Wednesday, January 26, 2022

A Dozen Drafts: Pattern Fitting Challenge - January

I named my challenge!!! 

In my last blog post, I mentioned my January project will be Simplicity 1325 because I've always wanted to make it and it seemed simple enough to complete before the month was out.

Well, I rough cut the pattern pieces and was trying to fit them onto the form like that, but it was too confusing. So I figured the bodice should be cut according to the shoulder and neckline size, and the other parts should be adjusted to fit. 

The first thing I noticed was that there are no waistline markings on the bodice. STRIKE 1

The next thing I noticed was that there was no indication of where the back neckline was supposed to hit. STRIKE 2!!! 

NOW, I understand what my more experienced sew-sisters are talking about when they criticize patterns! It was a rough start to even begin to gauge fit when I didn't know where to line up the waist and if the back neckline was in the "right" spot or not. 

When I did my first draping exercise, I learned I have this hollow at the front of the armhole and under the bust. The only way it smooths all the way out is when I have a bust + waist dart, and a tiny armhole dart. My belly does start pretty high on my body, so that is the dead space beneath my bust and above my belly protrusion :-D It's fine.

I cut the right half (front and back bodice) from muslin and the bust dart was in the wrong spot, the bodice was too long, and the CB seam was not aligning. I have been trying to figure out shoulder adjustments for the last year or so and I think the problem is actually a rounded upper back (probably some forward shoulder action too!). Also, I am adding just a little bit of additional ease than what's seen here because it IS a pinafore -aka- meant to layer.

I'm going to leave that back armhole ease because of layering. If you look closely on the front, you'll see where the original dart was (pink + stitching lines) and how I had to redo the dart. You can also see the original cutting line (pink vertical line). On the back, there's a faint pink line below the blue line, which was the original back cutting line. 

At first, I was going to add to the CB. But I think I'm supposed to slash and align the muslin with where CB should be, and then fill in the slashed area. I have to double check my books on that! :)

Next, I was really unsure of what fabric to use for this. I knew I wanted it to be versatile enough to work with several knit tees and tops, turtlenecks, tie neck tops and button fronts that I have in my wardrobe. I had so much of this suiting on hand - it's a cotton base with cording/thicker threads woven throughout. It's been in my stash for years! 

I did a quick half scale circle skirt front, and used my draped bodice to rough cut & pin a similar style bodice front. I think the fabric being cut on the bias helps the skirt drape quite a bit...and I like the horizontal "stripe" in the bodice paired with the bias cut on the skirt. And I think the colors will work with quite a few garments I own. Probably not as versatile as a black or charcoal, but definitely more fun!

I really like it!

Today I'll be making some adjustments and getting it cut out. I can finish this by Monday, right? :-p

Monday, January 24, 2022

Updating the Sewing Plan for 2022!

I was discussing my Beatrice (EEEEEK! Blog posts to come!) and was going on and on about how excited I am to improve my fitting. While I do work toward a good fit, there are some things that I just accept because the "fix" is too complex to figure out with the muslin, trying to assess while twisting and turning or taking photos, having to remove the garment to pin/pinch out or add and BLEH! The dressform should really be beneficial for that (and it SO looks like meeeeee!)

I tried just a few garments on the form and the next time I wore that garment type, it's like the fitting issues lit up and jumped out at me! 

I have thoughts and ideas about which patterns fit me best. And often times, if I want/need a specific garment, I'll usually just go to Burda because I don't want to figure it all out. 

So I've decided to embark on a new journey for 2022! I am going to sew a dress from each of the pattern companies in my stash. 

The Rules 

  • There are no rules because it's my challenge and my blog! :)
  • The focus is on dresses as it's a better view of fitting the whole body - neckline, shoulder, front, back, bust, waist, hip, etc. I'm going to try to ensure that I choose some patterns with sleeves since I have large biceps and have issues at times with the relationship between the sleeve and the bodice.
  • I have some one-offs that I purchased as a newbie/newish sewer and am not going to force myself to use any company's designs. I will focus on the pattern companies whose offerings I like.

  • There is no specific order, just one per month (there happened to be 12 pattern companies I was interested in!)
  • I'm inclined to make it wovens-only, but I'm not sure yet how to translate tissue fitting to knits when there's negative ease, for example. And if there was ever a time where fabric choice mattered, it's with knits. Which is why I don't generally muslin them. But, we'll see!
  • I don't need to or plan to pre-select the patterns from each company. It will all depend on how the mood (or fabric inspiration) strikes!
  • I will document my findings! 
I followed a tutorial to drape a bodice and EUREKA! My body always forces fabric into an armhole dart. I have definitely had garments where I went ahead and sewed that dart...but now I know that I need to make that adjustment! 

This has been a busy month, and I will confess that I was tempted to use a previously sewn pattern since there's only a week left in the month. But I'm going to actually go for it!

January's project will be a Simplicity pinafore dress from 1325. I've wanted to sew this pattern for FORVER! But at the time, with my thirty-four-5th-letter-of-the-alphabet measurement (I don't want to attract weirdos and spam to my blog), I didn't want to even consider working on that front pattern piece. I have a couple tie-neck tops with more planned (cause I love 'em!), plus I wear turtlenecks more often now that I'm a 3rd letter of the alphabet size :-p, and it's something I feel confident I can get done before the month is out. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Burda 2/2013 #143

Have I mentioned how much I love Burda plus patterns for my lower half? well I dooooooo! :)

I was doing wardrobe assessment number 317 an realized that while I have a lot of pants -- I have 6 pair of black pants (they are all different silhouettes, leg shapes, fabric types), 4 pair of blue pants, 3 pair of camel/tan pants -- they are different, but there's so much repetition in color! 

I first sewed a Burda plus pant pattern back in 2017, HERE. That crotch curve was such a great match that I often check the Plus section for pants. The only problem is, they very often call for stretch wovens which is kind of annoying. Bleh. 

I have a lower left shoulder and higher right hip

I had a pair of ponte pants in a similar color awhile ago but they never fit quite right (not enough crotch depth), so while I wore them all the time because of the color, they just weren't comfortable. And as my sewing and fitting has evolved, I absolutely refuse to wear uncomfortable clothing. 

I'd located a couple sources of ponte in this shade but on an impromptu trip to SR Harris recently, I saw this suiting and jumped on it! Initially I thought it was a little too thick, but it works SO well. I was very tempted to go back and get more to have in stash should I decide on a jacket or wider leg pants in the future. So far, I haven't caved :)

I started these right before Christmas and they got to the basting stage at prime-PMS bloating time. I have a serious knack for this, it's crazy! On December 27th I started feeling bad and on December 28th I tested positive for Covid. So this is a 2021 project (I have yet to sew anything for 2022!).

I cut a size 46 with a 44 front crotch. I also decreased the leg width and now, I can't remember by how much! I measured a couple of ankle-length, cuffed trousers, searched online and found leg widths for a few pair of pants, and then narrowed it based on that. I'm thinking I removed 3/8" from each seam, or a total of 3". 

What makes these pants REALLY awesome? I used the Singer Reference Library, Sewing Pants that Fit to construct them. GET ACTUAL SEWING RESOURCES WITHOUT DEPENDING ON PATTERNS FOR CONSTRUCTION INFO!!! Sorry for yelling in bold. 

But for real. The more you expand your knowledge, the better sewer you will become. You will be able to construct as instructed by the pattern designer, or you can sub in something equally or more(!) suitable. 

For the cuffs, I pinned the hem up to the desired length. I ended up removing 1/4" when serging the raw edge. I then folded up a 2 5/8" hem, blindstitched this hem, then folded up 1.5" and tacked at the inseam and side seam. 

The pockets, the fly front, the waistband...all of it turned out so, so well. I ordered no-sew trouser hooks on eBay and while waiting for them to arrive from overseas, I ordered some from The Sewing Place. They are larger/more heavy duty and the sets that I received later are a match for my RTW pants. And of course, the day after I decided to go for it and insert them, the sets from eBay showed up. They have to be inserted prior to finishing the waistband as you stick the prongs through the fabric, add the backer, and fold in the prongs (I used a needle-nose plier).  My waistband was a bit narrower than my RTW pants so that's something I'll keep in mind for the future.

I also decided to add double-fold bias tape to the facing AND took the time to insert it properly. :-p -aka- in 2 passes. I stitched it to the right side, folder over and pressed, then topstitched. It's so much better than my lame attempts to try to keep the facing sandwiched between the bias tape for the entire length of the facing!

I decided to do the fold over on the front waistband and it took me forever to figure it out - COVID brain!! I got it all pinned out and it was nighttime and I refused to cut the excess. WE DO NOT CUT FABRIC AT NIGHT! Lol!!! The next day I was able to tackle it and finish up the pants.

And this pattern will for sure become my TNT trouser pattern. Adjustments to make for the future:
-allowance for high right hip
-tweak front darts
-tiny extension on the back crotch point to resolve those small folds at the upper inner thigh
-adjust waistband and facings to allow for the fold over style
-trace off another copy with a slight bootcut

I am SO excited to have a pair of pants this color in my wardrobe!! I think I'll be wearing them VERY often :)

Monday, January 10, 2022

Burda 10/2018 #115

I've had this one on the brain for a long time, the collar is too cool! I traced a size 40 neckline, shoulder, and front armhole, the rest is a size 42. The pattern is very rectangular/straight from the bust down and that just doesn't work for me. My hips are 2 (pattern) sizes bigger than my shoulders and I had to make some adjustments.

I did a slash and spread with a hinge (I didn't want to add a ton of width all the way through the hemline) and added to the hip. This pattern piece looks a little wonky. I smoothed the transition a bit more when cutting it out, but it worked out okay. I still have it hanging up some on the back, but eh, it's fine! 

I totally forgot to take pics with my wide belt! It was really cute when I tried it mid-construction. 

I love the bell sleeve! It's a nice change and they aren't so wide that they get in the way. Of course, I did my normal 1" bicep adjustment but this fabric doesn't have a ton of stretch and I ended up sewing the sleeves at 3/8" for a bit more ease. 

It's totally more this plum color vs the grape color in the pics on me. 
The fabric was a find from local designer Kokoon Fashion.

The pattern includes a zipper, which is necessary with the high, fitted neckline. Since the rest of the pattern isn't fitted, it probably doesn't need such a long zipper. Then, I goofed on placement so I had to sew a hook into the collar. Arrgh!

Which, speaking of, when Burda confuses you, just follow along as you're working through the step. I read it several times and it wasn't until I was working on the collar that it made sense. There's a small section on the neckline that is reinforced, clipped, and hemmed by hand (I went back and topstitched it). Then, the collar parts are reinforced at the notch, clipped, and partially sewn. Turn out and attach the raw edge to the neck edge. I serged it together in one pass rather than turning it in and stitching it by hand. Then, the finished edges are twisted around each other and secured at the zipper. It works! It's pretty floppy when it isn't on the body, but the tension holds it in place nicely.

side slit

I'm glad I finally made this one and may sew the top version in the future, the shoulder fit on this is awesome. 

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Helloooooo 2022!

The past 20+ months have been weird, in so many ways. On the sewing front, I hit this weird snag where I just didn't feel confident starting more complex projects. I really didn't understand it either! I would look at things I wanted to make and decide I just wasn't able. I've done the same thing with machine knitting and it's SO unlike me, it's been so hard! 

Sewing Goals

I have somehow gotten over that slump and am ready to dig in. I decided that this year, I am going to sew some wish list items:

Trench coat - Let's be honest, I will likely use a Burda pattern, but I also really like this new M8246 though I don't like the buttons in the vent...but that length is too long anyway, so I would shorten it to just above that vent opening. I am also a bit concerned about the volume in the sleeves. But otherwise, I think the details are so modern (it looks like it has inseam pockets and that would be a NO). 

The Burda 11/2012 (on the right) is a little outdated with the lapel size and shape and I don't like the pointed storm flaps. The vintage S8975 has really great details but if I'm not mistaken, I found that in a size 14 and would have to do some grading. 

I'm not willing to entertain Indie patterns for a coat aside from Style Arc (their current patterns aren't quite classic-trench style), Silhouette Patterns (it's beautiful but the lapel is a tiny bit on the large side). 

This is not a diss against anyone's trench made from any other Indie pattern.  

Burda blazer 2/2020

I have accepted that I love jackets and cardigans and blazers and I am not going to hold back any more! I'm embracing my love for toppers and will make/buy the jackets and toppers that I want. So, there! 

I also have plans to finish my WIP Burda 6/2019 moto style boucle jacket, soon. And my jacket wishlist is always long (Burda 1/2021, 1/2019, 12/2017, V1710, V8910, GAH!)

I did find two AMAZING deals on Poshmark recently. For a total of $48, I scored both of these Talbots jackets. The Glen plaid is unlined and is a size 14. I have another Talbots blazer in a 14 and it's nice to be able to actually wear sleeves underneath, which is not an option for most of my RTW blazers! It's a boxier style and the fabric is quite heavy. 

The other plaid jacket is new and was less than $17 with shipping so I couldn't pass it up even though it's a size 12. While it grazes the body nicely, you can probably see that the sleeve is snug. So I will only be able to wear this one with sleeveless tops. 

excuse my headless, dirty mirror COVID pics

Formal black dress - No patterns in mind yet. I attended 2 funerals this year and had to scramble both times to find something to wear and that happened to me last year too. There's no good reason for that now, is it? It will be solid black, no print (even tonal print), likely a higher neckline (I do love a boatneck), with sleeves and a straight skirt. 

Little black dress or jumpsuit - I made the Style Arc Mimi G Maya dress a few years back but I don't think I can fit it at the moment. One of my new VikiSews patterns (Iliana and Leora) may be a good fit here!

Corduroy blazer for my husband using Vogue 8890

I. Scored. A. NEEDLE BOARD!!!! Finally! I was typing this and listed the blazer as a goal, and I randomly went to search eBay. I found a new Dritz board for like $70 and hit 'buy' faster than you could imagine. 

So that's 5 specific sewing goals for 2022. I'm not making any goals around stashing - fabric or patterns, or even using up stash. Perhaps I'll reexamine that later in the year, but for now, it's just not important to me.

I also want to give energy to those projects that I just really WANT. And I don't have to justify if I need it or not. I want to find my creative freedom in the sewing room again. 

Machine Knitting Goals

I decided I have to just dive in here, as well. A sewing friend started machine knitting mid November and has cranked out a couple of sweater projects and really got me inspired. Getting my sewing mojo back too led me to a Just Do It! moment. I am looking forward to learning, experimenting, and developing my skills around this hobby. 

I do have some specific goals:

Make matching sweaters for the grandsons

Make St. John copycat pants (the woman I bought my machine from is sort of renowned in the MK world and worked as a knitwear designer for major brands, for many years. She's since retired but sold me her pant pattern that's used to create the $600-800 St. John pants!)

Complete 5 types of garments for myself:

  • A raglan sweater or cardigan
  • A sweater or cardigan with set-in sleeves
  • A dolman sweater with some type of stitch pattern (garter, fair isle, lace, something!)
  • Socks
  • A wrap or poncho

I think these garments each represent a set of skills and I think completed full garments, will help boost my confidence, even if they aren't perfect (ha!) or even wearable.

Personal Goals

In my personal life, I have two primary goals:

  • Begin graduate school
  • Read at least 3 books per month

Best wishes to you all, for a happy, productive 2022!