Thursday, February 17, 2011

My Creative Space: Throwing a Hissy Fit



In my final year at university, one of my design lecturers challenged me to construct a model of the C-3P0, Star Wars, gold, droid-thing, from paper. He was a clever university lecturer, because he knew how to get a rise out of this university student. My C-3P0 involved weeks of paper mechanics and reams of gold cardboard and eye-bags worthy of a galaxy far, far away and went on to win a national prize for Now I Can’t For The Life Of Me Remember What.

I am utterly and entirely aware that paper mechanics is not exactly sewing. My sewing know-how is limited to a-line skirts, cushions and softies and once I even ascertained the width of required skirt fabric by performing a 360 degree roll on laid-out fabric. But once I didn’t know anything about paper mechanics either. So I thought I’d give that lovely Schoolhouse Tunic pattern a whirl.



The Schoolhouse Tunic is just the sort of dress I love to wear. Mel and Nikki model it and its making to perfection and I’ve seen Sophie’s gorgeous version in the flesh. While those three sew with great finesse, in truth I reckon that even an absolute beginner such as moi could achieve a Schoolhouse Tunic. Well, in fact I did – in a size 16. I even cared about all my seams and limiting wonk and stuff.

The inherent problem, for a beginner such as moi, is that while the bosomy bit of me apparently merits a size 16, the rest of me requires a size 10.

As it turns out, the mechanics of gold paper are not at all the same for fabric (and sticky tape doesn’t much work). And even though I have given the metamorphosis between size 10 and 16 a good, gung-ho, five hour, laterally creative go, the only way I’m ever going to get this thing to fit in any flattering fashion and over my head is to use a bloomin’ zip. Which I would have known were I not a beginner and will now surely never forget.

Instead of starting again, I did the next logical thing, came over all hissy fit and pulled off a sleeve.



There was scrunching and stomping while a toddler looked on tolerantly.



The sort-of adult in me has since kicked in.

After a while, I thought I’d be damned if my weirdo proportioned, shade-of-its-former-self Schoolhouse Tunic was beating me. Then I thought more rationally. What about if I learn a thing or two about sewing rules before I try hacking into this pattern from every direction? What about if one of you lovely, clever, sewing bloggy types had a notion for another simply-styled dress pattern, preferably with a nice flattering empire line seam right under the bosom bit and a straight-ish skirt, which no doubt incorporates a zip? A zip which I could plan for and accommodate from the start? I would be heartily, joyously pleased to hear any advice or suggestions you may have – even if it is STICK WITH THE KNITTING.

.........................

PS. My apologies that this blog seems to have come over quite bosomy lately.

PPS. Just watch how this gorgeous chook turns Failure Dress into Plan B Success Dress...

PPS. Check in with the green thumbed Kirst for the My Creative Space world-wide, whirlwind whip around...

44 comments:

Becky said...

I am no help, other than to say I have been there and you are not alone in your sewing tanty moment.

JoeyNomad said...

May I add that the fabric is lovely and will look great on any bosoms. Also the art of pattern alteration is an annoying one but you are not alone in being an odd shape according to patterns and it just takes a bit of chopping the pattern off here and there for it to work you can do it!

MiM said...

I feel your pain, have had many a little leg stomping tanty when zips and fiddly sewing bit don't go my way! When this happens I have to stay well away from the sewing machine for at least four hours :)

flowerpress said...

I'm sure you're just doing this to make me feel better about my 90% size shearwater kaftan fail!
That fabric is so beautiful it must be saved, I'm sure someone who knows what they are doing will come along soon, its not me. Good luck :-)

Kate said...

Oh bugger!
I hate a dress making fail. I hate a tantrum infront of a toddler. And I most hate the dreams of how great you'll look wearing it to...crashing down to reality.
That pattern is on my 'reward-to do' list. Maybe not. X

Del said...

Hello chook, I'm an old girl who often reads your blog and relives my earlier life. I too threw tantrums at various pieces of material and have been know to walk out the back door just in front of slam. I was given a book on sewing - Reader's Digest - you could probably get something like it from the library. It details all sorts of mystical but necessary things to do with this particular art. Once read it becomes a little clearer. I made clothes for my children (with zips!) but continued to mess up for myself. Being of the round and roly poly variety I live in jeans and tops. My latest and easiest home made thingy was two rectanglular pieces of floaty material sewn up the sides with holes left for arms and across the shoulders with a hole for your head. To my amazement there are people (dare I say fashionistas) walking round shopping centres with these on. For once I'm 'in'. I digress, take your time, read the instructions and breathe. I found that if I mucked it up then it was dead and needed to be fashioned into something else, and start again from the beginning. Hang in there.

One Flew Over said...

Now you know why A: I don't knit any garments and B: don't sew myself any garments.

I have the same experience as your good self and want to punch myself for A: ruining good fabric and B: wasting my limited sewing machine.

What I now do is send fabric and patterns to a seamstress who whips them up pronto and for not a bad price.

Win, win. Win bloody win.

One Flew Over said...

Meant to read... my limited sewing TIME!

Del said...

P.S. If you need to put a zip in you are going to need a bit of extra width in the pattern. If you would like to chew the fat over this problem my email address is delphine_payne@hotmail.com.

june at noon said...

You are the mature one, aren't you? ;) I love the image of you rolling across your fabric to measure. I have no advice, but I am quite liking the bosomy blogging, so don't worry about that!

Cath @ chunkychooky said...

I love the dress, I too am a fan of the thingy under the bosum empire line- I think every dress i own is like that. I admire you for taking it on... sewing a dree for myself; advanced sewing. i could not would not never attempt it

Suse said...

You just like talking about your boobs on the world wide web.

gretchenmist . . . {belinda} said...

it's these ill~fitting creations that put me off sewing + definitely my inability to make use of the disasters!
hopefully you'll find some help here.
the tanty in front of the toddler makes me laugh. my 3yr old has taken to asking 'what?' when he hears me swear {only when i'm driving of course!}. . .

Kylie said...

Thanks for your comment Tania, but yes, Plan B is not throwing the bloody thing out after stomping on it several times, but actually going back to try again! I haven't done it yet though... I've been unpicking all day :( Thanks for the lovely mention though - you are a good egg :)

Re your dress: I totally understand where you're coming from... My Big Girl has the same problem and similar proportions (though you can't tell in the photo). You have to find out what suits your figure and avoid frocks that Twiggy would have worn I'm afraid ;) Empire line is an absolute winner, as are V-necks (I'm told). Square necks with flutter sleeves or boat neck with no sleeves... If I lived in Melbourne I'd pop by to help. My dress is supposed to be of similar proportions too, so if my friend doesn't end up liking it I'll send it down! Kx

clare's craftroom said...

A good old hissy fit should make us feel good but I always end up feeling worse , especially when there were witnesses ! I just know this dress will be displayed proudly on your blog soon , cause I think you are very clever !

Leah said...

I myself have made the tunic and it ended up way to big and I ain't little so I have no idea where I went wrong, I measures myself and everything? Just know its not only you! Breath and try again.
Leah x

Jackie @ craftonmymind said...

I'm just learning to experiment with pattern sizes, and have found that the dress/top pattern I've been using (McCalls 6123) is pretty good - you just make the top piece bigger and gather it a bit more. Some pattern brands are now making 'made to measure' type patterns with different pieces for different bust sizes - I did a shirt that worked well on this front.

I wonder if you could make a size 16 top half and 10 bottom half, but you'd need to add some darts in the top to make the two meet OK. Hmm. On second thoughts I think it'd probably end up in the too hard basket at my place. Good luck!!

kalen3000 said...

I've gone all bosomy and can't fit any patterns that I had 25 years ago (wonder why?) so I have been thinking about shirring the backs or sides of garments, which naturaly would mean that the area to be shirred needs to be doubled in size, so that maybe I could get away without inserting a zip. Shirring is sort of in at the moment and not hard if you use small stitches and follow any instructions on the net. Cherrie

willywagtail said...

Sorry but the comment attributed to my son "kalen3000" actually came from me. He is definitely not all bosomy and wouldn't know what I was talking about. Cherrie

sooz said...

Tania, I can help on the weekend. Don't throw it out just yet. I also have plenty of other patterns you can use. Just knit till next week.

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

This is why I haven't made a single item of clothing since youngest daughter stopped wandering around Gothily in floor length , crushed velvet skirts , one-size-fits-all .
Good luck !

rachelmp said...

I just end up wearing a mimimiser bra .. not good at the multisizing but maybe Lara and Nikki can teach me next time at Sewjourn

Michelle said...

You need to make it in a size 10 and do a full bust adjustment. (Do I sound like I know what I am talking about cause I have no idea how to actually do one). I am on my phone and can't post a link, but google it.

Hope you get it to fit, the fabric is lovely.

Catherine said...

can't help with patterns or advice, but can empathise re: the hissy-fit-in-front-of-child experience... hope the useful advice works out...

teddybearswednesday said...

You know you are just the best.
DAMN!!!!
this is exactly why I stick to toys, and I have a mantra of wonky.
xo
PS I'm like the bosomy posts. MORE Bosomy!

Sally said...

How frustrating. I have no advice. I stick mainly to making clothes for kids ... what is too big today will fit tomorrow and really they don't care anyway!!!

Love the fabric that you choose - what a total bugger.

sophie said...

You make me laugh! Have you heard of the 'full bust adjustment'? I have read of plenty of women needing to add space just to that bust area, maybe you could google that? I for one, would LOVE a size 16 bust!

What about this one?
http://www.amybutlerdesign.com/products/patterns_display.php?id=36

Stomper Girl said...

You know, my Mum used to having sewing disasters and the occasional big swear and throw when sewing and I think that may have been why I didn't try sewing for so long - I mean, anything that makes one that angry and bearing in mind my Mum is an excellent crocheter and had a small business making lovely hand-painted silk scarves must be just TOO HARD, right? I think that's why I like to sew in a group at craft camp, at least if you stuff up there's plenty of help and you don't have to rely on your own brain.

Sadly I can't help you with your problem, I am still on my P-plates.

Shannon said...

It would seem most of us are a fat load of good to you. My mum will know, absolutely positively - she has been making her own patterns since she was a young teen; my daughter draws her pictures of what she wants and a week later the dresses turn up in the mail! I'll ask her for you.

Lola Nova said...

Yes on the full bust adjustment and I also find that I need to add a bit of length to the top bit so that the seam is actually under the bust as opposed to somewhere in the middle.
Though I hardly ever sew for myself, it's hard to fit yourself with the paper patterns when you don't have a helping hand.
kids clothes are so much more fun, requiring very little fitting. Though still a few tantrums.

A Peppermint Penguin said...

Book - fit for real people FFRP - in which there are clear diagrams for an FBA, full bust adjustment.

Some patterns (simplicity?) have pieces for different cup sizes.

Old sheets/cheapo fabric are your friend.

Well done, keep going!

And yes, you do even manage to make your (current) failures look pretty!

Cheers,
AJ

Sarah@PingsAndNeedles said...

sorry, I'm no help either ... ahem ... still waiting to stop hating my last endeavour enough to sew the sleeves in ... 6 months and counting ...

I bet when you've conquered it you'll adore wearing that lovely fabric though ...

Gaby said...

I wish I could help, but I'm kind of in the same boat. I've been holding onto the pattern for the schoolhouse tunic for the last year and a half, waiting for the day I have enough courage to start cutting, or until the day I'm a sewing pro. Whichever comes first... But please keep us updated!

Mel said...

Yeeees I did try to put mine on the other day (made when I was a size 10) thinking it'd probably still have enough girth for the girls. I was wrong and I think the slight seam splitting noise I heard confirmed it. I was thinking I might whip up another larger version (since I am now about size 22 all over) but don't know if I have enough fabric quite frankly ...

The fabric you used is lovely but I wonder if something more flimsy would have given you a bit more leeway?

Oh and as a star wars fan from way back the mere thought of your C3PO has me admiring you even more! If that was even possible!

Amanda said...

I have quite similar sewing techniques haha...My patience does not hold out for all those details. I hope you find that perfect bit of advice that you need to finish your project...

I did things the lazy way and repurposed for my first sewing project this year. lol..

Fer said...

I feel you pain, I really do, as I too have to deal with a well endowed figure!

My suggestion? Try it in a cotton jersey knit instead, you'll get a nice drape and no need for the zip! (I've been wanting to try this pattern for a while too, but may wait a bit longer and try to get a few more of these baby kilos off instead...)

Lisa said...

I hope I haven't misread - but would a possible fix to be to put in a zipper? Or have a wonderfully skilful and loving friend put the zipper in for you?

FWIW, my favourite way to put in a zip is to sew the seamline FIRST (long machine stitch) and then place the zip on top and sew around the zip and THEN UNPICK THE SEAM LINE. It's startingly brilliant and I can't claim to have come up with that on my own.

In any event, I hope that you and your bosoms and your Schoolhouse tunic all come together in a happy place very soon :)

craftschmaft.com said...

Sorry, I Can't help you on the sewing love. However, may I just say THANK GOD I'm not the only one who throws the odd tantrum to rival my toddler! That is all.

skyefraser said...

This has nothing to do with the tunic.

i've just recently discovered your blog and have spent the last couple of weeks reading all of the entries (tad obsessive I know). I have enjoyed reading every blog and have found myself very inspired, as I begin my sewing/knitting crafting journey, to the point where I have resented having to leave it. Thankyou.

Bonnie said...

Please forgive me when I say "who cares about the schoolhouse tunic! I have got to see the paper C3PO!" When I was at the beginning of this post, I was saying to myself, please let there be a photo of the C3PO! Please! It's nice and all that you're trying to make this tunic, but for heaven's sakes a
C3PO made of gold cardboard rocks!

Jaime said...

I had always thought hissy fits were part of the creative process. I do hope it all works out. Smiles!

jo so and sew said...

I think it would look really cool without the sleeves.... x

Tracey said...

was thinking of you today and the dilemma of the ample bosom, decided to post an outfit put together with the girls in mind...
hope your tunic comes together, looking forward to seeing the completed project!

Victoria said...

I can sympathise with your sewing frustrations although bosoms aren't my issue, I have iddy biddy issues in that area. I do know though the frustration in looking at something and thinking that looks easy, I can do that, then getting something to actually fit with alterations you need to make. I've made tunics and never get the shoulders to fit right so it always looks homemade. Doing a problem tailoring course is on my one day list.