My Week in Sewing, 4th March 2022

My Week in Sewing, 4th March 2022

Welcome to the first of a new series! Each Friday I will be writing about what I’ve done in sewing land over the past week – plus any knitting or other crafts I’ve managed to slot in. Plus cats. There will always be cats.

I’m kicking off this new series on a bit of a tangent, with last Friday’s knit club meet-up – our first ever!

Ari, Jolynna and I have been knitting online together every Sunday for over a year now – with two of us based in Yorkshire and Jolynna based all the way in Australia. Celebrating Jolynna’s recent move to the grim north of England (welcome!), we consumed a solid number of gins and stouts and got raucous in my favourite local viking pub Valhalla. Throw away all your assumptions about knitters! Although I did have to go home early and then spent a few days in an introvert hangover, so maybe your assumptions aren’t far wrong on my part.

Speaking of knitting, I’m working on the Birthday sweater by Ankestrick. I bought waaaay too much yarn when I bought supplies for the Joanie Boatneck (as seen above) so I had enough leftover for a whole extra jumper and maybe more. I started knitting this around Christmas last year and it’s going super slowly, because it’s half brioche stitch which effectively means every 2 rows compresses down into one, and it’s 4-ply yarn which is pretty darn skinny. But it’s a mindless knit, so I can slot it into my day fairly easily.

This has taken me 7 weeks so far.

Onto sewing next. My current project is inspired by this dress I found on Pinterest, using this fabric I bought on holiday in St. Lucia last month:

I’m using the Tilly and the Buttons Etta dress pattern as a base, and hacking it with a double layer flutter sleeve. The main challenge on this project is getting the Etta pattern to fit me properly. I want it to be really well-fitted, which is something I’ve actually never achieved on a bodice! That’s because I have scoliosis, an atypical curvature of the spine that means my torso is asymmetrical in various ways. My shoulders are uneven and flat, and my ribcage is offset and twisted. The Etta dress was always going to be a tough one to fit because I’ve tried it before and I know the back neckline gapes. It’s been a journey with many toiles:

So far I’ve done such things as:
– Flat shoulder adjustment (the opposite of a rounded shoulder/dowager’s hump adjustment)
– Remove the dart & its excess from the neckline to make the shoulder even flatter, only to add a dart back in to remove even more excess from the neckline (argh)
– Drop the shoulder point
– Lower the bust point
– Lengthen the bodice

It might have been easier to draft the bodice from scratch.

It’s been a lot of trial and error so far, but for the first time I’ve viewed fitting as part of the sewing process, rather than an obstacle that I need to get around before getting to the good bit. So I am viewing this as the good bit too. And with this perspective, I am enjoying it. It’s all learning and I like learning.

So, I’m almost there on the bodice. I don’t want to overfit, and I’ve made the conscious decision (for now) not to create a separate back bodice piece for the left and right, because I think that’d drive me crazy when it comes to pattern matching. So I’m going to accept a little bit of poor fit on one side.

First attempt at the sleeve – it needs to be BIGGER. Plus I need to mess around with the two layers and figure out whether or not they need the same amount of flare.

Once the sleeve is sorted, I need to mash up the pattern’s skirt pieces with my self-drafted skirt pattern from last month, as I know that fits well so I won’t need to reinvent the wheel. Then I’ll do a full toile and soon be ready to cut into my real fabric, eee!

And finally – some cat photos from the week:

Thanks for reading, see you next week! 🙂

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