Sunday, January 31, 2010

Need Help Please

So I am working on my BWOF bias skirt with the side zipper and am having some major issues with said zipper.

Top View:

Side View:

Yup. Ripple ripple ripple. Here is what I have done trying to avoid this.

1) I have really wide seam allowances per all sorts of sources.
2) The seam allowance is interfaced. (Not helpful.)
3) Being a painter, I have tons of canvas around, so I cut two strips and basted them to the seam allowance (down to a couple inches below the zipper.) That actually helped a little, but now there is just one big ripple.

I am not having a total meltdown but I am very frustrated. If anyone has any suggestions on how to save this, I would really appreciate it. I guess I can just wear really long shirts with this skirt, but I'd rather have some more options.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

A Few Things Coming Up

I have several sewing projects going on right now in addition to learning to draft my own patterns. I usually only pursue one thing at a time, so we'll see how this all works out.

I have this skirt from Burda WOF 10/2006 all cut out and ready to go. It's just a basic bias skirt, but I had some black plaid wool from a Fabric Mart bundle that I'm not in love with. I thought it would be perfect to try matching some plaids. (I haven't really done much of that yet. I'm most worried about putting in the invisible zipper and matching plaids at the same time.)

My friend Bonnie (She of the Bonnie's Knitting hat post) gave me some vintage patterns last time I visited (she is, in fact, a Christmas Miracle) and I decided to make up this skirt. I have a charity auction to go to in February, and I think the shorter version in black wool would be lovely with my Sencha blouse. I will need to resize it quite a bit, but I think I am up to the challenge.

I am also working to turn my dress FAIL into a dress success.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Design-It-Yourself Clothes - A line skirt (part 2)

Here is the second version of my A-Line skirt pattern from Design-It-Yourself Clothes.

The last version suffered from not having enough hip shaping. This version suffers from weird hip shaping. I won't know how it really looks until I make up the muslin. (I think the hip point is too low.) If this doesn't work, I'm gonna pull out my Hot Patterns 24/7 skirt and see what they are doing and compare that to my pattern.

I realized that in my last post, I forgot to include a picture of the things that I used to make the pattern.

1) quilting ruler
2) measuring tape
3) calculator
4) french curves
5) Sharpie
6) pencil
7) tape
8) scissors
9) funny clover tool I can't remember the name of

I'm pretty sure I will have to make at least one more pattern, but I'm having a lot of fun!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Design-It-Yourself Clothes - A line skirt (part 1)

I am very interested in making my own patterns and have a number of books on the subject. I thought I would start with Design-It-Yourself Clothes by Cal Patch. The designs in this book are very simple, without much fitting. While not necessarily my style, I thought it would be easiest to start with the book that looked friendliest to beginners.

The first item in the book is an A-Line skirt. The measurements needed are:

Length of skirt
Low hip down from waist

(I'm not going to give elaborate instructions for this; for that you should get the book. I'm just going to give a general overview.) The first thing you do is plot all the coordinates on your map. (I mean pattern piece.) (Click on any picture to make it bigger.)

The instructions tell you how to add darts, square corners, and smooth the points. (Below is the front pattern.)

Then you add seam allowances. I use this clover brand tool that I can't remember the name of. It's cool because you can pull the little wheels out and adjust the width. If I pad it with extra paper, I can create an obvious line on the paper and then cut.

Then you create a back piece, with longer darts.

If you look closely, you can see some obvious problems. As in no hip shaping: there is a straight line from my hips to may waist. I am pretty sure this is a measurement problem and not a book problem. I made a muslin (which I am not going to bother to show) and it is a couple inches wide in the waist and at least an inch short in the hips. I'm going to make another pattern based on some revised measurements and hope for the best. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Colette Patterns Sencha Blouse #1

I finished my Sencha Blouse from Colette Patterns and I am very happy with it. This is one of those instances when I traced the pattern rather than cutting into it. (As per usual, I used the reverse side of super sale patterns that I bought when I must have been on crack.) I was between sizes, and went for the next size up. This worked just fine for me.

There are only 4 pattern pieces: front, back, front facing, and back facing. The tissue has some misprinting where it tells you to cut interfacing where obviously no interfacing belongs. It's pretty obvious that you only cut interfacing for the facing pieces. No biggy. (Unless I was a super novice. This pattern is rated beginner, but I would not pick it for my first project.)

I made a muslin, and the only change I made was to use a 1 1/2 seam allowance on the neck/facing seam. It seemed a little tight to me, and I felt the wider neckline was more flattering. (You can tell in the muslin photo that a crisp fabric, while easier to sew, is not suitable for this pattern. Not terribly flattering.

And now: Ta Da! (Worn with my high-waisted denim skirt)

This was a straightforward sew and I had no issues with the muslin. I did have some problems with the actual garment because of the polyester fabric. It unraveled like you would not believe, and ran with every other touch of my needle when I was hand sewing. Ah. The way the sleeves work, you can't use french seams on the side seams, so I just serged instead. Not optimal, but no unraveling.

Next time I make this, I think I will hem the sleeves a little differently. The directions call for turning up a narrow hem, and then turning that under into a much deeper hem. I machine-stitched the first turn (One arm straight stitch, the other zig zag. Just trying stuff out.) and I felt this created too much stiffness in the sleeve opening. I want it to be looser, so, I think I will hand stitch the first turn and see if that works better.

There is a lot of hand stitching on this blouse: sleeves and back facings. (It's not that much, but on this fabric that's a lot.) I also ended up hand rolling the hem, because I had some issues. It doesn't look so great, but I'll just have to tuck it in.

Here is a detail of the buttons I used on the back. (It's not the greatest picture, but it's the best I could get.)

I am a very happy camper!

Spring Vogue Patterns Are Out

There are three of the new spring vogue patterns that I like, but probably will not buy, and there are three that I will totally buy. The rest are kind of meh to me. I like the new website changes though.

We'll start with the kind of likes.


This is a Rebecca Taylor design, and it's pretty cool. (Although you need to look at the line drawing to see the details.) I don't really like the asymmetrical hem (they have their place) but that can be easily fixed. This dress just skews to young for me. If I were 10 years younger I would totally wear this. (Now listen, I dress age inappropriately all the time. I'm 41; it's my job. However, the puff sleeves and bodice details read little girl party dress to me. If you are 57 and want to were this dress, more power to you! I'm sure the next thing I sew will have all these things and you will all mock me.)


I really like some of the latest Guy Laroche patterns. The sleeves on this one are cool, but I am not super fond of all the asymmetry going on here. One or two details are cool, but this is too much for me. TOO MUCH I say. Ok, not that big of a deal.


Just a pretty DKNY dress. Maybe I just like the fabric.

Now the designs I really like!


Another Rebecca Taylor design. Youngish, but not too bad. I would take off that flower thingy. I might also just do a traditional kick pleat in the back of the skirt instead of the ruffle thingy. Will I probably actually make this? No. Will I buy it and really enjoy thinking about it? Yup.


Like the retro styling with the collar. Like the custom fit for different cup sizes.


I really like this meld of modern and 50's styling. I really want to make this one!

Up next, my completed Sencha blouse. It's been done for a while, I just need to get the pictures taken.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


This came for me in the mail today.

My friend Bonnie made this 20's style cloche for me. (I got to pick out the fabric and buckle.) It fits perfectly and is dreamy dreamy dreamy. I have never bought a real hat before. I feel like a movie star.

Bonnie has an Etsy shop here:

And a Facebook fan page here:

Pictures of me in the hat and maybe an interview with Bonnie herself coming soon!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Sencha Blouse

Look what came in the mail! My new Colette patterns. (Click on image to make it bigger.)

I am very excited, and have started on the muslin for the Sencha top. (I have three of last spring's patterns, but have not made them up yet. I am very excited.)

If this shirt looks good on me, I can see myself making up quite a few versions. We'll see. I am about midway through the muslin and making some modifications. The armhole needs to be widened a bit, and I think I might make the neckline a little deeper to be more flattering on me. I have high hopes though. I have some fabric already set aside for the first version if this works out.

It is a polyester I got from Joann's years ago, but I have always thought it was rather pretty. Notice how it is all in focus? That's because I got a NEW CAMERA. Which I am still learning to use, but I think I may love it. (Nikon D3000) Once again, we will see.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Thank You Faye

Faye has awarded me a Sugar Doll award and I think that is awful sweet.

I am not much of a passer-on kind of gal (all chain letters stop here I'm afraid,) but I will list the 10 things about me.

1. I do not know how to drive. (I'm 41 and had a permit once when I was 20. Some people just should not drive. I am one of those people.)

2. My favorite book is Dracula. I have a thing for Victorian horror and sensation novels.

3. I watch a lot of movies, film noir being my favorite right now.

4. The writer Iris Murdoch sends me into a rage whenever I read her. For some reason I get really really mad. My husband thinks it is very funny.

5. My husband built a wood roller coaster in my yard.

6. I only go out to eat about once a week when I am at home. We like to cook. A lot.

7. I won a blue ribbon at the Puyallup Fair for my bread and butter pickles a couple of years ago.

8. I was hit by a car when I was 25 and he drove on top of both my legs with both sets of tires. Only one leg broke. (But that one really broke. My femur snapped in half, which is not cool.) I am mostly better, but I cannot run for long distances.

9. I have not had caffeine in over 10 years. I drink this dandelion stuff that is pretty good. People who know me assume that I am caffeinated because I can be somewhat energetic in real life. I am just like this. Caffeine makes me VERY anxious, and I don't really need the help.

10. I think my daughter is the funniest person in the world. She says no one else finds her funny. Then she accuses me of raising her as my personal clown. Hilarious.