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.