Friday, January 9, 2009

Notes on a Corset

I just finished my first garment from the Alabama Stitch Book. And when I say "just finished", I mean 30 minutes ago. I spent the 30 minutes between then and now trying it on, trying to photograph myself wearing the shirt without the aid of my tripod, and trying to fuss with the photos on the computer so they looked a little better.

I picked out the deconstructed t-shirt as my first garment, mostly so I could check the sizing of the corset pattern before I attempted a labor intensive corset with an all over reverse applique. Through the Alabama Stitch Book Project flickr group, I had read that many found the corset to be a little low cut but the sizing chart in the book seemed correct. I measured myself and the medium seemed to be the size that would fit me the best. The low cut-ness worried me, since I sport a pair of nursing boobs, and gave me more reasons to make the deconstructed t-shirt. One of the shirts Will gave me last weekend was his t-shirt from his middle school band - Koma - days and it seemed perfect for this project as shirts with graphics make more interesting deconstructed t-shirts. The shirt, unfortunately, is a cotton-poly blend, but I decided it wouldn't matter for the test pattern.

This shirt, for me, was just as fun to hand sew as the journals and took about two movies to finish. The medium size is correct for me, but the shirt is low cut. I'm going to alter the pattern and add 1-2 inches to the neckline before I sew another one. I really dig seeing the construction on the outside through the exposed seams and knots. I chose a grey thread which shows off the construction more than if I had chosen red. If I had wanted to emphasize the graphic more and the seams less, I would have chosen red.

A few general thoughts as I work though this book and it's patterns:

- I've found that most of the patterns won't fit on a shirt smaller than a man's large or x-large. I couldn't fit all of the corset back pattern pieces on the large shirt of Will's, and I had to take some liberty with the grain direction to get the corset front pieces to fit. I had to use another shirt (Will's old bright yellow boy scout troop shirt) for the corset back middle piece. The same was true when I tried to cut out the pieces for the over-the-arm pincushion. I decided to order some yardage of the Southern grown, spun, knit, and dyed organic cotton jersey from the Alabama Chanin store for the projects that require a long piece running in the same direction as the fabric's grain. The organic cotton jersey did cost less than the cotton jersey I found at my good local fabric store and with 25 beautiful colors, I didn't need much incentive to place an order.

- you are better off giving away any Old Navy maternity t-shirts than using them for an Alabama Stitch Book project. I imagine the same is probably true for all Old Navy t-shirts. Enough said.

- Florence, AL is only 2 hours from me. I am so at the next Alabama Chanin factory sample sale. Even if I can't afford anything, at least I could check out (molest) the beautiful clothes and textiles.

Now I have a pattern to re-cut. I've been dying to deconstruct Will's prized Virgen de Guadalupe shirt he got at the swap meet in Mexico, ever since he added it to my pile saying, "it's cool, but it's way too big and I never wear it."


Cheryl said...

Thank you...I am going to get rid of the shirts right now...