Thursday, September 29, 2011

Gothic update

I have one sleeve done. It's a beauty! Here's the thing, though: it's the wrong color.

See, I have made dresses before. Thing is, it's been summertime, so none of them have had sleeves. Red pettibodies, red kirtle, brown Flemish overgown, viking apron dress, green kirtle -- no sleeves! (Well, I guess technically the green kirtle had sleeves, but they're detachable and I rarely wear them.) So when I made my pattern and placed it on the fabric and said "Yes, I have plenty of fabric to make this" and got out the scissors and started cutting, it wasn't until after I got the body sections and gores snipped out that I thought "Oh yeah. Sleeves, too."

Sleeves take way more fabric than I think they're going to. I need, oh, almost a yard to cut sleeves, especially when they have little gores of their own like these Grand Assiette ones. So the 15 inches of remnant I had left after cutting out the body and gores was just not gonna be enough. Fudge.

Goodwill is awesome for many things, but one thing it falls short on is being accommodating when I show up late at night and say "I need another yard of that blue wool I bought a few weeks ago." Yeah. It's a real what-you-buy-is-what-you-get kinda place.

So I went to my stash and looked at all the wool bits I had available. No dark blue. I had green, red, brown, white, taupe, grey, tan, a brown-scale herringbone, black... once again, I looked at an overflowing drawer of fabric and chanted the sewer's litany "I don't have any fabric for this..."

Finally I took the grey and a packet of navy blue Rit and cooked it up to see how close a match I could get. And I was super-pleased when it turned out just right. I showed it to Dave and he agreed it was totally workable. The wool was a little lighter weight, but not by much, and since it's lined sleeves, it's no matter, right? And so I cut them out, stitched in the lining, attached the left sleeve to the dress body, and hustled off to try it on.

Now here's another thing: I do most of my sewing after dinner. Once the dining room table is cleared of dishes, I give it a quick wipe, slap my pattern cutting board onto it, and start throwing my needle and thread through wool and linen like a champ. I have a swingarm lamp for when I do picky work, but for general stitching, the dining room overhead light is fine.

But in the light of day, that sleeve blue was... obviously off.

It wasn't awful, but it was easy to see that it was not the same stuff. More blue, less navy/black.

My first reaction when things aren't exactly perfect, or I have to make do is to say "Well, that's how it's gonna have to be. I've done the best I can with what I have, and if anyone wants to say anything about it, they can be Mister Big Man and buy me yardage, or put on the thimble, and make me a dress."

My second reaction generally involves wadding the offending article up on the cutting board and then slinking to the bedroom, where I fling myself onto the duvet and mope for however long feels appropriate to the situation.

My third reaction reverts to the first, only I say it more strongly this time, and mean it.

So. My sleeves don't match perfectly. Who cares? A lot of sleeves were separate articles in those days, and weren't even the same color, much less the same shade. They're fine sleeves, made and fitted well, and if anyone wants to call me out on the color, well: Let's see them make a better dress for $5.99 and a packet of Rit.

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