26 December 2010

Sewing Year in Review

It's that time to reflect on my sewing adventures over the past year. Having sewn for almost seven years now, I can say that my skill and technique has improved - along with my patience and speed in which I recover from epic sewing failures. On with the summary...


I sewed a total of 21 wearable garments ranging in a variety of fibers and weaves. Alas, the fitted woven blouse is still a challenge, but I have confidence that success is near! I made:
  • 3 toppers: Simplicity 2603, Simplicity 2560 (x2)
  • 2 dresses: Simplicity 2648, Simplicity 2804
  • 10 tops: Simplicity 2804, Kwik Sew 3179, Butterick 5355, Simplicity 2599 (x2), Kwik Sew 2667 (x2), Jalie 965 (x2), Jalie 2805
  • 3 pairs of pants: Jalie 2908 (x2), Simplicity 2860
  • 3 skirts: McCall's 5523, New Look 6300 (x2)
I wrote reviews for about half of these garments on Pattern Review. I have a review for the jeans (woo hoo!) in progress; I have to get pictures of the second pair. I should be able to post it soon.

Failures/Wadders/Garments yet to be:

Looking at my list, one may think that I hardly sew. That isn't the case, trust! Because I am trying to find my fit-niche, I spend a lot of time working on muslins. Having taken a quick look at my digital archive of patterns, I found that I tested at least 26 patterns. 26! 4 of these tests became garments on the 'successes' list. The other 22...well...are either in a landfill or awaiting further testing.

2011 Intentions:

  • I intend to continue working on fitting and honing my sewing skill. I am starting off the year by taking an eight-week bodice sloper class. Hopefully, I'll be able to make some significant headway in that area of sewing.
  • Then I would like to refine the fit of my pants sloper so that I can make some pants to go along with these kick-ass fitted blouses.
  • I intend to develop a wardrobe that better reflects me, my age, profession, and lifestyle. Though I do not follow trends, I desire to add pieces that are casual, chic, and feminine. I own too much denim and not enough silk
  • Finally, I intend to pare down the amount of fabric I buy and sew much more from my stash. I have A LOT of fabric. Too much, really. I am not going on a fabric fast, just being a lot more mindful of what I buy, when, and why.
That's it for now. I hope everyone has a wonderful new year! Be well.


20 December 2010

If You Can't Beat 'Em... & Quick Update

Long time, no post. I have lots to update since my last visit. The end of the semester is always hectic and when coupled with lots of other issues, blogging and sewing unfortunately take a back seat. Many thanks to Faye for checking up on me. I am genuinely touched by your concern. *hugs* Now that I am on break (hallelujah!), hopefully I can post more often.

I did make some progress on the sequin top. The last time I worked on this top, I was having problems getting the strand of sequins to lie in a straight line. While shopping at what may be my last trip to JoAnn's (grr...that's whole 'nother issue...), I found some sequin trim that intentionally incorporates the wiggles. So, instead of

I have

I like this look much better than the last. I have more sequin trim to adorn other garments. A couple of months ago, I made another DKNY cardi-wrap using Simplicity 2603. I plan to knock-off her idea by adding sequined trim along the hemline. If all goes well, I will have one that looks like the gray version.

Coming up next on Project YS, G!, I made jeans! Woot! My first pair fit wonderfully, but have many errors - some of which that became painfully obvious after the first wash. I am currently working on my second pair which are much better constructed. I hope to post pictures soon. I also intend to do a small year-end review of my 2010 sewing adventure.

I hope everyone has been well. Enjoy!


28 October 2010

Progress Update: Knit Tank & Sequins

Hand-sewing sequins is not difficult at all. Getting these little buggers to line up nicely is another thing. At first, I was kind of digging the wiggly look. Then by some force of nature, I managed to attach the sequins without wiggles. Near the neckline, the sequins seem to behave and follow a more uniform line. Hmm...

What do you think? Should I keep going or start over?


25 October 2010

I am Loving Sequins Right Now

Lately, I have developed an attraction for sequins (silver, gold, copper, etc.) and all things shiny. I don't really follow trends, so I am not sure where this new-found liking is coming from. It sort of crept up on me during the summer and was put into overdrive when I saw Deepika's fabric. She snagged a seriously smoking all-over sequined top from Haberman's Fabrics at this year's American Sewing Expo. I. Love. This. Fabric.

(picture is of her fitting the neckline with tucks)

After seeing this, I started searching the internet for ideas of how to incorporate these details into my garments. Last weekend, I made a knit tank top using Jalie 965 and a black rayon slubbed knit from Fabric.com. Having already made J965 in black slinky, I wanted to add some sort of embellishment to this newest version. I bought a spool of silver single-strand sequins and started designing some layouts. Here are my options:

(click on image for a better view)

Of the five designs (starting at the upper left corner), I like numbers two, four, and five the best. The third design would hide the sequins in the hem and the first doesn't do anything for me. I am leaning toward design four because it's simple and busy (is that even possible?). However, crossing the lines of sequins might create unsightly humps and bumps. Designs two and five are also very cool. I wonder, though, how difficult it will be to keep the curved lines uniform.

I was so eager to finish the tank top, that I didn't think to embellish the front before sewing the side seams. Oh well. I am not picking out those stitches. I'll just have to channel my inner Tim Gunn and make it work!

Do you like sequins? Have you ever sewn with them? Am I in over my head? =)

Off topic...
Thanks for the comment, Rachelle. You're probably right; I need to stop trippin! =) I'll take a photo while wearing the top. Let me know what you think!


24 October 2010

The Verdict on HP 1099: Meh.

Last weekend, I took some time to work on TDHP (That Damn Hot Patterns) 1099. Where do I begin?

Oy vey. The sleeve! Previously, I noticed that the sleeve cap had an insane amount of ease. Set-in sleeve caps have extra length that is eased into the armhole, right?. HP1099's sleeve is designed to be set in flat! The shape of the sleeve cap is actually quite nice. The length of the sleeve cap from back to shoulder is longer and angled differently than that of front to shoulder length I like the design of this sleeve cap because most of us are not the same length or shape in these areas and the differences appear to make for a better fit.

The picture above isn't that of the HP 1099 sleeve pattern. I found this online just to illustrate the idea. I would take a picture of my pattern, but it's currently in hibernation - never to see the light of day for a long, long time.

To take out some of the ease, I slashed the sleeve cap from the shoulder point to within 5/8" of the bottom of the sleeve. I attempted to slash to the hem, but the folds were just too deep to reconcile. I overlapped the cap 1 inch, removing 2" of ease. Would you believe that this still wasn't enough? I cut out a test sleeve to sew in a previously constructed muslin. There was still about a half an inch of extra length on both the front and back of the sleeve cap. So, again I slashed the front and back and overlapped the cap by about 1/2" - thus removing over an inch of length. Finally, this worked and I was able to sew the sleeve in flat without any puckers.

Having attempted the collar several times, I was able to sew this one without incident. It's still not perfect. Unless I point out the errors, I don't think anyone will ever know.

Overall the bust fit is quite good, but I am not totally satisfied with the pattern. The top is boxy and wears more like a jacket than a blouse. If I decide to sew it again, I will likely use a much heavier fabric.

I haven't done the hems or buttons yet because...well...I got tired of working on it and I am disappointed with the final result. When I do finish, I will wear it. In the meantime, here are some parting photos:

front with gaping hem

boxy back

top with buttons

Currently in queue are two projects: the new Simplicity jacket (2284) and a black knit tank top that needs embellishment. I'll be blogging on both soon.

Until next time,


14 October 2010

Planning & 7 Deadly Sins

My sewing hit a brick wall with the New Look skirt. I have no pictures to share because I cut that joker up and threw it in the trash. The fit was terrible and I had Z.E.R.O. motivation to finish it - even for charity. I felt an enormous weight lift when I tossed it. Now I can work on something else. Since being sick, I am slow to return to the sewing room.

In the meantime, I am planning my next projects. The Endless Combinations contest is coming up on Pattern Review and I've already got some ideas in mind. I'm keeping that on the low for now, though. =)

Switching gears, I saw this on Adrienne's Blog a few days ago:

The 7 Deadly Sins...
Day 1 - Pride. Seven great things about yourself.

Day 2 - Envy. Seven things you lack and covet.

Day 3 - Wrath. Seven things that piss you off.

Day 4 - Sloth. Seven things you neglect to do.

Day 5 - Greed. Seven worldly material desires.

Day 6 - Gluttony. Seven guilty pleasures.

Day 7 - Lust. Seven love secrets.

Let's see how long I play with this one. =)

Until next time!


04 October 2010

Woo! What a Month!

For the better part of September, I was ill. My illness manifested itself the form of extreme fatigue, increased appetite, and nausea. Wait. Hold up! It was NOT a baby, I assure you! Without going into detail, I am happy to say that I am feeling much better and am on the road to resuming my normal daily activities.

I went roller skating for the first time in three weeks (gasp) on Friday. This is a big deal for me since I normally roll twice per week. One of my skate buddies wondered if I had died. Ummmm... Oookay. Like I said, it's a big deal. I still sleep a lot (11 hours this past Saturday), but at least it is nearly not as bad as it was a couple of weeks ago.

I attended the American Sewing Expo last weekend and had a wonderful time. I got to meet up with my dear friend Deepika and share many lasting memories with Melody, Sharon, Rachelle, Tina, EveS, Leslie (in Austin), Tenia, KBurkhardt, KristineKay, and many more (sorry names are escaping me right now). Even though I didn't take any classes, I enjoyed every single moment of the Expo. Pictures? Well...see...what had happened was... I'll have to grab photos from someone and post them here.

On the sewing front, my machines saw power for the first time yesterday. I finally had the energy to sit down and sew. I sewed for about two hours straight and completed another version of the Simplicity Cardi Wrap 2603. I am working to complete some projects and commitments that I started in August - one of which is a small 6-piece wardrobe, referred to as a 6PAC. The idea is to create a small set of coordinating clothes for the current season in three months. The current 6PAC is as follows:

Skirt or trousers (neutral)
3 blouses/tops (1 to match bottom, 2 to complement)
Cardigan (to match skirt/trousers)
Coat or jacket (coordinating neutral)

Since the start of the sew along, I've completed four garments - not totally following the plan, though.

The items in green text are already completed. Up next is the New Look skirt and another attempt at TDHP1099 (That Damn Hot Patterns) blouse.

I hope everyone is doing well.

Until next time,


13 September 2010

Fall Sewing & Lady Grey

Who turned off the heat?? Literally, the outdoor temperature went from a high of 80F on one day to a high of 60F on the next day. Damn northern states. That's what the weather is like in Michigan. It's never a gradual increase or decrease. One day, it's hot. The next day, it's Arctic. Oh well, whatareyagonnado?

Since Fall is upon us, I have switched to fall sewing mode. I've actually been in fall sewing mode for a while, but I guess I'm finally making it official. Since school started for me as well, my sewing time has drastically decreased. I am still putting projects together, but I have to be more diligent with managing my time.

My fall wardrobe colours right now consist of purples, grays, cream, rust, and a soft shade of green. I am hoping to overlap some pieces with a second fall wardrobe. We'll see how that goes.

Anyway, I am looking forward to participating in the Lady Grey Sew Along. I still don't have a fabric picked out, but I've been eying this wool coating on Fabric.com

I am not a fan of pink. At all. Bu, I am loving this nubby fabric. The fabric is described as heavyweight, so I don't know if this is an appropriate weight for the coat.

I could also go with something plain like this wool blend from Fabric.com. Meh.

Melody at Fashionista Fabrics has this fiery red wool coating. Mmm..

I've never ordered anything from Fabric Mart, but their new batch of Shetland wools are very tempting. This one is called 'heathered palm'.

Decisions, decisions. I think I'll focus on getting the muslin together before I buy fabric.

I need to do some job-related work now. I haven't been feeling well the last couple of days, so I have lots of work to do and need to make the most of the time where I feel okay.


27 August 2010

As If I Don't Already Have Enough To Do...

I have two skirts in the works, a cardi wrap, and two muslins for a knit and woven top. To add to that, I have now decided to join the Lady Grey Pattern Sew Along after reading Faye's latest post. I've had this pattern for a couple of months and just adore everything about it. The vintage vibe missed me, but this coat beckons me to make it. If I am able to finish the coat during the sew along, then that's great. Otherwise, it will be good to see everyone's progress and creations.

Are you participating in any sew alongs and if so, which ones?


20 August 2010

Hand Update

Thanks to everyone who sent me well wishes! *hug*

My hand is doing much better. The swelling has gone down and there are no blisters! There are still a couple of tender spots, but I'm not in pain. I have enough dressing and ointment to last a few days, so I'll continue to treat and wrap it. The good thing is I can type well and perhaps sew a bit.

Many thanks again to everyone!


19 August 2010

No Sewing or Typing...

What do you get when you mix scolding hot liquid and human skin?

...and a string of words that would make Richard Pryor blush.

I was preparing this yummy lentil and pan-fry vegetable mix for lunch earlier today. Since the recipe calls for vegetable stock, I decide to make my own. I've done this a number of times for soups and other meals, so it was no big deal. My intention was to make a couple of quarts of stock today and freeze what's left for another meal. When I went to pour the stock into another dish, I lost my grip on the pot of fresh-off-the-burner liquid and...SPLASH! There is vegetable juice everywhere including my left hand. Sigh. A trip to the urgent care revealed that I may have a 1st or 2nd degree burn. If my hand doesn't start to blister, then I likely have a 1st degree burn and it should heal normally. In the meantime, I have to apply an ointment 3 times per day and keep my hand wrapped in gauze. So...um...yeah...no sewing going on for now.

I will finish the dish later today...maybe. =)


18 August 2010

Another New Skirt: M5523

I've had this pattern in my stash for quite some time. It's been worked in and out of the sewing queue for a while and I finally decided to sit down and make it. I made it for my second entry to the Natural Fibers Contest on PR.

I made an unlined version of view B (the one with the pleated inset) out of a 100% wool gabardine. This was a really nice fabric. The weight of this piece was perfect for pants, a structured jacket, or skirt. But, there is a disadvantage of which I was not aware. This stuff does NOT press well at all. After I had fussed with it for a couple of days, I read in Betzina's More Fabric Savvy that wool gabardine is a great wrinkle resister. No shit, lady. It's also a great iron resister! I had to use a lot of steam, mist, and a clapper at least twice per seam and the pleats just to get a decent press.

Its still got some wrinkly areas that need addressing. I'll take it to my dry cleaners and let them have at it. I am so over pressing this darn thing. =)

Fitting and Alterations:
For the first time in a long time, I did not make a muslin. I just went for it! When I say I am the muslin queen, I really mean it. I make a muslin for everything. Not this time. Having considered the finished garment measurements (43.5"), I cut a size 16.

I made two alterations. First, I shortened the pattern by 2". The finished length is 23" and on the model, it looks like the hem comes to her knees. In comparing other skirts that I have, I found that 2o - 21" is a good length for my height.

Next, I made the trunk-junk alteration. Since the back princess seams, I had to alter each piece separately. The alteration is similar to that of inserting a wedge at the center back seam. I spread the center back panel 1.25" across the entire piece. Then, I spread the side back panel 1.25", tapering to nothing at the side seam. This alteration is an absolute must for me to keep the hem level.

I basted the side seams to check fit. I found that the skirt fit well in the waist, but was a bit wide from mid thigh to the hem. So, I increased the seam allowance to 0.75" from that point down. I like this much better.


Instead of using a lapped zipper, I inserted an invisible zipper. I love invisible zippers, but my last two insertions have not been as good as previous ones. Hmf. What's up with that?

I sewed and then serged the seam allowances together. I tried to finish the seam allowances separately, but my serger did not enjoy working on a single layer of gabardine. I had a mess of skipped stitches and loopers not covering the edge. It was a hot mess. I began to think the repair shop did some bad to my serger. Nope. It was definitely the fabric. I had no problem serging the seam allowances together or serging the edge of the interfaced facing. Everything else was an epic fail! To finish the hem, I used an overcast stitch on my sewing machine and topstitched in place.

In all, I am quite satisfied with this skirt. I am sure this skirt will get a lot of wear this fall and winter. I will definitely try other versions of the pattern as well.


15 August 2010

A Woven Top? Oh, word?!

I am really digging the multi-cup Simplicity patterns right now. I had success with S2648 when making this dress. I just finished S2599 and love it!

The fabric is a silk charmeuse that I purchased from Vogue Fabrics last year. I bought this fabric with the intention of making a skirt, but I just couldn't find a pattern that I liked. I chose to make this top last weekend in an effort to make the Natural Fibers Contest deadline on Tuesday, 10 Aug.

Since I am the Muslin Queen, I stayed true to form and made a muslin. I cut a size 14 in the neckline and shoulders and a 16 in the armhole. I used the D cup pattern and a size 18 on the sides. I was thrilled that the top fit pretty well without any alteration. Initially, I was concerned about the ruffles emphasizing my bust. Fortunately, the ruffles do not call extra attention up top. In fact, I think they add a nice detail to the neckline.

I finished the side and shoulder seams using french seams. I bound the neckline and armholes using satin bias tape. The pattern includes facings, but I just wasn't in the mood.

I will definitely sew more versions of this pattern. I am also inclined to try out other multi-cup Simplicity patterns. Simplicity, you have made the good list...for now. =)

08 August 2010


5:12pm today marks the thirty-fifth anniversary of my hatching. Woo-hoo!

29 July 2010

The &$*#%@ Hot Patterns 1099 Collar

Hot Patterns, I am not a fan.

Any sewer who knows me knows that I have been on a seemingly endless journey in trying to make woven blouses fit my 'cups that runneth over' (thanks Lareine in NZ). I have used countless yards of muslin and tried nine different patterns only to be disappointed each time.

Having read Michellep74 and Debbie Cook's reviews of HP 1099, I decided to give it a try. I had already tried nine patterns, why not round out the list to ten?

Using my full bust measurement, I traced and cut a straight size 16. To my delight, the shirt almost fit.

I was shocked. You just don't understand how looooooong of a process this has been. Muslin after muslin after muslin. Fit this. Pinch that. Take this in. Let this out. Nope. Fail.

I finally had a pattern that fits with minimal adjustments. To help relax the pulling at the apex level, I added just a tiny bit to the side front pattern piece and pinned in the princess seams on the back.

Thinking this pattern would be a TNT blouse pattern, I wanted to test the fit in a stretch woven. I would like to have blouses in stretch and non-stretch wovens so it seemed natural for this to be the next step.

I cut out the pieces using a nice stretch woven pinstripe I picked up from Vogue Fabrics last year. I used my good no-longer-available-for-purchase interfacing and proceeded with construction.

Ummmm...no. This is not right. I figured that the collar and lapel were to be attached, but I didn't know how. You see, there were absolutely positively NO markings on either the collar, facing, or center front of the pattern. None. Zero. Additionally, the instructions were as useful as sunscreen on the planet Mercury.

Hot Patterns makes the disclaimer that their patterns are designed for those who have some sewing knowledge. Okay. I get that. But damn, can I get a dot, notch, triangle, or something? I consulted books, magazines, the internet, and other patterns to see what was missing and where. My research showed that there are supposed to be collar dots, neck dots, and notches to help match the pieces as well as instruct you on where to stop/start sewing, pivot, and clip. Was any of this included in the pattern? Nope. Is it too much for me to ask of these things? I don't think so.

I started a discussion on Pattern Review to see what other information I could find. Many thanks to Michellep74 for interrupting her sewing queue to include another version of the HP top. She posted detailed pictures along with commentary for each step. Additionally, other PR members chimed in with their tips. If you ever decide to try this shirt or any other HP pattern with a notched collar, do check out the discussion. I found it extremely useful and, after six tries, I finally got the collar attached.

The sleeves on this pattern are another nightmare. According to the instructions blurbs that appear on the pattern sheet, the sleeves are supposed to be sewn in flat. That is not going to happen as there is an enormous amount of ease in the sleeve cap. I took out 0.75 inches of width and pinched in four (!!!) pleats using 0.5-inch folds to get the sleeve cap length to match the armhole.

Meh. It's okay, but not the look I wanted. Unreal.

I have non-stretch woven out of which I will cut the next version of this pattern. This won't happen until I figure out the sleeve issue. I have enough of this blue pinstripe to cut out more sleeves if necessary. No more wasting the good stuff!

This experience has soured me on anything Hot Patterns. Really. I've heard other uninspiring tales about their instructions for other patterns. I like their styles and I am all about supporting independent pattern companies. Yet, I tread with caution because I do not have the patience to spend many hours on something that is not drafted properly or is missing match points.

Whew. What a rant! I don't mean to sound so negative; I just want a shirt that fits. To have come this far only to have my efforts thwarted by a freakin' collar and a poorly drafted sleeve just doesn't seem right!

Until next time,


25 July 2010

Jalie 2561: Part 2 (fitting the back) & Zipper Construction

Fitting the Back
Since I can't find any pictures of the back, I took a look at the pattern pieces again. For some reason, I thought fitting the back was much more involved. I must be confusing this fitting series with that of Jalie 2908 which (after five...yes...five muslins) still doesn't fit.

The backs of my thighs aren't as muscular as the front so trouser pants end up being too baggy in this area. To remove some of the fullness, I took out 0.75 inches of width by using the same alteration as the front. The procedure is exactly the same, except you overlap the intersection instead of spread it apart.

The back crotch curve wasn't too bad out of the envelope. Usually, I have to add some length to the curve for all that trunk junk. Since I am using the wider waistband that comes with this pattern, I didn't see any problems. I did scoop the crotch curve a little at the 'hook' part of the curve.

I am having a serious moment. I started sewing the pants a couple of days ago and have reached a point in the construction where my frustration level is near its maximum. Everything was going smoothly until I encountered the zipper insertion. Normally, I don't have much trouble with fly front zippers but the method Jalie uses in this pattern has me stumped and on the verge of swearing profusely.

I should have known that trouble was brewing when I saw that the outer and inner seams were sewn before the zipper was inserted. Additionally, I should have paid more attention to the fact that the fly front is not cut-on. In other words, you have to sew the fly front and facing to the center front. This creates unnecessary bulk and since my fabric ravels like crazy, this also creates unnecessary headaches.

Having faith that the instructions would lead to beautiful results, I proceeded. I was wrong. I had to pick out the zipper twice. I got so far as attaching the waistband and trying on the pants. Hot. Ass. Mess. I really wanted to enter these into the Natural Fibers Contest on PR, but I can't do it with the zipper looking like this.

So out comes the seam ripper. I took out the zipper and un-stitched the side seams. I also cut another fly front and sewed it to the right front pants with the intention of using Sandra Betzina's Fly Front Tutorial.

I inserted the zipper, again. Strike Two. Hot. Ass. Mess. Again. I don't know what's going on, but this just isn't working. I am using a really nice 100% tropical wool and I don't want to waste the fabric. I will try one more time, but I am about to go ballistic.

Sigh. Sadly after all of this work and five muslins, this project may not happen out of this fabric. If the next attempt at inserting the zipper does not work, I am going to retire this project and try again later. Much later.

Do you have moments like this? If so, what do you do to overcome them?


24 July 2010

Jalie 2561: Part 1 (fitting the front)

I am still on the hunt for good fitting pants. As with woven blouses, I've tried a number of patterns. Up to now, my favourite pants pattern was Vogue 8157. Having made several versions, I could not shake the thought that something was not quite right about the fit. The last pair I made fit terribly and have since been donated to charity.

I came upon Jalie 2561 after meeting a lady named Marie at PR Weekend in Montreal.

We were both amazed at the similarities in our hips, thighs, and legs. She told me that this pattern fit well with minimal alterations. So, naturally, I had to try it.

I am the self-proclaimed muslin queen. I will make a muslin...no...several muslins before I cut into my fashion fabric. Instead of using regular cotton muslin, I dug through my need-to-get-rid-of fabric and found a medium-weight polyester fabric with 1" pinstripes. Why I had four yards of this stuff is a mystery. But, it proved to be quite useful in making the muslin.

I traced and cut a straight size W according to the measurement at the fullest part of my hips. Before sewing the muslin, I removed 3 inches of length for my height. The pinstriped fabric helped to reveal several problems:
  • the pinstripes were not vertical along the front of my thighs; instead, they curved toward the inseam
  • the side seam was not perpendicular to the floor
  • the back showed diagonal wrinkles pointing toward the inseam
  • the pants were tight across the fullest part of my thighs
  • the area near the waist seam appeared to be too long
I roller skate, run, bike, and lift weights a lot and, as a result, have very full front thighs. This causes a problem because pants and skirts often get hung up on my thighs. The pattern as drafted did not have enough room to accommodate this fullness.

To determine just how much room I needed, I cut the muslin (on both legs) vertically along one of the pinstripes. The vertical cut begins about an inch or so below the waistband seam and stops just above the knee.

When I did this, everything literally fell into place. The side seam was now perpendicular to the floor and most (not all) of the back wrinkles went away. I am no expert pants fitting, but I think the back wrinkles were caused by the front borrowing fabric from the back to accommodate the front thigh fullness. Maybe this is why all the pull happened at the inseam.

I measured the spread created by the cut to be about 1 3/8 of an inch. I transferred this adjustment to the pattern by using a method similar to the full bicep alteration. The idea is to create vertical and horizontal space in the shape of a diamond. Here's what I did:

1. Draw a line parallel to the grainline from the waistband seam all the way down to the hem. (If your grainline is the line you want to use, draw a second line parallel to this and use this new line as your grain.)

2. Since the alteration affects only the thigh area, I divided the front into two pieces: an upper and lower half. Draw a line perpendicular to the grainline about an inch or so above the knee. On the upper half, draw another line perpendicular to the grainline about an inch or so below the crotch point. Mark the seam allowance at the end of each line drawn.

upper half with lines drawn

lower half

3. Starting at the point of intersection, snip into the pattern along both the vertical and horizontal line. Add the desired amount of width along the vertical line. To help keep the pattern flat, overlap the pattern along the horizontal line.

(Subsequent muslins of the front showed that this alteration creates curvature in the hip area long the side seam. This can be a good thing or bad thing depending on how your outer hips are shaped. I straightened out the curve a bit in my latest pattern alteration. In the fashion fabric, I may tweak it a bit to add some of the curve back in. )

Now notice that the waist seam and the crotch point are not flat.

To make each area lie flat, I snipped into the pattern and adjusted as needed. The waist seam was harder to reconcile. I ended up cutting through the seam allowance and adding about 0.375 inches of width.

4. Add paper and true all seamlines. I managed to keep the width the same at the place where I rejoin the upper and lower fronts.

5. Finally, rejoin the upper and lower fronts.

I cut out one or two more muslins of the front to check the fit. After playing around with different sewing seam allowances, I became satisfied with the fit. The back, however, was a different story. I'll have to include those details in the next post. Unfortunately, I can't find the pictures of the back, so Part 2 may not be as photo heavy.



23 July 2010

New Look 6300 and Other Stuff

First, the other stuff...
I've been going through a lot lately with trying to take care of some family business. Though there appears to be no end in sight, I do have a bit of direction on what to do next. As such, blogging about my sewing adventures has taken a serious hit in the priority column.

To help keep my mind fresh and on non-drama related things, I have decided to make a much more conscious effort to update this blog more frequently. I've started with a brand new redesign of the page (thanks Blogger!) and the inner workings of one of my latest sewing projects, New Look 6300.

Non-related random thought: I am listening to Deep Waters by Incognito. Sooo...soothing.

Next, New Look 6300...

I've been contemplating entering the summer wardrobe contest on PR. Though I have not officially entered or followed the discussion, I put together some fabrics and patterns and have started sewing. To date, I've completed three garments, made a muslin for one, and have two others cut out and ready to sew. I don't know that I'll finish the whole wardrobe, but I'm not pressed. I really want to enter the Natural Fibers Contest on PR for this year's American Sewing Expo. I hope to get the muslin for the jacket done this week. Anyway, back to the skirt.

First I have to say that NL 6300 is my go-to pattern for A-line skirts. It is so simple to construct (four pieces total) and is well drafted. I cut a straight size 16 and added a wedge of 1.25 inches at the center back. I have a full seat and the extra length is needed to help keep the hem level. Y'll know what I'm talking about. Don't you just hate it when skirts hike up in the back? RTW skirts always 'tent out' because there isn't enough length or width to accommodate all that trunk junk.

You have a choice in what to do about the curvature in the center back seam. You can either true it and add a little bit of width at the waist seam or leave it alone. I chose to leave it alone. I figure the curvature will help go over the trunk junk.

A burn test revealed that the fabric is a polyester & wool blend. The houndstooth fabric has a nice weight, but is a tad itchy. Instead of using the fashion fabric for the facings, I cut them out of a remnant of a stretch cotton shirting I had lying around. The colour matches the houndstooth perfectly.

Linings help to extend the longevity of a garment as well as aid in minimizing wrinkling. Since this pattern doesn't include a lining, I added one using this Thread's article. This is the only technique I use to line my skirts. I think it is foolproof and very simple. Here's what you do:

1. Assemble the shell as normal including stitching the darts and inserting the zipper.
2. Cut the lining fabric from the skirt pieces. The lining should be shorter than the shell.
3. Assemble the lining in the same fashion as the shell. Of course, do not insert a zipper. =)
4. Assemble the facing pieces and finish the lower edge of the facing.
5. Treat the lining-facing piece as a single unit and attach to the skirt as normal.

Be sure to understitch, trim the seam, and clip the curves as normal. Turn the facing to the inside and press. Slightly roll the facing to the inside. This helps to create a nice smooth and uniform
edge and helps to keep the facing edge of the seam from peeking out.

For fun, I decided to bind the lower edge with a rust/brown single-fold bias tape. I debated using cream bias tape but thought that would be too matchy-matchy. I like the contrast a lot better.

For some reason (probably user error), I have difficulty making the pre-pressed folds work for me when using purchased bias tape. So I pressed out all of the folds. I stitched the bias tape RST using a 0.25-inch seam. Then I trimmed the seam to an eighth of an inch, flipped the tape over, pressed, and edgestitched in place.

The only thing that remains is the hem. I'm trying to debate if I want to include the vent or not. I have enough room to walk without the vent, so right now it's just a matter of preference. The skirt has a vent, but I may just sew it shut.

I made another version of this pattern, view F. This went together quickly and without incident. I used a green cotton denim purchased a few years ago at Paron's in NYC. I topstitched each seam on the front for visual interest. The skirt isn't lined and did not take long to complete.

I attempted to do a lapped zipper and was quickly reminded why I hate them so much. I'm going to leave this zipper in but have no immediate intentions to try another one.

On a hanger, it appears as if the hem is uneven. This is normal because the center back seam is indeed longer than the center front seam. For those of us with trunk junk, this is what you want. When worn, the skirt hem is level.

I have a few projects in queue. This is all for now.

Be well.



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