Sunday, June 20, 2010

Skirt iteration, V2704

A few years ago I sewed the skirt of Vogue NY/NY pattern 2704, now out of print, and it became my all time favorite skirt pattern. It's a swirl skirt with pattern pieces that look like this.

Five panels that hug the hips and flare at the knees in a fun flippy way. My first try in a rayon challis looked like this. One of the panels has a longer bottom piece which creates the dip in the front hem.

I have lost count of how many times I have sewn this pattern since that first success. The second time I sewed it I also used a rayon challis and it was pretty much the same.

Then I started adding a lining. A single layer of fabric sticks to bare legs in Virginia summer weather so a lining actually makes the skirt cooler to wear. Cotton voile or batiste makes a good lining. I also eliminated the dip in the hem because if the skirt twiddled around the dip ended up wherever and wasn't a good style element anymore.

Then I got sick of the zipper, tired of sewing it in and tired of feeling it against my skin in the heat. So I started making the skirt in light weight cotton lycra knits, serging the seams and applying an elastic waist. Perfect!

Now I am once again sewing this pattern this time in a rayon batik, an impulse purchase at a local independent. The lining is a rayon voile, a nice combination with the batik. The best part about this skirt iteration is using the invisible zipper foot that I finally got for my Viking 950s.

It's like magic. I thought I was doing well enough with my pintuck foot using the grooves to guide the invisible zipper, hah, how wrong I was. This invisible zipper foot makes it all sooooo much easier. It's so easy and nice that I don't even mind the fact that (due to poor planning on my part) I have to take out the zipper in my skirt project and install it again.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Adding length at side seam - pants

Length can be added to the side at the hip area of a pants pattern by opening a small horizontal wedge. This will also shift the center back seam to a more vertical position.

1. First place a ruler along the center back seam and extend the line downwards a bit. This will show the point where the center back seam starts to curve. From that point, which I call the "turning point", draw a horizontal line over to the side seam. (This line will be parallel to the crotch line and perpendicular to the grain line.)

2. Cut the pattern along this horizontal line leaving a "hinge" just at the turning point. Open a small wedge. Very little is actually necessary to create a pretty big change so make this wedge small. A 1/2 inch opening at the side seam is a significant but reasonable alteration. How wide to make this opening of course depends on the body shape one is fitting. It is best to err on the side of too little at first as too much will generate a pattern that will produce new horrible fitting problems.

3. Opening the wedge has changed the angle of the center back seam. If a line is again drawn using a straight edge along the center back seam this shift will be obvious visually on the altered pattern. The grain line of the upper hip will need to be redrawn which is done by simply extending the line of the lower part of the pattern upwards.

What about the front of the pattern? With a small alteration I find that the extra length can be added to the top of the front pattern's side seam. For my body shape I add at the top and curve down to center front of the original pattern. The side seam curves are then compared and made similar and smooth.