Monday, 29 June 2015

So as not to go to waste

Living in London, I bought some work shirts. Crisp, fitted cotton shirts with good sturdy collars and cuffs.
Only problem, before long while the arms fitted, the neck fitted, the waist fitted, even the shoulders fitted, my 'ample' bust did not. By a good 4 inches.

To say I was slightly miffed was an understatement. They had fitted when I'd bought them, naturally, but a combination of a luxurious lifestyle and birth control meant that before long, they didn't.

One faded away, fraying at the seams in a way that meant nothing could be done to it to make it fit again. The others were simply too delightful to throw. After all, I'd gone to pains to chose a delightful selection. One was snow white, another with a stiff V neckline, but my favourite was white, with vivid green satin stripes down it's length.

Not wanting to waste them (they reminded me so strongly of the stiff shirtwaists of the Edwardian era), I kept them, neatly folded away in a suitcase in London, packed them into the tea chests carefully nestled amongst the numerous shoes and transported them half way around the world, supposedly never to wear them again, before packing them again into a hat box to store on the top of my wardrobe.

Remembering them only the other day I tried them on again and reminded myself of their ensuing problem. Had they been a size too big it would have been easy. But I never buy clothes that are baggy around the waist, so that was an impossible hope.

Realising that the easiest way to add the necessary width would be to de-construct the bust darts I decided that a suspender dress would probably be the most practical use for the shirt. Then I could hide the opened darts under the suspender straps whilst still utilising the shirt front, collar and cuffs 'as is'.

On a detour to Spotlight (re. another project) I found the fabric to use, one that is neutral enough to go with my existing accessories, but would still work with the vibrancy of the green stripe.

Now I just had to find a suitable style.

I like the increasing straps of this one, and the
higher waist line without the distinct waistband.
Can't decide whether I want a slightly A-line
skirt (without the centre front seam)...

... or a long pencil skirt. 
And if I chose a pencil skirt, then what type of waist darts should I have, and how many? 
I decided to go without the pockets, as I find they ruin the line and aren't useful enough to warrant an existence, and to not have the pointy waistline. And the suspender straps are to meet the skirt on the outside. This would mean I could keep the skirt and the shirt separate, using the suspender straps to button it into one outfit.

Raiding the internet and a series of sewing blogs I decided against the A-line skirt. Given my choice of fabric, a long (below the knee) pencil skirt seemed more visually appealing.

Basically something that would look like the Advance 8283 pattern above. I did make one major change though (aside from not yet making the suspender straps). Due to my habit of literally racing around in heels including sprinting across campus or running for a bus, I decided to cut slits to the knee up each side. While I'm all for restrictive clothing (I am a fashion historian after all), I find lung expansion less important than freedom of the lower legs.

Once I got sewing, the project kinda took on a life of its own and my initial reason for buying the fabric got lost to the wayside. It's not that I've lost it completely, but I have more than enough clothes to make this into a cheery little outfit without the shirt/suspenders. So the unpicked shirt is sitting on my overflowing fabric heap crumpled and almost forgotten.

This is the first piece I've sewn where I've had to match the pattern, lining up not only the horizontal green stripes, but also trying not to have two vertical red lines too close together. It's been fun...ish.

These red lines did prove useful in determining the size and location of the dart, front and back. It means they're not exactly the same size, but they're only out by a millimeter or two and look cooler this way.

Lining up the centre back was easy, particularly as it was the first seam I sewed. Once the invisible zip was in (I refuse to use normal zips now) and the lining darted and sewn to the waistline and centre back seam, I could start pulling in the side seams to get the perfect fit.

 I'd done something stupid, when cutting out the front, in that I accidentally cut it a little smaller than anticipated. I was able to work around it, but it does mean the side seams are a little further forward than expected. Not that that really matters.

The finished skirt looks lovely, and is comfortable enough for a day in the office or curled up on the couch reading plays. It also goes well with enough of my existing wardrobe to be a valuable addition. Yay!!

It needs a wash and iron to see how the fabric hangs naturally as I'm contemplating whether I need to add two small curtain weights to the hem just to keep the side slits hanging correctly.

And I have just enough fabric left over to make something else.
Maybe a small top...
After all, I can't let that much fabric go to waste.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...