Friday, December 23, 2011

I went to Fabricland after work two days ago under the guise of buying a zipper, but there was a sale on, and I found a couple of pieces on sale that I picked up. My plan is to make a tunic out of the patterned fabric and some (yikes!) pants out of the dark purple.
As I was scouting out potential patterns for the tunic that would work with my less-than-large bust and "athletic" torso (ie: Irely on design lines to help me define a waist and give me curves). While on pattern review, I came across my tunic fabric on a Jalie pattern envelope:

While I love the look of this pattern, I don't love it with this fabric. I think it's better suited to a solid.

I love this fabric. I think it's going to make a great tunic. My concern is trying to find a pattern that is loose but has shape without a belt and isn't too billowy. Ideally, I'd also like it to have a longer sleeve. These are my best options so far:

Kwiksew 3737 which reminds me of Simplicity 2497 (the non-ruffle view), and although the quilt-fabric extravaganza (eww) on the Kwiksew envelope is tempting, I am more interested in the long sleeve version.
I love both of the versions of Butterick 5610, unfortunately neither are long-sleeved, but I think I'll pick it up at the next sale for some summer sewing.

Simplicity 2191 looks like it could work. Princess seams that will help with fitting and a couple of extra patterns included that might be okay (pants/shorts). The only thing I don't really like is how "tunic-y" it looks. I'm looking for something with pleats or something, or will that even matter with the busy pattern of the fabric? Probably.

I can't decide wether or not to like Vogue 1247. It's so large and slouchy that I don't think it would help me in the figure-flattery department. I like the skirt too, but it would have to be lengthened, and I'm not 100% sold on the pockets. It looks a little like a waitress apron, and a horizontal line right across the widest part of my body just doesn't seem wise. When it comes right down to it, I think I really just like how cool the girl looks. 

V8534 is probably the winner. It isn't crazy wide across the bust, and I like the variations (minus the weird bow. I think I like the grey version best if I could get rid of the bow. The curved seam above the bust and the side bust darts appeal to me, as does the potential for a v-neck without the bow.

The purple I got for the pants I plan on trying to make is a very dark stretchy purple suiting. Since this is a Hail Mary to begin with, I didn't pay too much attention to the fibre content beyond it's wash and dry-ability.

I'm planning to make these:
BWOF 04/2008 #106

– except they will be full length with no piping. The intention is to wear them with boots. I think the curved seam in the back will be flattering, and once I realized that there were side seams, I relaxed  a little about fitting them. Of course, I will make a muslin, and I'm going to try to work through this project in a calm and thoughtful way so I don't abandon it halfway through because I'm scared it won't work out. 

I have many projects to post—I just haven't had the time or inclination. Hopefully I can devote some time to it over the holidays next week. 

Monday, October 3, 2011

Pattern drafting tutorial link

I just found a pattern drafting tutorial that looks pretty good:

It looks to be for children, but should be applicable to adults.

Actually, after looking more at this blog, there is a lot of information there. I'm subscribing once I get back to my home computer.

Here's another blog that has pictures for how to measure yourself properly.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

boobie baby

I just had kind-of a funny thought:
I'm taking the bust adjustment class from Pattern Review, and It occurred to me that you could make adjustments to tops to make them maternity by using the full bust adjustment on the belly area as if it was one big boob. This may seem obvious to most of you, but it felt like an epiphany to me (or maybe it's because I just woke up).

Not that I'll need this info for a couple of years, but I imagine that's how long it will take me to figure out pregnancy alterations!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

It's a win-win situation

I had an EXTREMELY good night sewing yesterday. I came home from my workout to find that my new vogue pattern had arrived in the mail. After that SOB pattern on the weekend, I really needed a win, and I'm pleased to say that I got it with Vogue 1209.

I opened the envelope and started reading the measurements and became very worried. My measurements are quite a bit off from the pattern envelope, but I held my breath and cut out a 10 which is my usual size in the top and sometimes bottom. It turns out Vogue lies, or the dress is very forgiving because I only have to make a few adjustments!!

1. As you may be able to tell, I'm taking in the front 5/8" from either side which will keep it on my shoulders, and I think is essentially my small bust adjustment.

2. I'm adding to the length about 2.5" plus hem allowance.

3. Adding to the peblum length about 1 1/2". I'm not sure about this one. I want it to stay in proportion, but I'll see when it's together. I should be able to chop it off if I need to fairly easily.

4. letting out the side seams about a 1/4 " on both sides. It was a tad snug, and I'd like to be able to eat in it.

I'm making it up in a great red with a slight textured tiny stripey weave. Not even sure what to call it, but it had the right drape, I can wash it, and I liked the colour. The lining is slightly brighter and more pinky.
I'm looking forward to accessorizing this one because the neck is so plain, and it's in a solid colour. I'm thinking statement necklace – which I've never done before, so I'm going to look at LeChateau to see what I can find. I'd love to find something vintage, but the goal here is to wear it at a wedding the first weekend of October (Canadian Thanksgiving), and I've got a lot on my plate before that.

Anyway, I'm going to try to make the adjustments to the pattern tonight, and possibly cut out my material if there's time.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

SBA's and the Devil's pattern

I lost my shit last night after to many hours of fiddling with the devil's pattern:

If you have a small bust, DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS PATTERN. Three hours after my first muslin, I had a completely different dress. I think my first mistake was picking a pattern that wasn't going to work with my body type. I'm not particularly curvy with a small bust and more of a gymnist-type frame. I find more fitted-structured styles look better on me. ARG! I have this great crinkly type material that would have looked great as version B, but those giant pleats just weren't working. If you have a giant rack that can fill out those pleats, or don't mind the pleats not staying closed, you can have this pattern. I will give it to you and wish you well. In the end, I gave up and chose this pattern (the version on the model):
and also these two, because there was a sale, and I've had my eye on 2057 (pretty much all those views, but especially the green version), and tan version of Simplicity 2256. 

The only thing that worries me about New Look 6067 are the pleats. How the hell does a small bust adjustment work there?? So, I signed up for a bust adjustment class. I kind of understand the concepts behind adjustments, but I really just want to solidify those ideas in my head so I don't have to spend so much time spinning my wheels every time I attempt a new pattern. 
I just read the first lesson, which was an introduction and I'm ready for more!! 

Also, you may notice that the model is wearing a belt. I'm just going to try it to see how it feels!!
I've got a wedding to go to on thanksgiving weekend. I'm hoping I can get it done by then. Fingers crossed.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Honeymoon Shirt a.k.a. "Tiger, Tiger"

On our honeymoon in Hawaii, we stopped at a fabric store, and bought this fantastic cotton print:

eggplant purple with cream tigers (Blake picked it out with the express purpose of me turning it into a hawaiian shirt). We picked out Simplicity 4760, mostly because I liked the front yoke, and it looked like it would generally do the trick.

For the first mock up, I cut a medium (based on B's measurements, and the pattern envelope). I don't know if the pattern drafter had Paul Bunyan in mind with this one, but it was massively huge. I was defeated at this point because I have a history of wadders, but the next day, I recut the first mockup down to a small, and I didn't feel so bad because I didn't waste any more fabric. This version was much better, just a few small tweaks. 

I've learned a lot from trying to fit myself in regards to wide back adjustments, and using vintage patterns that I've had to size down. This helped me immensely in understanding what I had to do next. Plus, I had his original Hawaiian shirt to measure off of. This was also extremely helpful in knowing what to do next. 

Pattern adjustments: 
1. I cut the back down to a size small, except I graded up to the medium from the waist to the armpit. B's got a broad upper back and I usually do the 'L' shaped pivot out method I learned from the Slapdash Sewist's blog, but this ended up working just as well. 

2. The front was still very wide on the second mockup, so I took a 1/4 inch tuck (is that right, or is it 1/4 inch overlap that ends up being 1/2 tuck?). This helped a lot, but when I compared my pattern piece to the original Hawaiian shirt, there was still some width in the front that didn't need to be there. 

3. Comparing the flat pattern to the original shirt, it looked like there could be another pivot adjustment going on. I cut the front piece in the style of the broad back adjustment (L shaped cut up to the seam allowance at the top), and overlapped instead of spread. It's like a small chest adjustment. I adjusted the yoke piece accordingly; easy, because it's just an overlay.

I added special topstitching and piping details to contrast with the busy pattern on the centre front and left pocket, and a little inside detailing. 

Here is the finished shirt:

Things I will change if I make it again:

1. The pocket placement was weird. The right pocket ended up way too close to the CF. I'd move them both out about an inch. 

2. I'd add about 1/2 inch to the length so I can make the hem at the bottom the same as the sleeve. The original pattern piece had a really large hem. I can't remember how much I hacked off, but adding 1/2 inch will allow for a 1/4 inch fold over with a 6/8 inch hem – same as the sleeve.

3. Although B proclaims the fit to be superior, I think the shoulders need to be taken in about a 1/2 inch. I could leave it, but it's an easy adjustment in this pattern.

In the end, will he wear it?? It's a pretty unique material. I tried to "bowling-shirt-it-up" with the piping detail. I like it. I think B is planning on wearing it to his niece and nephew's birthday party in a couple of weeks, and we're having people over for supper tonight, so he might wear it today even. 
In any case, I've got a great, workable pattern that sews up very easily. 

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Less thinking, more screaming!

I just read this on in an interview with Susan Wasinger: 
Every crafter encounters a sort of writer’s block – or crafting block, if you will – how do you continue to get inspired and work through those blocks?
For me this is when my head gets in the way of my hands. If I have spent too long imagining or envisioning something and have gotten all invested in it turning out some specific way. Sometimes, that rigid idea makes me hesitant to put my fingers to fabric, as though the reality will break the spell I have woven in my head. It is almost an apprehension. I find that making the first cut with the scissors can sometimes break that impasse, as can taking that first stitch. Especially if you hold those first stitches lightly, and imagine you can take them out if you don’t like where they are going. Starting off with a sense of play and adventure seems to get around those blocks. Get your hands involved early, even before your head has a chance to decide exactly what it wants. That seems to help release the tension that gets in the way of us diving in and swimming in a sea of creative juices.
I have to say that this really resonated with me. I often (always) get stuck procrastinating even starting a project (this blog, for instance) because I don't want to mess up and I only want to do it once. Can you say anal retentive perfectionist?? What should be fun, ends up being a major stressor. When the projects pile up, it becomes debilitating. It just goes to show that my new motto "less thinking, more screaming", coined on our last ski trip (thank you Amanda), once again wins out. Does anyone else have trouble psyching themselves out? What do you do to overcome it?
New topic: Is anyone else out there pissed because Old Navy discontinued their line of underwear? The hipsters were/are quite possibly perfect. Future project: copy panties using sports mesh I got from my mother in law. It's been on the books for a while, but I've got so many other projects on the go, it's fallen by the wayside. 
That's all for now.

Sunday, April 24, 2011


There's been a lot sewn since my initial post, but I've been so busy/lazy that I haven't posted anything else. So, I'm pretending this is new year's and I'm initiating a resolution: at least one post a month. Seems easy enough. Here's April's:

Recently, I've given up sewing for myself to sew some costumes for a theatre group I belong to, and I'm almost done the first costume assignment. I'm a slow sewer, or more like, it takes a lot to get me motivated when I'm not sure what I'm doing, because I don't like making mistakes and having to do things more than once (can you say "type-A"??). RESOLUTION #2: enjoy the process more. As I learned on our ski trip back in February; less thinking, more screaming—I'm really going to have to make a poster for that.

Not only was my procrastination dragging this project out, but take a look at the pin tucks I had to make on this baby:

Much drama to get this done. First there was the issue of the pintuck foot that didn't fit my machine... or my mom's machine... or my sister's machine... sigh. But, since the twin needles I had were fairly wide anyway, I tried just sewing with a regular presser foot spacing the tucks the 1/4 inch, or to the edge of the foot. This worked out, except that I was supposed to adjust the bobbin tension, which was an impossibility on my machine. So I sewed those sonofabitch tucks anyway, and just got them done—eventually.

Now, all I have left is the buttons and a serged hem on the skirt:

Which I swear I will complete today.

Next up, besides a couple of couch pillows I've also been putting off, is this delightful blouse I've had my eye on:
Many reviewers on have noted the boxy shape, and I'm not sure what it will look like on me, but I'm planning to add some sort of waist shaping and hoping for the best. I've already picked up a couple of fabrics. One as a practice, and one as the final, but as I usually do, I've picked up two lovelies that I'm not really willing to give up on a wadder, so I'll just have to find some other muslin. I'm leaning towards the purple for the finished blouse, and no, that's not the fabric that's distorting the print, that's the actual print. I thought it would lend itself well to the drape from the knots. 

One more thing... I also picked up some great vintage patterns:

I don't think the two sixty's dresses will be particularly flattering to my more athletic body type, but I'm itching to make the seventy's dress (Simplicity 8025) as either a short dress or a shirt with no sleeves (the green version). 

What a wadder!!! I was going to try to see if I could somehow make an sba, but the drafting here is way beyond my experience. I recently came across a blog that featured a similar design, and the drafting behind it. If I had more time/patience/interest, I'd research it further, but I don't, and I'm fine with that. At this point, I'm sticking to a philosophy of creating more success than failure with my sewing.