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100 hours of alterations. Whew!

14 years ago

Oh wow--I can't believe how long this has taken me! Not actually 100 hours, but I worked almost nonstop on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. For like, 8 hour days! My poor neglected son. He has done so well with playdough, legos, coloring, etc. while I am sewing. But his patience is completely used up, and I sure do owe him some major mama-time. (Dee--if you are reading this--how are your churning out those lovely bags so fast?? You must have the sewer's gene!)

I'm super longwinded, so be prepared for a looooong post! :-)

So, here was the plan: take my retro apron pattern, and alter it a bit to make it a "retro smock" that I could actually wear outside the house. To do this, I needed to shorten it quite a bit, make the armholes and neck and shoulders smaller, and take in the sides.

I thought it would be fairly straightforward.

And maybe it would have been if I'd had any experience in doing such a thing.

As I stared at my brand new fabric (a wild, very mod, 60's pattern of daisies--lots of classic brown and orange colors), I wondered, could I just wing it with my lovely fabric? Luckily, I didn't!! I got an old muslin type curtain, and did a rough, altered smock. (Prompting my husband to make the obligatory "Whatcha making Scarlett" comment.)

Baaaaaaad. Very bad. Lopsided. The sides tapered way too much, and pooched out like crazy.

I went searching in the attic and found an old tablecloth. I tried again. A little better. Getting the new angles of the shoulders, neck, and armpits was harder than I though. So was the taper of the sides. Much harder than I thought! I also wanted to make the front longer than the back (like a maternity shirt), because I am kind of busty, and I just hate hate hate it when my tops hang longer in the back than the front. This was an especially hard modification for me--getting the slant right as the back connected to the front.

Luckily the tablecloth was big, so I took tablecloth-smock-#1 and tried using it as a trial run template/pattern to make another one. Ok, this one was pretty close to what I wanted. Just a little more tinkering...

Just getting my new pattern they way I wanted it took a full 8 hour day on Monday. Wow--I was not expecting that. This is so much harder than I imagined! I am in awe of all you custom apparel makers out there!!

On Tuesday I began with 1 muslin smock, 2 tablecloth smocks, and a newly created paper pattern. I got out my "mod daisy explosion" fabric. I held my breath. With trembling hands, I cut. I pinned. I sewed. I "reverse sewed" (i.e. got the seam ripper) when I realized I had sewn the front right side to a back wrong side. I sewed the other back side on (there are 2 back pieces). I reverse sewed again when I made the same darn mistake with that piece!! Wake up Francy! I raised and resewed the shoulers. I raised and resewed just one shoulder. I altered the other shoulder again. I finally started to put on the 5 feet of edging in one long piece, which was tangled around my neck and shoulders, and trailing across the floor as I sewed.

That took pretty much all of Tuesday. And I still needed to make the pockets.

On Wednesday, I tried it on, and decided it was not "wear out of the house" caliber. But why? It was short and tapered. But it definitely looked very apron/paint smocky. Why? Hmmmmm.

Ah ha! Because of the thin, cheap bias tape I bought. The poor quality tape was definitely preventing it from rising to the level of "clothing."

There was only 1 solution: make my own edging out of my daisy fabric. Which took most of the day. Connecting strip after strip after strip. Ironing. Folding. Ironing again. Folding again. But looked so much nicer than the cheap stuff!!! I finally got it all sewn on by about 11pm on Wednesday night.

And it turned out pretty well. For a beginner. I haven't taken any pictures yet, but I will today if I have the nerve to wear it outside the house (those brown and orange daisies are a lot louder and brighter than I thought they would be).

I think this smock would actually be a fantastic maternity top! The flaps in the back make it self adjusting to any size tummy, and it can go over already-owned knit shirts, saving on the cost of new maternity tops. Too bad I'm probably done with maternity wear myself. If only I were a real seamstress, I might consider trying to find an audience for these.

And now, I think I will take a short break from the Touch & Sew. I have some socks I need to finish knitting, and a literal mountain of laundry waiting for me (I should take a photo of that scary sight!). I really want to make a waterproof (oilcloth) bag to carry my knitting in. Maybe in a couple weeks I can try that. After the house is cleaned, the groceries bought, the socks finished, the child paid attention to, etc. etc. etc.

If you made it this far, I hope this was entertaining and informative.

Time to go put on my smock!


francy (never at a loss for words, words, words)

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