I just had an epiphany (because of something Caroline wrote in the comments of the last post), and as usually happens at those moments, lots of stuff blooms in my head all at once.  Before I get to the epiphany itself, I felt the need to look up the word.

Epiphany: a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience

Works for me.

I was also reminded of some thoughts generated about epiphanies from a book I am currently reading.  (Not the best book…I really am in a drought with good books these days because I want to be reading one that knocks my socks off but instead they have all been pretty ho-hum, except for Susan Jacoby’s The Age of American Unreason.  Quite an amazing book, but I am going between it and fiction books in a quest for a story that truly rocks my boat!)  There is a doctor in the book who fills his brain with as much info as he can and then he sits and waits for his brain to filter & percolate & assemble the epiphany.  I zeroed in on the story then as I realized that is what I do.  Always have, even when I was a young choreographer in college.  I will never forget one of my professors watching one of my rehearsals..she was astounded that I solved a choreographic problem by just sitting quietly watching the dancers.  She couldn’t believe that the answer presented itself in my head, fully formed, and that I did not have to get up and fool around with it.  I did not understand her amazement as that was simply how my brain worked.

Most of the things I figure out for the dresses I make literally wake me up in the middle of the night.  Suddenly, I am just awake and a construction solution is sitting on my chest looking at me like the cat does when he wants a rub!  I count on my brain figuring things out this way.  At the moment, I have a few things I need to decide on, and I am waiting for my brain to sift through all of the info…the decision will quietly appear.  It has been the same process these past few months deciding how I feel about ID, this blog, etc.

This morning, I had a loud epiphany…having them when I am awake is rather jarring as it is like 10 people talking loudly at once.  When I have them in front of the hubby, he always looks at me sideways and asks if I am having a seizure as I sit there blankly!  He walked in this morning as I was staring at the wall with my hands poised above the keyboard, and he says so gently, “WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING!?!”  He is such a careful man…

So this is what occurred to me.  There is a way to alter the Feisdress pattern for a tunic dress.  Look at the two lines I have drawn on the pic below.


If I did not have the mighty Susan, I would alter the Feisdress bodice to drop the waist a LOT.  The red line above is my new waist line.  Obviously I have taken into consideration my waist curves.  I am not going to keep this waist line, but this is how I make the bodice to begin with.  Then, after the appropriate number of panels are fully embroidered, attach them to the bodice. (I would have a soft skirt already constructed so that the placement and attachment angles can be easily figured over the appropriate poof.)  The panels should be longer than you will really see.  Once they are firmly attached, decide on a shape to be cut and satin stitched up into the bodice…those are the yellow lines above.  I would baste the panels in place above and around the yellow lines, and then sew that shape with a good zizag to make sure it is all secure before I cut out the bodice fabric below the lines.  Then satin stitch those lines, remove the basting, and decide if the panels above the lines on the back need to be trimmed down.  My instinct is yes so that there is no extra bulk.

Why cut out a shape instead of leaving the straight bodice hem?  Well, besides the fact that it will look like a hem line which for me defeats the tunic look and looks like a flapper dress, I am feeling (like my fortune-teller spiel?) that the whole unit will move better if there is a bit more freedom gained by getting rid of that restrictive hem line…but I could be wrong.  The other reason is that even if the bodice and panels use the same base fabrics, the satin stitched line will look like an embellishment not an attachment line.  Or, if you use a different colored base fabric for the panels, then the shaped line is part of the slimming design.

And I would not put stiffener in the panels beyond the decor bond already fused to the fabric for the embroidery (I only use one layer of decor bond in the tunic panels).  This also obviously means I can embroider directly on the panels instead of making patches as I feel I must for a true tunic.

As for the bodice lining, the easiest way to do this would be to line the bodice and the panels separately.  You could put the bodice lining over the panel attachments either before or tacked on after the panel attachments: before would mean the satin stitching would be seen on the inside while tacked on after would hide the stitching.  The easiest would be to not put the bodice lining over the panels at all, but under along with the base bodice fabric.  The hardest would be to make a bag lining that encompassed the bodice and the panels after they were attached…pay me a bunch and I might do that!!

Does this make sense?  I feel like I am leaving something out, but I will add it if I think of it.

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. mendylady
    Apr 29, 2008 @ 12:39:34

    Makes sense to me!

  2. Ali
    Apr 29, 2008 @ 14:47:25

    That’s how I think, too. My biggest problem is that if I don’t take the time to write down these bursts of thought at 3am, I lose them by morning and it can take weeks to recover them.

    That looks like a very clever solution!

  3. leamanach
    Apr 29, 2008 @ 22:18:22

    I think I get it. I am not experienced yet with the pattern, though I own it, so I hope I don’t seem too dense here…..are you saying to just cut the added length in the bodice without altering the pattern or adding shaping for the hip….because you are just going to cut it off? Then whatever shape you make from a design perspective can be the top of the panel and cut. So if the panel is satin stitched across each section it will still act like one piece….a tunic.

    I have been fighting with my new printer all day and it still isn’t working (arghh!!!!) so I apologize if I am totally missing the obvious here. I want to understand it though, because we are finally ready to start our school sample and this would be sooooooo cool instead of the standard dress.

    Thanks in advance for your patience on this one.

  4. kktsews
    Apr 30, 2008 @ 05:09:13

    Looks like an epiphany to me. I had sort of been wondering this in my head. You and Susan have stressed the custom pattern part of the tunic, and this ends up being custom because you don’t figure out the alignment and lay of the panels until you have the rest all made. You would definitely need an accurate dummy to make this work because it will mean playing with the angles and careful attention to shapes to make them all flow from one to the other without a gap that would end up looking like a hem.

    I’m not ready to start on another dress, but someone PLEASE try this and let us know if it works!

  5. cfvermeulen
    Apr 30, 2008 @ 06:04:51

    Yes YEs! This is how I had it stewing in my head. Especially after I saw the soft skirts at the worlds with the patches attached and sticking out over the hemline. They were lik enni-panels sewn onto tthe edge of the soft skirt. Just think “elongated bodice” and then attach these panels on top. I would not be sure about removing the bodice fabric (I am lazy), but it might be neccesary to make it “flow” more. Anyhooo. def gonna try this! Just need to finish 2 more dresses and 13 skirt and then I am off!

  6. dianecohoon
    May 01, 2008 @ 09:31:47

    You are not the only crazy one out there! Things hit me in the middle of the night while sleeping and I wake up and have to write them down too. Weird, yes, but it’s the way sewing minds seem to work. Maybe it’s just because we have so much floating around in our heads and our minds are not slowing down, we are finally thinking clearly in the middle of the night – no distractions at that time – that’s when the clear thinking happens!!

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