Botherpower, Irony, Peplums and… Lieutenant Hornblower?

Because my apple-green linen is so very very nice (and was so very pushing my frugal nature cost-wise) I decided to make a working toile yesterday of the Peplum of Irony skirt.

Ironically enough, the fabric I decided to use is a completely different weight.  I don’t remember what it is or from whence it came, but for the last three years (at least) it’s been sitting in my stash as two metres of this black and white strangely-woven, strongly-suspect-it’s-upholstery-fabric stripy stuff.  In fact, it’s spent a lot of time pinned/draped over various bits of furniture in pretty much all of my student flats, slowly absorbing all sorts of nasty grime and stains.

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The fabric.  It’s sorta stripy and lumpy and nasty.

But it was what I had, and I couldn’t be bothered actually getting other fabric,  and I was up for a bit of a stripe matching challenge, seeing I’m about at good at stripe-matching as most dogs are at making soufflè.

My pattern-drafting is mostly ok these days, so I used the basic skirt pattern from my Jigsaw skirt-refashion, and drafted some pleated peplums, two parts-per side.  I thought about cutting them in one, but the stripes gave me too much capacity for epic screwups.  Unfortunately I didn’t think the bulk thing through, and now I have these fat peplums.

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My pleaty peplum draft.  And the bum end of my cello case.

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Front with pleated peplums basted on.

Strangely, I was suddenly bothered to do the whole thing PROPERLY.   Properly as in baste EVERYTHING, bias bind the seam allowances, and bag out the peplums with Lincraft’s infamous $1.99/m ‘polypop’, which for those who aren’t familiar with this beastly stuff, is nowhere near as fun as it sounds.  Also, I am one of those rare people who detests making bias binding.  It’s one of my absolute least favourite things to do, and I’ll go to great lengths to avoid it.  But lo!  The whole thing is nothing but bias binding on the inside, and  (yucky acetate lining so I can wear the damn thing with stockings and not have it do the annoying ridy-uppy thingy that happens otherwise.)

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Carefully matched and basted stripes.

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LOOK!  BIAS BOUND SEAM ALLOWANCES!

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Bagged-out pleats.

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Almost matched stripes on the back.  To quote Kryten: ‘Smug Mode’.

The other reason why I don’t normally do things properly is that it takes me literally forever to do anything.  I start doing something and I suddenly end up outside the space-time continuum for what feels like a few minutes to me, but in actual space-time is more like seven and a half hours.  It’s a special skill I’ve inherited from my Ronnie: my dear grandad, who can take up to a week to eat breakfast, and entire seasons to vacate the bathroom.  So what I do to make sure I don’t suddenly look up and find it’s 3:30am and I haven’t eaten anything for 18 hours, is I watch things while I sew, and when something ends, it pulls me back into normal space-time and I can see that x amount of time has elapsed.  It started as a productive sing-along with Nixon in China (SQUEE!   My very first professional opera is going to be Nixon in Freaking China!  So unimaginably excited!), then the most recent episode of 24 Hours in A & E, then a doco about the links between private security and the diamond trade in Liberia (I’m not kidding, and it was actually very interesting, thankyou very much), and then it finished up with Horatio Hornblower.  Which is fine for watching, but not so fine for sewing.  It’s all, oh no, French warships!  and woah, plague!  and look out, fireships! and I’m like, WHERE?  QUICK!  FIRE THE CANONS!  LOOK OUT MISTER HORNBLOWER!!! OH CRAP I JUST SEWED THAT UPSIDE-DOWN.  And of course there’s the very best uniforms that ever existed in the entire history of the world.  Oh the crisp stocks and neckties…  The bicorn hats…  And I sit there thinking, why am I making this stupid skirt?  I should totally be making one of those uniforms instead.  And then I can go to fancy dress parties as Horatio.  Fan-girl?  Who, me?

funny hornblower face

Keep dreaming, daggy fan-girl, you’ll never make a uniform as smart as mine!

Picture via Entertainment Trivia: UK Edition | Knight

I digress.  The skirt is so close to done.  Here it is modelled by my curvaceous 19th Century mahogany dining chair (the best find ever, after the battered Danish Deluxe I found on the side of the road).

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Yeah, I know, that fabric’s a bit thick for pleating, and it looks very huge and wonky on my chair!

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It just needs hemming, some of the basting taken out, and a hook and eye for the back.  The stripe is what makes it ironic, I think, and the fabric.  The fabric is way too thick for pleating, but somehow it sort of works.  The stripe-matching still isn’t perfect, but I guess that’s practice. The other weird thing, it’s slightly too big at the waist.  I don’t get it.  I draft a pattern with no ease in it, baste right at the edge, sew inside the basting, using a bulky, non-stretch fabric, without even including any fabric allowance, and it STILL ends up sort of loose-ish.  Maybe my darts were a little conservative? Who knows.  It’s a mystery.  Hopefully it won’t happen again when I make my green linen version.  Now I’m thinking of tweaking the pattern though, because pleats would work better on someone who doesn’t have the insane waist-to-hip-ratio that I have.   Seriously, Horatio doesn’t know how lucky he is to have that straight-up-and-down guy-figure of his.  Fitting clothes would be so much easier.

Now the cool weather’s back, Bella the cat has re-discovered her frisk.  She thinks rightly that all fabrics from Lincraft  – polypop particularly – are hostile incursions into my stash and need to be dealt with using a strategy code-named Operation Pounce.  I managed a couple of blurry action shots.

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Attack!!!!!!!

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Once subdued, the polypop is carried a safe distance into the hallway.

Also, I have more illustrations in this month’s Farrago!  Pick it up from Union House!

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One thought on “Botherpower, Irony, Peplums and… Lieutenant Hornblower?

  1. Love it! I like peplums, even the word peplum just sounds cool. 😉

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