Saturday, September 28, 2013

Quick Skirt Day, Simplicity 4881

Twinkies!  Simplicity 4881


My skirt - Simplicity 4881 (View A) with Simplicity 2449 waistband.  Simplicity 4881 is a great simple skirt pattern for a skirt with only side seams.  Due to the print, I didn't want it broken into too many pieces.  
My daughter's skirt came about when I found I had about 15" of fabric left after my skirt.  So, I took the 15" and gathered it and coverstitched it to a black elastic that I purchased from Sew It Up.  The black elastic waistband was a great quality. I simply flat felted the seam of the elastic and added the gathered skirt.


Rayon print from High Fashion Fabrics in Downtown Houston.  I was the first to buy off the bolt a few weeks ago.  I ran by there today for a few other items and this bolt is GONE.

Construction Hint

Rayon is a wonderful drapy fabric. but keeping it aligned on the cutting table can be tricky.  To make life easy, I laid out my butcher paper.  Pinned the fabric to the butcher paper.  Cut out the front of the skirt.  Did not unpin anything.  Moved the sandwich of butcher paper, fabric and pattern piece to where I wanted to cut the back.  I could then line up the prints without chasing the fabric all over the cutting table because the butcher paper gave me stability.  Cut out matching pieces in about 10 minutes.

Waistband from Simplicity 2449

My daughter's skirt with black elastic waistband.

PS - My daughter really liked this skirt.  All her friends dress in polyester.  The cute cottons are starting to bother her.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

My Fit Journey

All master skills are a journey, not a weekend class.  Fitting garments is a journey for me.  I have not arrived, yet.  The last few weeks have been a leap forward on the journey.

Fitting Fallacies I have heard. Learned through experience they are not completely correct:

  • Find the right size pattern, most sew the wrong size.  
  • All patterns from the same company will fit once you find the company that is most like you.  
  • Once you find the correct alteration, you will do the same one on each garment.
My frustration reached an all time high recently with a simple top that I could not fit in the sleeves.  I started with my normal size 14, but it was larger than a maternity top.  So, down to a 12 and still fit issues.  That lead to a little more research and the idea of remaking a muslin sloper.  It really was an experience from, "If you give a Mouse a Cookie."  One thing led to another and before you know it, I had some great answers.

High points on my recent fit journey:
  • Moulage = skin measurements = skin tight garment
  • sloper = moulage plus enough room to move
  • pattern = sloper plus design ease to make a fashionable garment
So, coming up with my sloper would give me a visual picture in pattern form of what I look like.
  • I redrafted my Vogue 1004 sloper about 6 times before I was satisfied with the fit.
This is the HARDEST part, coming up with a good sloper.  After I finished this trick, I found Kenneth King's "The Moulage" CD, which could  have made this process easier.  To help me through this phase I relied on some handy resources.  
  • Fit for Real People by Pati Palmer and Marta Alto
  • Fitting and Pattern Alteration by Liechty, Rasband, and Steineckert
I found through this process that I have:
  • slopping shoulders
  • one shoulder slopping 1" more than the other
  • miraculously, both shoulders are the same width
  • full bust
  • near normal waist and hips for a size 14
  • forward rotated shoulders
  • rounded upper back
  • lower shoulder needs more height due to being thick......who would have thought 
  • outward rotated elbows
My crazy shoulder outline

Now, it would be lovely if someone would catalog all the adjustments in one place. Currently, you must shuffle through all your fit books to figure out the why's and how's.

So, now I have my sloper drawn on tissue paper.  I added the seam allowances.  Through all this research I found an old article in Threads on using your sloper for altering commercial patterns.  This led to Lynda Maynard's CD De-Mystifying Fit.  (Highly recommend her products.)

So, if you followed the "If  you Give a Mouse a Cookie" trail through this, you will see I have a sloper and the tools to alter commercial patterns before I cut my first muslin.  

What I did with my new knowledge and tools:

I had on my cutting table a knit dress that I had constructed before.  It didn't have a lot of fit issues, but I wanted a garment that I could wear all day and not pull or tug it back into position after I moved around.  

So, Butterick B5778:
I marked the bust point on the pattern and a vertical matching spot on front and back.  This pattern is above the waist.  To have enough height to reach my shoulder, I added about 1".  I added it to the bust, since I know this is a B cup pattern.
This pattern has three pieces across the front, so each had to be adjusted in height.  You can see where the bottom dart matches my sloper.

The back was too short.  I added the 1" plus a little more for the rounded back.    I ended up cutting off a little in the back during construction.  
I hope you can see the crazy shape I have on this sleeve cap.  It solves the forward rotating shoulder issue.  I moved the center top mark to match my center top mark on the muslin.  

My Results

I used all the length adjustments and shoulder adjustments from my sloper to the Butterick pattern.  Since I had made this dress before, I knew the width was not an issue.  I did take off a little of the shoulder length, so the sleeve looked correct.  This pattern has an off the shoulder sleeve, but it also was a shaped sleeve.  It looked so dorky.

Wow!  So glad I chased that mouse!
This dress fits wonderfully.  I wore it all day and never pulled or repositioned it.  
People wanted to know how much weight I had lost!  None, just found that clothes fit better when the bust, waist, and hips are where they belong!

Butterick B5778
The results were fabulous!
Back view of B5778

Can't wait to work on a few more projects using this information!!!  The fit tools I learned still do not let you skip making a muslin, but you will be so much happier with your first try!

PS - My daughter is in the middle of her gymnastics season.  A few pics from the last few weeks.

Mary Lou Retton handing out medals.  She won Olympic Gold 20 years before my daughter was born.   My daughter had to have a detailed explanation of who this was to fully appreciate the moment.
A beautiful cartwheel handstand on beam.

A happy third place all around finish!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

CC Jacqueline

Children's Corner's Jacqueline

Jacqueline from Children's Corner
This pattern is the perfect mix between sweet girl and growing up girl.  The dress is fitted, but not skin tight.  The armholes are large, but not too large.  

quilting cotton from Buttons n Bows
(can't remember the manufacturer)
green whip stitch piping 
white pique for the bodice neckline

Followed the pattern exactly

My daughter's comments:

My comments:
REALLY!  It is so cute! 

My daughter's reasoning:
I don't like blue or green.  The dress doesn't have any sleeves. 

My thoughts:
I am going to "work" with my daughter on future dresses and pray her dislike of blue and green fade over the winter.  I made this dress a size 10, so she can wear it next year!

Sleeve Detail
Bodice Close-up

Jacqueline back view

Monday, September 16, 2013

Shirred Elastic Top, New Look 6870

New Look 6870 in black textured lawn and shirred neckline


New Look 6870, View B


black textured lawn

Construction Details:

I followed the pattern exactly until I came to the neckline.  Since I was to teach a shirring class for my local SAGA group, I used that technique on this top.  The neckline fabric edge was serged with a rolled hem and then I added 3 rows of elastic shirring.  There are many great tutorials on shirring on the internet, so just Google search "elastic shirring."  I prefer to use my coverstitch machine to do elastic shirring.  A serger with coverstitch options will work also.  This eliminates winding bobbins and goes very quickly.  

I love this top in the Houston heat!  

Sunday, September 8, 2013

CC Babs, End of Summer Sewing

CC Babs

This dress was finished before the "white shoe ban" of Labor Day.  My daughter is very frustrated by this rule of Southern etiquette.  In her opinion, I haven't stated a good enough reason to shelf her white sandals.  It is hard to imagine fall coming when the temperature hasn't been below 80 degrees in weeks.  

Babs by Children's Corner
published in 1997

from my stash Lecien Fabrics (I think)
White petite piping

Construction and Fit:
Easy dress to construct, even with miles of white piping.  
The fit is a little off in the back.  Elastic is added to the area under the buttons.  My daughter needs either elastic across the whole back or darts in the back.  Since I am shelving her white shoes, I plan to shelf the dress and see how much she grows through the winter.  

Square Neckline of Babs

Cute back to Babs