Thursday, September 17, 2009

Making the Muslin

Which is actually not made of muslin, but of Silk Essence (the essence being that it's 100% polyester). So far I've cut the thing out and when I return from vacation I will begin to sew.

And let me tell you, cutting it out was epic.

First of all, this was a few weeks ago, when some may know that Justin & I had a weekend from hell. Friday night we notice that our cat Chiana, typically squinty eyed, was insanely squinty in the eye department. She tried to do her usual thing of sitting between us and alternately glaring at one person, then the other, but was hampered by the fact that her eyes really weren't opening. We weren't positive something was wrong, but with Labor Day coming up, we didn't want to risk her not being able to see a vet over the long weekend. So Saturday I was up early on the phone to the vet and then taking her to the vet two hours later. Joy. Chiana is generally a very calm cat, but I believe anyone with a pet knows how delightful a trip to the vet can be. An hour later I came home, $150 poorer, with two different medicines which needed to be given to her a total of 5 times per day and with one of those crazy collars to keep her from rubbing her eye (she had a cyst in it). She didn't like the collar.

Approximately 20 minutes later, Justin & I smelled smoke and heard fire engines. Fortunately our building was not on fire, but the one behind us was. The street was shut down. Huge ladder trucks were pulled up with their ladders on our roof. Justin watched out our back window and saw fire fighters rescue two people. And could feel heat from the flames. It was that close. I had gone out to look around outside and saw a fire fighter rescue a dog from a fire escape. It was crazy, but we were lucky. Our apartment just smelled like smoke for a few days. We did promptly check our smoke detector and our renter's insurance policy though.

So anyway, traumatic weekend. Sunday I decide to cut out the dress. This is very difficult with a cat. Cats feel that the should be able to la on anything and they love tissue paper, which is of course what patterns are made of. So there was a lot of this:
And she was so miserable in general that weekend, that I felt really bad making her move.

Actually the first problem came when I realized that I could not find the pattern envelope or the first page of the directions. I took them with me to Maryland to buy the fabric. They have vanished. I have no clue where they are. I'm worried I threw them out by mistake. I was able to get the sizing measurements off the internet and I could live without the first page of instructions, fortunately. It was mostly the suggestions for how to lay out the pattern pieces and I generally ignore those anyway. But I'm very frustrated that that envelope is missing.

Also, I need new scissors. Really, really badly. Because mine have a serious dull spot which meant that every few minutes they'd catch, not cut and I'd end up with this:

Oh and the six yards of fabric I bought? When I opened it all up and unfolded it, I found this: In case you can't see it too well, there's a 3" slash on one edge, two huge red X's in some kind of grease pencil and also a red stamp of some kind. And the stamp does show through onto the other side of the fabric. Yeah, that made laying things out really interesting. Fortunately I was able to cut around a lot of it and what did make it in is all in the train. And if I do convert this dress to something I could wear normally, the train will be the first thing to go. But I was mightily annoyed.

The final thing is this:

That's the train pattern being wider than the fabric, something which I confess I did not think of AT ALL when I was drafting the pattern. Now this fabric is about 44" wide, not 45", but I don't think that extra inch would make much of a difference. Which means I need to either 1) buy only 60" fabric, 2) redraft the train or 3) make the train in several pieces. I ended up going with option 3 for this trial run, and we'll see how that looks. Even in the finished product, the train will be entirely under the knitted lace, so a couple seams are the end of the world. But I'd been laying out and cutting for about 2 hours at that point. So I wasn't real thrilled.

Still, it's cut out! And I drafted the slight changes to the top of the bodice to allow for straps - I want it to swoop up a bit into the straps, rather than just go straight across. Fingers crossed on that one.

I used the pattern to cut out a new top for an old dress of mine - the green one I wore to my friend Mary's wedding. I'm a little nervous about my size selection now, b/c that version at least was way big. I was swimming in it. Now granted, I am not a well endowed woman by any stretch of the imagination, but it appeared to be meant for someone with double D's. Hence my nervousness. I'm thinking that a lot of alterations may be in order.

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