Wednesday, July 30, 2014

tutorial: romper with room!

oonaballoona romper tutorial simple simon

The last time I wrote a tutorial, I took two rectangles of fabric and tried to make Advanced Calculus out of them...AND I AM NOT THAT MATHY.  This time, I'm going to try and explain things easily and visually, as really this romper is just a marriage of rectangle and triangle, with two baby foothole curves thrown in.  Also, Proper Use Of Capitalization For Better Ease Of Tutorial Reading!

(Disclaimer: Use at your own risk, this obviously ain't no couture technique tutorial.)

oonaballoona romper tutorial simple simon

We'll talk dimensions in a minute, but I think it's easier to look at this jammy in shapes first.  The top portion is a rectangle, the bottom portion is an equilateral triangle, the footholes are small gentle curves. Erase the intersections and you have this:

oonaballoona romper tutorial simple simon

You are going to cut out two of this new shape, on the fold, one for front and one for back.  Fold is CF and CB.  (If you're playing with slippery fabric, or detailed print placement, you might want to make a whole pattern piece.) 

Ok, dimensions!  Tres important, and completely ambiguous here.  Well, not completely.  This thing can only go on by way of your hips, so let's start there...

The width of the rectangle must be as wide as your widest measurement, or you'll end up with a wadder.  Or a one legged skirt.  On me, that's my hips.  If your bust is wider than your hips, then the width must fit your bust.  Whichever measurement is larger!  The shirring will help hold it up, but you may find you need straps if you're a busty gal.

The length of the rectangle depends on where you want the waist to hit.  I wanted an empire waist feel, so my rectangle dimensions were 10 1/2" wide on the fold  (21" wide flat measurement, 40" wide tube after sewing it all up) and 7" long.  Remember to account for seam allowance, and any ease you might want!!

The length of the "skirt" portion is up to you-- but I find the longer the drop, the skirt-ier the crotch, ie less "man-junk-on-woman" effect that Ruggy so dearly abhors. If you intend on wearing the garment both as romper and skirt (by pulling the shirred section down to your waist) then the side seam should only extend to about mid calf, so that your garment doesn't drag on the ground when you wear it as a skirt.  If you're intending to wear it only as a romper, the side seam can go on down to about 4" above your ankle.

The bottom seam of the fabric should be as wide as your fabric allows, really, for maximum flowiness. Totally couture term.  My finished bottom seam is 40" wide from foothole to foothole.

oonaballoona romper tutorial simple simon

Footholes for your footsies! At the bottom corner of my triangle, I marked 4" in on the bottom seam, and 6" up on side seam, then connected those marks with a nice gentle curve.  The curve needs to morph into a straight line just at the seam allowance (there's a better way to say that, i'm sure) otherwise you'll have a weird extra piece of curvy fabric you'll have to cut off later when making the foothole hem.  Which is no biggie, again, easy-peasy-loosey-goosey-this-ain't-no-couture-tutorial.

oonaballoona romper tutorial simple simon

Time to sew it up.  On both pieces, at the top of your rectangle (the "bodice") turn under 1/4" and again 1/4" and stitch to form the neckline. You have to do this before shirring, doing it after will cause you Brain Pain.  Then shir each rectangular portion with 1/4" spacing (the tighter the spacing, the snugger the bodice).  I won't go into how to shir here, there is a landslide of tutorials out there, but I will say I don't recommend that you mess with your bobbin case tension to get your machine to shir. Some machines just don't want to shir, and I don't blame them.  I used my Featherweight.

Now sew your side seams from bottom to top (I always sew seams from wide to narrow ever since reading a Threads article by Susan "The Godmother" Khalje), in whatever fashion you choose, neatening up your seams if you're not using a serger or french seams.  Sew your bottom "hem line" seam, again, finishing the raw edges.  All that's left is to turn your "footholes" under, 1/4" and 1/4" just as you did the top neckline, stitch, and BAM.  YOU'RE DONE.  Try it on and dance around!  Do a high kick with no fear of showing the world yo lady parts!

Phew.  I hope this made some kind of sense.  The shirring takes time, but I've worn my jumper about eight bajillion times, so that's like two nanoseconds worth of shirring per wear.  Good exchange rate.

And iffin ya didn't know, this tutorial is my small, weird contribution to Simple Simon's Skirting the Issue!  Many lovely sewists have contributed tutorials, with the hope that sewists will donate skirts made from these tutes to girls living in foster care-- for example, fabulous Faye has contributed adorable items for multiple girls!  (Of course you can use any pattern you like, you don't have to use a tutorial.) You can donate skirts all the way up till August 15th, and there are prizes to be won (on top of the good feelings you'll get by simply donating a skirt). Elizabeth and liZ have a beautiful post up today about how it all started.

I think this romper would be more suited for teens, and it's the sort of thing that you can make up in a loose range of XS-XL sizes.  And hey, if you try it in a teen size to be donated first, you've had a nice practice run for a you-sized romper!  Bringing selfless back to selfish, kalkatroonaan style!

(And let's just skim over the fact that I was supposed to come up with a "skirt" tutorial.  I assume at this point Elizabeth and liZ know my brain functions on a different set of definitions.  Tee hee, and tra la.)  

ALRIGHT! I'm off! Do tell me if you try it!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

southern lovin

do you feel it?  it couldn't be more summer-time if it tried.  people in the city are drunk on summer. people in the country are drunk on summer.  people in blogland are drunk on summer.  we barely have a minute to holler out a comment because THERE IS SO MUCH SUMMER.*

(*unless you are on the flip side of the world, in which case, happy winter.  i love you, southern hemisphere.)

summer means dresses for me.  actually, i guess every season means dresses for me.  i've grown accustomed to feeling over-dress-ed, literally.

proof: even when my hot li'l summer hands possess a perfect li'l empire waist button up top pattern, what do i do?

i go on and extend it to dress length.

although said "length" was very much in flux.  i thought i had enough of this cotton voile (a michael levine prize from project sewn!) to go maxi, but midi was all she wrote.  mini was pinned into the mix for a hot minute, and i think it may still be in the cards....

but i landed on midi.  yet somehow midi makes this more of a "doing the chores" dress, don't you think?  shall i dissect?

here, i am giving you "did that brick really just crumble when i leaned against the wall" face.

this was a delight to sew up, even with my hackerings.  she is skinny bitch curvy chick's empire waist blouse, a line sized for petites of ALL sizes, for real, XXS-3X.  i've actually worn her out more times than i can count.  i was just waiting to holler about her, as betsy is in the process of reformatting her PDFs.  this blouse got the first makeover-- lemme say, the pattern is beautifully drafted, but when i bought it, the PDF tiling was... advanced.  she's on sale right now to celebrate said fixin'!

alright, people of all seasons, i know you're busy summering and sewing.  go do stuff.  make this top, or sign up for carolyn's tried n true class tomorrow, or go to the charles james exhibit, or drink some hot cocoa.  

cause i love you, southern hemisphere.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

early morning hollering

ETA THE SECOND: guess who really shouldn't write a post at 6:47 AM after a sleepless allergy filled night?  THIS GIRL.  you have a full week to sign up for the amazing carolyn's seminar...if you'd like to know how carolyn uses her TNT patterns to fit fresh-out-of-the-envelope patterns, go sign on the dotted line for her webinar at burdastyle!  it starts at 11am EST today next thursday july 24, but if you can't view the goodies in real time, you'll get a recording of the whole shebang (so long as you've already signed up.)  and only twenty dollas, as angie would say.

and my girls maddie and jennifer are teaching you how to make bras & racerback tanks (respectively) this november in the sewing party, also a virtual treat so everyone can join!  forty smackeroos.

ETA (the first) eeeeeeeeeehhhh and woot woot the curvy sewing collective is here!  i knew i forgot something, damn sleepless nights and coffee starved brain...


lastly, thankya thankya for the romper love.  i must admit, i never know if people check back to see if i've thanked them in the comments, and sometimes i feel like a dork typing out multiple thanks (really oona?  maybe people have better things to do then check back and see if you've hunted & pecked out a gracias?) so i'll say it here: thankya! and yes, tutorial by the end of the month...