Thursday, April 29, 2010

Metric Pattern Cutting

Ok. Seriously, this book rocks my world!!!!! Here is my story.

I decided a while back that I wanted to be able to design my own clothing patterns. I have several pattern drafting books and chose Design-It-Yourself-Clothes by Cal Patch as my beginner book.

Good things about this book:
  • Very clear definitions of terms.
  • Detailed instructions.
  • Simple clothing.
Not so good things about this book:
So, what does "not enough math" mean? It means that that I really wanted (in fact needed) more numbers, especially when it came to making the hip curves. And the waist curve. And the hem curve. (How far out/in should my curve be?) I made 7 (SEVEN) versions of my skirt, and each one was varying degrees of bad. Even when I got close, I was not close enough to wear the finished garment. I was getting so frustrated, I began to think that I just couldn't get it.

Then I thought, maybe I'll just try another book. I went through my sewing library and grabbed Metric Pattern Cutting by Winifred Aldrich. I had bought it used after reading a couple of good reviews on various blogs. This book rocks my word. I nailed the basic skirt block on one try. (I am still futzing around with the darts, but that is too be expected.) (This is not a very glamorous picture, but a basic straight skirt block made out of muslin is not so flashy.)

I am currently, taking this pattern, and turning it into an A-line skirt. Nothing revolutionary, but I am on my way to making my first self-designed garment and I am very happy about it. I took some pictures of my initial pattern, but they didn't turn out so well, so I scanned one page of the book to let you know what it looks like. (And mine looks pretty much like this.)

When I finish my first skirt, I will give a more detailed explanation of what I did, but I really recommend this book. I have the 1976 edition, but it looks there is a 5th edition from 2008 that is expanded. I'm gonna check it out to see if I need to upgrade.

Regarding the other book, I'm just gonna say that it had a lot of valuable things in it, but it just didn't work for me. Maybe it is because I am bigger. (I am a RTW size 16.) All of the clothes I have seen made from it (in the book and on flickr) were in smaller sizes. Maybe I just learn a different way. Oh well. I may try something else from it one day, but I am having a lot of fun with Metric Pattern Cutting right now.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Not Much Going On

I was on Holiday last week, so no sewing then, and not much going on this week. My goal right now is to create my own skirt block. I have the measurements right, I just can't get it perfect. (And by perfect, I mean wearable.) I'll be whipping up a few more tries this week, I'm sure.

I am also very slooowwwly getting ready to work on Simplicity 2406. It's a Cynthia Rowley pattern, which experience has taught me will look like crap on me. However, it's not for me; it's for my daughter. I got a really cute yellow linen from Gorgeous fabrics that I am hoping will rock this dress.

I am feeling a little grumpy right now (insert your favorite PMS euphemism here) and am going to go indulge one of my favorite passions, nonfiction books about corporate badness. I'm on my second book about the fall of Lehman Brothers. BADNESS!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Mini Wardrobe

Here is my entry for the mini-wardrobe contest. Wish me luck!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Simplicity 4086

Simplicity 4086 is an OOP pattern that I made about a year ago. In red. I loved it. But then I lost 25 pounds and it no longer even remotely fits me. Now I have a new red skirt.

I love this pattern. I feel it gives a vaguely 40's retro air. It has just the right amount of flair and length. In the last version I put little blue french knots at the bottom, but I left them out so the skirt would go with more things. It is a very basic pattern. The only changes I made were to line it and insert an invisible zipper. The fabric is a very nice stretch twill from Gorgeous Fabrics. I stabilized the waistband by cutting on the non-stretch grain and adding twill tape to the seam. (This fabric is really stretchy.)

This is my 4th entry in the PR mini-wardrobe contest. Next up, the composite pictures.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Colette Patterns Sencha Blouse #2

I have finished my third item for the PR mini wardrobe contest. I've done a second version of the the Colette Patterns Sencha Blouse. (Here is my previous in-depth review)

The back view for thems that like that sort of thing.

The fabric is a very lovely cotton batiste from Gorgeous Fabrics, and I just love it! Super cute. I used the same cream buttons that I used on my previous blouse. Both blouses have a very subtle cream detail in the fabric, so I chose to highlight that with the buttons. I also made the buttonholes with cream thread, instead of the white I used on the rest of the garment. (I always try to match the buttons, not the garment. Although, like any rule, that one is meant to be broken.) (You can click on the image to make it a little bigger to see the button detail.) The fabric is a little busy, so I chose the simplest version of the pattern. (Can't really see the details.)

I really like this top, but the fabric is crisper than the poly I used before, and I don't think it is as flattering. In my opinion, I think this top is best done in a drapey fabric and worn tucked in. However, I think it looks just fine in a very lightweight cotton and not tucked in. (And more practical for real life.)

I opened the neckline up by 7/8 inch like I did last time. However, one change that I forgot to mention in the last review, was the fact that I moved the bottom armhole marking down one inch. I found that the armhole was a little too tight for me, so I opened it up a bit. (You'll know what I mean if about the placement if you make this up.) In this version, I also interfaced the center-back facings. Last time I made this blouse, I didn't feel the button holes had enough support even though I used tear-away stabilizer. The instructions do not call for interfacing here, but I used a very lightweight iron-on that worked very nicely.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

McCall's 5522

Due to a series of crappy incidents, no sewing was done last week. However, I finally got something finished today. My second item for the mini wardrobe challenge.

McCalls's 5522:

This photo is showing a suspicious bulge line around my waist. As far as I know I don't really have a spare tire. It's driving me nuts and is all I can see in the picture. ACK. I am too lazy to take another picture right now, so there you are. I am blaming my skirt. (Or the wrinkles in the back that you will see in the next picture.) I have no such imperfections. (If you buy that, I have a bridge you might want.)

Back View:

That pooling in the back is pretty annoying. Looks like I need a swayback adjustment. I'm not quite sure how to do it with those two vertical seams, but I will try to work some magic.

I am pretty happy with this blouse, and feel like I've done some really nice work. I did not make a muslin, and I probably should have. In addition to the pooling in the back, the armholes on this thing are ginormous. HUGE!

If you have this pattern, you may notice that the sleeve I used is not an option given on the envelope. The long sleeves are too long (it's Spring!) and the shorter sleeves are too poofy. They might be fine, but with the ruffle along the placket, I thought it would be totally too much. I just grabbed a sleeve I liked from a Simplicity pattern and used it instead. It wasn't a perfect match, but it worked on the fly. (I was not really up to any complicated adjustments this week.) This sleeve is normally pretty gathery at the top, but because the armscye is so HUGE, it is a little flatter.

Things I will do if I make this again.
  • Redraft that armscye. HUGE!
  • Make a special cap sleeve just for this pattern.
  • Swayback adjustment.
  • Draft a Peter Pan collar. I think it would look super cute. I have a vintage pattern with a Peter Pan collar and a ruffle and it is adorable.
I'm not sure how comfortable I am with that ruffle, but I won't know until I wear it a couple of times. I also had a lot of plaid matching on this shirt, some of which was successful, some not so much. However, I hoped the plaid was small enough that some mismatching would be no big deal. Looks fine to me.

Next up, Sencha #2.