Monday, April 20, 2015

Wing-it project: Butterick 1983 4948 skeleton dress Part I

(I was) watching: In Cold Blood (1967).  This is a movie that I always think of as being "pretty good" until I see it again and remember that it's actually "pretty amazing".  I mean, how many times can you watch a crime film?  The mystery is gone after the first go-round, and why would you subject yourself to all that trauma over and over again?  Right?

In Cold Blood is the answer.   I need to just buy this on DVD.  Personally, I like the acting.  I can't speak to their accuracy, obviously, but I think the characters are believable and interesting, human but scary.  However, even if they don't like the characters, everyone (over a certain age) needs to see this for the fimmaking.  

I found out recently that the first film to use free-standing pop music (that is, not written as an orchestral score for the movie or as custom songs for a musical film) was Easy Rider (1969).  I think I'm glad that In Cold Blood was made before this because I think that, if anything, this is the one movie I've seen that could do with less music.  It's a movie about at least one, and possibly two, sociopaths--the bleak, wide-angle cinematography (which absolutely deserved the Oscar), unforgiving high-contrast lighting, and detached, no-histrionics, storytelling are perfect.  The background music is fine, but I think that actual songs might have suggested ideas and emotions that would have interfered with the film.

There are films that do not, or did not, need to be remade--Psycho, of course, and I'm gearing up to avoid the comedic bastardization of The Rats of NIMH--and this was one.  The TV adaptation is not the worst thing I've ever seen but it is not art.  This is art.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I'm just squeezing this in between projects since I have Butterick 4948 out already:


This was inspired by the 1920's Hallowe'en novelty dresses I've seen online.  Those are usually orange with black appliques of cats, moons, witches, etc., and I think some of them may have been crepe paper, but whatever.  I might wear this not-just-for-Hallowe'en, but it's pretty ridiculous.

A friend gave me this skeleton fabric years ago and I've held off using it for anything (the skull lace was ordered off of Etsy):


I wasn't sure I'd have enough fabric so I planned to alter the pattern for a lower skirt panel and a bodice yoke.  As it turns out, I have enough, but it's so busy I stuck with the two-tone plan.  It will probably only have one row of lace on the skirt, though, since the lace is pretty wide:


Skull buttons, also from Etsy:


I re-drew the pattern with an pared-down version of the extended shoulder line borrowed from one of my 1948 patterns.  This shoulder was the in thing in 1948-1949:


So far:


Thursday, April 16, 2015

To-do list 2015-04-16

2015 dress projects:

1) January: Hollywood 1944 1411 Christmas dress (done)
2) February: DuBarry 1943 5612Valentine's princess dress (done)
3) March: DuBarry 1944 5986 St. Patrick's Day dress (done)
4) April: Marian Martin 1942 9928 Telephone Girl/Easter-ish (done)
5) May: Butterick 1983 4948 Belle France drop-waist dress in the Moda April Showers umbrella fabric. (done)
6) June: New York 1950's 1490 brown acorn dress
7) July: New York 1950's 1490 sundress
8) August: DuBarry 1945 6030 two-piece dress.
9) September: Simplicity 1943 4718 yellow Keepsake Calico Richloom Faine pinks-print dress

10) October: Simplicity 1943 4718 brown DS Quilts housedress
11) November: Advance 1940? 9621 cayenne-red utility dress 
12) December: McCall's 2004 M4548 undecided which version 

If time permits:
13) Butterick 1983 4948 skeleton dress (in progress)
14) Simplicity 4102 (1942) slate blue calico and maroon dress (Chicken Dress sister).

Butterick 1983 4948 April Showers part II

I got sidetracked for awhile by a sick cat, but she's back to eating and attacking my feet so I think that is in the clear.

The buttons.  These are decorative only, not functional, and they're just cheap craft buttons that I think came in one of those big mix-and-match bags, but they work.






I forgot to get more narrow bias and ended up cutting the leftovers from wide bias I'd used on the armscyes in half lengthwise to finish the trim on the skirt.  Yup.  It was a pain.





(The buttons are on the pockets and neckline.  You can't really see them here, though.)

Monday, April 13, 2015

Butterick 1983 4948 April Showers part I

Mispickel isn't feeling well and I spent a lot of the weekend following her around and fretting, or else I would have had this all done.

This project isn't going to generate a lot of blog posts since it's already almost finished.  It's yet another version of Butterick 4948 (1981), the Belle France drop-waist dress, so there wasn't any fitting or anything left to do.  I'm going to be way ahead on my May project.  I haven't decided yet if I'm going to just move on to June or squeeze in some other 4948's.

I have several versions planned that have long sleeves and I'd like to convert the bust darts to shoulder tucks.  Shouldn't take long; I just need to do it.

The fabric is Moda April Showers.  I got absolutely the last of this in multi-colored from GRS fabrics.


Sleeveless, with an Art Deco-ish neckline decoration:






And patch pockets, but I don't have a picture of those right now.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Marian Martin 1942 9928 Done!

South of town with what is, alas, not my 1947 International:



After all that work, this one is a winner.  I need to take a little length out of the front bodice--it buckles unless I stand up so straight I'm almost bending over, even though the waist height is OK everywhere else--and I'll hem it just a bit shorter next time so it looks more wartime.  I tend to hem skirts too long.  I was bad an used extra buttons--two more on the skirt, one on each pocket, one extra on the bodice.  Not good rationing, I'm afraid.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Marian Martin 1942 9928 Telephone Girl part IV: Back on track

Feeling melancholy this morning.  I have a lot of not-fun work to do at my job, and I accidentally crushed my passenger-side mirror against the garage door jamb.  Doh!  That's gonna hurt.


I overhauled the skirt last night: Added an inch of with and a second waist dart to each side (each half of the back); added 1/2 inch width from the hip down to all four quadrants, and added a seam up the back and another half-inch of width on each side of that seam.  With the two inches I added originally, that makes seven inches.  It finally occurred to me to measure the original pieces and it turns out they only had an inch of ease across the hips in the first place, which isn't even correct.  I don't think they've been trimmed down since all the pattern markings are there, just that, for some bizarre reason, there wasn't enough wearing ease.  

I find that skirts with one-piece backs rarely fit well, anyway, and was already thinking I needed to split the back and add a seam that curved toward the waist.  Sorry, the pix of the test muslin are in dark calico and don't show anything.  Just trust me--it fits.

I have to mess with the bodice a little more--I need to take a bit out under the arms, as usual, and I think the front in particular could be a half-inch shorter.  But it's not too bad.

 

Monday, March 30, 2015

Marian Martin 1942 9928 Telephone Girl part III: Sigh

Skirt totally did not fit.  Wouldn't even close across my hips.  No kidding.  Back for more pattern revisions tonight. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Marian Martin 1942 9928 Telephone Girl part II: Wearable muslin overkill

I spent Sunday putting way too much work into a wearable muslin.  Ha, ha.  

I shouldn't have done this, but once I got the pattern pieces traced and graded and some of the altering done, it seemed close enough that wasting all that work on something that wouldn't be used seemed silly.  So I got out some old green cotton-poly percale that a friend gave me.

Yes, it has orange facings.  Sue me.


I even splurged on rick-rack.  I need another pack of it, though.


If it fails, I still will not regret the green cat's-eye buttons I ordered:


The fabric is truly craptastic but it if it's usable as a weekend dress it won't have been wasted.  I think I need to pinch a little more out underneath the arms (this seems to be a thing with me) but, mostly, it's gone together well so far.  The bodice might be the right length or it might be a bit too long, but I think I'll know for sure once the skirt is on.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

To-do list 2015-03-18

2015 dress projects:

1) January: Hollywood 1944 1411 Christmas dress (done)
2) February: DuBarry 1943 5612Valentine's princess dress (done)
3) March: DuBarry 1944 5986 St. Patrick's Day dress (done)
4) April: Marian Martin 1942 9928 Telephone Girl/Easter-ish
5) May: Butterick 1983 4948 Belle France drop-waist dress in the Moda umbrella fabric.
6) June: New York 1950's 1490 brown acorn dress
7) July: New York 1950's 1490 sundress
8) August: DuBarry 1945 6030 two-piece dress.
9) September: Simplicity 1943 4718 yellow Keepsake Calico Richloom Faine pinks-print dress

10) October: Simplicity 1943 4718 brown DS Quilts housedress
11) November: Advance 1940? 9621 cayenne-red utility dress 
12) December: McCall's 2004 M4548 undecided which version 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Marian Martin 1942 9928 Telephone Girl part I

Up next: Marian Martin 9928 from 1942.  

This was one of the first vintage patterns I bought, at least six years ago, and I keep putting off sewing it as a "reward" for clearing up some less-tantalizing projects.  But that's ridiculous: I love it, and I went to a lot of trouble to pick out the fabric, and I should sew it now.  Right now. 

It's a pretty basic early-1940's housedress, but so what?  It's adorable:


Marian Martin was a mail-order company, closely related to Anne Adams and, I suspect, a bunch of  "magazine-branded" companies.  They started in the 1930's and petered out in the 1980's.  Mail order companies were heavy on housedresses and, later, casual wear.  They seem to have been sold largely through agricultural magazines.

The fabric is an out-of-print (well, it wasn't when I bought it but it is now.  Flickr says I uploaded the picture in June 2009!) Aunt Grace print.  The flowers are about half an inch.  But it's purple, so it's a logical choice for Easter, too, right?


My copy of the pattern is a bust 36.  That will make the skirt easy--I just have to take up the waist--but will require a grade down of the bodice, after which I anticipate some wrestling with fit.  That looks like it could be blousy and oversized around the upper chest and shoulders.  We'll see.

I haven't decided on buttons yet but I think they'll probably be straightforward white pie-crust buttons.  I hadn't considered trim, either.  I'm not quite feeling rick-rack this time but maybe I can score some tiny crochet lace if I feel it needs a little detail.  I think I'm pretty OK with it plain, though.

Update: Buttons!  From CountryNMore2 on Etsy.  I could even sew them on in bright red thread if I were feeling that matchy.


DuBarry 1944 5986 St. Patrick's Day dress part XII

Yes, I finished it!  I finished it before 11:00 last night, which is a miracle since I'm usually frantically setting shoulder pads in the wee hours.  I'm wearing it today!  But I don't have pix yet.  I'm supposed to go to dinner with the folks tonight so I'll ask Mom to get pictures.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Beatnik sweater, Take III

The Brick sweater's neckline ended up way too big so it's sitting unfinished in a file drawer at work.  I'm trying again with Amy Christoffers' Smithfield pullover.  Brick will probably get frogged, again, and reknit into something else.

DuBarry 1944 5986 St. Patrick's Day dress part XI - OMG REAL FABRIC

The packet of this pattern says "Easily Made".  That's a half-truth, at best.  Okay, it does in fact assemble with remarkable ease, but that's after you go through six and a half fitting muslins and take four inches out under the arms.

These pictures look like nothing because black fabric doesn't photograph well, but, trust me, it's like 75% done.  I have to do a little bit of hand-finishing today at lunch and then go home and figure out the sleeves.  That's it.  I didn't even cry when setting the zipper, and I tried it on last night and it looks like a dress. 


I added an inch and a half to each side of the skirt because the waist gathers looked skimpy.  Yeah, I know--fabric rationing fail.  Sorry.


But barring something completely unexpected, it should be done for Tuesday!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

DuBarry 1944 5986 St. Patrick's Day dress part X - Muslin #6

This is ridiculous.

This dress assembles very easily--I could probably cut and do most of the basic sewing in an hour (not counting seam finishing and setting the zipper).  Seriously, it's a piece of cake.

Fitting the bloody thing, though, will require me to work 42 hours straight on Saturday alone.  

I made a full muslin last night.  I was right--I added too much length to the bodice, but that's easy to fix.  I need to taper out a little more under the arms.  The front is poochy but I think shortening the waist and taking in the underarms will help that, and it's meant to be a little fluffy in the front with the gathering and the bow.  I think I need to add a little width to the front skirt to make the gathered sections look better, too.

I haven't even looked at the sleeves, which will be their own engineering project.  Sleeves always are.





You can't see it here, but the waist seam is below the belt.  But . . . progress.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

DuBarry 1944 5986 St. Patrick's Day dress part IX

Holy cow--I did yet another bodice muslin last night, with an inch of length added all the way around.  I'm going to add a skirt to it tonight to see if it really is the right length or if I've lost my way completely and made it too long.  I need to take it in a bit under the arms, too.  Nuts.

I think I'm going to end up making almost a full muslin for this dress.  I just don't trust it or myself any more.  It should be easy once the pattern fits, but getting the pattern it fit is giving me . . . fits.

Monday, March 9, 2015

DuBarry 1944 5986 St. Patrick's Day dress part VIII

O.M.G.

I swear this pattern is the Traveling Pants in reverse: No matter how much measuring and testing I do, it doesn't fit in a whole new way each time.

I'm sure I measured about a dozen times and altered accordingly but the waist is still an inch too small and I have no idea where that inch went.  Easy to fix, but it sure feels like a moving target.  

This is the fourth muslin.  I've made so many I've run out of the ugly beige bedsheet:


And I cut the armscyes out a little but am now reconsidering.  I'll worry about that later.  The bust fits well now, thou.  I'm going to attach a skirt of sorts to this to make sure it hangs at all the way it should before I waste more scrap on yet another bodice muslin.

I brought the patterns to work with me today to re-measure them over lunch and see if I can figure out what happened.


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

DuBarry 1944 5986 St. Patrick's Day dress part VII

Muslin #3.  I think 2477b must be the wrong size pattern in the packet because I measured it and it's tiny.  Whatever.  Added more width, carved out the armscyes, trimmed the bust because the pooch factor was out of hand.

I felt I was sort of getting out of control and straying too far from the original, but this muslin was less bad.  I think I need just a little more length (there is no inset belt), I need to tweak the darts, and the bust still needs paring down.  But it's getting closer.  

Here's a pic even though it conveys nothing useful:

Monday, March 2, 2015

Beer bread

I splurged on a Shiner Family Reunion this weekend.  I haven't tried the Haymaker yet and didn't want to miss it.  I usually like all of the beers in the Family Reunion except the Black, which is just too tart. 

But that's OK, because the world has beer bread.

This batch was experimental:

Preheat oven to 375.  Butter a loaf pan.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/8 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder

sift together twice.  Mix in but don't overwork:

1/4 cup butter, melted
12 ounces of beer

(I didn't add, but thought it could have used, a little salt.)

Bake 60 minutes, until browned.


DuBarry 1944 5986 St. Patrick's Day dress part VI

No pix.  I did a test muslin this weekend and it was a mess.  I suspect one of my patterns may be the wrong size.  But we'll figure this out.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

DuBarry 1944 5986 St. Patrick's Day dress part V

5986 is missing its back bodice piece.  When I did the test before, I borrowed the back from DuBarry 2477b (1940), which looked similar.  At least, the patterns are the same company, similar years, and are both plain backs with ordinary waist darts and no distinctive style elements.  It worked, but I seem to have misplaced the traced piece I used (2477 needed to be graded down a size).

So . . . new copy knocked out over lunch yesterday.  I did more this time--the lower half is graded down.  The upper half, to which I would have had to add width, anyway, was left alone but with a shoulder dart placed to make the shoulder seam match the front.  And I added an inch of length.  I thought about grafting the neck dart into the shoulder dart.  I might do that yet but I don't think it's a big deal.


I need to run up another test and then make clean copies for both patterns.