Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Sorbetto II and Arm/Neck Facing Tutorial

Hey! I hope everybody had a great weekend. Monday was Memorial Day for those of us in the U.S. and I hope everyone had the chance to do something fun. I gardened, sewed, and made up another Sorbetto top from Colette Patterns.


My camera really hates this fabric and (something I did not notice in real life) the fabric on this version is so thin it tends to hang out on the top of my bra. Oh well. It's still pretty cute. The fabric is some kind of poly/cotton blend that was pretty fun to sew with. The main modification here is that I decided that instead of finishing the neck and armholes with bias tape, I would make a facing for a cleaner look. I am not a facing lover, but I decided to make an old-style one that uses one piece to deal with both the neck and the arm hole. You can tack it down under the arms and it will not flip up at all. I made a little tutorial in case anyone else wants to try it out. (I'm gonna use this a lot with all the sleeveless dresses I'm making for summer.)

Tutorial: One piece neck and armhole facing.



1) You are going to need some stuff.
  • pattern pieces (front and back)
  • tracing paper
  • pencil (I used a sharpie for this tutorial, but I usually do everything in pencil.)
  • ruler
  • french curve (you could do without, but I like to use them.)


We are going to start with the bodice front because it is a little harder.
  • Trace your tracing paper over your pattern piece. I am using a jar of screen printing ink to weight the paper down.
  • Trace over the top part of the pattern. (Neck, armhole, shoulder etc.)


It's when you get to the bust dart, that things get a little tricky. Stop at the dart and follow the dart leg for just a little bit.



Move your tracing paper down to the other dart leg so that the lines match up exactly. (Basically you are closing that dart.)


Continue the line down the side seam. I am making my facing 2 1/2 inches deep, so I made my side seam that long. (I am using the 1/4 inch seam allowances already on the pattern, so the final depth of my facing will be 2 1/4") I also drew a 2 1/2 line down center front. You'll notice that there are two center fronts on this pattern because of the box pleat in the front. Your facing knows nothing about any box pleat, so leave the pleat extension out! Stop at the first center front: also known as the stitching line.


Then I take out my ruler and start drawing the bottom of the facing. I just make a straight line that is perpendicular to the side seam and center front line. You can just eyeball it lengthwise. Now, see that crazy red circle? Inside that circle is a dot, and that dot is 2 1/2 inches out from the armhole. When you fill in the rest of that line, you do not want to go higher than that dot at that area when you join those lines together.


This is when you bring out that French curve (or whatever) to finish the bottom of the facing. I like my bottom facing edge to have gentle curves because I finish the edge by serging , and I don't want any sharp corners for that. (Plus it looks nice.)


Voila! Put all your makings on it and cut it out. (Remember that the center front goes on the foldline.) You now have a front facing piece. The back is done the same way, but easier because there is no bust dart.

Now how do you sew this to the garment? You can't just sew neck to neck, armhole to armhole because it won't flip out. I have a great magazine from the 60's by Enid Gilchrist (she's going to get her own post soon) that shows you how to attach this type of facing to a sleeveless garment. It's super easy. (I'm sure tons of people already know how to do this. I didn't and it was awesome to have an example.) (Clicking on the photo should make it bigger.)


Just tack the facing down at the side seams and you are ready to go. You can understitch or topstitch if you want. Do what you gotta do. I'm pretty happy with this technique and will be using it a lot this summer!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Weekend Distraction: Colette Patterns Sorbetto

First off, I want to thank everyone for their compliments on my birthday dress. I wore it out on Thursday and it was a big success. (I love Seattle, but folks tend to dress in muted colors. Me, not so much. The dress was noticed.)

On Thursday last week, Colette Patterns made available a free pattern to download: a little 60's inspired blouse that you can get here. I downloaded it on Thursday night and had a version made up by Friday night.

Goofy action shot. I'm trying out the living room for photos since there is more light in there.


Closer detail shot:



I always thought I would gravitate towards the 50s as far as my personal style went, but I'm all about the early 60s. This little top was made for me, and goes especially well with my a-line skirts. It's a little boxy, but that is the style and the length is just right for it.

Project Notes:
  • I made a muslin for this and I am really glad I did. There are still some changes I would like to make on this, but I would have been disappointed had I just made it up in my fashion fabric. (I don't think this was a problem with the pattern per se, I usually do need to make some adjustments for fit)
  • I had some major gaping in the front armhole. Major. I ended up pinching it out into a dart, and then moving that dart into the bust dart. I have to do this a lot on sleeveless things. I think I am going to do a tutorial on this because once I figured it out, I was much happier with my clothes.
  • The shoulders were a little high, so I ended up increasing the shoulder seam depth by 3/8 of an inch. The bust dart was also a little too low, and this fixed that as well.
  • I am not sure I am sold on the visible bias tape finish. I used store bought bias tape and it is a little stiff. I'll see how it comes out in the wash. I might just make a neck/arm one piece facing and use that for a super clean finish. We'll see.
  • I used a lightweight poplin that I had in my stash. (It was 58" wide or so and I used about a yard.)
  • There is some pooling at the back and I think the length of the area between the neck and the bottom of the armhole is a little too long. I am going to experiment with that this weekend. (I don't have a swayback, but I often get pooling in the back of my shirts. I'm still learning how to fix this.)
I wore this outfit with a little cream sweater to the Olympia Farmer's Market today and felt really cute. I'm currently thinking of ways to modify it for more variation. (Insert evil laughter here.)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

43rd Birthday Dress!!!!!!

Ta da! The birthday dress is finished. I think I need a white belt, but I have to go out and buy one.



With shoes and crazy hair!


To refresh your memory, here is the inspiration photo:


I think you can see how the two dresses are related.

Instead of telling you what went wrong, I'm gonna tell you what went right! (I had a lot of issues with the sewing because I was sick during a great deal of the work. I need to focus on the positives.)

  • Fits really well! (Because I used my sloper to draft it.)
  • I love this corally pink. Very obnoxious.
  • I used packaged bias tape for the armholes and it felt nice not to have to make it!
  • My changes made it look even more 60s than the original. But not costumey. I hope.
  • My first time with piping. And while it was not a perfect experience by any means, nobody is going to notice where I was less than perfect because the pink will distract them by burning out their retinas.
  • I super-structured the button stand thingy with 2 layers of fabric and one layer of interfacing before I sewed it onto the bodice. No sagging from the heavy buttons!
  • My neck facings extend to the armhole, so there is no rolling up.
  • Mostly, my bodice and skirt seams and darts match up.
  • I was going to bind the edges of the button stand with bias tape, but that did not work for me. So I used piping. And I learned I need some kind of foot for my machine if I am going to use it again. But, the piping does look kind of cool.
  • A-line skirt is much more flattering on me than a short straight one.
Ok. I'm pretty happy with this. Next up: a dress sew-a-long with Faye, a 70's shirt, and another dress for a friend's wedding.

Parting shot:

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Pattern Winner #3

Remember the Supper Crappy Spring Double Giveaway? I picked two winners for the Lisette pattern and neither one of them responded. So I picked a third winner:

Sewfast!!! Yay!

I will leave a comment on your blog, but if you read this, go ahead and leave a comment with your email address.

Also, birthday dress tomorrow.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Birthday Dress Postponement

My birthday dress did not get done in time for my birthday. (I was careless and got glutened and spent my day feeling miserable. We've decided that my REAL birthday will be next week and it will be an awesome day.)

In good news, I received three yards of my favorite Liberty fabric, which is something I would never get for myself. My husband rocks! (He also got me some geology videos, some Marx Brothers books, and a giant le Creuset dutch oven. My birthday was also the 11th anniversary of our first date.)


picture and fabric from here.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Birthday Dress Muslin and Pattern Making Notes

Here is the muslin for my 43rd Birthday dress. (Please see previous post for inspiration dress.)


Muslin is not so flattering, so ignore that if you can. Also, the largeness of the buttons is causing some weird dragging on the bodice. I am hoping to fix that on the real dress with strategic button placement and support. Aside from that, I think this version incorporates all the changes that I detailed in the last post, and I am pretty happy with it. Ready to move to the next step.

If you are interested in the pattern making process behind this dress, keep reading.

I start out with the sloper that I developed in my pattern making class. For this dress, I traced four of the pieces from my five piece sloper. ( I also have a dress and jacket sloper.) (My sleeve is the fifth piece of this sloper.)


The first thing I do is make a map of the new dress. For example, I took the front bodice piece and made all of the style changes that I thought I would need to do for the dress. (You can click on any picture to make it clearer.) Making a map lets me see what pattern pieces I will need to make later. For this map, added the button placket thingy, took half an inch off the neck, and some off the armhole.



After I finished my map, I traced off the pattern pieces from the map (NEVER CUT OUT THE MAP!) and added seam allowances. (I haven't cut out the button placket thingy pattern piece yet, because I have to figure out the fit of the bodice first. )


Then I cut the bodice out of muslin and perfect the fit, transferring all of the changes to the pattern pieces.

Once the bodice fits, I move on to the skirt. First I make sure that the inside dart matches the dart placement on the bodice. My skirt sloper has 2 darts on every pattern piece, so I decided to just close the outside dart to make my skirt an A-line. (My first version of this skirt was a very teeny tiny A line. Too much like a straight skirt and not at all flattering. Tossed it.)


To close the dart and add flare to the skirt, you draw a line from the tip of the dart, down the rest of the skirt, perpendicular to the grainline. Cut cup the line and one leg of the dart. (This will cut the pattern into two pieces.) Then close the dart by placing one dart leg on top of the other and taping it down. (If this does not make sense to you, try enlarging the picture to see more clearly.) (I also added an extra inch of flare at the side of the skirt hem, fyi.) Then trace the pattern piece. (In the picture I have the modified and traced pieces next to each other.)


I after I cut out the skirt pieces and sew everything together, I check for fit and fiddle with everything until I am happy. Then I work on all the detail pieces like the button placket thingy and facings.

Time to go to bed. Hopefully I will finish this dress soon and post it on my birthday.

Monday, May 16, 2011

New Winner for Simplicity 2209: Super Crappy Spring Double Giveaway

The new winner for Simplicity 2209 (The Lisette dress pattern) is Laura! Laura, if you see this, please comment on this blog entry with your email address! You have until Sunday May 22nd at midnight.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Birthday Dress Inspiration

My birthday is next week and I'm gonna make myself a new dress. Here is my inspiration photo:



This is from the 2011 Marc Jacobs resort collection. What I love most: the buttons running down the front. Here are the changes I will make.

  1. My version will be pink! PINK! (With white accents.)
  2. It looks like there is elastic in the waist. Not for me.
  3. It looks like the waist is raised a bit, I'm gonna put mine at the natural waistline.
  4. Short, straight skirts are not really for me. I am going to lengthen it a bit, make it a slight a-line and maybe add some pleats. (or maybe not.)
  5. Lower the neckline very slightly.
I better get cracking!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

McCall's 6078: WINNER

If you have been reading my blog for awhile, you will know that I don't have much success sewing with knits. My projects usually fail for two reasons 1) I can just never get the hang of the proper needle/stitch combination (even with my serger) and 2) most knit shirts just don't look that good on me. I am a size 16, so I have some lumps that knits like to show off. However, I am also an hour glass, so anything that is large enough to cover the lumpy areas is going to make me look larger than I am because it will hide the fact that I have a very distinct waist.

I have, however, found a pattern that I kind of like. McCall's 6078.



This is a very easy pattern. Because it is sleeveless, I was able to fit as I sewed. (And I kept good notes so I could make changes directly to the pattern.) There are quite a few reviews of this shirt on PatternReview, and now I understand why. The cowl drape is really nice and not very overwhelming on my larger bust. (Most cowls I have tried are not very flattering on me.)

The stitching leaves a lot to be desired, but I'm still gonna wear it. (You'd be surprised what other people don't notice.) That is something I need to work on for the next iteration. The instructions call for just folding over the hem and topstitiching, and that is what I did, except for the bottom hem. I just chopped off two inches and called it a day. I used a thin ITY knit from Fashion Fabric Club, and since it doesn't unravel, I didn't feel the need to hem the shirt body. I may trim off the seam allowances from the arm and neck hole on the pattern and leave them unfinished on the next version as well.

In spite of it's imperfections, I am pretty happy with this shirt. In fact, I'm wearing it right now. I'm going to make at least one more. Yay!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Missing Giveaway Winner

Eileensews: Please leave a comment with your email on this post. Otherwise I will have to give the Simplicity 2211 pattern to someone else. You have until 11:00 pm (PST) Wed May 11th.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Simplicity 2211

I am pretending the summer will someday come to Seattle. Since Seattle is the town that spring forgot, I figure we are gonna have a great summer! (I am trying to convince myself more than you.) So I whipped up a cute version of Simplicity 2211 out of a very lightweight cotton shirting. (Another of the Lisette patterns.) (It's hard to tell in this picture, but there are little white polka dots on the fabric.) (And yes, I see that this is another blue dress.)



I knew going into this, that this style is not the most flattering on me. (I NEED waist definition. I am an hourglass, and fitted styles always look better on me. You should see the side and back views. But you are not going to because I do have some pride.) However I love having a little shift dress that I can pull on and laze around the house in on hot days. (Because we will get some!)

I lengthened the dress a little bit, but it is still above the knee, which is a little short for me. I also had to lengthen the bust dart to almost twice it's length. I don't know what was up with that. At this point there was some crazy pooling in the back and some severe drag lines in front. My shoulders are pretty sloping, so I adjusted for that on the pattern. This and lengthening the bust darts got rid of a lot of the drag lines and pooling. (Not all of it by any means, especially in the back. But that is what you get for not making a muslin.)

This is no fashion masterpiece, but it was a quick sew that will become handy when (and if) it ever gets warm.

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Super Crappy Spring Double Giveaway Winners

Happy Monday everyone!

The winners for the Super Crappy Spring Double Giveaway are:

Simplicity Pattern 2209:
Eileensews (Eileen, please comment on this blog entry with your email address so I can contact you.)

Stretch Cotton Sateen Fabric:
Angela at RiAnge Creations. (You have already given me your email address, so I will contact you right away.)

Thank you all for entering!