Frankenstein

1 bodice sideAfter more monstrous activity, the 6 Nap bodice is done.  Well, the first attempt anyway. Actually this is the second.  The first, which included boning, is lying on the floor somewhere.

I’ve had something of a bad week – two disappointments, a minor followed by a major, though neither sewing related.  Certainly the mood is low and the Gothic references will be heavy!

1 the monsterI began as last week when drafting with Jo by sewing a close-fitting bodice with princess seams.  Instead of fabric I used blackout lining left over from the curtains in the old flat (the kids’ bedroom was east-facing and would be light at 5am this time of year!).  I’ve used this for toiles before so didn’t have much left.  Some pieces are the wrong side up and therefore a different colour.  You can see where I patched up the centre–front neckline after I originally cut it too low – hence ‘Frankenstein’.

1 bodiceI love using this PVC-like material as it’s quick to sew and if you use the longest stitch, it unpicks in an instant with no ripping.  No need to staystitch.  It doesn’t distort in spite of all the stretching and pinning over the ironing board (see below), not to mention from getting it on and off countless times.

I pinned and pinched and made it as close-fitting as I could, especially under the bust and from neck line to bustpoint. When I felt sufficiently contained, I put it on the dummy and drew the new style lines, using my tracing of the original dress as a reference and copying the curved lines (lines of longitude) in relation to the asymmetric hem which was the first reference I drew.

 Then, instead of slicing up the bodice as with Jo, I pinned each section to the ironing board, lying it as flat as possible, with a piece of paper underneath.  I pinned along the style lines, so the pins stuck up vertically from the ironing board.

1 pinning

 Laying out Back 1 pattern piece and pin-tracing

I removed the ‘skin job’ from the board, drew from pin to pin, and used my Shoben Fashion Curve to add seam allowances.

Before I forget: if you’re going to do this, start by marking the grainline.  In the above picture it’s the arrow in the middle of the pattern piece.  Just two pins, one at each end, then you can extend the line on the paper.

Here it is, made up in a fabric.

1 fron bodiceIt’s a black poly blend, very firm, nicely textured and slightly glossy.  It feels more expensive than it was (£5 a metre).  I took a shine to it ages ago and now I’ve finally found a project for it, I go back to Goldhawk Road and find it’s the end of the roll.  The first version was made from the better end of the remnant.  I used the fabric for the lining too but ruined it when I attached the bodice to the lining and – all rushing optimism – made an infinity loop.

Don’t be fools like me, my friends: use the second method in this Threads video recommended by Ruth which shows a clean-finish method.  Pretend ‘facing’ is ‘lining’ and all will be fine!  As it frays easily, the fabric didn’t survive the seam ripper so  what you see above it made from the flawed end of the roll with creases that don’t come out (especially noticeable around the shoulder).  Also the lining is cotton lawn which isn’t firm enough.

One challenge in making this to fit me is that I haven’t got the long body of the imaginary model wearing the original dress.  My pieces are really quite small and I’m wondering how to squeeze into the eventual dress.  The top of the side seam with the zipper will have to be open I think.

But the upside of all this is that it’s quick to cut and sew.  I didn’t need to staystich or clip the vertical seams, just finger-pressed them open and steamed over a ham.

I will make this once more but need to go back shopping (or else cut up another curtain!).  There are a few mistakes in drafting to improve, e.g. the asymmetric hem point should be higher and more central.

Whereas the back needs the exact opposite: it should be lower and less central. Right now that is a duck’s arse!1 back of bodice one

I hope those of you who have taken up the challenge are enjoying the karma of my being challenged!  To think that in my younger years I used to believe if it isn’t possible to achieve perfection at first go, it wasn’t worth doing.  Please feel free to criticise or suggest: I won’t mind: I’m really thick skinned!

1 t how am I supposed to sleep on all these pins

13 thoughts on “Frankenstein

  1. Now that’s how a pro does it! I have to say I love the bodice in black – very chic. It suits you very much.

    I am starting to wonder myself if the bodice overall has too many style lines (certainly I’m afraid of what the style lines would look like over my bosom!). Maybe my eyes have become too focused on finding every little bulge and wrinkle due to my own bodice woes, that on the original dress I am seeing bumps and wrinkles and imperfections too.

    I am not pro enough at sewing to purport to offer suggestions to improve your excellent job, so I will stay silent on that point but I am definitely pro at disappointments and will say…this too will pass. Yes, not helpful, but true. 🙂 Sorry to hear about them.

    • Came back to read and I forgot that I had the same thought as Kate about the front armhole. Can’t wait to see the final version.

  2. As I sit here in my 6 Nap “wearable toile” (I am roughly at the same stage as you) I feel elated and disappointed in equal measure. I think the white-black-out version looks a bit like a fabulous tennis dress and, seeing this, I hope you make it into a fitted mini dress as you look fab. I agree with your analysis of the points. The other thing is maybe the armhole at the front could be a little less cut in to create a stronger visual line from shoulder to waist to elongate the look? But overall great work.

  3. That is very enlightening post..I really love how you have simplified what i imagined to be a lengthy and difficult process. And on top of that, your posts are fun to read..

    You are right about the hemline on the front. but i think the back hem line could be straight instead of copying the front.. But thats just me. I am sure whatever you dream up will be just rocking

    • Thank you Sridevi. It’s very nice of you to comment.

      As for the straight back, yes, it would make life easier, wouldn’t it! (Or maybe because of the bottom/bum rising slightly, it would look like an upward curve so maybe the hem line should curve towards the feet ever so slightly?). I’ll give the original plan one more try and have your idea as back-up.

  4. Tenacity, concentration, inspection and you’re achieving perfection.
    My fabric arrived and plans are afoot but nowhere near this level. Great work and fascinating to see.

  5. Lovely! I’ve got the fabric, plans and urge, but absolutely no sewing time whatsoever at the moment. I won’t be completing by your original deadline [but I knew that anyway] but hopefully by the end of the month if I sew like a woman possessed once my marking is done. Nothing new there then! Such a great challenge…

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