Saturday, April 18, 2015

Miss Petra and the Sailor: BGD Violet Dress

Good evening, kittens! Tonight, our beloved Houston Rockets are playing in the first round of the NBA playoffs and I need to do something with my hands, so that I don't explode with sports angst. Right now, I'm having a lot of violent feelings about the Mavericks and Dallas, as a whole. Example: Maverick? What kind of mascot is a Maverick? Obviously a rocket, that LAUNCHES FROM THE GROUND WITH FIRE, is inherently better and more terrifying than a horse that is too dim-witted to be trained.

Ahem. Right. Breathing deep. Not speaking ill of a whole city of people, because of a basketball game. Instead, I'm going to talk about something that makes me breathe easier: my newest BlueGingerDoll Violet dress.

Or a variant of it, anyhow. This blue-and-white striped jersey, part of that infamous Girl Charlee order last summer, was begging to be made into a dress. With the amount of traveling we've been doing lately, I also needed another travel-friendly knit garment. I can't handle wrinkles and wovens just don't pack well. However, some tweaks were in order, to make Violet an appropriate pattern for this fabric. Let's discuss the changes, shall we?

While I adore Violet's half circle skirt, it wouldn't work in a striped fabric. The way stripes turn into frown lines, when cut on a curve, gives me the all-overs. My hips should not be making a sad face, y'all. To prevent such a dreadful occurrence, I instead added a simple dirndl skirt, which allowed the stripes to stay parallel to the hem. Crisis averted! To gather this skirt, I just did the standard two lines of basting stitches, scrunched them up evenly, and attached it to the bodice. I've never had much luck with the gather and sew at once method, but this works like a charm anyway, even on knits. Why mess with a good thing?

The other major change I made was to omit Violet's bodice piecing. I'm just not enough of a masochist to do all that stripe matching. Instead, I overlapped each piece by the seam allowance and traced off new bodice pieces. So easy! This also allowed me to reshape the armhole curve a bit more, to better perfect that shoulder-to-sleeve area.

Finally, I omitted the center front gathers. It wasn't actually my intention to take away all of Violet's identifying features, but this fabric just refused to hold those horizontal gathers evenly, especially when going from blue stripes to white. I gave up, rolled my eyes, and declared that this would be a scoop necked dress. I had wanted that all along, of course! Of course.

Behold! Imperfect stripe matching!
I'm going to need to alter the shape of the Violet's sleeve cap, if I sew it in stripes again, so that there's more fabric room to match stripes.

It does not escape me that I took the Violet and unwittingly turned it into a Moneta. We'll pause here for a bad sewist confession. I don't actually know where my Moneta pattern is, y'all. It has been sucked into the mysterious abyss of my sewing room and utterly disappeared. A Faux-neta is as close as I'm getting, unless I decide to retape a whole new pattern. That's an even dimmer prospect, because I love the fit of this unpieced Violet! 

It's a simple dress, sure, but I find myself constantly reaching for it. My true sewing love will always be wovens, but there's something to be said for how easy knit dresses are both to sew and wear. This one has been in heavy rotation, since coming off my machine. That it only took three total hours to sew makes it an even sweeter little piece. Everything was stitched together with a lightning bolt stitch, including the sleeve and skirt hems. They seem to be holding up well, in comparison with my usual twin-stitched finish, but we'll see...


There's not much more to say about this cute, little dress, but I do have other news share! I promise not to inundate y'all with promotions for my Burda classes, because Idle Fancy exists for pretty dresses, but I did want to satisfy any curiosity you may have. As you know, last month, Sam and I traveled to Fort Collins, Colorado, in order for me to film two separate classes for BurdaStyle Academy. Ali actually just posted a fun blog post over at Burda about my experiences there, complete with some backstage (double chin inducing!) photos. It was a blast, from start to finish! So much so that I've actually added an additional, smaller class, to my schedule this spring.

Even better, all three classes will be live over the next month! Woohoo!

Starting April 30th, I'm teaching Pattern Grading for All Sizes, which will discuss different methods of resizing sewing patterns. We'll talk about ruler grading, shift grading, and slash-and-spread grading on a myriad of pattern pieces, in order to make your patterns either larger or smaller. Afterwards, we'll go over some standard fitting alterations to better personalize your graded patterns! This class will run for six weeks, during which time you can ask me as many questions as you'd like and have my complete help, through the process.

On May 4th, I'm teaching Curvy Pattern Alterations, which is a quick one-hour Power Session covering full figure pattern alterations. We'll talk about three different styles of FBAs, full hip adjustments, and full bicep adjustments. This class will run officially for one week, during which time you can send me absolutely any question you have and chat about all the alterations.

Finally, on May 23rd, my second full class, Pattern Grading for Plus Sizes will begin. This class will take the base Pattern Grading class and add a whole slew of extension videos, specific to plus sizes. We'll go through all three methods of grading, plus how to use slopers to copy favorite styles, curvy pattern alterations, and plus size specific grading rules. This one doesn't have an official link yet, but I'll let you know when it's live!

I'm both nervous and thrilled about these courses, friends. I've heard really great things about Burda's teaching software and can't wait to start breaking down pattern grading with students. They're techniques I've been using on vintage and indie patterns, since I returned to sewing, and they really opened up my sewing world. Once you can make any pattern your size, so many style limitations disappear. It's been a bit surreal doing professional sewing work, but it was such fun getting back in a classroom setting. The academic in me geeks out about teaching anything, but teaching techniques for a hobby I love was a truly wonderful experience.
So, that's all my Burda information! If you're interested in the classes, you can find out more at the BurdaStyle Academy site.  If you're not interested, don't worry. There will be periodic updates about these classes, at the bottom of posts, but otherwise nothing is going to change on Idle Fancy. This blog is still all pretty dresses, all the time. My next project involves a dishy Hawaiian print I bought last week. I'm thinking...wrap dress! 



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