Thursday, November 21, 2013

Cake Red Velvet sew-along: Days 3-8

The Cake Red Velvet sewalong is going well. Honestly, I thought that participating in a sewalong would give me more material to blog, but with everything being broken down into 30-minute bite size "chunks", I don't really feel like I have a whole lot to say. The dress is almost finished now, and based on my basting of the bodice side seams to check the fit, I think it's looking pretty good unless everything goes to hell once I attach the skirt.

This has been my first formal sewalong that I've actually participated in (as opposed to signing up, getting distracted by life, and completely flaking on). It's been an eye-opening experience for me in a number of ways:
  • Despite having a toddler and a husband, I absolutely can find a way to sew for 30 minutes/day on most days. On some days, I've had to get up for work 30 minutes earlier than usual to get that sewing time in, but I've made it a priority to squeeze that time in.
  • When you do consistently sew for 30 minutes/day, you can get a lot done. In two weeks, I've completed or nearly completed four garments:
    • A sleep t-shirt for my husband (a Simplicity PJ pattern that I'll be reviewing)
    •  Two pairs of Espresso leggings (not yet reviewed): one "test" fair in leftover fabric and one (nearly completed) pair in good, activewear fabric
    • My first RedVelvet dress (almost complete)
  • Flickr photostreams can help you make good decisions with fit and design changes. For example, the RedVelvet bodice contains a release pleat for the bust. I noticed in the Flickr photostream, as fit photos poured in, that I didn't care for how the release pleat looked on many of the fuller busted participants. Solution? As someone else suggested, I sewed the pleat into a dart. I think I'm much happier with how this looks than I would have been with the release pleat. I don't think I would have caught this had I not participated in the sewalong.
  • Fitting doesn't seem like such a horrendous chore when you're not trying to cram a ton of alterations into a single weekend afternoon. 
If you've never participated in a 30-minute-a-day sewalong, here's a quick rundown of what we've done each day. I'm including the "daily point" shot description for each day, which is the picture that we upload to flickr each day so that our "house" can be awarded a progress point in the competition.
  1. Gather materials (fabric, pattern, thread, scissors, etc). Point shot is a picture of your fabric, etc, in a box.
  2. Trace pattern (optional). Cut out pattern and make alterations. Cut your fabric. Note: This one took me considerably longer than 30 minutes, and I didn't even trace my pattern. Point shot: Your cut pattern/fabric pieces.
  3. Stabilize bodice shoulder seams. Point shot is your stabilized seams.
  4. Sew your shoulder seams. Point shot is of the sewn & finished shoulder seams.
  5. Complete and topstitch your neckline (facing or binding). Point shot is of your topstitching setup.
  6. Sew bust pleats (or darts) and hem sleeves. Point shot is your hemmed sleeves.
  7. Baste your bodice seams to check the fit. Point shot is of your iron.
  8. Sew your skirt pleats. Point shot is of your basted pleats.
  9. Sew your pockets and connect the bodice/midriff/skirt sections. Point shot is of your pocket.
  10. Day 10 hasn't been announced yet, but I would assume that it will be to sew up your side seams and hem your dress, which completes the project. I would think/home that the point shot will be of the finished dress, but I guess we will see.
I sewed/basted the skirt pleats last night. I was afraid of the scissor pleat on my backside from the line drawing, but I think it looks fine on the "real world" models that I've seen on flickr. It drapes nicely (in the right fabric) and doesn't appear to add much bulk. My pleated skirt sections:
I might very well try to finish the dress tonight. At the very least, I'll finish either the dress or my second pair of Espressos, and then I'll actually have a finished project to talk about!

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