Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Gathering Storm

Nope. This has nothing to do with Hurricane Irene. I've spent the week working on gathers. The great news is Nancy Zieman"s technique of gathering over the bobbin thread works like a dream. (If the link doesn't work, the technique can be found in her Sewing A to Z book and video.  The bad news is I have trouble keeping the gathers evenly distributed when I sew. After liberal pinning, I end up with this:

Maybe I didn't pin enough? How do you stabilize gathers? Am I not tying the thread tight enough? Before I left for work yesterday, I played around with my gathering foot and came up with this:

Aren't they beautiful? Now the trick is figuring out the machine settings so that the piece is gathered to the correct width. I can't find any info on how to do this. Is it trial an error every time? I guess everyone else has figured out how to do this without using the gathering foot.  I'm playing around with some scraps to see how it goes.

I guess the best news of all is that my narrow edge foot and I are besties. Slow and steady wins the race.

Now, let's talk about the pattern alts.  I started with a 1/2" square shoulder alteration.

Then, I went in for the dreaded prominent bust alteration. It's not that hard, but it was intimidating because in Fitting & Pattern Alteration, you get a whole column about how to do the alt on a simple bodice.

For the empire waist, all you get is a picture. Yes, I'm sewing special ed -- I like colorful pictures, but I need more details too.

Here's where I ended up.

I wouldn't mind the bodice maybe 1/2" tighter. I think I want to try it in something that has less stretch first. On a side note, this project has really shown me the power of a push-up bra. 

So, as I head to the sewing machine to practice gathers, I'm not sure how this will end up. I have no desire to rip out the skirt and fix the gathers. But, even if I figure out the magic formula with my gathering foot, I don't think I want to cut another muslin or even move on to my fashion fabric. The days are getting cooler, so I won't have long to wear this. 

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