Robe a la Revamp

The robe a l’Anglaise strikes again.  One of my housemates loves costume parties, and decided to have a 1980s movie themed birthday party.  I was feeling lazy and didn’t want to make a whole new costume, so I decided it was a good opportunity to fix up the robe a l’Anglaise (shh.  Amadeus was made in the 1980s.  Terrible, terrible costumes.  But shh.  This totally counts).  I was never really happy with the skirt the first time, and it needed a bit of trim, which I’d mostly done earlier, but needed an excuse to finish.

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The trim was just strips cut out with pinking shears and then pleated prickstitched to the sleeves and neckline.  I only had one cuff left to do, so that was easy.  It was pretty crumpled from being in the bottom of the sewing chest for so long though, so I steamed it as well, using a pair of chopsticks to zhoosh it out while I was steaming.  Don’t hurt yourself with steam, kids.

I was kind of dreading re-doing the skirt in a faint pit-of-the-stomach, this-should-be-easy-but-god-I-hate-it way that’s normally reserved for filing my tax return.  The original problems were that it wasn’t long enough at the back, and the pleating was meh.

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You can see a good 6 inches of petticoat at the back in that picture.

Weirdly enough, the solution wasn’t that hard.  The skirt had been made of two rectangles sewn together selvage to selvage originally, but I HAD left them longer at the back… I’d just been a dill and sewn the wrong selvages together.  The short ones.  The ones that were meant to go at the front edges. So I took it off the bodice, unpicked the CB seam and re-did it on the right edges.  Problem solved.

I then decided that seeing I’d been such a grownup and done my tax properly the last couple of years, how hard could re-attaching the skirt properly be?  I just needed to approach it with a strategy for a change.

The strategy, for all ye who struggle attaching skirts to quarterback-style Anglaises is that I measured how far around the bodice I wanted it to go, then measured that length on the ironing board, putting pins at the ends and at the half and quarter-way marks.  Then I divided the skirt in halves and quarters and pinned it to the ironing board where the marker pins were.  Then I knife-pleated it until it fit and basted the pleats in place.  Then I just backstitched it to the bottom edge of the bodice.  The back point isn’t as pointy as last time, but the whole thing just sits better.

Finished product:

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Who’s your favourite 18th century babe?

Also, behold my mad hedgehog skillz!  It partially works because my hair is very layered at the moment, but also because period curling techniques work really really well.  And all you need is some tissue paper and a hair straightener.  I didn’t even use curling product this time and it still worked.  Then brush it out with a bristle brush, tease the crapola out of all of it except the long curls at the bottom, hairspray till you can’t breathe, and boom, you have a hedgehog.

I don’t think I’ll be wearing this dress again though, unless I let it out a bit.  I’ve gained some muscle in my new job.  Not much, but enough that I should be wearing the stays looser, but the l’Anglaise doesn’t close unless they’re done up all the way.  So it wasn’t very comfy, and on top of the fact that I was super tired already and loathe late nights, I spent half the party napping on a chair in the corner.

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Who’s the life of the party?  Not me.

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PANTS

Sure, I’ve been doing a bit of sewing over the summer and never got around to blogging about any of it.  So what’s dragged me out of the non-blogging stupor?

PANTS.  In capital letters because they’re not just pants, they’re PANTS.  HUGE PANTS.

Long story short, I finally got around to drafting a pants pattern just before I moved out of the share house in Melbourne, and I tested it by making a pair of shorts for me (which are ok but not mind-blowing), and a pair of pyjama shorts for my sister, which have the best stripe matching since the beginning of time.  Which sadly I can’t show you, because I can’t for the life of me find the photo.  You’ll just have to believe me.  The stripe-matching was mind-blowing.  EVERY SEAM.  EVERY STRIPE.

Photo on 9-04-2016 at 1.27 PMForgive these shorts for they are not ironed. 

The main flaw in the more boring, less stripy test-pants was that the proportions are off by a smidge.  So they’re kind of tight in the hips but saggy in the butt.  I think this is because the standard figure for which the block is meant to be is more of a usual shape with a more pronounced butt and less pronounced hips, whereas I don’t really have a butt, but I’ve got hips for days.

Then I moved up to my parent’s for a month, and I made another pair of shorts (or short culottes really), which again aren’t mind-blowing, but I was working with remnant fabric so I didn’t exactly have room to play around a lot.  I also sewed my first fly-front, using mostly this tutorial, and it was vastly easier than I expected.

Photo on 9-04-2016 at 1.26 PMSlightly disappointed by those shorts (though now I have no idea why because they’re actually super cute), I then made a shirt out of super-gauzy grey checked cotton with a pussy-bow instead of a collar, because by this point I’m just enjoying farting around with the shirt pattern and seeing how far I can push it.

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How much bow is too much?  Am I bowverdoing it? Geddit? … ?

After that I started working at OA for the schools company, and I’ve pretty much lived in activewear for the past two or three months, and had very little reason to sew anything.

But then I saw a pair of pants in COS, and they were green wool, high-waisted and super wide-leg, like palazzo pants and flares went and had a baby together.  These weren’t pants, they were PANTS.  And even though I didn’t think I needed giant pants before, suddenly there was a gaping hole in my wardrobe that only PANTS could fill.  They’d be Going Out PANTS, Family Occasion PANTS, even maybe Audition PANTS in the right circumstances.  They’d magically look put-together and insouciant at the same time.   They’d trick people into thinking they were a skirt and then BAM I’d take a stride and they would shockingly reveal that they are actually PANTS.  They’d be massively comfy and make up for the fact that I’d probably only want to wear them with stilettos.

But they didn’t have them in my size anywhere.

So I got my pants block, went through the motions of adjusting it for extra fullness as suggested in the Fashion Supplement at the back of More Dress Pattern Designing, and then slashed up to the darts, closed them off and taped in a heap of extra fullness at the bottom.  I won’t deny that looking at the pattern freaked me out a bit.  They could so easily turn into Circus PANTS, which I didn’t want.  Especially seeing the soft wool twill I got was a bit expensive, and they were going to use A LOT of it.

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As in really A LOT of it.

But they went together really easily.  I just used pinking shears so I didn’t have to finish anything, I popped in a side zip and then I hemmed them using a method called Stack Two Books on the Floor and Try and Pin the Hem Up So It Sits Level With the Top of the Books While Checking in the Mirror and Then Swear A Lot When It’s Fiddly and Time Consuming and I Wish Emily Was Here to Help Me But Now We Live Interstate and URGH.

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Manga isn’t just entertaining, it’s useful.

The hem itself was originally going to be a micro-hem, but then I decided a folded-up-twice hem would make it sit better.

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Surprisingly neat, all things considered.

And now I have PANTS.

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They’re stealthy.  You think they’re a skirt, but no!

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They are in fact PANTS!

Photo on 9-04-2016 at 1.24 PMWhat’s huge and dark green and coming to get you?  PANTS

I highly recommend them.  Make yourself some PANTS.