Thursday, July 31, 2008

Mini Wardrobe Contest

Contest begins tomorrow! Or, technically tonight at midnight for all you late-night sewing fashionistas!!

I think I'll be starting with the pants, since my muslin stage has progressed so far. Here's another peek at the storyboard:

The garment I'll begin with will be the pants, Vogue 1035:

I'll be using this darkwash denim, which has a bit of my friend Lycra in it:

In anticipation, I'm going to try to finish up my Jalie Sweetheart tee. It needs one more sleeve, side seams, and hems. I have to say it looks SMASHING in the mauve knit!

Sadly, I'll be out of town from Sunday through Wednesday at yet another conference. So I will be "behind" in the wardrobe contest basically as soon as it starts. But the plan is to update each step of construction here on the blog to keep me focused. I love getting encouraging comments, so I will be blatantly using all of you as a motivational tool.

Friday, July 25, 2008

A Muslin Story - Part II

My 2nd muslin! I didn't add the pockets to this pattern. They are creating a whole other set of problems that I don't want to concentrate on right now. I would consider leaving them off (I don't use pockets as a rule) but they really do add a bit of style to the pants.

For the back wrinkly crotch, I decided to try Debbie Cook's full thigh alteration from her Jan Minott fitting book. It adds room for a full inner thigh (which I've got in spades.) This almost fixed my back wrinkles! The 1st muslin is on the left, and the 2nd muslin is on the right (loud fabric sewn wrong side out!) I'm twisting a bit in this new photo, holding the camera over my shoulder, and I wonder if that is creating the small wrinkles that are still visible?

I still need to add a bit at the high hip, but I'm going to do this after deciding whether or not to keep the pockets.

The front was still a mess, though, so I played around with creating a tuck here and there a'la an article in Threads I read recently. After finding that a tuck about halfway down the front eliminated the bagginess, I pinned it, then took the pants to the machine & sewed it as a dart (tapering to nothing at the fly front). You'll see the little "pouch" of fabric in the back view where that dart is, but that won't be there if I alter the pattern.

That almost completely fixed my front view problems. I don't know what kind of wedge alteration this is, and when I went to make it to my pattern piece, I got confused. I made a wedge to remove some from the front. It interfered with the pocket opening size though, and I needed to taper the waistline back up to regular height too. Here's what I came up with, but I'll have to make one more muslin to test it!

The last thing I did was removed some of the flair from the pant legs because they are WIDE and flaired. However, on viewing my (loud turned inside out) pants in the mirror, they've lost some of their interest without the flair. So I think I'll add some back! The only other thing I'm going to do to the next pair is add the bit at the high front hip.

I'm out of muslin fabric though, so it will have to wait for a trip to WM. I'm hoping they'll have something on the $1 table that is drapey like trousers so I can really assess my changes.

I've also put out the call for help on PR. You can follow along HERE. And Marji has put together an excellent compilation of pants-fitting articles & tips HERE. Thank you Marji!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Vogue 1035 - a Muslin Story

I'm working on a muslin for my mini-wardrobe pants. First thing I noticed when stitching them up: The waistband for size 14-22 is WAY off. As in, several inches too small. I think it's probably the 6-12 pattern piece. Beware if you own this pattern! I had to draft my own waistband (after 3 tries with the pattern piece, thinking it was just me!)

Part I:
I made up the pants with no alterations in muslin fabric so I could assess fit (and ask for help!) from scratch. I have these same issues in ALL fitted pants/trouser/jean style patterns.

The front of the pant is really baggy, which seems odd to me because my tummy sticks out more than my bum these days. This picture isn't as bad as it is after wearing for a few minutes/moving around. The front sort of slips down until I have folds of fabric.

Then we have the side view, where the seams are at relatively perpendicular. I have high hip fluff, so that's one area I probably need to add a bit. You can see wrinkles at the seam here and in the back that all point at my high hips (one of my hips also sits higher than the other, which I should probably also address.)

And the holy grail of fit...the backside. Same wrinkles that we saw in my Ottobre Woman capri's although these are worse. Someone then mentioned dropping the back curve a bit to allow for a flat seat, but I'm not sure my seat is all that flat. It doesn't seem particularly flat in the side view. I think the diagonal wrinkles under the waistband are because I need additional room at the high hip.

So... any fit experts out there? What's the next step? I've put out the call for help at PR. I'm wondering if it's a full thigh issue and the crotch seam is suffering because of that?

And isn't it funny how when YOU have a fit issue it's never one that's covered adequately in any of your books?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Mini-Wardrobe Storyboard!

As I mentioned a couple of days ago, I've entered the August Mini-Wardrobe contest over at At first I wasn't sure August was the best month for me to be attempting a contest (I still don't think it is, LOL!) but...I'm joining the fun anyway!!

I finished my storyboard today, although its of course subject to change. I've really been wanting "prettier" clothes. I sew a lot of easy wear stuff because that's my lifestyle, especially outside of school. But there's no reason I can't have some really pretty clothes for work and other outings, right? I took my inspiration from my vintage pattern stash and a long perusal over at anthropologie.

Here's my storyboard (click for a large view):

Barbara Stanwyck has always been my favorite actress! Well, behind Judy Garland when I was a little girl, of course. Ok, to dissect my choices, remember I was going for a vintage feel. I knew the first pattern I had to use was an one I've had in stash since 1995!!!

Vogue 1575 is a DKNY dress pattern, but I'll be using it as a top (shortening the skirt portion.) It will be in this windowpane black georgette:

My other top is also a dress pattern, New Look 6672, which is a darling sundress pattern. I'm shortening it to a top to reproduce one I saw at anthropologie, and I'll be using this gorgeous white dot voile from Gorgeous Fabrics. I've been hoarding this one!

My bottoms will be a nice trouser style pant (Vogue 1035, an Alice + Olivia pant) in this darkwash stretch denim:

and a half-circle skirt from Simplicity 4236 in this fun cherry print cotton:

I'll be making muslins over the next week so I'm ready for the contest come 8/1! And I still need to finish my mauve tee too. I've got a busy week!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Jalie 2794: The Sweetheart Top

I've procrastinated on making this...and I have NO idea why! Debbie Cook's latest version kicked my butt into gear and I decided to substitute my TNT Ottobre tee for Jalie 2794 with this mauve fabric from yesterday:

Since I only have about 1.5 yards of this fabric, there's no room for screwups. So I used a similar weight cream cotton jersey for a muslin. I had cut this pattern out back in May I think, before I read any reviews, so I didn't realize so many people didn't need an FBA.

I started with a size AA, which is one size above my high bust measurement. This is my first Jalie pattern, so I wanted a little extra 'insurance'. I added my usual FBA and rotated the dart into the gathered section at the armhole/bolero seam:

I was really tempted to re-trace this and forego the FBA since so many have not needed it! But I decided to throw together a muslin with what I had traced previously just to see. I think you can see above that I also added about 3/8 at the hip for my booty.

The only other alteration I made was cutting a CC sleeve since I've read many reviews of Jalie tees that complained of small sleeves. Here's my finished muslin:

Not too shabby! (if you ignore my black undergarments. We're all family, tho, right?) About the only thing I would change is maybe choosing a smaller bolero piece. The shoulder is too wide, but maybe that's part of the style? I obviously didn't bother with the center front elastic on my muslin. That should affect fit that much, so I skipped it.

It is a bit long, but this one is not hemmed, so I probably won't change the length. The sleeves are definitely slim-fitting! But they aren't tight or binding at all, and I like a slim sleeve in a tee. I sure am glad I used the CC piece though!

The minor wrinkles under the bust are more a posture/movement thing than a fit thing. They weren't there in other shots.

I'm still curious what kind of fit I would have gotten if I'd forgone the FBA and went with a full bust measurement for size. Not curious enough to retrace, though! I think I'll stick with this one.

Now I have to decide if I want to start on the mauve version now or wait until I have my plan together for the Mini Wardrobe contest. I think I'll trace one of my jackets from yesterday's post before I decide.

Parting shot...Oscar the Pom, helping mom sew:

**EDIT TO ADD** To answer a couple of comments, my muslin knit is 2-way, 25% stretch knit. My fashion fabric is 4-way 25% or more. Also, my personal preference is not to wear a "sack". I think everyone looks better in more fitted clothes. Sometimes I like a tee to be baggy and relaxed, if I'm lounging around or cleaning house or working outside. But this tee is not one of those. I like the fitted look, and I'm pleased with how it turned out.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

A New Plan

Ok I changed my mind. I really DO want to chain myself to the sewing machine for the next 10 days. :P

I'm in love with these jackets from BWOF 6/08 and have the perfect linens to go with them. This is pattern #102. I love the scallops along the placket!

and I have this fabulous 100% linen from Gorgeous Fabrics:

I also really like the styling of this jacket, #112:

and I have this yummy coral linen fabric (a STEAL at $1/yard off the remnant table! Woohoo! I got 10 yards! That should keep me in coral linen for a few years. Good thing it's a nice color on me!)

But you know, I also picked up these great knits (all $1/yard). A heathered mauve-y cotton knit, that wants to be a TNT Ottobre tee.

and this rayon knit in my favorite aqua color that would be lovely as BWOF 09-07-101:

This turquoise/brown ombre stripe is screaming out to be a BWOF 01-08-116 wrapover top.

Finally, I have this lightweight glencheck plaid.

I'm thinking either BWOF 4-08-102 (where I first became intrigued by the glencheck "safari" combo):

Here's the line drawing, which is shapeless & boring without the belt!OR... BWOF 7-08-112, because I REALLY love the lines of this one, especially the belt carriers, and the fact that the Plus jacket in this issue has basically the same lines (i.e. less work for me upgrading & adding an FBA), but a different collar. I think I can adapt the Plus pattern to work, though.

So...all that should keep me busy for a while, dontcha think? I'm ready to start fall sewing, can you tell?? With tracing & muslins (especially for the jackets) I may be able to amuse myself until Aug 1 when the PR Mini-Wardrobe contest starts. Anybody joining that one? I'll need bottoms obviously.

But that's a post for another day. Off to trace!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Home Again!

Well, technically I got home last Saturday, but a large thunderstorm that evening knocked my DSL modem out! I was without internet until late Wednesday!

Nashville was LOADS of fun! I saw Lonestar at the Grand Old Opry and ran all over downtown with my school buddies. We're all bonded now. :P And can I just say that if you are in Nashville on Thu-Sat nights, you MUST check out Steven West at Tootsie's (10 pm-2am). He should really be famous. His partner in crime, Leslie Craig, ain't bad either.

GO! See them before it costs a bunch of money to!

Ok, this will be short because there's nothing really to report, but I wanted to let all of you know that I'm alive & kicking & will *hopefully* be sewing again ASAP. I do go back to school in 10 days (sigh) so I will probably be enjoying my last bit of summer the next week by lounging in the pool/on my lawn chaise, and not chaining myself to the sewing machine.

In theory anyway.


Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Simplicity 3887 - Redux!

I probably have 150 patterns I want to make...and that's not counting all the BWOF stuff I drool over every month! In my brief week at home (I leave for Nashville at 4:30 a.m. tomorrow!) I waffled from one BWOF pattern to another in indecision.

Then inspiration struck with this adorable top by Amanda, who makes the darn cutest things ever! I don't have the particular McCalls pattern that she used, but I remembered that my similarly styled Simplicity 3887 had the same hem treatment AND flutter sleeve as options! Woohoo!

I used a poly knit from Gorgeous Fabrics for my version. If you remember, my last S3887 was out of a crinkle gauze. I thought that my ample booty probably needed a body-skimming knit to be able to wear the elastic-cased waist treatment. The length is perfect on my dressform, but after running back & forth for the camera timer, the casing does ride up a bit, causing a shorter look. I still like it!

The neckline gave me fits. I thought I was gonna have to quit it! First, the sizing runs large on this top (and my issue was partly due to the knit too.) I knew this from my last one but forgot until it was too late. I started with an 18, but really could have used a 14 at least, for the neckband pieces.

After sewing the neckbands together, I pressed the raw edges together with Steam a Seam instead of basting, because the squiggly, wiggly poly knit was not playing nice. The SAS worked great until I pressed a big old glob of it on the front neckband! I never did get it out so had to start over on the neckband (a half hour on the net, a half hour trying all the net fixes, and an email to Adrienne later.)

Keep in mind at this point I'm still not remembering it's not going to fit anyway.

Finished the top except for casings, tried it on...and the neck was a mess. Way too gapey and drapey. We're talking on the verge of cowl neck here. After working on that darn neckband TWICE I threw caution to the wind and made a dart in center front & back. (This was easier than taking up shoulder seams, because I had already understitched.) Perfect fit.

So that the neckline didn't have an unsightly bump at the CF and CB, I slit the dart and topstitched from the front in part of the pattern (so the topstitching wouldn't show.) You can't even see it from the right side of the top. Looks like crap on the inside.

Crap neckband save.

But the sleeves are so cute! They could be a tad bit longer I think, but I was a little overzealous with my casing turn-up. Slippery poly booger. I even resorted to a plain old zigzag for the casing hems!

So the moral of this story is...even when you're yearning for amazing, fashion-forward clothes, and you want to try all the patterns calling you from your stash, sometimes all you really want to do is SEW. And that might just mean pulling out a previously-sewn, easy favorite.

Ok, I'm off to Nashville until Saturday. Toodles!!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Home Sweet Home!

We're back! I don't know how rested we are, but we had fun and that's what counts. Here's a quick peek at our summer trip to the Gulf Shores/Fort Morgan area of Alabama.

I took this one from the steps of our beach house. It was a pretty spot right on the beach.

The weather semi-cooperated with us. It did rain every day, but we had a bit of sun each day too. Lots of overcast skies.
Ew. LOTS and LOTS of jellyfish. If you're visiting the area this summer, be forewarned. They were in the water at the Fort Morgan area by the dozens the entire time we were there.

They didn't stop the kiddos from boogey-boarding though!

We took the ferry over to Dauphin Island one afternoon and got caught in a big old thunderstorm!

And we toured the actual Civil War era Fort Morgan too. Very cool.

Cute little crabby fella.

And my little sunshine Lu turned 11 on the beach.

We're happy to be home!