Saturday, December 14, 2013

Wish list

It is still called a list if there is only one item?  This is it, my whole wishlist for my birthday in January, a good dressform.  My sewing room hasn't had a dressform for almost three years now and I miss this useful tool.  I featured "Matilda" in previous posts, quite a while ago, and while she did a good job for an old rickety lady I always wished for something more sturdy.  So, when I moved across the country Matilda did not go with me, instead she found a new home where I hope she continues to be loved and appreciated, and my plan was to buy a new form.  Now it's time!

I have been eyeing this dressform at The Shop Company for some months now.  The price is good, much more tolerable than another popular brand.  The fabric is not real linen but some faux linen canvas that is probably a cotton poly blend.  This form is not fully pinnable meaning you can't stick straight in like a pincushion but pins can go in at an angle to a certain degree.  Well, Matilda wasn't pinnable at all really since I could sort of push pins into the surface at an angle with difficulty and have them mostly stay.  Partially pinnable will be a huge improvement.

I'm looking forward to having a standard sized dressform in current numbers so I can try out a pattern drafted to standard size and see how the garment works on a body.  Knowing how a pattern fits a standard size helps me see if that pattern actually makes a decent garment and what alteration I need to do to have it fit me.  The key there is knowing how my body differs from the standard size and proportions.

Since I started oogling the above pictured form at The Shop Company they have added an even more affordable model with removable magnetic shoulders.  What a good idea!  I think I still want the collapsible shoulder one though.

Lots to do between now and January and not much of it sewing related.  I'm planning to spend more time in my sewing room after the holidays.  It's cold here in January and February, good time to sew.  And snowshoe. :-)

Friday, July 12, 2013

And more for less

Filigree Paisley Cotton Lawn for $16 plus shipping at Marcy Tilton.  Or,

Kimono Voile Paisley Dream Purple at for $8.98, add a coupon of at least 15% off and free shipping possible.

This spring I got a yard of the "voile" (lawn is a better description) and made a bias top.  I love the colors and the fabric is nice but it is not $16 fabric by any means.  I really like supporting the small independent fabric vendors but what's a budget conscious gal supposed to do when this kind of thing keeps popping up?

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Knit top using New Look 6108

New Look 6108, view C, in a soft rayon knit from Gorgeous Fabrics sewn for Ms E, a twenty something friend.  

I made a quick muslin of this in a drapey black matte jersey and thought it looked strange as in how can this possibly look good on a body.  I was actually kind of stunned when Ms E tried on the muslin and it was perfect.  And flattering.  I hemmed the muslin and she likes it and wears it as well.   

No changes were made to the pattern for fit.  The front has a facing or half lining that covers the bust area which eliminates the need for finishing the front neckline and arm holes.  The back is supposed to have some kind of binding but I simply folded over the edges and coverstitched.  

It is such a pleasure when a pattern works.  The pieces fit together and the resulting garment is wearable and flattering.  I might have to make more of these tops.  One for DD in an ITY jersey sounds good.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A skirt from My Image Magazine

A new skirt from the dutch pattern magazine My Image.  I sewed M1103 from the Spring/Summer 2011 issue.  It was high time I quit sewing the same old same old skirt, the paneled Vogue pattern skirt that took quite a bit of time to sew and 2 1/4 yards 58" fabric minimum.  This My Image skirt took much less time to sew and uses just barely over 1 yard of 58" fabric.  Of course I did my usual and used a knit with a designed for woven pattern.

I like to start with a size or two smaller than my size when I use a woven pattern and sew it in a knit.  The My Image size chart says I would use a size 40 and since this particular pattern only goes down to a size 38 that is what I used to make a muslin in a woven.  The muslin fit, maybe a little too body skimming but it did skim, not hug.  Hmm, no smaller size to use and with all those panels I knew I did not have the patience to try to size it down.   I decided to sew it anyway in the 38, I really liked the effect of the panels.  The result is maybe a bit loose but it still fits well enough to make me happy.  

The back hem of the skirt is longer than the front.  This I had to think about for a while since I wasn't sure I liked that look.  The phrase "mullet skirt" came to mind.  It is a couple of inches above the knee in the front and just grazes the bottom of the knee area at the back. It grew on me this high low concept and I kept the feature instead of evening out the hem.

I found it interesting that there is very little shaping happening in the panel seams around the hips.  This made the panels pretty easy to sew together.

A few changes were made to the pattern to make this better in a knit.  
  • The center back seam which would accommodate a zipper was eliminated.  It was a ruler straight seam with no shaping.  
  • The back darts were eliminated and side seams above the side panels were shaved off and shaped a bit to take care of the then missing darts' shaping.  
  • I added two or so inches to the top so I could use an elastic waist finish in place of the waistband of the pattern.
The hem is about 1/2 inch folded under, pressed, and coverstitched which worked well to handle the curved edge.

The fabric is a bamboo/cotton/lycra french terry from Vogue Fabrics.  It is a lovely soft french terry with just enough body to make a non clingy skirt.

My Image has a nice website where you can browse the magazines.  I ordered the current issue and a pack of three back issues from the site which arrived from the Netherlands within two weeks.  I like the styles, they are on the casual side and remind me of my favorite danish Onion patterns.

I leave you with a screenshot of the magazine page (full magazine here) zoomed in on the skirt where you can see the nice side panel.  The shape of this panel really helps the high low hemline work.  The impression from the side view is a natural hem slope instead of a "who forgot to hem the back of the skirt" thing.  

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Altering my way back to start

A cotton jersey top.  It's a comfortable fit scoop neck tee with bell sleeves.

Now this could have been an easy and quick project but, no, I had to go about it in a most time consuming way.  The story starts with KwikSew 3295 (now apparently out of print).  Last year I tried the top in a woven making the bust area smaller and experimenting with a center back seam for shaping.  After a few muslins I decided a woven top was not for me, at least not in the cotton lawn I was considering, so the project got put aside in spite of the several days I had invested in the process.

Then one day months later I thought of the sleeves and how I liked the bell shape.  I wondered how those would work in a knit.  I pulled out the KwikSew pattern I had already altered to fit and decided to make it work for a knit.  I removed the darts and took out a bit of width in the center front and center back.  There were a few fiddly alterations at the shoulder and front armscye that I don't remember the details of but they took more time.

I traced a fresh pattern of what I had created through my alterations and stepped back to look.  Omigosh, it looked so familiar, what was it?  I thought for a while and then remembered one of my favorite patterns ever that I have made nearly a dozen times, Onion 5025 (also appears to be no longer available).

Placing my overly altered KwikSew pattern on top of the Onion pattern I saw they were nearly identical!  All that time I has spent altering and muslining the KwikSew, more days in the sewing room that I care to admit, and I just end up right where I should have started, sigh.  Moral of the story:  productive time in the sewing room does not include reinventing the wheel over and over.

The top got sewn in spite of my foolish activities with the pattern and I like the result.  I wanted to have a somewhat less than plain binding at the neckline and sleeve hem so I placed a folded strip of the fabric on the inside under the raw edge and sewed with the cover stitch machine from the front.  This was completed back in the fall and the funny thing is after all that I went through to create the top I have yet to wear it.

The fabric, unlike the patterns, is still available.   Hart's Fabrics  Plum Jersey  Soft and light but far from sheer, a lovely tee shirt fabric.