Sunday, February 10, 2013

Banana Peels and Patterns

The Banana Story
Two summers ago I made a quick LBD for the funeral of my MIL.  I used Vogue 1100 and used a beautiful Armani wool from my dear friend, Darrell (Darrell Thomas Textiles.).  The dress went together extremley easy, with the standard FBA and some extra at the SS for a fuller skirt.  Later that year, while looking for a dress for Christmas I fell in love with a dress at Banana Republic.  I felt I could easily knock it off.  It had a slight Aline skirt with a banded waist in a wool look fabric and a satin bodice that had a twist located on the bias not the horizontal line.

I duly traced my trust Vogue 1100 and then hacked and slashed until I achieved the look I wanted.   Bodice Muslin #1 was OK, but needed work.  Bodice Muslin #2 worked better as I used a poly fabric that was slightly heavier than the charmeuse I had planned for.  I still did not like the results.  Too lightweight without going through the hassles of interfacing or interlining.  This Banana dress was starting to wear on my nerves. Enough slipping on the banana peel.  I gave up on the knock off bodice style and went back to the original pattern design and used the charmeuse.  The pattern recommended the fabric, so I felt confident it would work out.  I morphed on a sleeve from a pattern I like and have used before and then cut and basted away.  This is where I think the spirit of the Banana was haunting me.  I did not like the pleating in the silk, it did not seem to lie right, so I converted to soft gathers.  I kept in the bust dart and then added the skirt and waist band (made from a coord slubbed silk remnant from one of Darrell's Cat Rescue sales).  Put the dress on the form and almost cried.  It was that awful.

Overnight it sat and then I woke up, inspired by a new show on TLC (Something Borrowed Something New).  The premise is that a bride has to choose between a new RTW gown or a reworked and redesigned version of her mother's gown.  While watching rugby with the Pilot, I sat and ripped seams.  I peeled that Banana apart and started over.

The Aline skirt is now cut into the HP Moneypenny Trumpet Skirt. Knowing and accepting that I have added to my waistline and hips, I duly added to the seamlines.  This afternoon I will finish the edges, baste front and for fit and then draft a waist facing (will try to use the Banana Band).  Once I add the lining, voila - new skirt!

The bodice is a right off.  Using a silk charmeuse for a top did not work, IMO.  The fabric is too soft and looked way to pouffy on my body.  The tailored look of the Armani is what I wanted.  And the silk was not going to give me that.  An expensive lesson to learn as there is not enough in the leftovers to toss together anything except maybe a scarf..

When I was working on this project, seeing it sink deeper into oblivion, my confidence in my skills and in my desire to continue plummeted.  I looked back over the past few years of sewing and realized that I have been progressing further into laziness.  As I revelled in the fact that there are patterns out there are that are designed on a sloper that is almost me, I stopped adjusting for me.

As I pulled out one of my Palmer Pletsch books, a slip of paper fell out.  It was from my first fit seminar, back almost 20 years ago in Halifax, when Patti introduced me to FBA's, broad and high round backs and forward shoulders.  All adjustment I needed and that she diagrammed out for me on a bodice sloper picture.  I cannot remember the last time that I performed any of those back adjustments.  Good enough had become my philosophy, but deep down I knew good enough was not sufficient to cut into the wools and silk suitings in the stash, let alone the Chanel sitting there.  working with the silk remnants made me want to work with the aging stash.  It is calling to me.  Remembering the weeks of fitting and adjusting it took to perfect the dupioni cocktail dress, the fun I had in the process.  I want that feeling back.

This all started because I needed clothes for a new job and had little time to sew what I wanted.  So I accepted RTW and good enough.  Not anymore.  I am worth more than good enough.  If I can't give 100% effort to myself, then who should I be giving it to?

I am going downstairs to ponder patterns for a new top to go with the skirt.  The one I was thinking of using I am going to toss.  It was a compromise that I am no longer willing to make.  Then I am going to work to the level of my ability and push beyond.  Because I. Am. Worth. It.

1 comment:

Lisa Laree said...

(stand on chair and applauds)

Wow, you hit on it. I am in the same boat...beautiful fabrics that I won't sew because I don't have a pattern worthy of them. Not that I don't have nice stuff...I don't have one fitted and ready to go.

There is, however, a jacket in the process of being traced, the first step in the alterations process. I AM going to get that baby turned into a TNT and make some nice jackets.

Thanks so much for the inspiration!