I have been experimenting. It has been equal parts rewarding and frustrating, which is better than completely frustrating (that would just be miserable) and maybe better that completely rewarding (then I might become a little full of myself).
First, the story of a top that formed beautifully. I decided that I would take the pattern for my top for a test run, so I used some of the purple flowery fabric from last time and made a practice top, which you can see in the photos below. I didn’t finish the arm holes yet, well because they seem a little more difficult and I’ll have to give them some thought. I just wanted to see how the top would fit and if I had positioned and sized my darts correctly (you can see the top the right way out and inside out, to show how it will actually look on the outside and the darts on the inside, respectively).
Both the front and back came out pretty nicely, in my humble opinion. The only thing that bothered me (A LOT) was the puckering that seemed to happen at the tip of the darts. This might be a little difficult to see in the photos but basically, there was a little, tiny well forming at the tips which looks ugly and frankly isn’t supposed to be there. But, I looked it up on the internet (thank you, internet) and learnt that there is a nice little fix for that if I just make the stitches on the dart very small when I get to the tip. That doesn’t seem too hard, and I’ll do it on the actual top.
Now, the story of a little skirt that just wouldn’t do what it was supposed to do. Since my top, which I draped on the dress form, worked out so nicely, I thought “Oh, Lillian. You’re awesome! Just drape your skirt and it will come out perfectly too!” So that’s what I did. I fitted my fabric around the widest part of the hips on the dress form and proceeded to put in darts to make it fit at the waist, which is not as wide.
And that resulted in many, very large darts, that, while they look kind of cool (see the pictures at the end with the quarter pieces of skirt pinned on the form), do not look right. At all. I’ve only seen darts on skirts that are maybe 2 or 3 inches long but mine were pushing double digits. However, while my eyes were saying “This looks wrong,” my brain (aided by my at times stubbornness) was saying “But it fits the dress form so it must be right!”
So I began making the practice sample of the skirt, this time using an off-white fabric decorated with purple flowers (I too am confused as to why there are so many purple and white floral fabrics at my house). And you can see the awful result of this venture below. First of all, after I stitched them, the darts were not the right size. Some needed to be wider at the top, by the waist, and others were just wonky. When I tried to sew the side seams, they wouldn’t match up with my original outline and it became difficult to take in the sides while maintaining symmetric darts.
On top of that, each of the darts had this very strange bulging happening at it’s tip (tip being the end not at the waist). It was giving the skirt the complete opposite of the fitted, slim effect I wanted. The only way I could see to prevent this bulging from happening was to cut from the tip of the dart to the bottom of the skirt and somehow stitch the skirt as though it was made of multiple panels of fabric. That seemed a little haphazard though, and I’d rather be a little methodical.
Needless to say (or should I say needle-less to say, badum-tiss), I’m going to have to reconsider my strategy for the skirt. I may have to take a more formulaic approach to creating the pattern instead of draping it (i.e. using rules and measurements for creating patterns directly instead of molding them on a dress form). I’ll have to look into some tutorials on that.
In other news, I have purchased my fabric and it was quite an experience! More on that tomorrow.
-Yours Truly, the girl that can’t think of anything clever, so just Lillian for today.