Hysterical Sew Fortnightly

pink chevrons

The third challenge in the 2014 Historical Sew Fortnightly (“Pink”) is due on the 15th, just 4 days away. My project – “Anachronistic Knickers” – only has 3 pattern pieces (front leg, back leg, flounce) plus 2 strips of self-fabric bias binding and a waistband. I estimated the total time expended to be minutes, not hours. But not in my world; at least not this time.

At this point, I confess that procrastination is partly to blame for my current jam. But only partly. Let’s take a stroll through the trifecta of adventures to date, shall we?

Designer. I’m using a pattern from a designer and company that is new to me. Perhaps I should have been suspicious when I discovered four printed pages of instructions for 3 pattern pieces, but I was not. When it came down to the pin-it-out-and-cut-it-out phase I realized there were no cutting layout instructions: neither diagram nor direction. But, again, only 3 pieces, so tons of room to experiment.

I read the complete instructions through before cutting and I’m glad I did because, as it turned out, I needed to cut three additional pieces that did not have an associated pattern piece. Good thing I did read through, because the need to do this is not mentioned until Step 8 and step 10 on page 3! They all are supposed to be cut on the diagonal, so bye-bye to any idea of having room to play with layout. *grumble*

Designer + User Error. The drawers should to have a flounce on each leg, which is what one would have seen in 1904. The one piece of advice regarding fabric layout is as follows: “If possible, cut all pieces on lengthwise double (folded) fabric for ease of cutting.” So, is that meant as directions to fold along the length of the fabric and cut with the length-wise grain (the usual)? I tried and the pattern pieces don’t fit. So, perhaps it’s meant that I should fold the fabric width-wise and use the length-wise grain? Well, then there’s not enough fabric for the bias binding and waistband strips at a proper 45-degree angle.

*initiate slow simmer*

Add to that the fog of further confusion and up into my head pops the notion that the fabric actually has a one-way pattern. At I least I convinced myself it does. I looked at it twelve ways from Sunday. It didn’t. It did. No…yes…aargh! Preferring to err on the side of safety (“err” perhaps being the key here), I unpinned, cut and flipped the fabric into position for a double-layer cut on a one-way fabric. (Are we all still oriented in three dimensions? Bonus points if the answer is “yes.”)

For reasons that completely elude me, I chose to focus on getting the bias binding strips out of the fabric and so skooched the pieces around until I could. The waistband should be on the bias as well, but that’s just not going to happen. Anywho, getting those bias strips meant having less than 1/2 inch of room to spare when it came to the final piece – the flounce.

*vigorous simmer*

User Error. So now I have two fronts, two backs, the bias binding for the crotch edges (these are open drawers) and the waistband (cut on the straight of the grain). All I need is the flounce. Two legs, two flounces. Yes! Pinned, cut, and done. No! My brain did not notice that there is no way the relatively short upper edge of the flounce could not possible fit on the relatively long bottom edge of the legs. I didn’t need to cut two flounce pieces, I needed to cut four. By the way, the written instructions do mention (buried amongst the three options for attaching the flounce) that you need one flounce for each section of leg but nowhere in the instructions is it clearly stated that 2 leg fronts + 2 leg backs = 4 flounce pieces needed.

To be fair to the designer, though, on the pattern itself the directions read: “Cut 4 on straight grain of fabric (cut twice on doubled fabric” but my confused brain interpreted that as meaning “if you are using doubled fabric you only need to cut 2 of these” because there is absolutely no way one could possibly get four single-cut flounces out of the recommended yardage. So I have 2 flounces, need 4, have no fabric left and the store is about an hour away (assuming the floating bridge remains open and I don’t have to wait up to 2 hours or so in one direction while it’s closed to vehicular traffic in order to allow a Navy submarine or some other marine traffic to pass through/under).

*vigorous boil* (‘hard crack’ on candy thermometer)

The end result is now I have the opportunity to go one of four ways: 1) flounce one leg or the other, but not both, 2) flounce on the fronts or the backs of the legs, but not both, 3) buy more fabric, or 4) congratulate myself on my inherent and deeply hidden creative genius, re-name my project “Anachronistic Tap Pants” and deny the total production time is approaching one week.

Any wagers where I’m going with this?

There two last teeny, tiny details. I pulled out my sewing machine this morning to set it up and for the life of me cannot find the power cord or foot pedal. This has rendered two additional opportunities: 1) finish unpacking the remaining boxes of stuff still left untouched after the move of cough13cough months ago, or 2) rejoice in the fact that hand sewing is indeed bliss.

And I’m taking Jennifer Rosbrugh’s online “Victorian Undergarments” class (Hi, Jennifer!), we start tomorrow and my sewing machine has no power and no control.

Apparently, neither do I.


5 thoughts on “Hysterical Sew Fortnightly

  1. This is hilarious! (to read that is) Hope you find those cords soon. And I like the flounce one leg but not the other option. You’ll remember which side of your skirts to lift up to show the gentleman a bit of ankle that way. 😉

    • Ha – too funny!! Although, if I only flounce one side I’ll have yet another option: whether to flash the “long” leg or the “short” leg. Just the thought gets me laughing. 🙂 Would that be the Edwardian equivalent of speed-dating? *giggle*

      Update: Jennifer, you have planted such an evil idea in my head…I may get thrown out of the HSF group for this…stay tuned.

      • Better laughing than biting nails. But, if it consoles you a little, Sir Obadiah of Sewing Machine decided to put loads of crimps into my stays today while he kept snapping threads every 2 stitches… *shakes fist*

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