Wednesday, June 30, 2010

It's Here! It's Here!

Fitting and Pattern Alteration: A Multi-Method Approach to the Art of Style Selection, Fitting, and Alteration (2nd Edition)I finally bit the bullet and ordered Fitting and Pattern Alteration: A Multi-Method Approach to the Art of Style Selection, Fitting, and Alteration (2nd Edition).  Y'all know I've been struggling with fit issues.  I just didn't want to fork over almost $100 for a book.  Well ... after glancing through it, it's worth the investment.  It's gonna make great bedtime reading for many nights to come.

I'll do a full book review shortly.  In the meantime, I can say that this covers all my adjustments except for those on wrap tops and skirts :-(

Monday, June 28, 2010

Butterick 3526 Unwrapped

Well, I finished the skirt!  Just in time, well actually a little late. I missed the sound check, but I made it in time to sing with the choir.

It's all about fit.  I got the hips perfect and the butt was really close.  Where I fell off was the waist.  No matter how I tried, I couldn't get it small enough.  At the 11th hour, I came up with a new design element - an asymmetrical wrap skirt!  (Necessity and desperation are the mothers of invention.) I was able to get the waist tight enough and it gave me more length in the front (advantageous when sitting in an elevated choir stand).  I actually like the way it looks.

I added a snap to the front and tacked the skirt in place.  I think the left side looks really cool.

The choir's uniform was a summer color blouse and denim skirt.  I wanted either orange or pink.  I decided to get my shoes from eBay and I figured orange would be easier to match than pink (how wrong I was.)

Aren't these cute?

Shout out to Sears for the only orange shirt I could find within the State Street shopping area.  Who knew coral would be more popular than orange right now?  I needed it in medium, but all they had was a small.  I went online and searched at every Sears. Small was the only size left in Chicagoland!

I don't know if this was the right thing to do, but for seaming, I used a heavy duty C&C thread.  None of the denim threads on the market were dark enough.  The fabric was a stretch denim, so I used a 90/14 stretch needle.  Why aren't there there any 16/100 or 18/110 stretch needles?

The topstitching was no problem; I used two strands of orange thread and a topstiching needle.  There are maybe five places on the entire skirt where one of the threads wasn't pulled tight enough in the stitch.  I wonder if it's because of the stretch fabric.

Anyhoo, I'll keep adjusting this pattern until I get it right.  I'd like to have this in khaki and black denim (both without the asymmetry).  I'll be on the lookout for a dark wash denim in a lighter weight too.  Three should get me through the summer and my choir needs.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Butterick 3526

I know I've been quiet.  It hasn't been because a lack of activity.  It is a lack of understanding how to fit myself.  I have about seven patterns traced and in some stage of alteration. Most were thrown to the side when I got stumped on a fitting issue.  There go the maxi dresses I planned to wear on vacation :-(

I decided I was going to go back to what I could kinda get right -- knit tops.  I was in the process of making KS3740 as a tank with a cowl neck, until I found out that my June 27 choir uniform was supposed to be a denim skirt and a shirt with at least 3/4 length sleeves.  This was June 19.  I figured I could make both.  (I know. I am completely delusional at times.)

The skirt I chose was B3526.  It was supposed to be very easy, there were no issues with it on pattern review and I already had the fabric.  Sold!!! I didn't get a lot done that weekend for various reasons.  Saturday wasn't much better.  But, I had Sunday and Monday to myself. Yep.  I took a day off work to sew.  (I usually skip church on Mother's Day and Father's Day.)

Good Lord!  How hard it is to fit me! What do you do when you have full thighs, hips, butt, sway back and a small waist?  I almost forgot about the high hip.

I spent a lot of time with three books:  The Perfect Fit: The Classic Guide to Altering PatternsFit for Real People: Sew Great Clothes Using ANY Pattern (Sewing for Real People series) and  Fast Fit.  I still struggled.  I did remember that I owned half-scale practice patterns (the one Sewing Expo I went to years ago).  Here's my first alteration attempt:

I have no idea if that would've worked or not!  I then decided to just add 1" seam allowances everywhere and see what happened.  Now, I've had Fit for Real People: Sew Great Clothes Using ANY Pattern (Sewing for Real People series) for a while.  For the first time, I finally saw the protruding butt adjustment on page 180!  I thought the only one was on the previous page.  Duh.  I decided to try the cut and spread adjustment on page 180 and add 1" to front piece's seams.

The butt adjustment worked wonders!  The back was now level! That was by the grace of God.  I had no scientific way of determining how much length to add.  I did manage to cut the pattern at the fullest part of my rear.

Smooth sailing from here, right?  Heck no!  Apparently I added way to much in the butt.  Then came the hips.  I gave up on tissue fitting.  I couldn't figure out how to do it with a wrap.  I cut a muslin.  It looked crazy too because of the butt adjustment, but I knew I could pin out the excess.

I cut my fabric and spent two days pinning.  First, I realized my pattern no longer fit on the fabric.  I was making view B.  Now it's B without the ties.

It took me a second to figure out that I couldn't pin fit the fabric on the wrong side.  Perhaps this is in a book somewhere, but I missed it.  Then it was absolute torture trying to pin fit my hips.    Sure, it's real easy to pin down a seam, but my thighs are huge!  (I found out the right one is an inch larger.)  It took several, and I do mean several, attempts to pin the seams both far enough back and straight.  Jeez.
Those are the seam lines on the back pieces.  On the fronts, they appear to be straight.  Now, I gotta figure out how to make tailor's tacks, so I can get this marked and sewn!

Oh yeah, the markings you see are from when I realized the pattern didn't fit the fabric after I traced my first piece.  Sewing can be quite an adventure :-)