Saturday, December 25, 2010

Under the Tree

Merry Christmas to all of you! I hope today is the source of treasured memories for each of you. Now for the goodies. What did Santa bring you? In addition to a minor family miracle last night, I was blessed enough to get a few sewing treats. First is fabric! After being defeated at Hancock, I took my valued 20% off everything to coupon to Jo-Ann and snagged this special occasion fabric, which was already 40% off.
I give equal praise and censure: I was pleasantly surprised when I went back to Hancock to get the patterns that were left out of my bag during the last visit. The new spring Simplicity patterns were in stock! From the new collection, I got 2257. This has happened to me before, but I end up seeing what I think are new patterns, but they aren't. I don't know how I missed these before, but I picked up 2373 and 2655. I've been looking at 2758 forever, but I didn't realize it was also a skirt pattern until recently (duh). Yep; I'm going to attempt more skirts in 2011. I talked myself out of 2451. It will be my treat when I lose weight.
There are a couple of things Santa and the elves didn't have time to get to my house, but I've been assured they are on the way: KS3380 from and red stretch velvet from Distinctive Fabric. 3380 I just looked out of the window and we have fresh snow for a white Christmas.
Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Let's Take It From The Top

So, umm ... yeah. It's back to the drawing board for NL6432. I've retaken all of my measurements and I'm getting some guidance from someone who knows what to do! Check out Patricia Schoeman at Perfect Sew & Fit if you ever have any fitting questions.  Send her a pic and she sends it back telling you what needs to be done and then walks you through how to do it. I would show you an example of her instructions, but it would be too painful ...

For now, I'll leave you with shots of the 'before' tissue. I added two more tucks for the sway back, which still don't look like enough. I added a back shoulder dart and adjust for my forward shoulders. We'll see what Patricia says.

I'm amused by how poorly the turtleneck fits. Hopefully, I'll learn how to make those too in 2011.  I'll worry about jeans later :-)

Happy holidays!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

How the Grinch Stole Christmas or $21 & Some Change

UPDATE:  Uggh!!!!! Would you believe after all that, the salesperson forgot to put the patterns in my bag?? I just called and they are still at the counter.

Hancock Fabrics, I have tried to love you. I put up with having to go to multiple locations to get my patterns because each store apparently gets only four of each in stock when the new ones come out. I make a little game out of it and think of it as the Great Pattern Hunt. I do this even when I know Jo-Ann is always well stocked and will honor your sales flier. I choose you for my Ponteroma knit, even though I could get it at Jo-Ann too (and they also have beautiful rayon knit jerseys, ITY and rib knits a you don't even bother to carry).

I like your value fabric, but don't you want to be more than that to me? Besides, and Fabric Mart have claimed more of my heart and wallet.  You're lucky that Discount Textile Warehouse is so inconvenient ... Let's not forget about Vogue and New Rainbow Fabric.

My point is I have options. I choose you even when I know I'll have to go to another store to get something else for the same project. That's what love does.

I've wanted your Kashmir Fleece for months. (It's a good thing I can see the colors online because no store seems to have the complete collection.)  It's $20/yard, which is why I've admired it from afar. How happy was I because it's 50% off until Christmas Eve?  And, thank you Jesus, I got a 20% off entire purchase coupon from Jo-Ann (includes sale and regular items). It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

I went through every coat and jacket pattern trying to find the right one for this fleece. I settled on New Look 6006 in either plum or rust. I couldn't wait to get to the store last night. I looked at every possible fabric that would make a cool lining for either color. Finally, I found it in the Kaleidoscope collection.

This was a big purchase for me; it takes a lot for me to pay more than $5/yd. I just don't have the sewing skills or money right now to roll with anything more.  But it's Christmas and I'm playing low-budget Santa for myself.  *Deep breath* Okay, since I'm here, let me get my other splurge fabric, stretch velvet, for Butterick 5562 View D. It was $9.09/yd.  Whew. I have a 20% coupon, so I better make it count, right? I looked at all the sale fabric to make sure I didn't miss anything. *Deep breath*  Let me get to the cutting counter before I lose heart.

To the register we go. With some regular fleece, patterns and thread thrown in, the subtotal is $108 something. (Let me point out that the Simplicity patterns were $2 each; I usually wait until they are 5 for $1.) $108? Am I crazy? Is this really how I want to spend my money -- on something I won't sew for a year? For real, I need a cake pan now and it's only $34. I could be using this money for gas ... BUT, it's my one gift to me this Christmas and I really, really, really like it. Deals like this don't come around that often. I'm so glad I have a 20%-off-entire-purchase coupon.

The sales person told me I qualified for $25 off my next purchase. I told her I had a 20% off coupon. The other salesperson overheard and said that I couldn't combine discounts. All I want is my coupon. The first lady tried to key it in and couldn't. She was new and thought that scanning it would work. Bless her heart. The other lady came over and tried. The register was only discounting one non-sale item, thread. I ask if they can enter flat dollar-off discounts. She says no.

She apologies for the wait. She picks up the phone and starts to franticly call store managers (There are now four impatient people behind me; I am chillin'.) She gets someone on the third try. "We aren't honoring the Jo-Ann 20%-off-the-entire-purchase coupon are we?"  Well, I guess not when you phrase it like that. This is also one of the locations that refused to allow me to use Jo-Ann's coupon's on patterns even before Jo-Ann changed the language on the coupons to exclude patterns.

I very calmly said, "You have made this very easy for me. Please cancel the transaction. I'll take the $3.99 fleece, patterns and a spool of thread. Here's another coupon for the thread." My new subtotal is $20.62. Here's what I left behind:

Unseen on the counter are also pieces of my heart and customer loyalty. See, I don't think you understood what you were up against. I chose fabric over a much-needed and long-awaited trip to the Norstrom make up counter. I chose you over EA Sports Active 2. I chose you over DVDs of movies I absolutely adore like North & South and the re-mastered Pride & Prejudice. I was willing to take public transit a little bit more and eat a little less fancy for this one last fabric splurge.

Oh, you didn't know this was going to be last you see of me for awhile? One of my New Year's resolutions is to stop "collecting" fabric. I will only buy fabric if it's needed for a project I'm actually working on. Given how long it takes me to complete anything and the stash I already have, it will be a long time before you see me browsing again. I wanted my last purchase to count, kinda like the last meal you eat before starting a diet. Oh well.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Dangerous Curves

Okay. I'm still working on the sway back adjustment for NL6432. I traced my back curve onto the garment. Yep, used a Sharpie. (Focus on the dominant line.)

After trying it on, I saw that I needed a straight seam from the end of my back instead of trying to sew a curve to fit my entire backside.

The concave portion of the curve matched my back perfectly. However, look at what happens above (and below) my waist!  My dress form still needs work, but that's a close approximation of what's happening on me.  I guess the good news is that I don't have the pooling at my waist ...

Okay curvy ladies. How do I sew a CB seam to work with what I've got going on?  Should I go back to the paper pattern and start over? Ugghh...

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Quick Note on Curves

I spent four+ hours fitting the coat yesterday.  They were a leisurely four hours, but I could have been putting up my Christmas tree with that time. I realized that the sway back adjustment I made to the pattern was no where close to being right. So I spent hours pinning and re-pining the garment on me to try and fix it.  I used my dress form to pin the side seams. Finally, I basted the new stitching lines and ... it was a total disaster. The side seams were fine but the center back wasn't even close.

Here's one of the pinning attempts. Now that I look at it, I probably should have stitched this one.

Then I had a late stroke of brilliance - use a flexible curve to get the shape of my back. By this time I was tired and frustrated so I did an initial tracing of the curve and drowned my sorrows in DVDs for the rest of the evening.

Here's what I got this morning:

I'm now adjusting the padding on Ruby so that she matches perfectly. I'm thinking that while I'm at it, I should probably add my forward shoulders to the dress form too.

So, no I still don't have a completed project, but I'm moving further in understanding sway back, which is really what's driving my desire to sew. I wish I would have thought of using a flexible curve when I padded my dress form last year.  I've decided I want a flexible ruler. The curve is nice, but I want the ruler markings.

Well, time to get ready for church. I was a member of Bedside Baptist last Sunday, so I need to get it gear this morning!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Book Review: New Complete Guide to Sewing

This is a wonderful general-reference sewing book.  In almost every chapter, there is a project for you to try. As contained in this edition, I found them useless because none were of anything I wanted to make.  The newer version will reference updated Simplicity patterns.  I'm still not certain if that's how people will use this book, but I'm not the publisher. When I'm working on a project I use this book to look up a technique.  It seems like Reader's Digest thinks you want to sew your way through the book.

With regard to content, the Stitches and Seams chapter is excellent. It helped me understand understitching and for that I am grateful. The section on fabrics is disappointing.  It's a fabric glossary with some pictures, but you have no idea what the pictured fabric is. There is a section on basic pattern alterations this is useful as a quick reference. The Tailoring chapter is pretty good. The book uses illustrations to show the techniques.

Here are all the chapters:

  • Sewing Equipment and Fabrics
  • Cutting
  • Stitches and Seams
  • Neckline Finishes and Collars
  • Waistlines and Belts
  • Sleeves and Sleeve Finishes
  • Pockets
  • Hems
  • Fastenings
  • Tailoring
  • Patchwork and Quilting

I also have The Complete Book of Sewing. The topics are similar (they are both references pieces).  However, I think the Reader's Digest versions goes into more thorough detail. I also think it is a bit more advanced. Together, both would take a beginning sewist to advanced techniques.

New Look 6432 Update

Hope your Thanksgiving was a blessed one! I took the week off, but I didn't make it to my sewing machine until late this afternoon. I've attached the facings and done the topstiching. In spite of my best understitching efforts, the facings still wanted to roll and it was driving me crazy. I had to do the topstitching tonight for my sanity. I'm still not 100% happy with what's going on where the facings and shoulder seams meet.

I'm about to take my seam rippers to bed with me and dismantle the side seams. Once I get those right, it's hemming, a button and *gasp* a buttonhole. Since I'm using fleece, I'm going to try this faux bound buttonhole method.

Today's progress has raised a couple of questions for me:

  1. Understitching:  If I turn all the seam allowances away from the garment and stitch perfectly in the seam using a stitch in the ditch foot, is that the same as understitching or do I need to be a millimeter or two away from the seam? Being even slightly outside the seam line looked horrible on my fleece.
  2. Please, please, please give me a link to a tutorial for trimming overlapping (or are they intersecting) seams. How exactly do you trim the neckline and shoulder seam allowances when you have facings? Mine are not pretty.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Work In Progress: New Look 6432

I've been working on this NL6432 coat for a couple of weekends.  I use the word coat lightly.  This is my first time using fleece and it has been an interesting adventure. I really want to press it! You'll see why in a second. I did (carefully) fuse knit interfacing to the shoulder seams.

The good news is I made my first cuff of any type. The big news is I set in my first sleeve and it came out perfectly.  Kudos to Ann for the great tutorial. I did alterations according to FFRP for my slightly round back and forward shoulders.

Now for the bad news:  This coat seems way too big. I started with a small and tapered to an XL.  I tried to take out the excess via the side seams, but that's not working out so well.  The left side is better than the right, but both need work.  I really struggle with side seams and my high hip.

The back pieces are joined with a single welt seam.  I did a sway back alteration and I don't know if this is the cause of the problem, but that seam is dead center and falls (sinks) most unattractively down my backside.    I'm assuming this wouldn't happen if the fabric were stiffer. Because of the drape, my "coat" feels like an overgrown cardigan.  I hope I feel better once I get the front facings in. I know that won't help with the CB seam, so I'm open to any and all suggestions...

I'm going to finish everything except the hemming before I work on those side seams, which in spite of my best efforts are still not straight.  The back pulls forward and I've got an extra fold of material in the front. Ugggh. I'm willing to stick with this until I get it right. I'm even willing to make this one over since I'm using Northern Lights fleece from Hancock and it's on sale.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Stuck Again

I posted this on Pattern Review as well. Help!! (Please)

There's been no sewing because I'm stuck again (and I spent last weekend making soups). How do you make a slightly round back adjustment when dealing with shoulder princess seams? 

Instead of adding a dart as suggested in FFRP for my slightly round back, I adjusted the back shoulder princess seams to take in the excess fabric. Now I realize that the back seams won't match the front seams. Even if I added a real dart and left the seams alone, the front and back seams still wouldn't match would they?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

New Patterns

McCall's and Kwik Sew have new patterns.  Here are my favorites:



KS3825.  It looks better with a print and no sleeves.

Here's where I'm torn, KS3826 and KS3823:


The dress looks horrible in the misses size, but the top looks great.  The plus-sized dress rocks, but the top looks terrible. I think I may have the best of both worlds because I'm misses up top and plus below :-)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

When Life Gives You Lemons, Make a Muslin

I have been working on V8699 for what seems like forever.  It's a Custom Fit, so no FBA needed and it came in a 24 for my hips. This was going to be easier to tackle.

Then came the dreaded sway back alteration.  I made a 2" wedge.  The side seams were straight and the CF matched mine. The round back alteration worked like a dream. Dealing with forward shoulders on a shoulder princess was no walk in the park, but I think I got it.  All of this was done on Swedish tracing paper.

I whipped out my prized ponteroma knit and began cutting.  I made it to the sewing machine, knocked out the staystitching and basted the top together. Tried to get fancy and add clear elastic to the shoulders, but I did it wrong. No biggie.

I anxiously tried on the top this morning. Y'all know what I forgot to do? Pay attention to the placement of the front princess seams.  They were INCHES away from my apex; waaaay too close to the side seams.  Wait, I forgot about how I didn't actually complete the round back alteration.  I made the dart, but forgot to widen the back shoulder. I would have been able to save the top if it wasn't for that.

Oh well. I have a nice stash of ponteroma here and there's plenty more at Hancock. When I replace this fabric, I'll get to use less because the View B tunic is not the look for me. I knew better! I've been reading The Science of Sexy (I'll review it later) and I fully agreed that pear-shaped women should not wear long tops. But I really liked the shaped hem on the tunic. Lesson learned. I'll be making the View A top with long sleeves.

All is not lost because I'm continuing to fit my 'new' muslin. I'm happy with the front and lower back. I added a CB seam for my sway back. I've had to take even more length out.

I think I've had enough for today.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Vision Statement: How This First Lady Moves Markets

Head over and check out the analysis on how The First Lady's fashion choices affect clothing companies' stock prices.

BTW, I've been attempting to sew.  I'm baffled by the sway back alteration.  How do you take out inches when there is no CB seam????

Saturday, October 2, 2010

New Simplicity Patterns

The Simplicity Winter 2010 collection is here.  There's only one in the group that made my list. Since it's a jacket, I'm thinking 2012!

Isn't View A with the ribbon pretty? I like the Chanel-like zippered View D too. Even better is that multiple cup sizes are included in the pattern.

Misses' & Miss Petite Jacket

Friday, October 1, 2010

Book Review: Jackets For Real People

Of the Fit For Real People Series, this is the most difficult of the three books.  Perhaps rightfully so because a tailored jacket is a much a much more difficult garment. However, this book works hard to make the process more understandable. Early on, the book devotes a few pages to defining tailoring. Now, you know what you're in for! To increase your chances of success, the book suggests you divide the process of making a jacket into four blocks of time:

  • Planning and Fitting
  • Cutting Marking, Applying Interfacing and Pinning the Pieces into a ready-to-fit position
  • Sewing and Pressing
  • Finishing
The fabrics chapter is very informative. It's a fabric glossary with suggestions as to which fabrics are easiest and those that are not the fastest to sew. The section on appropriate seam finishes was helpful.

Chapter 4 is all about shaping fabrics. It defines lining, interfacing, underlining and interlining. It's mostly devoted to the discussion of interfacing. Surprise! There's a recommendation to use Perfect Fuse interfacing. 

Chapter 6 covers pressing. The fitting discussion starts happening in Chapter 7. The real how-to begins in Chapter 9, Cutting Marking and Interfacing.

The next few chapters break down fitting and construction according to the various pieces of the garment:
  • Jacket Front
  • Back and Under Collar
  • Sleeves, Shoulder Pads and Chest Shaping
  • Facing, Upper Collar, Lining and Hems
  • Bagging a Lining
  • Buttonholes
  • More Pockets
  • Mitered Back Vent
  • Finishing Touches

The remaining chapters are:
  • Tips That Will Improve All of Your Sewing
  • Plaids and Stripes
  • Men's Jackets
This book would be an excellent addition to any sewing library. It provides a wealth of information. There's an in-depth knowledge here that you won't get from the tailoring chapter in a general-reference sewing book. I'm glad I made the purchase.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

A Different Approach

The new Vogue patterns are out.  Thanks Erica! Although I really like the first two below, I'm not getting them anytime soon. Victoria mentioned it first and I agree -- I have to stop buying every pattern I think is cute (fabric too).  It would be different if I was churning out a garment every weekend, but that's so not the case right now.

Anyhoo. Here are the patterns I've mentally filed away until a need arises for them:

V8694                                     V8702

Now, I probably do need a new scarf, but I can't see myself sewing it when I could be working on pants, skirts or tops.

Here are the two that made it to the buy now list:
V8699                                          V8685

You can see them all here.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Book Review: Fit For Real People

Update:  Okay, so I made a mistake and published three book reviews on the same day. I meant to space these out, but I forgot to go back and check when they were scheduled to publish. Oh well. Enjoi!

This is a must-have book.  Like others, I read it from cover to cover.  This brings me to my first minor complaint. Perhaps it was information overload, but I wish this was a little better organized.  After reading Fitting and Pattern Alteration: A Multi-Method Approach to the Art of Style Selection, Fitting, and Alteration (2nd Edition), I really appreciate how "clean" the layout is and how the information is organized.  This book reads like a conversation, which is great when you are reading it all the way through, but challenging when you're using it as a reference book.

Back to the must-have part.  FFRP uses the slash method of alterations. This book gives a lot of detail on how to do the alterations.  As a beginner, I find this very helpful.  The book covers alterations for the back; neck and chest; bust, shoulders and armholes; sleeves; and the waist, hips, tummy and thighs. There's an entire chapter on darts.  I love that in some instances (I wish all), the book tells you the maximum amount you can adjust.

There are separate books dedicated to fitting pants and jackets, so you will find very little help on fitting those garments here.  I prefer the pictures in The Perfect Fit: The Classic Guide to Altering Patterns to the illustrations here, but the drawings work.

I usually take issue with people telling me what the ideal is (especially if they use that word) in terms of what looks good.  I think that's really based on culture and even age. Needless to say, I have to ignore some advice in this book, like how the aesthetically pleasing proportions determined by the Greeks apply to skirt length. (Seriously?) I dare you to say that Serena Williams or Beyonce can't wear mini skirts because they have big legs.

Bad fashion advice aside, this book is an excellent resource for alterations.  The Sewing Techniques that Affect Fit chapter is a great bonus.

Book Review: The Perfect Fit

Update:  Okay, so I made a mistake and published three book reviews on the same day. I meant to space these out, but I forgot to go back and check when they were scheduled to publish. Oh well. Enjoi!

Of my many alteration books, this is the one of two that has a no-dart FBA.  That's worth five stars by itself.  (The other no-dart method uses the pivot and slide technique.)The instructions in this book are very clear.  It isn't a comprehensive guide to every alteration, but the ones it does include are covered well.  Very clear pictures detail the steps.  For each alteration, there are instructions for a minor and major adjustment. What I love most about this book is that it tells you the max amount of length or width you can add for some of the alterations. Seems like few other authors thought this was important.  I just realized this is a revised edition of the old Singer Sewing Reference Library books, which explains why it's so easy to understand.

The Analyzing Your Shape section is okay.  I don't agree with all of the "fitting goals."   For example, if you have a small waist *one hand raised as I type* the fitting goal is, "Unless hips are full and out of proportion to small waist, draw attention to the waist." Puh-lease. I am a very pear-y black woman.  I'm required to draw attention to my small waist.  My goal is to create a closet full of A-line halter dresses with midriff rouching :-) When will the world become more inclusive when it comes to fashion and figures?

Here's what's covered:
  • Sloping shoulders
  • Square shoulders
  • Narrow shoulders
  • Broad shoulders
  • Forward thrust shoulders
  • Neckline too high
  • Neckline too low
  • Neckline too wide
  • Neckline too narrow
  • High bust
  • Full bust
  • Gaping Armhole
  • Small bust
  • Narrow back
  • Broad back
  • Rounded back + Extremely high rounded back
  • Full upper arm
  • Thin upper arm
  • Sleeve length adjustments
  • Small waist
  • Large waist
  • Prominent abdomen
  • Flat abdomen
  • Swayback (skirts)
  • Waist & Hip adjustments on gored skirts
  • Full hips
  • Small hips
  • One high hip
  • Full abdomen (pants)
  • Swayback (pants)
  • Full seat (pants)
  • Flat seat (pants)
  • Full thighs (pants)
  • Full inner thighs (pants)
  • Full outer thighs (pants) 
  • Thin thighs
  • Pants length adjustments

The last chapter is about fine tuning the fit of pleats, darts, shoulder pads and scooping curved seams.

The pictures are a bit dated, but the info is timeless. I have no regrets about the purchase.

Book Review: Pants For Real People

Update:  Okay, so I made a mistake and published three book reviews on the same day. I meant to space these out, but I forgot to go back and check when they were scheduled to publish. Oh well. Enjoi!

This is my favorite of the Palmer/Pletsch books, probably because pants are where my fitting issues are the greatest! This book is a godsend. It's where I start when I think about pants.

I even enjoy the front matter in this book. Chapter 3 has good information on fabric choices. As a beginning sewist, I found it very useful. However, the good stuff really starts in Chapter 6.

Chapter 6 is where you begin the tissue fitting process. The chapter also contains a summary of the common pants alterations. I'm still fuzzy on altering for crotch depth vs. crotch length, but I'll get it eventually.  In Chapter 7, you fit the fabric.

One of the really cool things about the book is that it covers different types of pants including trousers, pull on pants (knit and woven), jumpsuits and jeans. There's also information on pants for men and alterations for weight change:-)  Additionally, there are dedicated chapters for darts; zippers; waistbands; belt loops; pockets; hems and cuffs; and lining and underlining. There's even information on proper pressing.

I find the examples of fitting real people aren't that useful. They are before and after shots of models in unaltered and altered tissue and fabric. I would rather have close-ups of the tissue alterations, like in The Perfect Fit: The Classic Guide to Altering Patterns.

This is a very comprehensive book on pants fitting, alterations and construction.  It's a must-have is you have any issues with pants. It's well worth the purchase price.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Save My Shirt & My Sanity

This is the next installment of posts where I give a desperate cry for help! This is for KS3740. It's a knit top with no center back seam.

Issue #1:  Do I have a round back? I know you can't see me, but the pattern falls away from my neck. I do have rounded shoulders. There's also a gap at the back armhole.

I know this is gonna sound crazy, but could my butt (ha ha) and sway back be part of the problem?  Could the curve from the top of my rear to my waist be so severe that it causes the pattern to hang differently at the neckline?  I realized my dress form needs some work because the top is much shorter on me.  Anyhoo. Can you kinda see how the top stands away from Ruby's rear? By the way, she is wearing my Burda 8629 muslin. This twill is now a muslin because I didn't realize there wasn't a nap layout. Live and learn.

Okay. Does it really take this many tucks for my sway back or am I doing something wrong?

How on earth am I going to true this (Issue #2)? Seriously. How do you suggest I true it? Do you see the new grainline in green? Next to the original, it looks like a dart! The wonky center back I'm sure contributes to the issue at the neckline, but I have that problem when I try on unaltered tissue.

The top is supposed to be close fitting. Do I have it pinned too tight?

Back to the truing. the vertical green line you see at the neckline is what hangs over the ruler when I compare the top edge of the pattern to the bottom edge. (I think I measured it right.) When I fold the pattern under along that line, the pattern sits flat against my back.

Please help.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Feeling better ...

I've been a wee bit frustrated lately, especially this morning. I took a break from the skirt to work on a quick top to wear with it. Kwik Sew 3740 has been an UFO for quite a while.

I'd completed a high round back alteration, knocked out a sway back dart and an FBA. I still had this gigantic wrinkle going diagonally across the back from the armhole. I added tissue to the side seams at the hip and that went away. (Happy happy joy joy!)

I thought I was ready to work on my forward shoulder adjustment and then it would be all good. Depending on how I pull and tug at this muslin (and the previous ones), there is excess tissue underneath my shoulder blade. The tissue gapes and falls away from my back. Patricia over at Perfect Sew & Fit looked at another muslin and thought it was because of a rounded back (hence the high round back adjustment).

When I did the forward shoulder adjustment (almost 3/4"), all hell broke loose! New wrinkles. New tightness! A gap at the back armhole. Grrrr! I was beyond frustrated. Woe is me. I'll never get this right. Why is my body so deformed??!

Then, I decided to just "make it work." I unpinned my forward shoulder adjustment and used the original stitching lines. I pinched out the excess fabric and the top fit much better. However the neckine was nowhere near my neck. When I thought about it, it made sense. This dart took out almost an inch and even more of was taken out for the sway back. All I'd have to do is figure out how to add the length in the right place. I consulted Fitting & Pattern Alteration. Looks like there's an alteration for a high neck base. I'll also have to go back and make the proper adjustment for the upper back instead of using that dart. I think it's the alteration for short shoulder blades.

I left home for work frustrated and regretting that I didn't have a completed muslin. Later in the morning, it dawned on me that I learned something new and I was well on my way to fixing the next problem. What an accomplishment for the morning! I feel better now:-)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Chance to Win $20 Jo-Ann Gift Card

Slipstitches is giving away a $20 Jon-Ann's gift certificate to a lucky reader. Please check out her blog. This blog has great tutorials and most recently has been providing a marathon of sewing tips.

Enjoy the reading & good luck!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Little Things

You may find dust in my house, but you will not find the things I love thrown about willy nilly.  I do not love to clean house.  Now once I get started, I love the smell of lemon, pine and almond.  (The key is once I get started.)  What I will do, with my OCD self, is organize and catalog the hell out of stuff.  You should know by because of my swatch cards.  I have spreadsheets that track the contents of my sewing magazines, completed projects and WIP.  My SWAPs are PDF documents; you get the picture.
What I had been struggling with was a way to organize the small stuff you use frequently in your sewing room.  I looked at sewing baskets and I wasn't happy with what I saw.  I'm so glad I found this tote; it's almost perfect. Because of it's height, it can sit right behind my sewing machine and still be easily accessible.
What I like most, aside from the obvious portability, is the size. The three trays allow for organizing a lot of things. Mine hold sewing machine presser feet, buttons organized by color and fasteners. (My gripe is that although you can divide the trays into 36 compartments each, they don't give you enough dividers to do so.)
The slots on the side hold all of the tools I need easy access to -- five scissors, a seam ripper, thread nippers and sewing gauge. The handles of the scissors tend to turn in ways that keep the lid from closing easily. It takes a little adjusting, but it does close. Because of this, I keep it open during my sewing weekends. I close it during the week.
I thought the top compartment could have been organized a bit better, but I'm making do. I added the Sew-Lutions Bobbin & Supply Box. It fits nicely and rounds out the tote's functionality. It sits on top of randomly thrown in pin boxes, a rotary cutter and other misc. items. I'm glad I bought the Bobbin and Supply Box because it gave me the extra dividers I needed for the tote's three trays.

The box is constructed of durable hard plastic. What surprised me was the cheap, flimsy plastic used to for the bobbin tray. It's the same type of plastic used in packaging curling irons and some toys -- the stuff that's hard to cut open and usually scratches you at least twice.

The bobbin tray is poorly designed. The wells that hold the bobbins aren't deep enough. You can easily tip all of the bobbins over. Although the bobbin try sits flush on its own, when you put it in the box, it only sits evenly when the pin strip is toward the back of the box. The tray tilts when you put the pin strip toward the front. This means that you have to reach over bobbins to use the pin strip. Not a good proposition when it's so easy to knock the bobbins over. 

Sew-Lutions Bobbin & Supply Box 6911AB
I'm glad I purchased this bobbin box because I needed it to increase the functionality of the tote. Together, it's a great combo. If I didn't have the tote, I would have purchased the plain bobbin box and some type of cup to hold things like marking pens and tracing wheels.