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

Monday, May 26, 2014

Simplicity 4429 Jiffy Dress

While I was making the Robin Hood costumes, after completing the puffy shirts and before embarking on hat construction, I had to do something that didn't smack of assembly line work--but it needed to be fast, because I had a costume deadline. Five other Hoods were depending on me. Enter Simplicity 4429, the Jiffy Dress.

I love this fabric, a stretch cotton sateen, which I found in the remnant bin at Jo-Ann's Fabrics. There was less than 2 yards, but I bought it anyway, thinking skirt. After I got home, however, I thought Jiffy Dress, since I was fairly certain I would have to shorten the dress. Sure enough, I had to chop off six inches, so the pattern just fit, although I was not able to match designs as usual. Sometimes you just gotta let that stuff go.

The Jiffy Dress is comprised of two main pattern pieces. Basically, it's a front with darts, a back with a zipper and not much else. I decided to forgo the zipper, thus adding more jiffiness to the Jiffy Dress. I find that belted dresses often don't play nice with zippers, bulging awkwardly here and there, so I was glad to be able to dispense with this step.
No zipper! Time saved!
For once I had a pattern in my size, so I didn't have to grade, but I did make a muslin, just in case. As I suspected, I had to add 1/4 inch at the hips, but other than that, the pattern fit well.

Upon reflection I realize that a rectangle generally does fit well, but it isn't necessarily flattering. Tilly, my unpaid assistant, wears rectangles better than I do.

The belt makes this dress. Without the belt, it's a box. Boxes look good on certain people, but I'm not one of them, so hurray for belts. Even Tilly looks better with a belt.
Here are a few more shots of the Jiffy Dress. For those of you who are wondering, it took a bit over two hours to make, including cutting the fabric.
My husband said the design of the fabric reminded him of camouflage on a Panzer Tank. I took that as a compliment.
This shift is so comfortable that I plan to whip up a few more for summer wear. We're heading into the incredibly hot, my house has no air conditioning weather and the Jiffy Dress seems perfectly suited to my needs.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Six Jerkins, Three Puffy Shirts and Six Feathered Caps Later...

We're men! We're men in tights! Roaming the forest looking for fights--and also ready to run Bay to Breakers in San Francisco, the longest consecutively held footrace in the world.

We were surprisingly popular and posed for many photos. We found out later that we were not the only Robin Hood group--one other merry band was spotted by a friend--but I dare say we were the only group whose costumes were sewn by a romance writer.

In an unprecedented move, I finished the costumes early! No sewing in the car on the drive to San Francisco, no sewing late into the night in the hotel room. No. I finished a few days ahead of time, which gives me hope for my next book. Perhaps this will become a habit.

The race started about a half hour late, so we had lots of time to take photos and throw tortillas. (For those who are unfamiliar, people throw tortillas like frisbees as they wait for the race to start. FYI, those things can really sting.)

We were misidentified on the course a few times as Peter Pan...yeah. For the record, Peter Pan did not wear a puffy shirt and I believe he was all in green. 

This is the start of Hayes Street Hill, which is practically vertical and goes for about 10 miles....
Actually it's about half a mile long and a 7.5% grade. I've run it before, but this time we walked.
There was a random sign giving a random direction:

Which my family randomly followed.
But here they are seriously running:
Okay, maybe not seriously running, but kind of jogging. It counts.

And here we are in recovery mode after the race:

I love this race and I love this city. Where else can six Robin Hoods walk down the street and hang out in a bar without getting a second glance?

Next year we're thinking Musketeers. More puffy shirts! I can't wait!