[personal profile] tudorlady
Okay, for the three of you that didn't flee when you saw the subject line, here we go:

I am a good cutter. It's something that I've always been proud of. Man, can I make that fabric work for me. I can get projects out of scant yardage that leaves people shaking their heads in disbelief. The fact that I'm tiny is only a small factor (I mean tiny-only-60"-tall, not tiny-size-2, because I can tell you that certainly is not the case) - the drop from my waist to the floor is 37+", and that's skimping on a hem. Let's simply stipulate that, man, can I cut fabric. Damn.

So Thursday night, I set scissors to velvet. I have been able to avoid using rayon velvet for the last - uhm... thirty years. Seriously. Cotton velvets were available, and they worked and looked better. Which is fine until you find yardage that screams Spanish renaissance, and throws itself on the floor in front of you and begs to be made into a mourning gown, viz:

And it's rayon velvet. My long vacation from dealing with the stuff had definitely made me forget what a bitch it is to cut well.

Not only that, instead of having to deal with the shifting, creeping, and general refusal to stay still no matter how many pins one puts into it, I'm having to cut a piece, deal with linings and underlinings (of completely different widths, all of which much be married to each other in a scandalous three-way eventually), I've been doing it in stages because my original calculations showed that I was going to come up short for fabric - or at least it made me seriously worry that I would. Also, doing two fittings of the bodice of this thing and finding that they differed alarmingly when made up did NOT give me any comfort.
Consider too, that there was nap to deal with, AND I was going to try to match the pattern, or at least get it so close that it wouldn't just leap out at an observer. This practically gave me nightmares.

The logical thing to do was to cut the biggest piece(s) first, see how much fabric I was left with, and plan accordingly. Oh, and the bodice had to be more or less complete (everything except the surface fabric and collar) before I could try draping the back, which is this really cool pleated trainy thing. I really NEEDED to see how that pleated trainy thing was going to look before I set to it with the scissors. Luckily, it draped out pretty much like I thought it would. The following day, I took a deep breath, drafted a curve to give me a very modest train, and cut it out.

Since the world did not end, and I succeeded in getting the same piece from the lining and underlining, I cut the panel for the skirt, thinking that the back of the skirt, which will be partially hidden under the pleaty-trainy-thing (PTT) could have additional yardage pieced out of whatever was left. Success! It even looked like I had enough for proper Spanish sleeves! I was really torn about that, because I honestly couldn't find a decent alternative. Italian sleeves can be made practically from scraps, but they don't belong on something so obviously and relentlessly Spanish. (I'm sure people have tried, but if I did it? It would rend the fabric of time and space, and everything would get sucked into a black hole because I'm supposed to know better than to do something like that.)

Sleeves cut. Skirt panel cut. PTT cut, plus all of their various bits of underlining and lining. This leaves the bodice fronts and sides, the collar and shoulder tabs can be made out of scraps, and there will probably be enough to piece in and fill the skirts out a little.

And it was okay.

I am not putting in pictures of the work I've done so far because there's utterly no point to it. Also, I promise you I will not post pictures of my straight seams. In fact, I'm not going to post pictures until it actually looks like something, which is just a personal peeve of mine.

As soon as the bodice is cut, and I see what's left over for the skirt, I'll be ready to start putting the thing together. I think it's okay for me to exhale now ;)

And, since I found out rather late today that indeed, no, my office is NOT closed tomorrow, I've got to get my butt to bed.

Date: 2008-10-13 07:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fjorlief.livejournal.com
and this, my dear, is why I've done more on my house than you on your house...'cos I've never even attempted anything near this astonishing with fabric, and you seem to do things like this with alarming regularity.

I'm soooo happy that the fabric is actually turning out to be enough, and I wish you as smooth a journey through the slithery wilds of rayon velvet as possible.

Date: 2008-10-14 12:35 am (UTC)
ext_41593: (eliz2)
From: [identity profile] tudorlady.livejournal.com
Actually, I'm inclined to think that the reason (that I haven't been able to work on my house) is the result of years of underemployment, a long bout with crippling clinical depression, and major orthopedic surgery - but the idea that I was making killer stuff the whole time is a lot more appealing!

This is really only the second thing I've done since returning, and the first Really Complicated Big Project. Otherwise, all I've done since late 2006 is some period and not even very good needlework, and pitching in on some other folks' big projects. I hope this is the start of me taking some more initiative for my own work.

When I envision a perfect world, everything in my house works the way it's supposed to. It could happen ;)

Date: 2008-10-13 07:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jillwheezul.livejournal.com
Yes! You ARE amazing at piecing fabric :D That fabric is scrumpdillyiscious (it's late - forgive me!)

Date: 2008-10-14 12:36 am (UTC)
ext_41593: (eaten anything)
From: [identity profile] tudorlady.livejournal.com
So, you wanna come over? ::nudge nudge::

Date: 2008-10-13 01:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] daf9.livejournal.com
I couldn't thread a bobbin if my life depended on it (i.e. non-sewer) but even I can see that is seriously gorgeous fabric and am looking forward to seeing the final product!

Date: 2008-10-14 12:39 am (UTC)
ext_41593: (Golden fleece sleeve)
From: [identity profile] tudorlady.livejournal.com
Sweetie, needles are threaded, not bobbins, unless one is using a very specialized mechanism of some sort. ::big grin:: (Oh, and in spite of what they said on CI, it is impossible to stab someone to death with pinking shears. Bludgeon them with the handle of a large pair, perhaps, but you cannot stab anyone with them. The ends are quite blunt. :) That one was a real groaner.)

Thank you, Daf. There will be pictures eventually. And more kitten pictures, too.

Date: 2008-10-14 01:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] daf9.livejournal.com
Told you I'm a non-sewer! But searching deep deep back into my memories of freshman year of highschool when I took home economics ... I guess maybe I should have wound that bobbin? ...

In any case, pictures will be eagarly anticipated!

Date: 2008-10-13 02:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] danabren.livejournal.com
Isn't that the hardest thing? Just bitching up and DOING it?

It sounds like everything is working well, and I look forward to the final product!

You aren't kidding cutting is a BITCH

Date: 2008-10-13 05:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] waterdawg.livejournal.com
Why when I do upholstery work 90% is vinyl or solids. I hate matching patterns on fabric. Can't wait to see the final product.

Date: 2008-10-13 05:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cleothyla.livejournal.com
You're lucky, I can't cut a straight line with a ruler. Good going, though. I only work with Rayon velvet for doing my headrolls and then I just tear it.
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