Monday, May 12, 2014

When You End Up with Lemons....

... you're supposed to make lemonade, right? Well, this time I didn't have lemons but I did have a dud. Sometimes it's hard to admit it, especially when you have a vision of what you're trying to create and it's something that you're really excited about. Other times, it's easy to say, "This just doesn't work." *** Note: this was originally written last summer but I never got around to posting it***So when I discovered that many of my below-the-belly maternity shorts were not staying up well, I felt like I should make a few things to replace them for summer wear. Now, bear in mind that this was the last baby I was going to have and I didn't really want to invest much in the clothing, which means that I was sewing from my stash. And since my stash is full of fabrics that I love, I didn't want to "waste" them on maternity clothing that I won't wear again. I scoured my patterns and Ottobre Woman back issues to find something that could be transitional - maternity or nursing wear. Something that would look okay with a belly but just as okay without.

The first thing that I landed on was the 2/2008 issue of Ottobre Woman. In it there are a few maternity patterns, like the skirt pattern I made previously. But it also has this cute maxi-dress with a wrap-front top. Wrap or crossover bodices don't always work well for me and the (ahem) ladies, since there's almost always a gap issue that happens, or it's too low-cut. I'm working on perfecting an FBA for a wrap-front top/bodice, but I'm not quite there yet, which is why the Ottobre tankini I made went from being a wrap-front to having a center front seam. Still, I'm not one to give up on a style when it's something that I truly like. This dress calls for voile or lawn - something light and airy, especially for the skirt portion. However, the voile I had been hoarding in my stash was not a big enough piece for the entire dress - a bummer. But then I had the bright idea of doing the bodice in a cotton-lycra knit and only the skirt in the voile, as I had plenty for the large skirt.

I worked really hard on the FBA and finally ended up with something that I thought was reasonably well-fitting.The skirt came together quickly and only required a few adjustments. Separately, they looked pretty darn good. But once I sewed them together, my opinion changed.

The overall effect was pretty boxy and unattractive. I lost all shape in it, and as a short woman who is right on the line between regular and plus-sized and was pregnant to boot, that's just not a good thing. I'm not sure how it happened, since I took in the side seams of the bodice before I attached the skirt. I think that overall it's just too big, which is weird, since I feel like I went by my measurements and cut the bodice a size smaller than I normally would have. This has happened a couple of times that I've worked with Ottobre patterns and I wonder if I'm just choosing the wrong size? Although to be honest, I've measured myself and gone with the measurements, so maybe my body is just shaped differently than the one they have in mind. At any rate, I decided that this just wasn't the style for me - at least not while I was still pregnant. I wanted to use the voile, though, so I turned it into a maternity skirt.

Yep, it's the same pattern as the khaki and navy floral linen skirt I made previously. The difference here is that I had to line the skirt with something because the voile was too sheer on its own. I ended up using some cheap, lightweight bleached muslin because JoAnn's had no batiste or plain white voile. I know - bizarre, right? When I asked the lady for batiste, she said,"You mean batik". I told her no, I meant batiste, and I even spelled it for her and then went on to describe it and its uses. She had an extremely confused look on her face and then asked another employee if they had it. They didn't. Same thing with the word 'voile', although her confusion was due to the fact that she, like most Americans, mispronounces it to rhyme with foil. The correct way to say it, of course, is "vwahl". It's a French word. Anyway, I did a rolled hem for both the lining piece and the voile and then simply basted them together at the waist and treated them as one when I applied the waistband. This time I used a super soft red rayon-lycra knit, figuring that I was probably going to wear this with a red shirt, and even if the shirt crept up a bit, it wouldn't look so bad if the waistband is the same color. The only real changes I made to the skirt were to cut it slightly bigger than the linen one and I did that by simply placing the pieces a bit away from the fold when cutting. The difference is really negligible. I got several comments on it when I wore it, so that's good, and I like it enough that I'm going to wear it this summer, even though I'm no longer pregnant.

This skirt is so comfy I wore it a lot. This is me about  12 hours before I gave birth.

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