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?