Tuesday, December 27, 2011

B5562 Question

I'd appreciate any help I can get with this.  I'm working on B5562 View D.

I added a center back seam and reshaped the side seams, so the fit is almost there. What I didn't account for is the the collar having less drape than what's illustrated on the envelope. Here is how it has sewn up for others, including Sharon, LoriShannon and Amanda. They all pretty much sewed the collar as drafted and made great tops.

I want the great top as illustrated on the envelope with all of that wonderful drape. I want those soft folds in the front and back. How do I alter the pattern pieces to achieve that?  Is it this simple? (Ignore the lines I drew.) I already added a little in an attempt to match the FBA I had to do on the front piece. 

Please let me know your thoughts. 


Monday, December 26, 2011

A Few of My Favorite Things

Hope your holiday was a beautiful one. Being able to go to church on Christmas Day was the highlight for me. When I think about the poor worshipers in Nigeria who were killed for doing the same thing, it makes me even more grateful.

I'm also grateful for the cool sewing stuff Christmas bought into my home. Most were put to use Christmas morning! Service didn't start until 12, so I had time for a leisurely breakfast and some sewing before leaving.

Clover Wonder Clips -- I'm using these on the knit top I'm working on. I like them so far.

Full Busted DVD -- I watched this bright and early. It is really helpful. I will be getting some of the other Palmer-Pletsch DVDs as I move on to other projects.

The Colette Sewing Handbook -- Carolyn and Robin have already written about this. I want to heap on the praise too. It is perfect.  I think I want to make everything in the book.

Sixth Finger Stiletto --  Love it.

What goodies did Santa bring you?

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Velvet Curtain

Last year, I really, really, really wanted this dress for Christmas. 


The pattern never made it from the envelope. Why? I bought this beautiful stretch velvet in hunter green. While the salesperson was cutting it, I noticed bolt marks. I asked if these would come out after pre-washing the fabric. She said yes. Y'all, I didn't know any better. After washing the fabric, the bolt marks (as you may have guessed) were still there.

I didn't think I could take the fabric back because I had already cut a swatch from it. I became discouraged. I figured I could buy more and use the first piece as a muslin. I have yet to find that fabric in the store again. I could order it online from the same retailer, but I was afraid of bolt marks.

I ordered some from another retailer. The quality wasn't as good and the color was slightly different. By now, Christmas was gone, so I FOLDED all the fabric and put it away. (Clearly I'm a glutton for punishment).

I saw this post from Gertie recently. It made me think of my stretch velvet lows from a year ago. I pulled out the fabric and prepared to hang it. Then, I had a thought. Since this was stretch and not regular velvet and I managed to snag a needle board earlier this year, could I rescue the fabric? The answer was yes! If I placed the pile against the needle board and gave the backing a shot of steam (no direct contact), the marks seemed to go away! I did a couple of small tests and I think it works. Yea!

Meanwhile, my stretch velvet is now hanging from a lamp in my sewing room, awaiting its 2012 fate. It reminds me of curtain panels. I have to use it quickly because it can't hang on the lamp forever. My closets are so full, I don't have a space where it could hang freely.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Spring Has Sprung (Somewhere)

So winter official starts tonight. However, Simplicity and McCall's have already moved on! In Chicago, we haven't had our first hard snow yet. No worries, I'll fondly look at these and think happy thoughts again in a few weeks.

I'll start with Simplicity

1909 -- Late entry for Pippa's dress. Style Arc and Butterick were faster off the block.
Misses' Dresses

1913 -- I love this look!
Misses' & Miss Petite Dresses Project Runway Collection

1914 -- Amazing Fit
Misses' & Plus Size Amazing Fit Dresses
1918 -- More Amazing Fit
Misses' & Miss Petite Amazing Fit Pants

1920 -- Great coordinates, especially the neck ring and belt!
Misses' & Plus Size Sportswear

On to McCall:

6504 -- Gotta have that asymmetrical hem

6503 -- loving view D

6506 -- most definitely. Multiple cup sizes.

6507 -- yes please! Multiple cup sizes.

6514 -- thinking about these.

6510 -- loving this!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Seeing is Believing

Dare I say that I might actually *gasp* finish a project, but *double gasp* finish it on time? It's a relatively simple top, but I was getting stuck where I usually get stuck -- sway back and my curvy rear. I even tried this wonderful resource, but I just couldn't get it.

Here's why:

My back looks kinda curvy! I had to add a CB seam and pin fit it to death.  To get here took me two muslins and at least five attempts on paper. Without a waist seam, I think this is the best I can do for a fitted top. It's not perfect, but it's the best fitting back I've ever had.

Question -- should I give up all hope of seamless backs?

The shoulder seam needs work, but I'll live with it. I did a 1/2" square shoulder adjustment. Could I possibly need more? The hemline was trial and error. Looks like I need to add 1/4" at the CB seam and true it.  People talk about tops pulling backward, but mine pull forward and the front neckline always seems too big...

Anyhoo. I may just pull this off in time for New Year's Eve! I'm supposed to be working on this SWAP, but now that I think I've semi-solved my backside issue, knit tops and dresses keep popping into my head.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Back Home

So, there has been no sewing activity for a while. My aunt passed the day before Thanksgiving and things haven't gotten back to normal. It was my first time dealing with funeral arrangements (a cousin and I decided we would take on as much of the burden as possible) and the after-funeral business. There were some good laughs, though.

I now have a renewed desire to clean out everything I don't use. This means I'm about to donate all the 10s, 12s and 14s I've lugged across state lines for 10 years! My reward to myself after I lose weight will be a new wardrobe. I need to donate some books too. My important papers were already organized. I just need to change some beneficiaries and contact info.

Hoping I can sit down tonight and at least trace my skirt pattern. I'm almost afraid to see how much progress the other sew-along members have made. 

I got in last night. I've spent today unpacking, washing clothes and trying to put my house back in order. The good news is I don't have to cook because I have all of my frozen Thanksgiving leftovers :-)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sewing Along

Patricia at Perfect Sew And Fit  is hosting a mini wardrobe sew along. Six items: simple skirt, pants, loose-fitting blouse, fitted blouse, unlined jacket and lined jacket. The timing couldn't be better. I'm excited because this is all about the fit. Patricia guides you through pattern alts with meticulous detail. Other members chime in with suggestions too.

So after much deliberation, I have settled (sort of) on patterns and fabric. One of my goals was to use as much of the stash as possible.  Of course I decide I want one of the colors to be rust/burnt orange and I have none of that here ...

Where there are multiple patterns, my first choice is first. Where there are multiple fabrics, the muslin is first. If there is time, I'd like to make both skirts and the first two fitted tops.  I have two lined jacket options because V7975, well it's a Vogue and I'm intimidated. I'm using Simplicity for backup directions.

I have some real fear about the first fitted blouse pattern (expensive fabric, my first buttonholes, my first tailored shirt) and the lined jacket. Strangely enough, I'm not that worried about my first pants (too excited by the prospect of having pants that fit to be scared). Just a little concerned because I want line them and the pattern doesn't call for that. I'll be experimenting with lining the skirt too. 

KS3617 I've made before. I'm kinda skipping ahead now and trying to fit that on my own. I put some knit tops out of their misery recently and I need replacements fast.

Now that we've chosen our patterns, we have to take our measurements. I've gained weight :-( since I had mine done in May, so I'm doing them over. It is a very sobering process. I want to have those done tonight. 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Book Review: Vogue Sewing

Vogue Sewing, Revised and UpdatedThis book should really be called the sewing bible. It is a must-have for any sewing library -- beginner, intermediate and advanced. At about 450 pages, there is little it doesn't cover. Best of all, it's dedicated to fashion sewing. No pillows and towels here!

This book takes the fashion part seriously. The first chapter is all about fashion and explains things like color, prints, texture, proportion and balance, body profile, etc. I've never seen all of this is a general sewing book before.

Construction Basics (darts, pleats, tucks, etc.) and Construction Techniques (bindings, collars, cuffs, pockets, etc.) are where the book starts to get really good. This info is very similar to what you'd find in the Reader's Digest sewing book and The Complete Book of Sewing. Best of all is a section on pressing. Everyone tells beginning sewists how important pressing is, but there are few resources to tell you how to do it right. This book is one of them -- eight whole pages!

Chapter 8 is Advanced Pattern Alterations. You won't get this in any other general sewing book. Those 30 pages are jam-packed. They are sectioned into "Dresses, Skirts, Bodices," "Pants," and "Fitting As You Sew." This will not replace a specialized fitting but, but it's a great start.
Fabric That Require Special Handling is a wonderful chapter. It covers leather, suede, synthetic suede and fur in addition to the things you'd expect like knits, sheers, etc. Plaids are handled elsewhere in the book.

The Tailoring chapter is very detailed. It's almost 30 pages.  It covers the skirt, jacket, interfacing and lining.

I love that the book explains what Couture is. It also has sections called "The Shapekeepers" and "The Finest Fastenings" that I really like. However, I think overall, The Threads Sewing Guide gives you  better info on how to make a couture garment (among the general sewing books).

An added bonus in the book is "The vocabulary of Fashion." It's a glossary of fashion terms and has illustrations of the different types of collars, dresses, jackets, necklines, pants, skirts and sleeves.

If you are brand new to sewing, this may not be the book to start with, but you'll need it eventually. The Reader's Digest book takes a much more basic approach. This is a book that will grow with your skills.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Winter/Holiday Butterick

Woo hoo! New Butterick patterns. I like quite a few.  

B5714:  Love the drama.

B5716:  Swing jacket? Sold!

B5712:  Love it!

B5711:  I need a belted top

B5727:  I've been inspired by the snow we got in Chicago yesterday. I'd like to try the neckwarmer. Vest too.

B5725:  Every choir member needs one.

B5709:  Still on the fence about the sleeves.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Book Review: Threads Sewing Guide

Threads Sewing Guide: A Complete Reference from America's Best-loved Sewing MagazineThis book is billed as a complete reference. That's a little ambitious and, unfortunately, untrue for this book.  Comprehensive? Yes. Complete? No. The title of "complete" goes to the Reader's Digest Sewing book, The Complete Book of Sewing and Vogue Sewing. In comparison to the first two books, where this book excels are the Sewing Machine & Sergers chapter and Essential Tools & Supplies. That information is about the same as the Vogue book, but I prefer this book's photos to the drawings in the Voge book. The same goes for The Closures and Trim & Embellishments chapters.

The info is presented in a very easy-to-understand manner. The layout is clean and modern. The photos are beautiful. I like these better than those in the magazine.

Chapters I Love
  • Darts -- Info on balancing darts that I haven't seen in other sewing books. (It is on one of the Threads' Industry Insider DVDs)
  • Godets
  • Serger Sewing
  • Serger Stitches
  • Tailoring
  • Shoulder Pads
  • Fundamentals of Couture Sewing (for the true beginner)
  • Section XIV:  Sewing Specialty Fabrics
  • Common Quick Fixes (mending & repair)

  • Princess Seams -- there's no mention of how to sew these
  • Clipping & Notching -- there's a new method covered in one of the Industry Insider DVD's that's not included here
  • Easing Sleeves -- Nancy Zieman and I think Sandra Betzina use finger easing, which isn't presented here
  • Pattern Alterations -- as far as general sewing books go, Vogue Sewing, Revised and Updated is better.
I guess this is a beginner/intermediate book. I would not choose it over the titles I mentioned earlier, but I think it supplements those nicely. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

I Like -- New McCall's

McCall's Holiday 2011 patterns are here! Aren't these cute??!

M6489 -- love it! Very romantic.

M6464 -- Palmer/Pletsch. It will fit!

M6462 -- too short as is for me, but still cute.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Book & DVD Review: Sewing A to Z

Nancy Zieman's Sewing A to Z DVDI am a big fan of Nancy Zieman's books. She can distill difficult techniques with clear and concise language. In that respect, this book does not disappoint. When I think about Zieman's contributions to the sewing community, to me, she is known for great gadgets and notions and finding novel ways of doing things.  This book delivers both.

Here's what's covered in the book:
  • Anchor Cloth
  • Applique
  • Basting
  • Belt Loops
  • Bias
  • Binding (quilting)
  • Blanket Stitching
  • Blind Hemming
  • Buttonholes
  • Buttons
  • Casings
  • Chain Stitch (quilting)
  • Circles 
  • Cutting, Patterns
  • Cutting, (quilting)
  • Darts (unique technique)
  • Decorative Stitches
  • Double Needles
  • Easing Seams
  • Easing Sleeves (unique technique)
  • Edgestitching
  • Elastic Types
  • Elastic, Basic Technique
  • Elastic, Clear Technique
  • Fabric Tubes (gadget/notion)
  • Facings
  • Fusible Web
  • Gathers (unique technique)
  • Grading
  • Grainline
  • Half-Square Triangles (quilting)
  • Hems
  • Hooks & Eyes
  • Interfacing
  • Jackets, Extended Facings
  • Jackets, Sleeve Lining
  • Knit, Identification
  • Knit, Seams (unique technique)
  • Knit, Types
  • Layering a Quilt
  • Layout
  • Marking
  • Mitered Corners, Pockets
  • Mitered Corners, Quilt Borders
  • Nap
  • Needles
  • Nips
  • Notches
  • Organizing, Fabric
  • Organizing, Needles
  • Organizing, Patterns
  • Organizing, Projects
  • Patch Pockets
  • Pintucks
  • Piping
  • Pivoting
  • Pleats
  • Pocket Flaps
  • Quarter Marks, Pins
  • Quarter Marks, Pressing
  • Quarter-Square Triangles (quilting)
  • Quilting Options
  • Ribbing
  • Ripping
  • Rod Pocket
  • Ruffles
  • Seam Finishes
  • Seams, French
  • Seams, Traditional
  • Serging, Chain Stitch
  • Serging, Cover Stitch
  • Serging, Flatlock Stitch
  • Serging, Overlock Stitch (4-thread and 3-thread)
  • Serging, Rolled Edges
  • Serging, Rolled Lettuce Edge
  • Sleeves (unique technique)
  • Snaps, Basic
  • Snaps, Swing/Hanging
  • Squaring a Quilt Top
  • Stabilizers
  • Staystitching
  • Strata
  • Tension
  • Thread
  • Topstitching
  • Underlining
  • Understitching
  • Vinyl
  • Waistband
  • Wrapped Corners
  • Yo-Yos
  • Zigzag stitch
  • Zippers (centered, lapped, invisible and exposed)
There are also "Notes from Nancy" peppered throughout the book. The book would be great for a beginner's sewing library. The way Zieman presents her techniques adds nice clarity and, in some cases, new approaches to the techniques presented in other books.

The DVD is excellent.  Zieman is a great educator and techniques are demonstrated in her usual clear style. All of the topics in the book aren't covered by the DVD. You can certainly use the book without the DVD, but I do recommend both. My only complaint about the DVD is that two of the topics are listed under bonus material and so you have to go through an extra menu to get to them.

Test drive the DVD here, here and here.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

New Simplicity!

The Simplicity Winter/Holiday collection is here.

I have heart for these:

1945 -- looks comfy and you can dress it up or down as needed.
Misses' & Plus Size Sportswear

1944 -- love the jacket
Misses' Sportswear
1941 -- especially because of the multiple cup sizes
Misses' Amazing Fit Top
This doesn't affect me, but I guess the big news is Suede Says for Men!
Men's Jackets SUEDEsays Collection Men's Pants SUEDEsays Collection

Friday, September 30, 2011

Winter/Holiday Vogue

More new patterns! I see a few wardrobe builders in Vogue collection. I wasn't really wowed by the holiday sparkle.

1268 -- maybe. This is Guy Laroche. It would have to be longer. Covering my knees is a priority.

1276 -- love this coat

8765 -- Very Easy Vogue and Custom Fit? Yes, please!

8764 -- same as above!

8769 -- maybe. Where would I wear it?

8770 -- Very Easy Vogue. Custom Fit. Sold! The drawing isn't doing this justice. Visualize it in shantung.

8775 -- I don't think the sweatshirt fleece is really doing it for me. I would probably like the wool double knit suggestion better.