Monday, 5 May 2014

Drape Drape 2, no 2

I admit it, I'm a follower, at least when it comes to sewing.

Lizzy got me interested in Drape, Drape - book by Hisako Sato, in case you haven't heard of it - in January, when she was overflowing with her plans to try out some of these patterns.  Initially I had zero interest, but while in Bern my interest grew since I was seeking projects that weren't equipment intensive.  (I got a sewing machine at least!)  I managed to buy some cheap mystery stretch fabric in Italy and got to work.

The most intensive part about the Drape Drape projects is tracing the pieces.  As others have mentioned, the pieces for all the projects are overlapping on 2 sheets, and so they must be traced.  Luckily, for this project the tracing is mainly straight lines and simple curves.  I used a 1cm seam allowance, not whatever was marked.  My measurements would have me be a M/L but I cut the S/M as I know people have said these patterns run large.

I basically folded the dress in half and then sewed everything in my favourite order (shoulders, side, hem) leaving the bindings for last because I do not like sewing them.  I found the lengths advised by the pattern - 80 cm neck and 60 cm armhole bindings - to be generous and ended up cutting off 10 cm from the neck and about 6 from each sleeve.  My technique for sewing these on is not very glamorous, I just started at one side, pulling some tension until I got to the end.  I didn't fold my "bias tape" over for a clean finish, just folded it once over to the front and sewed with the fabric edge out.  I think this look matches the style of the dress pretty well.  On the sleeves I decided to try just sewing the binding on the outside and letting the jersey curl naturally, but it required then finishing the seam inside and I may still later sew it down, so that wasn't more efficient.  I know others have used a variety of different options for these bindings but my goal was to avoid walking allll the way down to the basement to iron anything so I wasn't keen to actually iron my bindings flat.

Initially I wasn't sure what to think but sure enough this dress has really grown on me!  I love the drape after all.  I gave it a generous hem, which I just eyeballed (and yeaaahhh, I didn't iron it)  but even the ridges in my hem, um, match the drape.  When I put this on it was super comfortable so I'm thinking it's going to get quite a bit of use.  Especially if I can make it work-appropriate, as I'm being shunted back into the office for the summer. I definitely think of this blah taupe version as a muslin for a more beautiful set of stripes though.

I did finally learn why many people are afraid to handle knits.  My old Janome My Style 20 was not well known in New Zealand - it must be a model that has gone by other names - but it was a hard working beast and never caused any trouble with knits.  My stitches stayed even and I didn't have trouble getting good tension.  With my little plastic Singer, I had huge issues with tension.  I had to sew everything once normally on a straight stitch, pull it until the fabric flattened and the stitches snapped somewhere, and then resew the spot where the stitches snapped.  I'm sure that's not what you are supposed to do.  I've noticed that it left my seams very shaggy looking.  I don't know if it's because this fabric is a super super thin knit, or if it would happen with all knits.  I used a 70 ballpoint needle.

On the topic of the cheap mystery stretch fabric: fabric shopping in Italy is not, actually, a wonderland of cheap amazing things.  I tried out my luck in Como and in Milano.  In Como I found an expensive shop with some lovely wares (Chanel fabric!) and ended up with a few silk and linen scraps to try making into pants, but they weren't really cheap.  In Milan I checked out three places: Self-service dello Scampolo near Porta Genova, Tessuti Raponi, on Via Panzeri, and Tessuti & Scampoli, at Via Lario.  My experience was similar to shopping in LA.  I think I'm just not really keen on shopping for fabric when I don't know what I'm getting, and the huge bins of different coloured stuff turn me off really fast.  Luckily this time I had the drape projects in mind and so I concentrated on finding fine cotton or rayon jerseys. There is some great striped viscose in Bern, but of course it's 39 franks/meter.   

From Milan I ended up with 4 different pieces of stretchy maybe-mostly-cotton.  The sum total of my shopping was about 40 euro for these four pieces (a total of about 6-7 meters) plus the silk and linen pieces that I mentioned above.  Definitely cheaper than Switzerland...but still not very dreamy.  

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