Thursday, December 9, 2010

Crepe Sew-A-Long


I've decided to participate in Gertie's Sew-A-Long for the Crepe pattern from Colette Patterns. (However, I want my dress done for Christmas, so I intend to be a little speedier than what she has for her schedule.) I have some beautiful red chambray from fabric.com ready to go, and am working on my muslin. The pattern is made for beginners, so I am not expecting too many sewing challenges. (Fitting challenges are a whole other matter though!)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Crazy Town: Simplicity 3964

Many years ago (I dunno. At least 2, but more like 3, 4, or 5) I fell in love with Simplicity's Built by You Patterns designed by Wendy Mullin. (Of Built by Wendy.) I made the below pattern and have worn the death out of it.


The poof has gone from the sleeve, the elastic has started to peek through at the armhole, it's made from quilting cotton, and has always been a little too big. I continue to wear this shirt, and even though it is kinda weird (I am fully aware of my taste issues) it is actually my most complimented item of clothing.


Watching this shirt disintegrate, I decided that I wanted another one. (I am, after all, in need of more shirts to wear with jeans.) Voila: another trip to crazy town.

I love it. And I'm going to wear it all the time. Which, especially when you make your own clothes, is something you want. I've made things that were just lovely, but didn't really match my preferences, and they didn't get half the wear that the brown shirt has.

I should have tied a bow, but I am lazy.

Some project notes:
  • Once again, made with quilting cottons. (Urban Chicks.) I am aware of the draping limitations of quilting cottons. Works just fine for this shirt. (The body is not cut on the bias; this is just how this plaid is.)
  • I did not match my plaids.
  • The sleeve head is really puffy, so I took an inch out at the top. I am not 6. (Or even 26.)
  • Went down a size from last time.
  • I might wanna make the next one a tiny bit longer.
  • The yoke on this is somewhat time consuming. I am pleased to note that it was much easier this time around. (Maybe I have learned something after years of sewing!)
  • I have never liked the elastic at the bottom of the sleeves in the original shirt, so I bound them this time instead. (I cut an extra neck binding piece and cute it in half. Turned out to be exactly right.)
  • I love it.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Cocktail Dress

I need a cocktail dress. I usually make a new one every year for my yearly benefit auction, but I need an extra (and fancier) one this year. I am going to an evening wedding in Korea this January and want to look great. (I don't need much of an excuse to go to Seoul, but I am totally excited about seeing a lot of my grad school friends from Korea, Japan, and Taiwan.)

Korea is a fairly conservative culture and I am pretty heavily tatooed in the shoulder/back/upper arm area, so my dress needs to hide as much of that as possible. (Hey, I am proud to let my freak flag fly, but I can respect other people's special moments. Not to mention I don't want to piss off the ajumas.)

I've decided to design my own dress (working on a new sloper in pattern making class.) I'm using the early 60's as inspiration. Jewel necklines, full skirts, and sleeves are all things that I can work with, and even if the Mad Men furor hasn't hit there, I don't think I will stand out as too costumey. (And I'll pick a back-up pattern just in case. Be prepared!)

Here are some inspirational patterns that I have filed into my notes. I'm thinking a brocade might suit this type of style (and dress them up a bit) but we'll see. I'm still in my thinking phase.

I love the skirt on this one.

The neckline on this is pretty cute.

Hm, princess seams. (This neckline might be more flattering than a jewel on me.)

I dunno, I just like this one.

Another neckline that might do me well.


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Finally! Simplicity 3692

So, I finally found a T-shirt pattern that I think might work for me. It's an out of print Built by You (Wendy) from Simplicity. I bought all of these when they came out and have had varying levels of success. I made a super cute dress from this pattern when I was in business school and it still serves as my "I need a black dress right now" go-to dress.


I made some shirts from this as well, but they seldom got worn because they were too big. (The dress was made from a double knit with little stretch, so the bigger size kind of works in its favor.)

Here is my muslin. I need to move the gathers toward center front a bit so they are above the ladies and not so much to the side. This is some awful rayon blend fabric that I got super cheap to make muslins with. I ended up loving the color and the fit wasn't so bad, so I added a little embroidery to the yoke. (The pattern is from Sublime Stitching and I just added some lightweight tear-away stabilizer to the back so the fabric would not stretch.)

Close up:

It's not the most awesomest shirt in the world, but it is certainly good enough to wear around the house or to the ceramics studio. I have some more knit fabric coming, and I'll be curious to see how this will look in a nicer fabric.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to those of you in the US! (And to our travelers, soldiers, and expats abroad.) I would like to send a special shout out to the men and women who managed to get our power on an hour ago. I get pie. mmm. Pie. (I am especially Thankful for my wonderful daughter and my husband who managed to thaw out our well so we can have water. )

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

baby baby baby

I've been off meeting my new goddaughter Coco, so no sewing. But I don't mind. She's pretty cute.

Monday, November 8, 2010

I Will Get Motivated!

Yeah, I lost my motivation these last two weeks. I've sewn nothing. I am taking a pattern making class at the New York Fashion Academy (which is kind of a silly name because it is in Seattle) so I don't feel like a total slacker. (The classes are a lot of fun btw. It is a bare bones operation, but my instructor Terry Horlamus sure knows her stuff, and what you get out of it directly correlates to how much effort you put in. I'll be taking her sloper class next. I have a sloper, but the fit can always be better.)

Part of my loss of inspiration has to do with the frustration I've been experiencing over trying to find a knit shirt pattern that I feel flatters my figure. I'm not a big knit fan, but it sure is convenient not to have to iron everything. I don't mind ironing, but sometimes I just want to wear a shirt. I am currently working on OOP Simplicity 3962. I have a dress from this pattern that is pretty cute; we'll see if I can get the fit better for the shirt.


I've decided to focus on tops right now, because I need more shirts that go with jeans. (Where is Faye and her Month of Tops Inspiration when I need it? I will channel her for awhile! She is working on her Lady Grey right now. I can't wait to see it!)

First up, I am going to work on muslins for Simplicity 3789 (maybe the wrap shirt)


And Simplicity 2447 (View C, but maybe with collar.)
Hopefully I'll get some of my motivation back.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween everyone!



I haven't been sewing this week, so I have nothing to show. However, I do love this scene from Tod Browning's Dracula. (The first half of this movie is very beautiful. The second half, a little boring.) If you are a Dracula lover, you may be interested in this blog post on the FIDM Museum blog. "Beyond the Black Cape: Dress in Bram Stoker's Dracula." Have a great weekend!


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Muslin #2 for Hot Patterns Relaxed T-shirt

I have completed a second muslin for the new relaxed t-shirt from Hot Patterns. You might remember that my first muslin was too relaxed. (This is a 16 from the envelope.)


Still not there.

The shoulders and neckline have been moved down to a size 8, while the body is a size 14. The shoulders and sleeves are okay, but the neckline is still too wide. (Although the depth is good. You can tell by looking at the pattern what the problem is with the neckline depth in the larger sizes: the shoulder height keeps going up as the sizes get larger, but the neckline never gets raised. I am pretty sure my shoulders didn't get taller as I gained weight.) The width issues give me a funny little puckery thing at center front.

The width through the body is still too much and it gives me funny drag lines at the sides. It is too short at this point, but that is my fault. When I cut some off the bottom, I forgot to factor in the amount I was losing from the reduction in shoulder height. This picture is cropped so closely, because the shirt hits me in the worst place. Not good.

I'll give this one more try, although I'm not too happy about endless muslins on a t-shirt. I can accept that this style may not suit me. I am not however, to happy with some of the things that look like grading issues. It's hard to grade a pattern correctly so fit such a huge range of sizes, but the neck depth issue is kind of a no brainer.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Simplicity 6742: The Finished Skirt

Yay! I am finally done with Simplicity 6742! And I am very happy with it.




For those who are new to this story, I decided to draft my own skirt based on my sloper rather than grade this vintage pattern up. (I blogged about it here and here.)


The skirt got a little twisted at the end.

Details include:

A side lapped zipper. (Instructions in my Reader's Digest New Complete Guide to Sewing.)
Hand sewn hem.
Inverted pleats at side back and side front seams.
A petersham ribbon waist facing. (Thank you Vogue Sewing.)

Pleat facings.

I really enjoyed this project. I got to draft my own pattern, while having the original vintage version to refer to when I got stuck. I think I'll do a couple more items like this.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Simplicity 6742: The Muslin

The muslin for the Simplicity 6742 is finished. I didn't like the waist treatment on the pattern, so I just did a facing. It was much more comfortable to me.

Here is a refresher on how the skirt is supposed to turn out.


Here is how the actual muslin turned out. There are a few small differences (waist, and number of darts,) but it's close enough for me to want to cut into my fashion fabric. (Which is the same color as the muslin, coincidentally.)

For comparison's sake, here is my straight skirt block, the mother of all my skirts.

It's very plain, straight up and down with no pegging or flare. I would never want to make a skirt like this, but this pattern is what makes all the other magic happen.

Changes that I made.
  • I added 2 cm of flare to each side. The line drawing on the pattern indicated that there was just a little teeny tiny flare. I like the way it looks.
  • I changed to to a six gore. I used the ratio of front to side-front and back to side-back that the original pattern used to place my princess lines.
  • Moved (or removed) my darts accordingly.
  • Moved the zipper to the side.
  • Added a two inch hem allowance. (Block has none.)
  • Added a waist facing. (Block has none.)
  • Added small inverted pleats to the side-front and side-back seams.
The back:

Now to cut out my fashion fabric!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Simplicity 6742: More Inverted Pleats

I am currently working on vintage pattern Simplicity 6742. (The six gore skirt with little inverted pleats in the side front and side back seams.)


Instead of grading this pattern up (my hips have not been 36 inches for a very long time), I decided to use my skirt block that I created using my trusty Metric Pattern Cutting for Women. It's the basic straight skirt sloper that I used to create the other two skirts that I drafted. To modify that skirt to this, I divided the skirt into 6 gores, added just a tiny bit of flare to the sides (2cm), and created the 4 inverted pleat sections. Unlike my last skirt, the inverted pleats do not run all the way up the skirt length.

Why draft my own skirt instead of grading this pattern up? I just finished my muslin on Friday and it fit me on the first try. It doesn't always happen (sometimes design changes can have an interesting impact on fit) but this time it did. Woo Hoo! Plus, I get to work on my drafting skills and easily make any kind of changes that I want. I let it set over the weekend to think about how I want to handle the waistband, and I think I'm just going to follow the straight waistband on the pattern.

Here is the back of the pattern. (I reoriented it in my photo software, but blogger will have none of it. Whatever.)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Tutorial: Adding a Center Front Inverted Pleat

It was really easy to add an inverted pleat to my A-Line skirt pattern. You too can achieve similar results with not much effort!


Step 1: Identify and mark the center front of your pattern. (I would trace over my pattern to create a new one, making sure to replicate all the notches etc. Don't cut it out or anything yet and leave plenty of room next to the center front to add the pleat allowances.) (We are pretending that my center front lines etc are all straight in these drawings, btw.)

Step 2: Add your pleat allowances. I wanted my pleat depth to be 3 inches so I added 3 inches to the fold line and then another three inches to create a second center front. (You will create an inner and outer center front for this. It will make more sense later.) You should mark all of your fold lines and center fronts. This will also be cut on the fold, so mark that too.

Here is what my actual pattern piece looks like:

Step 3: Cut out your muslin and mark everything.

Step 4: Bring the outer center fronts to meet at the inner center front marking. This is where you create your pleat.
Here is how that looks from the front. (The top part of my pleat is sewn together.)

Here's how it looks from the back:

Step 5: Open or closed. At this point you can decide if you want to leave the pleat open, or if you want to sew part of it closed. (I did the latter on my skirt.) If you want to leave it open, just fold it, press it down at the top, and baste along the upper edge to keep it in place until you add your waist treatment. If you are going to sew part of the pleat shut, just mark the amount you want to sew along the outer center front lines, sew down that far and then match that center seam along the inner center front of the pleat and baste it at the waist.
I like a crisp pleat, but I would not advise ironing down to the hem until you have finished it. (Your hem finish should not be too bulky either. You want to be sure that you can get a good fold on the pleats.)

There are ways to get more complicated with this, such as using inverted pleats as kick pleats at the back of your skirt, but this is a very simple application.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Self-Drafted Skirt #2 (Inverted Front Pleat)

It's fall, so I need heavier skirts to wear with my sweaters. (My fall uniform is an A-line skirt, tights, and a sweater over my shirt.) I've decided to move back to pattern drafting (after not sewing for so long, I wanted to ease back into it.)

You may remember my first skirt pattern back in May:

I drafted my sloper using Metric Pattern Cutting for Women by Winifred Aldrich and then followed her instructions to create an A-line skirt. Love Love Love this book. I wear this skirt all the time, but wanted a little less flare, so I revised it and decided I wanted to put an inverted pleat in the front. (The skirt is navy, which is difficult to photograph under the best of circumstances, so I messed around a lot with the saturation and such.)


A more natural light picture:

This was a very simple skirt to put together. It has an invisible zipper in the center back and an inverted pleat in the front. The waist is finished with a facing. (I don't hate the facing, but I don't love. it.) The fabric is a navy stretch twill from Fabric.com. I messed up on the hem, so I added red bias tape when I redid it. A little shot of color on the inside.


There is a little topstitching above the pleat. I should have put the tip of my point right at the end of the sewn part of the pleat. It's barely noticeable, but it looks a little weird to me. (You can click on the picture to see the detail.)

Adding the inverted pleat was easy, and I am working on a tutorial for you. Next up, another self-drafted skirt based on one of my vintage patterns.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Muslin for Hot Patterns Relaxed T-Shirts

This is the new T-Shirt Pattern put out by Hot Patterns. I know know know that I usually take one size smaller in these patterns than my measurements usually indicate on the package. (WHY? How hard is it to put the finished garment measurements on the envelope? I know that I can measure the flat pattern pieces but it's hard to know where exactly to measure them and why should I have to.) That's why I always make a muslin with this company, no matter how simple the garment.



This is not "long, lean, and slightly slouchy." Well, ok, it is long. (The hem allowance is only an inch.)

I should tell you that the scoop neck is so scoopy that I have to wear I cami because you don't need to know the brand of my bra.

On a pleasant note, this is the rayon jersey that I bought before my last rayon jersey fiasco. This stuff is much nicer and more like T-shirt material. I may try to save this shirt. I haven't made up my mind yet. I have some ideas though.