Sunday, September 5, 2010

Simplicity 7587 aka Astrid Needs Colorblocking Rebab & Has a Mystery Neck

Prepping the circa 1968 pattern- easy but time consuming

Here I am doing black and white colorblocking again. I feel about colorblocking how Lindsay Lohan feels about cocaine. Okay, fine, she probably likes blow a little better, but who can compete with that romance?

The process of making this dress was pretty uneventful. I had a few snafus, but overall, my hair remained firmly rooted in my scalp. It wasn't without one tantrum, however. This came when I got to the side seams.

I love to tailor, but I've been trying to scale back just a tad. I want my dresses to drape a little better, while at the same time, being nicely tailored to my body. I always use machine-basting to test my tailoring, because although I love Mr. Seam Ripper, I'd rather rip out long stitches over small any day (duh, right?). So, I tailored this black and white number, and it was way too loose. I asked my husband, who agreed. So, I drew a line with my tailor chalk and went in. It didn't seem like a lot. But it must have been a lot (you'll see later).

After basting this second time, I tried the dress on. My husband thought I tailored it a little too tight, because he noticed the dress was rippling a tad at the center seam. I didn't listen. After all, I'd had some pulling with stretchy knits like this before (ponte roma polyester again, by the way). It was just the nature the fabric.

So, I went in and finished off the seams. I cut them. I pinked them close to the seam line. I put the dress on to admire my handiwork. Wasn't I awesome? No, I wasn't. Because, it wasn't the nature of the fabric. It was the nature of the Astrid. It was the nature of me being impatient. And it was that stupid overconfidence sickness all over again.

Before cutting-- the tailoring looked worse when it was longer

My husband pointed out the rippling again. I defended the tailoring. But just like parents defending an ugly baby, I knew I was lying to myself. My baby might not have been ugly. But it did have this wart. Maybe just a tiny one but a wart nonetheless. Oh well, I still really like the dress and will wear it proudly. While I did tailor it a tad too much, it doesn't feel very tight when it's on me. I can breathe. That's important.

My buddy & me

I did try one "last ditch effort" to fix this snafu. I tried to rip out the side seams and sew a little closer to the pinked edges. It didn't work that well, because there wasn't much fabric to let out the dress. It helped a little (I think).

"Hey, if I place my arm a certain way, no will notice the ripples right?"

I hemmed the dress shorter than the pattern and struggled a tad, as I did with the orange dress. Finally, I had to accept my imperfect hem for what it was. I would have tried the great techniques that were recommended to me in the orange dress comments (I.e. rolled hem, bias tape hem, etc). However, I actually completed this black and white dress before I posted the pictures of the orange dress. I would time travel, but it seems like too much work, and I might accidentally step on an ant or something.

One other aspect of the dress presented problems: the collar. I handled this problem with relative ease, though, so I don’t consider it much of a snafu. It just required some adjusting, because that thing was WAY too tall for my neck. In fact, I had to unbaste it from the neck edge, dismantle it, cut it down by about 60%, and then sew it over again. It worked with these adjustments, though, so I was a happy camper.

Me doing my best turtle impersonation

Actually happy--yep, for real

So, here's the thing: I have a pretty small skull. My heritage is mostly Norwegian, and I read that it's pretty common for Nordic people to have smaller skulls than most people. I can even wear kids' size eyeglasses, which is kinda cool. What I am wondering, though, is whether my small skull is accompanied by a short neck? My neck doesn't look short with my small head, but could it be shorter than most people's necks? Then again, one could always have a really small head on a really long neck...okay, time to shut up. I'm weird; I know.

Another theory: they probably have to make pattern pieces to work for the largest possible size that would be using the particular pattern size. Because, while I can size pieces down, someone with a longer neck would be left with a short piece of fabric that didn't fit her neck. This would then require her to make a new piece over again with a larger piece of fabric. And that ain't cool. I'd be mighty ticked off if I followed a pattern only to have to do that.

Anyway, I have two new dresses already sewn as I write this blog, so more to come very soon!

Happy sewing adventures!


  1. Hey Astrid! Can't wait to see the other dresses you have been sewing! I just thought to drop you a few more links- It seems like you are doing a lot of altering around your (tiny!) waist. This nice lady, Sarah, posted on Sew retro that she was offering help with patterns.
    She has a Facebook forum going, and she helped me a lot with a wrap blouse pattern I needed to add length to.
    She is very helpful, and I'm sure she can help you get your waistlines in without the tugging- sometimes you have to pull width out in several places in smaller amounts.
    Good work! Cute dress!

  2. Haha, I can relate! My paternal grandmother's side of the family is Swedish so I'm guessing that's where I get my small head. I always have trouble finding glasses and sunglasses, they all look huge on me! I'm glad the big moviestar shades are in right now, it's saved me from having to shop in the kiddie section like I used to.

    Love the dress! I can tell you're getting better with each post.

  3. Hi Astrid! I just discovered your blog via Sew Retro.
    I can't belive you are just new sewing, I mean you said you are learning now from book, you do it great!
    I see how you love 60's style!

  4. @A.J.A. Thank you for the compliment and links. I will check it out. ; - )

    @Shona: Thanks so much for the compliment and sharing your small head story! ; - ) I feel less alone in my "condition". he he

    @Lizzy Thanks so much for the compliments!

  5. Black hosiery again. Do you like wearing nylons?