I've been thinking about the uniform I am building, draping, plotting, stitching. I want it to be simple...no closures; bias but secure around the bust and armholes. I want it to be SHRUGGED ON, when I dress. Uber easy. I want it to be feminine...appropriate for all ages. I want to be able to stand to wear it. I'm getting there, but I am wondering about the design of the dress. Hmmm... I may drape more cloth.
After much draping and sewing and draping and sewing and tracing of shoulders that fit...I completed the 2 major patterns today. The dress is a slamdunk. Except for stretching and/or slipping, it should be easy and accurate. ( I know, "Famous last words...")
The jacket took more time to get right. I finally got the shoulder right. I still don't know if I got the front facing correct. It is a self-liner for the turn back lapel and has a funny jog in the stitching to allow the turn back and some fancy decorative folds. Another muslin model is ahead for this. Currently, I think the final jackets will be wool flannel, which will do the ease really well.
After a difficult week of transitioning the embroidery tests to testing the actual fabric...success has been achieved. When I started embroidering on the more open weave fabric, all kinds of bedevilment occurred: Shifting fabric, rat's nests, shredded thread. When I tested netting, for the petticoat, it embroidered fine, but would not sew up on my sewing machine! Lingerie fabric was hard to find. I decided that I wanted nylon tricot, to make a soft, full skirted petticoat. Boy was that hard to find! I have now found 2 sources for it....one sample has arrived, the other is on its way. I am also awaiting undyed wool flannel. So, things are moving again.
A number o things a re happening with the Wearing My Age project, all at once. I have been testing different layers of fabric for the appliques. I have failed, so far, in developing a petticoat I like. I have worked a tiny bit on a large drawing of one of the proposed uniforms. I perfected the dress pattern and have begun the jacket pattern. Yay for draping on a form! However, the sleeve is currently eluding me. I will get it right, soon.
Please click on the photos to enlarge them and read my comments.
Design is happening a little faster, although I have been in procrastination mode! But, the embroidery machine calls and I obey. I think the final on this will have an organza layer and, maybe, a serged edge? Satin stitch edge, at least.
Probably 2 years ago I took and introduction to pattern making and an in depth class on draping. I was SO OUT OF MY ELEMENT, but somehow I knew I would need these skills soon.
For the last couple of days I have been avoiding the dress form.
I've been setting goals: a good thing.
I've been doing research : a good thing.
I've written thank you notes: a good thing.
But, really, I have been terrified and procrastinating to cover it. I've been looking at patterns and notes from today, yesterday, 2 years ago. My head was spinning. So, I decided to proceed as a sculptor.
I knew I wanted bias flow to widen the skirt. I had figured out that a straight grain on the bust and tummy was probably a good thing for my body. SO, I draped on grain in reference to the princess lines on the form. I inserted 2 darts, winged it drawing the armhole scyes. Then I cut LARGE squares and draped the side holes on the bias.
The back of the dress is too flat. But then, I am flat in back.
The next task will be to mock up a petticoat. That will tell me how I need to adjust the pattern.
By the way...I used a charcoal pencil to mark things! The marking pens had dried up and I hate my current batch of tailors chalk! The 6B charcoal pencil was a dream to use!
I've been working long hours learning Tru Embroidery software. One of the truly fun things to do is convert photos into simple redwork embroideries. In doing this, I will have a new, small body of work, stitched on my Mother's hankies, and I will have honed my skills in: fills, density, graduated fills, auto trace, tablet trace, column stitch, satin areas, stabilizers, repairs, combining designs, editing designs, modifying density and stitch order, and machine use. Do look at the slide show.
While I am very tired...I have been having such a good time doing this!
The Wearing My Age survey is, ultimately, about collecting and developing language for this project. But, one can't help but learn a thing or two. I am about half way through reading the 168 responses. Yesterday, I read 3 or 4 different surveys that talked about the power of the apron. For one, a ceramist, the apron was power. When she was wearing the clay and glaze streaked apron, the public saw her as a master craftsman. Without it, she was overlooked. The same could be said for the chef. But the lunch room worker? not so much. A college graduate, with more education than the average, she was assumed to be "less than." All three liked their work, but were aware that their "uniform" tended to communicate different things about them then their self perceived reality.
WEARING MY AGE
I have received a grant from the Jerome Foundation to work on a project that I have called "Wearing My Age."