Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Well Done, Spider Suffragette!

via She's History
In the embarrassingly recent movement for women's suffrage, the suffragettes in the UK and US (and
maybe other places?) would wear ribbons and jewelry in the shades of green, white, and violet.  The initials of the colors, GWV, also stood for "Give Women the Vote", with each color representing a virtue: green for hope, white for purity, and violet for dignity.  You could think of the sashes to bring attention to the cause similar to the modern pink ribbons for breast cancer.*  Probably the best example of this is pop culture is Mrs Banks from Mary Poppins.  She wears the suffragette ribbon while singing Sister Suffragette.

I stumbled across this information by accident one day and thought it would be fun to make a dress in those colors to represent how far we have come and how far we still have to go.  (As the owner of a set of ovaries, I am very interested in women's rights. ) Of course, I wanted to put on my own spooky spin on it, so I was on the prowl for Halloween fabrics in those colors.  During one of their many sales, had spiderweb Happy Haunters (designed by Kelly Mueller for Red Rooster) for super cheap and in the right colors!  (Well, one was beige, but that's close enough).

A note on these pictures: I have no idea why the purple looks so blue in these pictures.  Here is a more accurate representation of the fabric.

The pattern I chose was McCall's 6504, view A.  (For those of you playing along at home, this makes six McCall pattern reviews in a row.)  I felt like the vertical sections showcased the color changes better than anything horizontal would.  If I had wanted that, I could have just made a tiered skirt.  However, I also was slightly concerned that it might make me look like a circus tent.  Only one way to find out. only sells fabric in half yard increments, and each contrast section of the dress calls for 1 1/8 yards of fabric.  (If there is more contrast than main fabric, would each contrast section be the main fabric?)  I went with a yard and a half each of the contrast.  I figured that I would greatly increase the hem and that would use up the majority of the fabric.  Yeah, I didn't read the cutting layout before I ordered the fabric, so I shot myself in the foot.

The patch is in the middle of the green piece
It doesn't say so anywhere on the envelope that this pattern assumes you've got bi-directional fabric, so that vastly economizes the layout.  Of course, mine wasn't.  I discarded plan after plan until I finally realized I was going to either need to order more fabric or I was going to end up with a nasty patch on one of the panels.  I am quite impatient, so I went with the patch route.  I might end it trying to cover it with a spider applique or something.

I had planned to use up the extra fabric by increasing the length by six inches, but that was before cutting layout disaster struck.  The best I could do was two inches.  Better than nothing.

This also meant my back section would be made out of two different fabrics.  (This is what the original pattern called for.)  I HATE it.  It is awful.  But I didn't have any choice.  I guess it doesn't look as bad as I thought it would, but it greatly bothers me.

On top of all of this, I lost the front facing piece.  I tore the house apart looking for it, but it was nowhere to be found.  I traced the sewn together front of the dress to make my own facing pattern.  I used the beige fabric to minimize show-through.  I didn't interface them, because my life has fallen apart and caring about interfacing is too hard for me right now.

I didn't read the directions for attaching the facing, so I messed up the armholes.  After the fact, I realized I probably could have flipped the seam allowance between the dress and the bodice, and then machine-stitched or hand-stitched the armhole shut.  Instead, I flipped it to the inside of the facing and hand-sewed it.

The problems with this dress are my own fault.  I had such high hopes for this, but I am not sure I like it, and I still thinks it looks a bit like a circus tent.

*: The mastermind behind This is Corp Goth and Trystan's Costume Closet, the fabulous Trystan Bass, has been diagnosed with breast cancer.  If you can spare the funds, please consider making a donation to help her out.

UPDATE: Here's the song Sister Suffragette.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Skeletons in the Closet

My life is a wreck again, so I don't have anything new to show off.  (I am going to try not to go on hiatus, but I make no promises.)  Instead, I am continuing with the McCall's run with another It Came from My Closet entry.  This one is 5050, kinda-sorta view E meets A.  The fabric is a perennial Halloween favorite from JoAnn's.  Who could say no to dancing skeletons?

The pattern is rated as average, but I knocked it out in an afternoon.  I did deviate from the pattern pretty significantly: I skipped the lace cut-outs on the sleeves, replaced the elastic necklace with a drawstring ribbon one, and added a little opening for the ribbon (I used the buttonhole foot).  I opted for the shorter version of the blouse, but in retrospect, I think I would have preferred the longer one.  The lace I used on the cuffs was shorter than what the pattern called for, but I felt too much might distract from the fabric pattern.

The underbust gathering is done with elastic enclosed in bias tape.  I used the scraps to make my own, as I usually do.  The only atypical part of this pattern is that the sleeves themselves are part of the neckline.  It's isn't hard to sew; it just isn't something you see all that often.

Even if you opted for the lace cutouts of view E, this pattern probably shouldn't be rated as average.  Views A and B, which feature gathered cuffs on sleeves would probably also be pretty easy.  D (tiered sleeves) and C (gathered mid-sleeve) look more difficult, but I would still rate this as a beginner-level pattern.

Using the leftover fabric, I also made a bandanna to wear with this.  I'm told it makes me look like a spooky hippie.