Saturday, September 5, 2015

2015 Fall Capsule Wardrobe: A Couple of Updates

So, my second version of the Jenna Cardi was not a success. Why? Well, for starters something seriously whack happened and one side of the bodice was longer than the other. I fixed it but it led to overstretched mishapen-ness. I had to trim a whole buttonhole off of the button band. But that's not even what went non-negotiably wrong.

I learned a really valuable lesson today: that stretchy fabric with great recovery can be less stretchy, on balance, than less stretchy fabric with good drape. To wit, the indigo rayon/poly ponte (used to make version 2) is SO firm that I really should have made pants out of it (live and learn). Yeah, it stretched by 60 per cent (by comparison with the teal fabric's 50 per cent) but the teal (also pretty firm and stable) actually moves. The ponte feels like armour.

I think it may have been one of those ill-fated sewing moments but I don't begrudge it because I was able to make the sweater twice (to understand it better and to get a sense of which fabrics will work best in the future). I have a TNT sewn cardigan and a place where I can get more of that teal sweater knit - in other colours! Things could be worse.

On the plus side, I followed Gillian's suggestion - I cut the existing skirt off the top of the Kimono dress, shortened it from the top by 3 inches (the part that was too narrow for me) and sewed it back onto the bodice. The wider part - below that 3 inches - which forms the new waist, works well over my, ahem, lower abdominal curve. Fortunately, I made the original skirt on the long side, a look I like in a dress, but I'll take a now-knee-length skirt under the circumstances. It's a perfectly delightful wearable muslin.

What I then had to do (which worked, but not optimally and not particularly neatly) was to narrow the waist of the bodice above the seam where the skirt attaches. Yeah, I should have done it before sewing the bodice to the shortened skirt (and done a bit of easing), but they fit together nicely so I didn't think about it till I tried on the finished garment and realized that the waist was a good 1.5" too large in the waist circumference.

Hey, that's what muslins are for, right? And if you can wear them at the end of it, so much the better. If only somehow I could get the support of that navy ponte into the waist area of the bamboo jersey dress! I know, it doesn't work that way but really, the bamboo doesn't suck anything in. At all.

Still haven't decided what to make for my last garment of the weekend. Of course, that doesn't mean that I won't make the others that remain, over the next few weeks. I'm inclined not to have to fit anything but then, I also feel like making the Emily knit top (it wasn't on the list for this collection). It might be fun. And I really should make another pair of my flat front denim trousers. Hmmm... this is getting out of control. I'm off to update my work plan.


  1. Yikes, what a way to learn the fabric lesson!

  2. I know, right? Vaguely painful but I'm less traumatized by these things than I used to be...

  3. You are so right about the stretch/drape/recovery conundrum! I've got 2m of the nicest ponte I've ever own, and it's been gathering dust for 2 years because it's got so much recovery that I can't figure out what to make from it! I much prefer a fabric that falls into it's own stretch, which is why I like drapey rayons...I think we need a new vocab word to describe the difference between a fabric that wants to stretch, and one that can stretch but doesn't want to.
    I'm really glad my suggestion helped make your dress at least wearable!! For the waist, have you tried reinforcing the seam with elastic? I use FOE or lingerie elastic usually, but I think most people use clear.
    I vote you make the Emily top - do whatever feels fun!!! :)

    1. Isn't it a bitch? This is why I so rarely sew with ponte. I find it particularly tricky - though a "good one" is perfection. Your analogy of fabric falling into its own stretch is so apt. And I did reinforce the waist seam with clear elastic. I've been doing that since the Lady Skater (genius tip). But I don't find that it sucks in the waist. I don't stretch it as I serge. Am I supposed to?