Join me in my adventures as I write romance novels and sew vintage and contemporary fashion.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Sewing For Victory 40’s Suit ~ Jumping Ahead to the Last Chapter

The Writing

I handed in the first draft of my book on Tuesday after finally hitting the proper level of desperation. The first draft is always difficult. I'm concerned about pacing, concerned about being too predictable, concerned that the story won't come together. But it came together and now it's in my editor's hands. I'm revising as I wait for her notes, and since I have a framework in which to operate--as in a completed story--I'm now a happy writer. I also have time to sew. (And do laundry.)

The Sewing

This is what my Sew For Victory 40's suit looked like on Tuesday:

And, with a little help from the cat,

this is what it looks like today, Sunday, the final day of the Sew For Victory challenge:

I learned so much making this suit--I used silk organza as an underlining for the first time, make my first bound buttonholes, discovered that color blocking is unforgiving. But more about that later. I made deadline on my suit, as well as the book, and I'm going to celebrate with a cup of tea while I plan my next dress. I'm thinking 80s summer dress.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Sew For Victory 40’s Suit ~ Chapter One

The Sewing
I started the Sew For Victory project this week. The first step was to grade the pattern, which is one size too small. I've never graded before, but by following the directions in a Threads article,  and using a lot of tape, I made a size 34 bust jacket into a size 36 bust jacket.
This is the graded pattern on muslin before cutting.
Those stripes on the pattern are where I slashed the tissue I'd traced and widened it by the specified amount--1/4 inch under the arms, 1/8 inch at the other two locations. This is how I spend my lunch hours at school. Listening to jazz and slashing patterns.

To enlarge the simple A-line skirt, I did what I always do when sewing with a modern size 12 (which this pattern equates to) and added 1/2 to the sides. No need to slash.

I made a muslin, which went quickly. Amazingly, it fit. Because of the design of the jacket, it needs very large shoulder pads, as do many 40's styles--one of the reasons I love the 40s. Shoulder pads make me happy. I rocked the 80s.

The pattern primer gave instructions for making shoulder pads out of muslin and cotton batting. I have no cotton batting, so I used fiber fill and gave it a try. The first step was to cut two muslin squares. The next step was to place batting on the square so that it's "thin at the edges and 3/4 inches thick in the middle. I made a mountain.
After making Mt. Batting, I compressed it using the other muslin square and stitched the edges.
The next step was to make padding stitches to hold the batting in place. My padding stitches made the shoulder pad look badly dimpled, but it is thin on the edges and approximately 3/4 inches thick in the middle.
Then I cut the pad in half so that it resembled a warped apple turnover.
I'm supposed to cover this with fashion fabric, but you know what? I'll probably just buy shoulder pads. The suit jacket needs a lot of shoulder padding to keep the proper lines and I think these pads are just a wee bit wimpy.

The Writing

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Catching Up

The Writing
The writing is the reason I haven't posted since last Sunday. The deadline is now approaching at warp speed. I wrote 13,000 words in one day earlier this week and got the skeleton of the book done. Now I'm going back and adding all the stuff I just knew I'd have an easier time doing later, filling the holes I left gaping wide open, and generally tidying up.

I have 21,000 edited words, 30,000 rough words. When I get done filling the holes, I figure I should be close to the 70,000 I want to turn in on March 21. I'm satisfied with my progress. Things always feel a bit out of control at this stage.

After I turn in the project, I'm celebrating with a day trip to Reno where I hope to buy shoulder pads--big shoulder pads to fill out the square shoulders of my Sew for Victory 40's suit jacket.

The Sewing
I should call this post patterns, patterns, patterns. I've been busy on eBay. There's nothing like a quick shopping spree to help battle writer's block. (Actually I don't believe in writer's block, but it's a good excuse to shop.)  Here are some of the patterns that called to me and are now on their way to my mailbox:




I think I'm done pattern shopping for a while. If not, I should be because these should keep me busy for a while. I can't wait to find the perfect fabric for each one.

I'm sorry to say I did not win this pattern for a men's catsuit, which is a shame because it makes me smile.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

30’s Dress ~ The Final Chapter

The Reveal

Well, here it is--the first 30's dress. I suspect there will be more because I celebrated the completion of this dress by buying two more 1930s patterns. Before I start those, however, I will head into the 1940s and Sew for Victory with Lucky Lucille.

Here's the dress on Tillie, my unpaid assistant. It needs pressed. I think Tillie has more of a waistline than I do, but she hasn't spent the weekend at the rodeo eating chili-cheese fries.

Here is the dress on me from various angles. My husband is my patient photographer. Patient because I won't hold still and I close my eyes every other shot and then make him do it again.

Is it just me, or is does the pattern model appear a bit more willowy than me? I am so tempted to use my photo program to stretch my photo in a vertical direction...but that would be wrong.

Here's the back:

I'm really happy with the back--see how well the pattern matches between the yoke and the bodice? It's hard to tell where one ends and the other begins.

And from the side. The first photo was a total profile, but my husband made me look at him because he said it looked like a mug shot. 

And lastly a fun artsy shot. Aren't the red shoes perfect with this?

So that's it for the 30's dress. I can't wait to start my 40's dress. Tomorrow I start tracing the pattern.

The Writing.

Yes, I have been writing. I plotted out the rest of the book on tiny little post-it notes which I stuck to the kitchen table and rearranged until it felt right.

Then I put the post-its in a notebook and taped them down for travel because this past weekend was a rodeo weekend.
Every year I have a vendor booth at the local ranch hand rodeo, so for the past three and half days I sat in my booth, writing away and eating chili cheese fries. I actually produced quite a few words and had a great time.