Sunday, October 24, 2010

How to lose 40 years in a day.

I started this project in the 80's, but for somehow I ended up in the 40's. Not totally sure where I dropped those forty years, but here's how it happened. Maybe one of our smart contestants playing at home can figure it out.
You might remember me mentioning a few days ago that I wanted to create an 80's outfit for Charlotte. Something fun, cute, and hip, similar to what a party girl would wear in a classic 80's movie. The only problem, I really don't like the 80's style, but I ignored my trepidations, hopped onto Google and started researching.
Eventually I came up with inspiration and designed an outfit. It was separates consisting of a jacket, a shell blouse, and a two tiered skirt. The jacket was pink with blue lining, the blouse was white, and the skirt was blue on top and pink on bottom. I did attempt to make it, but I only finished the blouse (already blogged about it too). I did however get all of the machine sewing for the jacket done, and about half of the skirt before I decided that it wasn't the look that I was going for. It was far too washed out 80's. I was hitting certain 80 elements, but not the right ones. So I set the project aside, thankful that I had realized that before I had invested too much time or effort into it.
Later I returned to Google, hoping that further prodding would provide me something that I "must" make. And I did strike gold, or at least what I thought was gold. I found a photo of a girl with a over sized sweatshirt and a short skirt, both in a powder blue. That I liked, and I'm sure I could make it, although I didn't have a sweatshirt pattern. I decided to make the skirt a pleated skirt, but make it much shorter than normal. I kept the powder blue color because I did like that. Also I had some jersey knit in that color, which helped seal the deal. I didn't have any powder blue cotton in my reserves, but a trip to Hobby Lobby provided me with a fabric that would work.
I started off with the skirt since that one was the easiest to do. The fabric I got tended to fray a bit more than I would like, but it was something I could manage. Other than that the skirt was nothing new. It went together without any real problems.
The sweatshirt however was something different. Yes, I could use patterns that I already had, but I was going to have to do some major tweaking for just the beginning. I started off tracing the t-shirt pattern that I use. Instead of having the pattern go in at the waist I had it flair out instead. I also expanded the sleeves, especially at the wrist, adding more flair there too. I really wanted that baggy look. I didn't change the pattern at the bust since the fabric I was using had a really loose weave. If I was doing it again then I might have tweak it some more. I was worried about this turning into a mess, after I cut the fabric out I tried it on Barbie to see if it would even fit, it passed that test, so I got to work. I had some issues with sewing it, but for the most part it went together pretty quick. I did have to redo one of the cuffs, but other than that I don't think I had that issue with anything else. With most of the sewing done I did add something that I wasn't originally thinking of. I added a strip of fabric at the bottom, similar to what real sweatshirts have. I did most of it on a machine, but I added the collar by hand. I don't trust the machine with that. I've had too many issues with it messing up. Besides it's not that hard to do by hand either. With that done all I needed to do was reinforce the seams and add snaps. It came out pretty nice for my first sweatshirt. Not sure how often I'll need this pattern, but it's certainly a good one to have handy.
With that done it was time to see how it all looked together. I tried it on and was underwhelmed to say the least. I know that accessories can certainly help with the look of an outfit, but I couldn't see how it would help this. It was bland, bland, bland. Also it wasn't reading too 80's for me, so I set it aside. Each item were good separates but together it wasn't anything I liked as an outfit. In a last ditch effort to like the outfit I made a pair of socks, in the same fabric as the sweatshirt (I know I was just complaining about the dull color combo), but these weren't your regular socks like I always make. This time I tried to make it look like they were rolled at the top. I did get that effect, I think it needs further refining, but it certainly works. Seeing that altogether I began to like it. But it was not 80's anymore, I was starting to get a 40's vibe. To decide if that's the direction to go in a stole a pair of saddle shoes off my Midge doll. Boy was that a mistake, she's not getting those shoes back. Paired with the outfit it was so cute. I knew that I had to keep going with it, the only problem being that the skirt was much too short for the 40's. It was also the most boring part of the outfit. I liked the matching socks and shirt, but with everything the same color scale it was so bland. I knew which fabric I wanted to try. It was that swatch of John Deere plaid. Just holding it up to the shirt I knew I had a winner, it was practically begging me to make it into a skirt. So I did. This one I made the full length of the pattern, for that 40's modesty, and it came out wonderfully.
So that's it, this entire post takes place over a few days, but I glossed over those long breaks (I'm like a cooking show that way). What do you think? I like it a lot. By the way, this completes the "Finish Charlotte's Current Outfit". While it's not the 80's I think it's certainly a great outfit and who knows maybe that perfect 80's outfit is out there waiting for me to find it, but that's for another day.

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