Thursday, January 26, 2012

Pattern Review: Simplicity 5914

S5914 Black Tweedy lined skirt

I made this skirt a number of years ago. I haven't worn it in a long time because the last time I put it on, I felt like a stuffed sausage. Apparently TurboFire and Chalene Extreme are working for me, because this time it fit like a glove. Mostly I pulled it out because the weather was gorgeous (+ 5°C which is unheard of in January). Last week we had a cold snap where temperatures went down to -45°C with the wind chill, so it was layers all the way, and not much thought to what I was putting together for a "look".

About a billion people have sewn this skirt with great results. My only complaint would have to be that it is drafted pretty long for the average girl out there I think... or, maybe I don't wear a lot of skirts and have trouble getting used to the proportions they give me. I also wish that I was aware of some better finishing techniques when I made this. In any case, here is the review:

Pattern Description:
Misses skirts each in two lengths.

Pattern Sizing:
6, 8, 10, 12. It was so long ago... but by my measurements, I'm sure I made a 12, although it could have been in between a 10 and a 12 (usual for me)

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes, but on my frame, longer

Were the instructions easy to follow?

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
Frankly, it makes my backside look fantastic ;-)  (I wish I would have straightened out my sweater - so much to learn about taking photos of myself. ugh!)

Fabric Used:
Black and white tweed. Is it wool? I don't know, probably not, because Fabricland usually doesn't carry a great selection of quality fabrics and I got this in the discount section. I hand wash it and hang to dry. The lining is just a polyester jaquard with roses in the weave and a seemingly random pattern of white and cream dots of different sizes. To me, it looks like the tweed pattern blown up and blurred.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I added lining, which was just the pattern pieces minus the facing plus a seam allowance.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I have sewn it again—in a corduroy that was too stiff and I wore it once and gave it away. If I do make it again, I'm going to make it shorter by cutting the length in the thigh area so I don't loose any of the flip at the bottom. I also made it for my mom in a brown double knit. That was an experiment in fitting, which went pretty well since the pattern is so straightforward.

This is a good pattern. If you are one of the few who hasn't tried it, what are you waiting for??

On fake-me:

On real-me (after a long day at work, so it was getting dark, and once again, camera-fail):

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Vintage Simplicity 8025

Pattern Review: Simplicity 8025 – 70's plaid top

Pattern Description:
Misses' Pullover Dress in Two Lengths: Top-stitched dress gathered to forward shoulder seams has extended shoulders, front inset with slash opening, collar and tie ends. The long dress is sleeveless. The short dress has about elbow length set-in sleeves with turn back cuffs.

Pattern Sizing:
One size: small (10-12)

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

Were the instructions easy to follow?

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I liked the collar, the v-neck and the extended sleeve, and the fact that it would be easy to fit.

Fabric Used?
A light cotton batiste? lawn? multicoloured plaid I got at a second-hand store. It was a loose weave with a lot of give, so matching the plaids while sewing was a little easier.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I made it a top instead of a dress. I made a muslin for this and found there was too much gathering in the front waist section. I think I took out a couple of inches there. Once it was done, there was still a little too much fabric in the waist-to-hip section which I ended up cutting taking in.  on the sides at an angle so it didn't "wing out" at the hem. I also cut the front placket on the bias.

Would you sew it again?
Yah, I think I would. I think it would work well as a maternity top when/if the time comes.
Would you recommend it to others? yes, if you can find it.

I got this pattern while I was "garage saleing" at my favorite second-hand stores for 50¢. (Thank you Donna Heggstrom whoever you are. I got a few of your cast-offs that day!) It's missing the sleeve part, which was just fine with me, because that's the part I find less-than-modern-looking. I am very happy with how this turned out, specifically with the pattern/fabric pairing (which I don't always get right). I love 70's patterns. The cuts of that time period have been flattering to me, and the patterns seem to be simpler and easy to put together. But don't worry, I still won't make/wear high waisted-elastic waist-band pants sewn up in a classy pink fortrel.




Vogue 1109 Review

Pattern Review: Vogue 1109 – Knit top

Pattern Description: Misses' Top:
Multi-pieced pullover tops A, B have pleated sleeves with sleeve bands. A: option for using variations of directions in stripes. B: contrast middle front and lower sides.

Pattern Sizing:
All sizes included I sewed a size B (no alterations)

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes, but a bit tighter in the torso, and it's not as long as the drawing suggests.

Were the instructions easy to follow?

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I love everything about it. The sleeves are very unique, as is the seaming.

Fabric Used:
Some sort of poly-cotton jersey knit in a light blue tone on tone stripe.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I made this top twice. The first one was a wearable muslin that I gave away. In both, the front hem sagged and I had to even it up with the back. This could be because of my smaller bustline?? In any case, it was an easy fix.

Would you sew it again?
I would totally sew it again, but in a heavier knit. The seams don't always lay flat, and I think a heaver knit would help that. Also, I would consider grading to a size larger from the bust down to the hem.

Would you recommend it to others?
Absolutely. It's a very flattering top with a lot of interest.

Both times I made this it was in a stripe. I'd like to try a version in a heavier knit, with contrasting colours. Something subtle so it doesn't look like a jester top. Maybe an analogeous colour scheme like red and pink or two shades of khaki.
My pictures don't really do this top justice. If you like, or look good in a boat neck, you will love this top.




Saturday, January 21, 2012

BWOF instructions are stupid.

Well, sew the pants day did NOT happen. It was more like "sew the pants week", and even then, I'm not done. The problems came when I decided to ignore the instructions and insert the zip according to the Sandra Betzina method on Threads. It worked very well—so happy with the result, until it came time to put on the facings. ugh! This method only works when putting on a waistband.

So I went back to the instructions:

I need pictures. I'm a graphic designer for goodness sake (I once drew a diagram for a client on how to fold a piece of paper in half)! I don't like to do things more than once and waste time. I was in danger of throwing in the towel (which I didn't want to do either) when I did a google search for a faced fly-front zipper tutorial of some kind.

It turns out that I'm not the only one who had the question (thankfully), and the Sewing Lawyer had posted what looks to be a helpful and possibly confusing (around steps 16 or 17) set of photo instructions.

So, I'm going to try them today on a test piece and see if I can't figure it out.

The worst part is, that my pants, though well-fitting, are made of quite possibly the worst fabric in the world. I'm going to have panty-line no matter what I wear, and EVERY SINGLE TIME I pressed this fabric, it got shine along the seams–even with a press cloth and from the wrong side. If I can figure out the fly, I might chalk this up to a great learning experience and make them again in a better fabric.  I can live with that.

UPDATE: Well, I took a couple of hours on the weekend and went through the step by step photo tutorial. I made a small sample and then instead of ripping out my already-sewn fly, I just unpicked a little bit in order to accommodate the steps from the tutorial. It's done and they fit, but it's still crappy material, and they are more high-waisted and taper-legged than i will ever wear so I'm altering the pattern. This process will come in the form of a new post in the near future.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

It's Sew the Pants day!

BWOF 4/2008 #106

(Pic here)

I've made my muslin – and it fits right off the bat! The pocket and the back seams don't match up, which I checked on the pattern, and they don't match there either. There's a little more stretch in both directions in my good fabric, so I'm hoping to take in the sides a smidge and/or ease that area to correct the problem.

The muslin and I also had a misunderstanding a couple of nights ago that ended in me cutting the waist down two inches. It turns out that I had just assumed that the pants had a waistband and completely overlooked that it had waist facings instead (insert hand smacking forehead here).

I can't handle any waistband being too close to my bellybutton. I've got what I like to call an "athletic build" (broad shoulders, small bust, thick waist and "muscular" butt/theighs) and look much curvier in a low rise. I'd given up on any pants pattern resembling an actual rtw "low cut", resolving to figure out that alteration and try to redraft the waistband to match. I had done this (resulting in my cut muslin), but thankfully realized before I cut the alterations into my pattern pieces that it was unnecessary.

After measuring the front and back crotch length against my most favorite of all jeans (the infamous Gap long and lean jeans that Oprah recommended before they changed the cut and ruined them forever!) and finding it the same (yay), I decided to go ahead and cut the pattern unchanged. I'm planning on making a tunic-style top to wear with these pants, so even if they do end up being a little more high waisted than I like,  I will still be okay wearing them.

It's January 15th in Saskatoon Saskatchewan, and it FINALLY snowed last night (a lot! Like, 6 inches), so I'm not going to kickboxing, instead opting to work out at home and then SEW THOSE PANTS!!! I'm really looking forward to not leaving the house today, and I think I can actually get the pants mostly done now that I have the Sandra Betzina fly insertion video in my in my sewing arsenal.

Pics and a review to follow soon???
Enjoy your Sunday!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Pattern Review: Simplicity 3786 – A Pintuck shirt

Simplicity 3786: Tops with front and sleeve variations

Pattern Sizing:H5 6,8,10,12,14 — I made a 10 view D with a sleeve variation of my own

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? yes, except for my sleeves

Were the instructions easy to follow? yes

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I got it for the pintucks. I hated the long sleeve variation, but now that I've seen others (especially here, I might make it for myself.)

Fabric Used: light cotton. I think it's a cotton voile

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I made the sleeves 3/4 length and added a little binding with a button. This shirt was a fitting experiment for me. I was bound and determined to get the fit of my shoulders and back correct. I made the Slapdash Sewist's broad back adjustment, and also a broad shoulder adjustment, but it turns out I didn't need it, and I cut it back to where it originally was. I didn't use interfacing on the collar and mini-cuffs on the sleeves because of the sheerness of the material. If I was to use an interfacing, any idea what I'd use???

I should also mention that I sewed the tucks using the bobbin thread—a method explained here.

Would you sew it again? Yes, now that I've seen other versions, and I think it would translate easily into maternity wear when/if the time comes. Would you recommend it to others? Yes, It fit very well out of the envelope, but beyond that, the princess seams make fitting easy.

Conclusion: It was one of my first sewing successes in a while, so I have to recommend.


Front Pintuck detail:


Sleeve button detail:

Pattern Review: Simplicity 2656 A workhorse in my closet

Simplicity 2656: Misses' skirt in two lengths and cropped pants or shorts

Pattern Sizing:D5 4, 6, 8, 10, 12. If I remember correctly, I made the 12 View A

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I like that it's not just an A-line skirt—it has some good style lines, plus there are a couple of variations so you could easily make the skirt a few times without repeating yourself. Plus i love the pockets and the pleat in the front.

Fabric Used: Lightweight denim

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: None, although, next time, I'm going to make the waist a little smaller—it's a little loose which makes the front sag a bit when worn.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Probably at some point, but I don't wear a lot of skirts and am looking at a straight skirt to make next.

Conclusion: A solid pattern with lots of options.  As I said, I don't wear a lot of skirts, but I do wear this one both in summer and in winter. It's really one of the first purposely planned articles of clothing that I've made, ie: I said "I need a jean skirt" and then I actually went and made one.
I recommend it.




Vintage cotton from my stash for the pocket lining:

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

My dress Picks for Trena (The Slapdash Sewist)

I have been a fan of Trena's for quite a while now. I really enjoy her blog, and her and Cidell's pod cast has made my many one-day round trips to Edmonton entirely entertaining. I've learned a lot from her, as we have similar body issues (broad back and small bust).
With this post, I wanted to share with her, and anyone else that loves a comfortable dress, my top picks for comfort and cammouflage.

These are my two favs:

I've made the Burda twice. The first time out of a shimmery white/muli-coloured knit. I can't find the picture of me wearing it, but it was a bit low in the neckline for me and I ended up giving it to a much curvier friend who filled out the top a little more. The second time, I raised the shoulders about a half and inch to fix the chest-gape problem, and I changed the skirt to an A-line and added gores. I made it up in a blue knit with a light tan stripe (a gift of unwanted fabric from my mother-in-law). I barely had enough and had to piece together the back gore. The stripes are extremely flattering and I may as well go ahead and call this my eatin' dress, because I never have to worry about sucking in—it is almost as comfortable as pajamas.


I have gotten many compliments, and love the fact that it basically cost me nothing. 

Dress number two, I've made recently for a wedding on Thanksgiving. It's the Rachel Comey dress Voge 1209. I've yet to review it on Pattern Review, or take a decent picture of it. Again, the rouching in the centre is ridiculously flattering, and I didn't have to worry about enjoying that Thanksgiving wedding meal. I made a small bust adjustment which consisted of taking in the CF seam 5/8".

I can't recommend these two dresses enough. Seriously.