Wool Challis Dress Progress

Some time around 10 this morning I thought to myself:

I used to do this a lot faster.”

I got home from a “quick” errand yesterday, I guess that would be Friday, and pulled out my red plaid wool challis. It was time to stop imagining the math and figure out just where the plaids will land. My hope was to get the red stripe section to sit at the hem of the skirt. Why? Dirt. Being an loose weave wool, this dress will not be washed often if ever. It will be brushed off and spot cleaned. If I absolutely have to, I will soak it. Putting the bolder band of red at the bottom will also, hopefully, help with period esthetic, drawing the eye out as it goes down, creating width to the hem.

The tape measure told me the plaids repeat every 8 or 8.5 inches. Good and bad. Good in that this gives a repeat times 5 that is just a little over my normal panel length of 42inches. This let the panels sit with the red section just above the bottom. Bad in that the repeats are not exact, meaning there is some variation in the weave tightness. Given the price, I should not be surprised. This does tell me wonkiness could happen as I proceed. Good to know.

I measured and marked my panel lengths… separated the skirt section from the bodice/sleeves section… pulled threads… and cut the panels. Lining up the plaids, I stitched each of the panels together and felled the seams.

I had planned on gauging this skirt. But, luckily I decided to do two sample areas. I changed my mind and went with stacked knife pleats. The math worked out nicely. Yes, I pleat with math. I like math. An interesting thing developed because I used directional pleats. On one side, I got a nice red, red, white, grey sequence in balance. On the opposite side, folding the other way, the white and grey dominated.

About two thirds of the way around, the sun had passed over and settled my livingroom into shadows. I continued on with a section of gauging for the center back.

There was just enough light to tear sections for the hem. I pieced them together and clipped them in place. Then, I looked at the clock. Wasn’t it just one o’clock? How was it after eight and getting dark?

This morning, I grabbed the skirt right after feeding the feline keeper of time. Opened the blinds and sat down to the hem. Around and around the 180 inches. Attach the facing. Hem the facing. Attach the tape. Fold the tape.

Somewhere in there, around ten I think, I thought to myself

I used to do this a lot faster.”

In the, what 8? 10? hours I’ve spent hand sewing this skirt, I would have sewn the whole dress – skirt, bodice, and sleeves.

But, I wouldn’t be happy with how the plaids lined up. I wouldn’t be happy with the weight of the seams with the stiff thread.

This slow sewing is just fine for me. I can curl up with my fabric. I can pay attention to the details.

Now, I’ve been typing away and completely lost track of where I was going with all this. The skirt is ready to be set on the waist. The rest of the wool is neatly folded and waiting. I need to get out the binder of patterns to pick out the pieces.

But first I have strawberries to bead.

Published in: on April 23, 2022 at 1:34 pm  Leave a Comment  

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