Monday, May 15, 2017

So, Saturday Sewing—Sort of, Some More

No actual sewing of seams—but lots of “sewing” done.

A dress cut, linings and inter-facings, too. Preliminary work done, too. The fabric is a plain weave, aka monks cloth, aka canvas—What ever you want to call it, it unravels easily—so every raw edge is being overcast with a zig zag stitch—I have used two full bobbin already—and I haven't overcast all of them yet! Zigzagging is easier than covering the raw edges with seam binding.

My mother was a professional seamstress, I remember her buying huge (8 inch!) spools of seam binding—she had a dozen spools, in as many colors. I also remember the little 3 yard packets of hem & seam binding that she sneered at! She bound the seams with tape and a straight stitch—No raw edges to be seen. No just on her customers clothes, but on the ones she sewed for us (me and my sibling) as well. Not homemade clothes—but couture clothes.

All the edges finished, and fine details in place. Eventually, I even worked for her. I took on the job of making buttonholes. Most often, today, I use my machine and it's buttonhole making option, just as many of my mothers customers did—but bound buttonholes, and hand sewn buttonholes are still an option for suits--(but then, I rarely make suits these days!) and tailored jackets (these too, are mostly things of the past) As a teen I was paid to make hand sewn buttonholes by my mother--$1 for each one.

Her machine at that time didn't make machine buttonholes, and the Notions store that did also charged $1 per buttonhole, so the price was the same—What ever style was chosen.

So all the pieces are cut, most have bound edged, all the interfacing have been cut and and ironed on (my preferred style of interfacing) Other ironing as well (the pockets hems) and some pieces have been pinned—the epaulets, the pocket flaps, the collar.

So the next time I sit down to sew, I will actually start sewing!

I am making the shoulder yoked version of the shirt dress-- again. I still like to line dresses—at least partially—in this case, just the shoulder yoke will be lined—but that will make the a nice difference—the lined yoke will hide the seams. I like it when the insides look almost as good as the outsides.   I have been known to make french seams at times too—just because it is so nice to have these fine details..

This version of the shirt dress—similar to the yellow/blue/white print—with a few different details. First the fabric, a heavier cotton, (but still not heavy weight!) with even weave, in a solid color (grey). That alone is a big change from the broad clothe cotton print. There will be top stitching—On the yoke, and pockets, and around the collar and other places; epaulets, pocket flaps and so on. .

The buttons are a silvery grey metal, and the result will be a slightly military uniform look to the shirt dress. The lower pockets will also be patch pockets, too --a less common option for me. I think pockets set in the side seam are neater—just because they are less obvious. But changing the pockets style goes a long way to changing the look of the dress. All these little details and changes will add up to a big change in the look of final dress.

From start to finish, this dress will take between about 8 hours—If I credit my time at $15 an hour—that is over a hundred for a casual everyday dress.( Some dresses take a lot less time.) My labor is not the only cost (just the major one), there is also the cost of the fabric, lining, interfacing, buttons, spools and other bits and pieces (sewing machine needle aren't sold one at time, but in 4 packs—but the still need to be bought.) All these add up to different totals, (depending mostly on the cost of the fabric) but $25 is a good average. Home made clothing, if compared to store bought stuff can be 2 or 3 times the cost of a dress from a big box, chain store, made in China dress—but I really hate the cheaply made stuff. I was raised on couture, and I want couture—And if you discount the cost of my labor—I get champagne on a beer budget!

I wear custom made, one of kind clothing. My clothing last and lasts--(I have casual dresses that are 20 years old!) and it pleases me. I still have plans for more skirts and vests and even another shirt dress. But I suspect I will take a break after this dress is finished—and perhaps make some dresses for my granddaughters—get them started on appreciating lovely clothing!


I'll take photos when the dress looks like a dress--(and not just a pile of fabric).
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