Saturday, November 30, 2013

Advance 4906 construction

And we have another green striped bias dress!
Too dark to see it properly, but the sections do line up to make a diamond. 
But back up a little: how did it go together?

To be honest, this stripe is not printed ongrain. It's off a little, so I matched by print. The fabric is an old bottom sheet I found at the thrift store. I had a vintage green striped dress I no longer fit that I loved and have been trying to recreate/make another one since then. This is attempt number three.

 I had to pick a point on the stripes that I could use as 'true north' to even attempt to get that diamond shape match on the front skirt and bodice pieces. The pin is at that point, the top edge of the center of the front skirt panel, the little narrow yellow stripe in between the dark green ones. I will use that little yellow stripe as reference for the other bias bodice pieces.

 From there, I swivel the pattern to get the grainline to line up on the stripes.
Pee Wee is always helping out!
 I cut the pieces out one by one.
 I laid the first panel on top to match at the edges; figuring that would hold reasonably true all the way across.

Lining up pretty well.

This just continues for the other pieces. Go get a coffee, I'll still be matching.

Then there's a lot of sewing. I mess up the zipper. The back neck is too high. The waist droops. I cut out the wrong sizes for the front/back and realize this AFTER I have made the pretty bias pockets, lined them and sewn them on. There's just hours of seam unpicking. Watching an entire season of Trigun on Netflix with my son. Beats starting over and matching all those stripes again.

This bears repeating: if you've gone to all the trouble of cutting out something, and it goes together wrong, it really is worth it to pick it apart and redo it. If you let it go and wear it, you'll always see the error, it will always fit badly. And you'll hate it.

So pull up a chair and get a seam ripper with a strong, tiny point.

But while you're sewing those panels, doublechecking the stripe match at the seam just involves pinning them together, and then folding over at points to see if it's matching up. Sometimes sticking a pin through the tiny stripe and pulling it through to the matching tiny stripe, then pinning it; that works for me. If it doesn't, you can often wiggle it into place. Bias is forgiving for that, it will take some compression. You can also slide it from side to side to goose it into place. If you didn't cut it out right, it won't work. That's why you are supposed to cut wide seam allowances for this sort of thing. Hey, dug my own hole there.

 I know, now we're at the hem. Which I BOUGHT bias tape for today, just one less thing to do. And the skinny poly stuff will take quite the heat beating.  I went for 1 1/4 hem turnover, stitched the bias trim to it, and ironed/steamed it into a nice, well-behaved curve. I ironed open the single fold strip to one side, sewed it on, and then folded and ironed it on the table while turning the hem (didn't iron after attaching, didn't want to stretch it out).

 Iron, slip cutting board strip under, pin.

Iron, pin, iron, pin; all the way around.

To drop the back neck, I undid the topstitching (facepalm), turned them open, and just cut one.

After I sewed the first one, I used the cut off part as a template for the second one.

I pinked a lot of things. I have a lot of vintage stuff that is just pinked and it's held pretty well. This is my tiny homage. That and a grosgrain ribbon in the interior waistband.

There's a gap between the back facing and the front neck facing.

So I made a bridge of batiste.

Machine stitched to the back facing.

Folded over

More ironing. So glad I bought that sleeve board last year, it's really good for tight spots.

Hand sewn in place. Repeated on other side.

And now we're done. Big button on tab foldover.

Button belt (hidden snap to hold it straight) as I don't have a belt buckle that works with this era.

This gives you a better idea of the real colors.

Bias tubing for belt loops at sides.

No matter what I do, the spot above the hook and loop closure always pulls away like that. I think it's my hamhanded hand sewing.

And that nifty pocket!

Would I make it again? Yes. I would cut the bodice a little shorter, take a little slack out of the front sleeve piece, and maybe put in a very light shoulder pad OR angle the shoulder seam down at the shoulder point.

And I will. Just maybe not in green again.

Vintage Advance 4906 - Tracing and Altering the Paper Pattern

Oh, the stripey bias goodness of this! 
Look at version 1! It's bias, it's green, it's stripey! And check out those groovy pockets!

I don't care what they say about you, Advance 4906! I love you!

I hunted it down on Ebay, and the sketch above gives an idea of my cracking it apart, trying to figure out where I can alter a size 14 to meet my size...18? self without destroying what makes it special to me. 

This is a problem. You know where it says in those pattern instructions: No Provision For Above/Below Waist Alterations? And immediately I have to start messing around with that?  You can destroy the design points by altering without caution, and I have chopped many a pattern in that act. Now I remember to trace the pattern before I go to town on it, but I am clearly a work in progress still.

As my dad used to sing "Should have read that detour sign"...

My normal alteration route is to widen and shorten the bodice for my blocky torso. If I do that here, I will lose that nifty 45 degree angle on the bodice/sleeve junction, or make the bodice too tall. I need to go into the side seam; if the sleeve/bodice junction were to run into the armpit, it would just make a bigger sleeve opening, and that's cool with me. And if I need to add a dart, it would....well, I like to call it the NBA, or No Bust Adjustment, as I have no bust.

I spent a couple weeks pondering this while I worked on the choir dress hems. I will try out the side seam alteration on the bodice and see how it works out in a half-muslin.

left to right: plastic quilting 24" ruler, pattern, big fat mechanical pencil, tracing flimsy/architectural paper, heavy metal yardstick

And so, armed with the tools of the trade, I begin

Wait a minute!

No printing! Just holes! Lots of holes!
This is my first nonprinted pattern. I've taken apart a lot of vintage, sewn a lot with repro patterns and Folkwear, named After A Fashion my ur-text of alterations (which is bread and butter here in ErnieK Labs), but this is the first time I've met one of these in the flesh.

I defer to Gertie to give you the low down on the matter.

This is the legend for the pattern. Each of the matching points is marked with a number. I will transfer those numbers to my traced pattern (and then ignore them like I always do). It would be swell if those numbers indicated the order of construction, but so far that idea is only mine.

I may not follow instructions until I've screwed up, but I need to understand what I'm seeing. Notches in the sides we know. Three big holes indicate the grainline.  Two big holes indicate layout on a fold (later, I will miss that detail and have to fake it). Smaller dots are tailoring marks. The rest of the instructions are just like those of today.

One thing that stood out; a zipper is called a slide fastener. This reminds me to mention that later on, when I speak of a hook and loop closure, I am not referring to V3lcr0 but a hook and a loop made of metal that are sewn in individually. When did the zipper become a generic term?  After 1948 apparently.

The pattern pieces were carefully unfolded, and ironed with a dry iron and laid out very carefully.  As you know, folded cut patterns will tear on the notches, and these were no different.

Flat. Laid out for tracing.

 "D" is the foldover tab on the front bodice.

Yes, it looks like cheese. Lunch break!

More pieces; front sleeve and bodice front. Previous tracings are in the rolled part to the right.

Using a ruler to make better straight lines.

Adding a dart from punchmarks

Begging the question: should this seam at the shoulder seam be straight or curved? I left it curved. I was right.
There was some distortion of the pieces. They were a little mildewed, and had not been folded very nicely when they were last put away. They weren't missing any parts, but a few were curved when I knew they should be straight (the belt, for one), so when in doubt, I assumed the pieces were correct and I would find out more when I was assembling the muslin.
Adding grainline

oops, backwards piece
And now we put the original pattern away and begin to alter on the traced version.

how wide should waist section be, how long the skirt?
 Instead of cutting down the skirt pattern, I drop the waist until I get the width I need. I am short, I won't need all that length, and I can just measure down from the top, mark a few times, and then draw a new waist line.
28" baby

I'm thicker than the pattern, adding width on back seams and reducing the dart. Eventually, this dart will just go away entirely. I can always put them back in if I should regain my old fighting weight.  Uh huh.
 You can just barely see the skirt piece underneath the bodice back above photo. I will get the two to match; that's why I start in pencil and use the red pen for the 'finished' lines.
This side dart on the front triangle piece  will leave during construction
 Measure the pieces and measure me, and make alterations on the pattern, making sure the altered pieces fit together. Which means matching up the seams on pieces. 

There are many ways of doing this that are probably better, but I just overlay the pieces and line them up to each other. If one piece curves one way and the other goes the other, I can measure them with a tape but I like to double check (because I know my failure points soooo well)
Walking the seam to match length. Literally.

Match seam, plant thumbnail at last match point, swivel pattern to line up with next section,

And continue moving it up the seam, adding seam marks when we get to them on the bottom pattern piece

The red line is an adjustment
 The waist seam on the skirt is too wide, so I raise the seam allowance up to keep the skirt shape. I will forget this when I am cutting out the pattern on the fabric. An hour of seam ripping is the result of Not Paying Attention!
Expanding back neck facing. I will redo this later to drop it by about an inch.

The dart is about to go (added more on sides, will remove that and dart after fitting half bodice
It is always a procedure and a half to do this. Amend one piece, then the next, around number five a logistical error occurs and the process gets walked back the other way. I only used pencil and a red pen on this set; other alterations have more colors on them. I haven't gone the rainbow yet, but usually by that point I've retraced some pieces so they make sense. 

And yes, it really is better to work out the kinks on paper rather than with fabric, even at the muslin stage. I have and know and can operate an eraser. 

 I will test the bodice fit with a half-bodice muslin. And redraw. I will miss a few key problems, but I will prevail!