bra and discovered I should be wearing a size 32G-FREAKING-ENORMOUS. I thought I was a 34DD, but no. While it was a rude awakening ("WHAT? I didn't even know cup sizes went that high!"), I am thrilled to have bras that actually fit.
So, wow, I am five cup sizes bigger than the B-cup most patterns are drafted to accommodate. While being quite petite in the rib-cage and across the back and shoulders. No wonder I have such a hard time getting a good fit from blouses, RTW or otherwise! This is why I mostly wear knit tops.
It seemed easiest to learn the FBA technique on a very simple pattern. So a few weeks ago, I started playing with Megan Nielsen's "Eucalypt Woven Tank" pattern. This is a basic woven tank pattern with no darts or bust shaping at all. I dutifully "muslined" the pattern straight out of the envelope and sure enough, duh, I need a full bust adjustment. So I broke out my copy of Fit for Real People and did a full bust adjustment, adding a dart on the side for a little more shaping.
With muslin number #2, the good news was that there was plenty of ease across the bust and the darts were in the right place. The bad news was that it was way too big! While the additional ease was needed across the bust, it was not needed so much around the waist area (note, I did not add vertical under-bust darts).
Which brings us to muslin #3, a.k.a. "wearable muslin," a.k.a. "my new breezy summer dress, yay!"
I've had this lovely yardage in my stash for years. It's a very soft lightweight cotton with a pretty Indian print that used to be curtains. I picked it up at a garage sale years ago for dollars and have considered using it again for curtains! That never happened, but I could never find the perfect project for it. Doesn't it just scream breezy summer dress? I think so too.
With this version, I took out some of the extra ease (but not as much as I should have), took a bit of length off the shoulder straps, cut the tank off at the waist (well, probably could have moved it up a smidge), gathered a skirt onto the tank, and zig-zagged some thin elastic onto the waist. Ta-da! A simple dress.
I couldn't resist adding a subtle "hi-low" hem to give the dress a little extra interest. And of course, pockets! Gotta have pockets! I have to say, this dress is just so pleasant to wear - so light and comfortable on a warm summer day. Yes, I know the rest of the sewing blog world is talking about how the summer is
almost over, and making plans to sew clothes for autumn, blah blah blah. I say hush, you. August
and September are the nicest months of the year in the Bay Area, and my summer is still
in full swing! I have in no way resigned myself to the onset of autumn. Nope. Take that, autumn.
You know those lovely staged photos of women in flowing dresses wandering through fields of flowers; here is my take on that trope: I am "wandering" through sprawling summer squash plants, with a healthy hops vine growing up on corrugated aluminum behind my head. Pretty romantic, right? Look, I found a summer squash!
(I forget the name of this variety, but it some kind of round heirloom zucchini. Which tastes ... just like zucchini. In case you were wondering.)
Things I will change for muslin #4: It is still too big! I either need underbust darts, or I need to take it in quite a bit more. I like "blousy" but this verges on "poofy." If I do another dress, I will also move the waistline up a little bit. This is still a work in progress, but I feel like I'm getting somewhere on this selfish sewing journey, and that's gratifying.
And it looks cute with a cardigan too! Anyone want some summer squash? It is that time of year (i.e., the time of year when you regret planting so many squash seeds) and we have plenty to spare.
An aside: I have been growing my bangs out for about a year, and they are finally long enough to tuck behind my ears. So of course, now I desperately want bangs again. Check out my Pinterest board - it's bangs, bangs, bangs, and more bangs! I hope I'm woman enough to admit when I've made a mistake - I just really like cute bangs. I don't feel as hip without them. Do let me know your thoughts, I have a hair appointment next weekend.