Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Never too early

It's never too early to start making a costume for the Renaissance Festival. Around here, that happens in October and November, but I'm starting to make a costume now. Mostly because I have nothing to do all day, since I'm currently unemployed, so I'm finally getting around to sewing stuff. Usually I put my ideas into action by buying fabric and patterns, but since I'm trying not to spend money (again, unemployed) I'm forced to put my ideas into action by using up the fabric and patterns I've acquired.

So far I've made a shirt. It's two colours, but it's all the same fabric; some of it is just dyed. I dyed it twice, and it still didn't turn out the way I wanted it to. It was supposed to be teal. First I used teal dye, then I tried again with teal and dark green. The second try ended up pretty similar to the first try, just darker. Still not teal. Also, the shirt looked cooler when it was still in my head. That's usually how it turns out. I imagine something cool, find out it won't work very well, have to improvise, and am disappointed with my work. If someone else had made the exact same thing, I'd think it was awesome. But when I have a particular feature set in my mind, I get annoyed when that feature doesn't work the way I thought I could make it work. Which is weird, since I never even have much of a plan when I start. I can never decide how I want to make something, so I sit there and stress about it forever, until I finally decide to just dive in and figure things out as I go.

So somehow I have almost no plan, yet I still am disappointed when things don't turn out exactly how I'd planned...?

However, I did successfully create a front facing, collar, a hem that doesn't look mangled, long-enough sleeves, and flat felled seams (or my variation of flat felled seams that I came up with before I googled how you're actually supposed to do it...I like my way...) I used McCall's 6613:

Here's my version:

Modifications:

  • No pockets, only one part of the collar (like a mandarin collar), no pleat in the back, no cuffs.
  • The front is one single piece - no buttons/placket. Instead I made a facing. Frogs instead of buttons. (Frogs were the perfect solution, since I was stupid and didn't think to interface the facing, so I was too scared to try buttonholes, or eyelets for lacing. Frogs ended up closer to the look I wanted anyway.)
  • Flat-felled seams (my version of them...)
  • Eliminated a seam on the sleeve. The sleeve comes in 2 pieces (it has a seam down the back, plus the usual underarm seam). I eliminated the underarm seam, making the white part of my sleeve all one piece. Also, I made it straight instead of tapered. [Easier than it sounds, see below.] Then I added a wide rectangle of green into the remaining seam, and gathered it in various points down the sleeve.
  • Wide hip adjustment.

Here's how I did the sleeve. I didn't have to redraw anything, or cut out a new pattern piece. I just arranged the pieces on top of the fabric so there would be no underarm seam, and so that the width was the same all the way down the sleeve, with no tapering. I overlapped the pieces at the top to eliminate the seam allowance, so the sleeve would still fit into the armscye. I also extended the length a few inches (the squared-off dotted line at the bottom). I hope everything makes sense.

If I use the pattern again:

  • I'll modify the sleeve cap so it's wider and not as tall. This will make the sleeve (slightly) wider, which is always good in a pirate shirt, and hopefully it will make the sleeve less weird when I move/raise my arms. Nothing against this pattern in particular, sleeves always do this for me, no matter what pattern I use. [Here is an excellent explanation of how the sleeve cap affects the look and fit of a sleeve.]

I plan to make an underbust corset out of the same green I used in the shirt. Unfortunately, that may have to wait until I can afford boning and a busk.

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