Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Tale of Rose Red, Part 2

Howdy, folks!

Progress on Red Riding Hood is going slowly, only because I've been up to my neck in other pursuits, including an amazing long weekend in New York City last week, and the home stretch of rehearsals for my local theater company's production of The Music Man. Alas, until the first weekend of performances is over (June 15-17) I am resolved not to look at or think of any sewing projects. There just isn't enough time.

However, I did manage to make a little headway into the sleeves for Red's blouse a few weeks ago, and thought since we're in such a dry spell I may as well put up a post about my scant efforts.

The first thing I did was to make a test blouse per the pattern (Butterick 6196), to get an idea of where to start with my alterations.

First off, may I just say that I love making peasant blouses? It was such a breeze! I also got to incorporate one of Sandry's special tricks, which is a stitch that allows you to put down elastic without needing to make casing (on the cuffs of the sleeves). The seam for attaching these sleeves is so much easier than the typical shoulder joint seam in modern sleeve styles. The vest is one I grabbed from my closet.

The first issue, which I knew going in, is that the sleeves need to be shortened for Red's costume. By a LOT. The second thing is, they need lace layers.

The first thing I did was shorten the pattern as shown above. I pulled one of the sleeves off of my test muslin blouse to use as a base for my new custom pattern. Also, note my beautiful new pattern weights. I have recently discovered the tricks of pattern weights and a cutting tool for cutting out patterns (I call it the pizza slicer thingy) instead of the traditional pin & scissors method, and I seriously wonder what was wrong with me for not discovering it sooner. Pinning and cutting is my least favorite part of sewing. So tedious! Now I don't have to do it anymore! This is a good thing for the overall quality of my work and my learning process too, because it means I'm more likely to take the time to do trial garments and get it right before cutting into my final fabric.

After I cut out the shortened sleeve, I used my marking tools to map out the lace vs base sleeve layers on my new custom sleeve.

 A view of the same custom sleeve pattern together, checking on the symmetry of my measurements.

This picture is upside-down. Whoops. But you get the idea (I don't feel like re-uploading it). Here are the individual pattern pieces cut out. I put LOTS of labels and markings to help me keep track of which was which.

 At first I thought I might be able to use the same piece for the two "lace" layers, since they were the same shape and width, but when I cut the sleeve pattern up, I realized that due to the flared nature of the sleeve, they're slightly different lengths, so it was good to keep both of them.

 I cut out the base and lace layers and joined them together. Here is the resulting test sleeve.

Almost all of my edges and seams were acceptably straight, except for the exception you can see above.

I attached the new test sleeve to the base of the peasant blouse. It looks pretty good, but unfortunately, it's not quite right. If you check against the reference photo, the lace layers should be much higher, starting closer to the shoulder. Also, it could still probably stand to be an inch or two shorter.

I am going to need to repeat all of these steps and shift my measurements for where the different layers go.

The good news is, I feel confident that my methodology is good to make a nice sleeve.

The bad news is, I can't figure out where I put the brown paper sleeve pattern. I've been looking for it everywhere....

And that's all the Red progress I'm going to have for another two weeks. I'm starting to get really impatient (and slightly panicked-- Dragon Con is a lot closer than it looks for a methodical sewer like me!) But I know from experience that trying to squeeze sewing in between the cracks of a busy schedule is a bad, BAD idea for me. It's all or nothing. I will wait until rehearsals are done and over and shift gears 100%.

Hopefully I can find that pattern before then, though. Grrrr.

ETA: Found it!! It was folded up and put away nicely in the pattern envelope. How unpredictably tidy of me...

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