Simplicity 9200 (1994) Part I: Pattern-induced ADHD

I have to do some seam-ripping on Grit 3033.  The neck binding is totally not working so I have to take it apart and redo it.  Sigh.  Not a big deal, just not interesting enough to post.  

I have an extended weekend coming up--Labor Day, plus two floating holidays I have to take this week or lose entirely--and I can already feel myself working up to a state of breathless, sewing-induced, panic.  What to work on?  WHAT TO WORK ON??  Whattoworkonwhattoworkonwhattoworkon????

Which means I need to slow down, take a deep breath, and prioritize.  And then I need to stick with what I've chosen.

1) Tumblers.  Must do tumblers.  Come on, this is easy and mindless and such a big payoff for so little effort.
2) I have three dresses planned using Simplicity 4727's bodice; I could easily cut them all at the same time and sew them up without much trouble.
3) I spent this weekend tinkering with Simplicity 9200 (1994).  That's where this post is going.


I know.

This pretty much embodies all that went wrong in the 1990's--extremely dropped waist (I think the pattern has a 23-inch bodice length.  That's insane), way too much skirt, juvenile Peter Pan collar, oversized armscyes and corresponding baggy sleeves.  It even has a dropped shoulder.  At least it doesn't have shoulder pads, right?

I wear skirts and turtlenecks to work a lot, not because I love skirts and turtlenecks but because they're easy, comfortable, warm, low-maintenance, and non-scary (to clients.  I don't have to look terribly polished, but I do have to look non-threatening).  I'd like some alternatives, though.  I need some things that will allow me to climb and lift boxes while still looking . . . librarian-ish.  (I'm not a librarian, but my job is librarian-ish.)

I spent this weekend tinkering with this.  It's super baggy, so I took it in to a size 10 (one size too small, technically) and then did a full-bust adjustment so it would have darts.  Which wasn't bad.  The first test bodice had the darts out-in-left-field wrong, but the second one was . . . well, closer.  They're still way wrong, but they're less wrong:

I had issues with the back, though.  It's huge.  Even in a size 10, it's huge.  I started taking up darts:

The darts helped with the fit, but caused problems with the length, because you can't really have a dress whose bodice is taken in at the waist, but that also has a drop waist.  Conflict of interest.

So I shortened it.  No picture of that, but it was at that point that I realized I was trying to turn it into another dress entirely and that I needed to put it aside and go to bed, at which point I lay awake for far too long stewing about this darned pattern.

I dyed fabric for it this weekend.  My dyeing mojo has been AWOL lately but may have come back, because 3 1/2 yards of pink cotton + 1 bottle Rit Violet + 1 box Rit Brown got me a bunch of nice wine/magenta-ish, soft, fabric.  I would hang really nicely in a loose dress.

It finally occurred to me at some horrible hour of the morning that there are a couple of issues here  (Warning: Baggage ahead): I'm afraid of my hips.

There, I said it.  

At the risk of sounding like I still think like a fourteen-year-old: I spent a lot of time fighting with clothes.  Yeah, I know--first-world problems, but it was what it was.  Jeans haven't really fit me since the wide-leg craze of the 1990's, and I'm not holding my breath for that to come back.  I'm pear-shaped.  Sometimes I think this is one of the most difficult body shapes--if I were thick-waisted, stuff would still not fit, but at least I could get pants on, even if the legs were too big.  Instead, pants whose waistbands should fit only come up to my knees because of my thighs and hips.  Pants that go on all the way need--I wish I were exaggerating--four inches or more removed from the waists.  I'm not sure even getting them altered could fix that.  Many skirts are the same, since they're either fitted or have waist yokes.  Circular and dirndl skirts that are meant to fit right at the waist fit because they don't depend on hip-to-waist ratio or waist length (I'm also long-waisted), but they haven't come back recently in their literal forms.  

I am not kidding when I say that learning to sew was the best thing I ever did for my body image.  Being able to fit my own clothes is absolutely worth the extra time and effort it takes to make them.

What does that have to do with a dress that effectively has no waist at all?  Basically, I'm still afraid of looking as big as my hips.  This might be reasonable except that you can see even in my awful iPhone mirror shots that I'm not that big.  Even I know I'm not that big; I wear a pattern size 12 (vintage 16, which was mid-size-range even in the 1940's).  Fashion model, no, but . . . not that big.  Definitely not big enough to worry about wearing a loose dress. 

Really, I shouldn't worry about wearing most things, except possibly a Wonder Woman costume:

So the plan now is to give it one more chance.  The bust dart isn't quite in the right place, anyway, so I'm going to go home and rotate it to the shoulder, where it will be less problematic, and then I'm going to make one more test, leaving the bodice long (not 23 inches; I shortened it some already) and un-darted.  At most, I'll make two--one in the size 10 with bust darts and one in the 12 I "should" wear, to see how things go.  The shoulders on the 10 might be a bit snug.