Some time after joining Pattern Review I discovered that there are people out there - LOTS of people, who are really into sewing historical costume items. And wearing them. It's fascinating, and I love the folks who really get into the historical accuracy of the hand sewing and all that. Jolly good stuff. For them. Corsets and boning and stuff? Fascinating. Just not my cup of tea.
So what am I doing right now? No no...NOT a corset...just a simple pair of bloomers. For a friend who needs them for a folk dance show (she was invited to perform in a troupe that will be traveling in Europe next month - you GO girl!)
All of my friends know that I really haven't been interested in sewing for others, but when a Good Friend (hereinafter known as GF), who doesn't sew, asked for a pair of simple bloomers....well, hey, it sounded fun to me, so I said I'd be delighted. She said they were already all cut out. (No tracing! No cutting!) She thought it should take about an hour. Did I mention that she doesn't sew?
|I think I need this clock.....|
Step 1 is to sew up the leg seams. French seams it calls for. I need every bit of width I can get in the legs, so that ain't gonna happen - I'll just take a small seam and serge it. Of course, I had black thread in the serger, and I'm sewing on white lace. I can be lazy about changing serger thread, but it's no biggy. Really. It just means I need to kind of rush through the project that I need the black thread for.
OK, black serging is done. (That project will be reviewed soon - and I like it! It's yet another skirt, and I think it's time to take back everything I said before about not liking skirts.) Here's a teaser....
|There are lots of clues here.... };-)|
I did my usual quick read through the instructions (VERY quick, this time), and jumped right in. The pieces made no sense to me, but did I take the extra time to read the pattern carefully and figure them out? nooooooooo....... I also jumped around a bit as I was working, because of not having the real body nearby to fit.
Step 2 (my step 2, not the pattern's) was to sew up 6" of the crotch seam, then fold the edges of the rest of the crotch seam over twice and stitch the folded edge. Huh? The whole crotch seam has 6" that's sewn together & the rest of it (another 2+ feet) is WIDE OPEN?
I think I'd best not write out loud what I'm thinking here....
|Is this not the very image of sweet, demure, and very well-covered?|
Deceptive, folks. Very deceptive.
This is when I discover that there's supposed to be a waistband. Aha! That explains my concern about the rise being too short. So I dig out the pattern pieces, wade through all of the corset bits, and finally find the waistband parts. And dig through stash to find some appropriate white cotton, which, thankfully, I had in my muslin stash. Cleared it with GF that it's OK to use an old sheet. "I don't care what it looks like, don't worry about anything, it'll be fine, keep it simple. I'm only going to be wearing this for 8 days" says she.
Did I mention that she doesn't sew? Have I also mentioned, somewhere along the line, that it's basically not in my gene makeup to leave a seam unfinished on the inside?
How about if I just skip over all of the parts about the seam ripping I did whilst I figured out which was the front, which was the back, where the tie was going to be, which end had the pleats, where the tie started and ended, how to finish the seams.....
Now, this is NOT the fault of the pattern. Really, the instructions are excellent. If I had actually seen a completed pair of bloomers before I started I would have finished in half the time. But I also did not get the gene that allows one to visualize the written word as a 3D item. I need to touch and feel it first.
And I guess I just couldn't get over that non-existent crotch seam.
Eventually I got the waist band on, and got GF over for a quick fitting. The goddesses were smiling on us, because it looked like the fit was just fine! Except that she wants the tie to be in front - not that she wants me to change the pattern, she just wants to wear the blooming bloomers BACKWARDS. Quick costume changes between numbers, you know. YOU CAN'T HAVE ME SPEND THIS MUCH TIME SEWING SOMETHING AND THEN WEAR IT BACKWARDS! I'm pretty sure I did not shout that, but I'm also pretty sure I said something close to it. She'll get a lot of practice pulling them on and off, so I'll just have to wait and find out what she does.
GF is telling me tales of how she usually does drawstrings for her costumes (safety-pinned on if/when something breaks), and the rips that frequently happen (again, safety-pinned together...if it's even necessary to do a repair...), and it's beginning to sink in that it's really OK if the costume falls apart, and I really don't need to be spending time finishing all the seams.
But does that stop me from finishing them anyway?
Of course not.
Now I was expecting nothing but a "thank you" for this (I already owe her, as far as I'm concerned - she was one of the friends who spent some time with Mom to give me a break), but she brought me this exceptionally beautiful cut of silk dupioni:
|It's a golden yellow, with a rich purple warp -|
hard to capture the 3D color, but you get the idea.
|Close-up of the 6" crotch seam and the, um, gap.|
Update: Woohoo! GF just picked them up, so I got a couple of shots of her wearing them:
In the meantime, another friend asked if I would be willing to sew her a bustle. No pattern, just total creative freedom! This project I relish. Here are the goodies she sent me to play with:
She wants wild and funky, tattered bits, and she trusts me to do whatever I want. Once I figure out the basic construction logistics (famous last words = "How hard could that be?") it should be nothing but fun!
What's your take on sewing for friends? Fun? Won't do it? Will do it if you're paid? Will only do it if you're not paid?
My brain is beginning to accept the possibility that sewing for dollars might be a fun thing to do....if I can find the right niche......we'll see........