Wednesday, April 22, 2009

When all else fails, make up a new project


As per tradition during this time of year, I become horribly dissatisfied with the state of my wardrobe and the options available through the usual channels.  I'm not going to go into my standard rant about the crappy options available for petite sized women because my blog is already peppered with it.

The one thing that bothers me most is the fact that I can't find a decent fitting dress shirt or blouse.  You can't really fake fit with a dress shirt.  Either it does or it doesn't.

Because I'm petite sized, the bust darts are usually too low, which means shirts bunch up and pull in a really unflattering way.  They also never seem to have enough room in the back or the bust because I'm so barrel chested.  It's almost guaranteed that if I have enough bust and shoulder room in a shirt it will hang off me like a tent and obscure the fact that I have a waist.

I also seem to have larger-than-normal biceps for someone my gender and size which also doesn't help much.  Damn rowing messes up everything.

So once again, I've decided that the best thing would be to do it myself.  I'm going to draft a pattern to my measurements.  It will be perfect because I made it myself.  It will be so awesome that I will etch it in brass and keep it in a glass case enshrined for everyone to see.  The heavens will open up and there will be perpetual sunlight in that very spot.  It will be that awesome.

But first I have to figure out how to make a pattern.  My search took me to the library where I found it very interesting that none of the new, trendy books I looked at really seemed to deal with a lot of technique.  I think one of the saddest things about the DIY trend is that for every good craft book out there there seems to be a lot of them that really lack substance and don't really teach anything.  The fact that it is trendy and cool and therefore sells seems to be good motivation to dumb down content.

I really don't need to spend $30 on a book that will teach me to thread a drawstring through some fabric to make a skirt that looks like a flour sack.  I can accomplish that on my own.  I also don't need a book that claims to teach me to customize my clothes and then contains such incredibly difficult and detailed instructions as to how to sew a patch of a contrasting colour onto something or how to tie a ribbon around your waist.

I finally found what I needed in an old, battered book from the 80s with horribly dated illustrations (seen above).  The moment I opened it up and saw the diagrams inside I knew that it was going to be an excellent resource.  

Speaking of old, battered and still awesome, I also found a copy of this on the shelf:


Non-knitters probably won't care about this at all, but this book has been out of print for some time and has acquired an almost mythical status as that book that is kind of hard to find, sells for buckets on ebay and like Mecca should be touched once in your lifetime.  I didn't even know that the FVRL had a copy of it.  It was just sitting there on the shelf, waiting for me.