I like deadlines. They make me feel alive- tracing, cutting, ripping, stitching, pressing in a mad frenzy. Manic energy fuels much of my creativity.
I made Burda 04-2010-125 this morning, sans bow. She went together like a pleasant waking dream- the opiate of skirt sewing. Linen-cotton blend fabric printed with European/American animals by a Japanese designer, sewn by an American in Australia from a German pattern. Ah globalization, so seldom do I notice thee.
Fresh off the machine. Meh. The pattern at the side seams was never fated to match, I refuse to make myself nuts about it. I *should* use a larger size for the back and a smaller for the front to balance the seam line properly. First problem: just a little frumpy, despite the squirrels and pleated frill.
My first foray into the vintage sewing blogosphere began with a desperate google search: “How to fit a pencil skirt like Joan Holloway.” I made several pencil skirts from patterns of the era, with frump-tastic results.
It’s fine, but rather straight. Finding little information on the subject, and with other pressing projects, I forgot about it until today. I found a delicious page describing a “wiggle” skirt in great detail and the penny dropped. “…the width of the hem of the dress is narrower than the hips.”
Of course. How silly of me.
I tweaked in the side seams above the frill, et viola. Spankability. Did girls like Joan buy or make their skirts, then tweak in the side seams below the hip? None of my “wiggle” skirt patterns have this shaping built in to the pattern.
Check out her sexy little pot:
Soft, not fat, and so pretty.
While pondering why I still felt “meh” after the tweaking, I realized the skirt wants a waistband. The clean edge at my waist cuts me in half and draws an unflattering line where I should have no line. “Hourglass” figures are often defined as having a set bust to waist to hip ratio, often determined as 10″ difference between waist and the apexes.
The shape is often held up as some sort of ideal. I’m not sure why, because it’s hard to dress an hourglass. Tops don’t fit without alteration, and watch the ribcage area or you add several pounds of extra weight (see the blouse above). Don’t get me started about below the waist- “sway back” puddling and wrinkles, bunching fabric, it’s a nightmare. While working with jacket patterns, I noticed that the 4044 jacket (which fits my lower back well) CB seam was excessively curved outward below the waist, with nearly straight side seams.
Oh, I thought, that’s an S-shape. The S-shape is a variation of the hourglass, meaning most of the excess baggage carries directly at the front and at the back with straight(ish) sides. I’ve been sewing my own clothes, fitting them, and making style decisions for years and never realized that about my body. Understanding this helps with alterations, and with working on proportion. No wonder nipping in the side seams at the waist never worked for me. Sheesh. Now I know to nip in below the bust and above the backside.
Before I take proper pictures, I’ll rip out the top seam and attach a pretty shaped waistband. (Probably rip off the lace, too, but I need to figure out some trim to break up the print.) That’ll fix her. I’m sewing like a mad thing this week, I don’t want to spend time taking photos until I finish everything.
Thoughts? How should I break up that print? How did I sew so long without realizing those simple things?