Sunday musings… black taffeta, fitting the Summer dress and Vogue 2561

I remain somewhat perplexed as to how its possible to spend the entire weekend cleaning and yet by Sunday afternoon the house appears to be in disarray. How is this possible?!?!? I guess houses are things we live in and prone, therefore to the “lived in” look. Ha! I think I had better get used to it, though part of me still mentally exists in a house-must-be-spotless pre-baby state of mind.

I have been thinking constantly of the Black Dress course, have been reading whatever preparatory articles (and books such as Claire Shaeffer’s Couture Sewing Techniques) I can find and have been focused on ensuring I have the right tools and equipment. I have decent dressmaking shears but having read about the pitfalls of organza and charmeuse I have also invested in a pair of micro-serrated scissors which apparently grip the fabric as they cut, preventing unnecessary movement. We shall see! But I am quickly turning my thoughts to selecting a pattern with the least seams! Ha! Seriously, I noticed that the dress Susan Khalje chose to demonstrate the process in a Threads article was quite simple. This would appear to be a wise path for a first timer in charmeuse and the underlining process.

I also managed to pick up a french curve today (along with the required calico for the muslin) after we had done the grocery shop for the week… what a glorious little ruler that is… it will no doubt be a wonderful friend to me when I initiate the process of grading. The more I read about working with charmeuse and organza the more nervous I get! However, it will be a great opportunity to learn and I am pleased to say the BLACK TAFFETA has been ordered. Let me tell you, that stuff goes for a Kings ransom! Lima beans for dinner for me!

In my last post, I mentioned that I was using THREADS INSIDER for fitting advice. I tried on the Summer dress of late and there were (having watched some of the videos) some immediately obvious fitting issues. This appeared to be mostly at the arm. The sleeve join seems to drop off the edge of the shoulder creating what seems to be a massive armscye. I have thought about including a bust dart to remove some of the excess fabric without creating an issue of wearing ease, but I am beginning to think that the best way to rectify would be a dart at the shoulder to “lift” the sleeve. In hindsight I think this problem could definitely have been avoided had I made a toile and redrawn this part of the pattern. The good news is, I think my knowledge of dressmaking is growing! Hurrah!

Separately,  am eagerly awaiting a shipment of stuff from the US. these are goodies I have bought on eBay over the last month or so that I am having shipped over in one go by a shipping company. Many ebay sellers don’t sell to Australia, but often the vintage notions I love aren’t available here. In the photo below is a sturdy tracing wheel which is far superior to the yucky plastic one I bought at the store. I am very much looking forward to: a vintage bias tape maker, a pattern tacker (these aren’t produced anymore but were used to accurately mark patterns on fabric in the process of marking), a TRAUM dressmakers gauge (fabulous for measuring such things as scallop lengths), a button gauge and a fashion ruler used to true arm and neck lines when grading a pattern. Oh, a and a really cool hem gauge. What more could a vintage notions and pattern junkie want????

What tools do you use most? What do you love? Do you have any vintage or unusual dressmaking tool that your couldn’t dressmake without? Would love to hear (not that I need anymore stuff, really…)!!!

Todays pattern of the day is an out of print reproduction pattern produced by Vogue, originally released in the early 1950s, VINTAGE VOGUE 2561. I particularly like the dress which has a lined, fitted bodice. There are a few blogs out there showcasing this one- check pattern review if you’re interested to know how it looks made up…

Reaady, steady… TRACE!

Hope everyone out there has had a marvellous Sunday. Happy sewing all!

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