My last entry about my fiddle frustrations probably seemed pretty down. Fortunately, I’m in a little better mood since I’ve been ignoring the fiddle for a couple weeks or so, focusing on sewing my stays.
The stays have been a little source of concern for me as well. I created my own pattern based off one in a book. I of course had to make things difficult by changing the design slightly instead of copying it completely. This was my first time making something like this — I’ve never even worn stays, so I wasn’t completely sure how the fit should be. I have made a corset from a pattern, so I thought it would be worth a try making one on my own instead of buying a pattern. Plus, I had a book with some patterns in it and there’s always information on the Internet. I’ve been piecing together patterns based off of information, without a pattern (like my shift and cap, and Christopher’s shirt), but this is the first foundation garment of this type I’ve ever made.
Except for a few changes in sizing and length, the first version of the pattern actually turned out better than I expected. There were (and still are) a few spots I’m not happy with, but I’ll see how the final stays turn out and possibly make more changes for the next one down the line. I’m not sure if the fit will be just right, but I’m looking forward to seeing how it turns out.
I’m in the process of sewing the boning channels and cutting and inserting the boning. I’ve been nervous about dealing with the tabs on four of the panels, and I wasn’t pleased with how skinny my design’s tabs were. The stays I based mine from have several tabs, and although it was difficult to see what size the original’s tabs were, they seemed somewhat skinny as well. Unfortunately, I think mine were too skinny. I got to a point Saturday, where I had to stop sewing and make a big decision: figure out how to make the boning fit the current tab design, or remove one of the tabs on each of the four panels to make each tab a little wider to match up with what I hoped to do with the boning channels. When I first started working on the pattern, I didn’t even have any boning handy to figure out how much space per channel they would need, so I didn’t make a layout to double-check my design. I’d been nervous to mess with the tabs, even though I knew what I wanted to do — I just wasn’t sure it would work. It wasn’t going to. So I nervously decided to redesign the tabs and see if that would work instead. I couldn’t believe it — my first redesign worked perfectly for both panels! I tried it on the other two panels, not expecting to have it go as smoothly, but it did! Although I drew white lines on the fabric with a dressmaker’s pencil, they’re still subtle and should clean off easily. I have to admit, with the lines drawn on I also feel more confident sewing the channels on those panels, even with the tabs.
Having the quick, on-the-spot redesign (I had already started sewing the channels on one of the panels before I made my realization) work out so smoothly gave me a boost of much-needed confidence. I think this week’s sewing will be fun and relaxing for the most part. Until I get to all the hand-sewing, like binding the edges, that is!
Next time, I know to make a layout for a better idea of how to fit the boning into my pattern, since I now know what to expect from the boning I am working with. I also ended that evening on another good note: When my husband was making us some well-earned martinis, I played a couple songs on my fiddle. They weren’t fancy with ornamentation, or perfectly played. They weren’t the hard songs that had frustrated me before, but songs I’ve played a lot and are favorites. No one but my husband heard me play — but it was fun and I enjoyed it. I didn’t push myself and learn anything new on the fiddle, but I have learned that I can push myself when I need or want to for certain things like sewing… maybe I’m just not ready for some of the things I tried to do on the fiddle.