Saturday, April 30, 2011

Not Waisting Away

Thanks to all who had input on my last post about finding my waist. The verdict? I had the measurement right the first time. I was delusional last weekend. Bend to the side; the part that folds is your waist!

Here are some great videos Patricia @Perfect Sew & Fit sent me to help determine where the waist is.


Other good news -- I was able to to get my hands on M6353 last night. I was so geeked that I misread the sales paper and thought the sale started Friday instead of today. The cashier saw how crestfallen I was and let me have it at today's sale price. Thank God for small miracles. I will have this dress for the July 4th holiday. I'm on the lookout for a killer rayon-Lycra blend in a super-saturated fun color. With five yds of fabric, I'm guessing color is important.While Jo-Ann's is the leading with Deep Lake, Blue Jewel and Calla Green, I was hoping for something more citrus-y. High End Fabrics has a nice selection of modal-spandex knits, but the colors aren't as intense. I've reached out to Ann at Gorgeous Fabrics for suggestions. I've ordered swatches from Spandex World too:

Today, I'm going to attempt a square shoulder adjustment on the KS3740 muslin. I'm so thankful for all of the help everyone has offered on this project. Carol @Fit That has suggested that I might get better results if I start with the medium instead of the small. There's more than one way to skin a cat, so I'll try this in a medium and follow her recommendations (as soon as I find muslin-worthy fabric). 

True confession: it's supposed to be 70 degrees today and 56 tomorrow. I might end up sewing tomorrow instead of today :-)

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Waist Not Want Not

Where is my waist? Seriously. I started to do a post about this over the weekend, but I didn't because I thought it was a stupid question. Looks like I should have posted because I don't know!

Up until the weekend, I thought my waist was here:

Then, I got it into my head that my waist is where my upper body meets my lower body -- where my back ends and butt begins.

When I looked around on the internet, I thought I had confirmed my new theory.

Class - Clone Yourself II, Dressform Basics - February 25, 2011

I thought the key issue causing the pool of fabric at my CB waist was the sway back/bubble butt combo -- not only did I have less CB length above the waist than most because of the sway back, but I also had less length below the waist and "crown" (as PFA calls it) of my butt. I thought that what ever I have going on between lines 18 and 20 below is very different from other people.

This obviously changes what I think my CB measurements are! This is a 3/4" difference. Now I have even more resolve to get my measurements taken professionally.

But wait there's more! I have square shoulders. Maybe y'all could tell from the pictures on the last post. I had no clue!

I thought I had forward shoulders. Do I? Are they both forward and square ?! Wow ...

Teaching myself how to sew is certainly not the most efficient thing I've ever done. Clearly I need mentoring! Thanks to everyone who reads these desperate posts and gives me tips along the way.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Step by Baby Step

If I never see orange rayon-spandex knit again ... just kidding. I think I want more to make this dress, but I digress. I am continuing with KS3740. (I see six muslins around the room now; there may be another one in the bedroom.) Still determined, but really ready to get it right. I'm reaching out for fitting help and folks need to see pics, so here goes:  a symphony in three muslins. I apologize now for the butt shots; y'all need to understand just how much altering I need to do.

4/28 Update: I've gotten some inquiries about sizing, so the details are below.

The pattern does not have a CF waist marking or give finished measurements for the hip. My CB length is my best guess when I try to take my own measurements. I need to find a sewing buddy to help me take my measurements.

4/28 Update #2: I'm not sure where my waist is! Seriously. My body measurements could be wrong. See today's post.

Muslin #1 -- straight out of the envelope. I went with the S because of my upper bust measurement. Can you say tiiiight?!

The pattern's CB waist is the top line. The other two are me trying to mark my actual waist while fighting the rolling fabric.

 Muslin #2 -- 1" FBA and 5/8" round back alteration.

Muslin #3 -- added 1/2" back width and 7/8" to the round back alteration. I called Kwik Sew and the back neckline is supposed to sit 1/2" below the base of the neck. I think that means my total round back alteration amount should be 1" instead of 1 1/2" (that's good news.)

The story of my life -- tops ride up and pants gape or slide down.

I've been using the pivot and slide method for all of the alterations so far.  Here's a closeup of the shoulder. At the neck, the seam is probably 1" lower than it needs to be in the front. I also noticed that the more length I added to the upper back, the more pronounced the wrinkles from the bust to the shoulder became. 

I will go back and reduce the round back alteration. Should I worry about the shoulders after I complete it like PFWC suggests or save that alteration for last as FFRP suggests?

I actually managed to pull the shirt down and keep it down for a few shots. It was harrrrrd.The top line is the pattern's CB waist.

Am I delusional for thinking I can get to a fitted T-shirt with no back seams?  Also, this is a lighter-weight knit with about 3% spandex. I plan on making the finished top in knits with 5%-8% Lycra. Do I need to add more width to the bust and back above the waist now or will things be better with the stretchier fabric?

Next up:  getting the pattern's waist to be at my waist with no fabric pooling either above or below and, of course, adding more width below the waist. At this rate, I might have the perfect top by Christmas! Actually, that is the bestest gift ever :-) Anyhoo. I've almost decided that my next top project will have some seams in the back!

Friday, April 22, 2011

New McCall's

Look at what I spied today! See them all here.

I've really been impressed by the knit tops in the last few collections. That's so not the case with this one, but this dress makes up for that. Lovin' this version of the infinity dress, M6353!

M6350 is so sweet. It comes with multiple cup sizes.

M6357 is perfect for hot days.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

New Kwik Sew

Still working on my muslin. Working on the pattern alts for #4.  If I never see orange fabric again, I think I'll be okay :-)

Anyhoo. Kwik Sew has released new summer patterns. My favs are below. Enjoy!

3877 - basic skirt


3871 - easy breezy summer dress
3869 - love these for dressing up or down

3881 - never thought about it before, but now I'm intrigued by the thought of handmade undies. Also this might not be a bad project to tackle before I attempt pants ...
3872 -- late entry. How'd I miss this one?

Tootles ...

Friday, April 15, 2011

It's Never Too Late

Handmade by Heidi

Thinking about muslin #4. Not sewing yet. Just thinking. Don't let my foolishness deter you. There's still time to get in on the Friday Night Sew-In.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Another Muslin

Muslin #2 for KS3740.  This one I made using a stretch rayon blend jersey from People, I got the fabric for $2.44/yd! It's perfect for muslins. Hence, my love for I digress.

To add excitement to this stage of the game, I whipped out my fusible knit stay tape for the neckline and armholes (in addition to the shoulders). The pattern didn't have any directions for stabilizing anything other than the shoulder seams. Should I make this a habit for all tops, even when it's not in the directions? When stabilizing the neckline and armholes, do you do both front and back or just the front? I'm not a big fan of staystitching because my seams aren't always straight. (I figure ripping out staystitching defeats the purpose.)

What I was supposed to be doing with this attempt was a narrow shoulder adjustment. I also wanted more shape to the bodice. It wasn't as fitted as it was in the pattern picture. I did a 1/4" shoulder adjustment and that seems to have taken care of my narrow shoulders. Nancy Zieman and I had a moment and I was able to taper from the S to the XL and kept the pattern's fitted shape.

With muslin #1, I had resigned my self to live with the wrinkles across my backside since I planned to tuck the shirt in. Duh, I have one, maybe two pairs of pants that I can tuck things into. This would not do. Besides, I gave up being trifling for Lent and the point of learning to sew was to get stuff that really fit. After that pep talk, it's back to the drawing board. I need to add 2" to the hips for the next muslin.

I also need to tackle my biggest fear, adding length to the center back where I need it. So my aha moment was realizing that I was creating my own problem when previously tapering from a S to an XL. I used the XL length as well as width for the adjustment, which was the wrong thing to do for my sway back. So with this version, I went from S to XL in width only. Now, I have to add length under the waist where my butt juts out. I'm going to use the Burda Workshop adjustment for a rising hem. Pray for me!

*Sidebar* If you own a a Dritz dress form, will you please tell me how to adjust the center back so that it stays adjusted?

I also solved the issue with the puckered stitches from the previous muslin -- I selected a different stitch! I'm using the standard overlock stitch and it works great.

So I interfaced the collar with this interfacing from Fabric Mart. I'm trying to convert to better-quality interfacing. Can anyone tell me if this is the good stuff? It feels and applies better than Pellon's Easy Knit, but I think it's a little too much for this fabric. It's given the fabric the weight of ponteroma double knit. Could I get away with interfacing one collar piece and not both?

I'm determined to get this right before moving to another project and at this rate, I won't get to the other knit top I wanted to make for Easter. Oh well. At least I'll have my first TNT pattern.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

I've Been Blessed

I have some new additions to my sewing space that make me pause and say "thank you." Great deals on eBay, and and even the soon-to-be-defunct Chase rewards program have provided some killer bargain-hunting opportunities. I've been quietly hoarding since January.

The stars aligned when I had two weeks of all-day, off-site work meetings where meals were provided -- no groceries needed. An extra bonus was that the test kitchen gave all the leftover food away to the attendees. Folks walked out with crates and boxes of stuff.  I haven't had to cook for three weeks! I politely transferred my grocery budget to sewing :-) The only downside is that because the meetings were in the 'burbs, I couldn't sew in the mornings.

Here is what's making me jump for joy:

I finally own a pressure iron/steamer! My poor little Hamilton Beach struggled with my RTW, so I'd been praying for something more powerful. Meet St. John (pronounced "sinjin"). He's a Rowenta DG8030. Someone was selling these "or best offer" on eBay. I am in absolute love!
Rowenta DG8030 Expert Steam Generator
I have a needle board!!  I'd been hunting on eBay even more passionately since Victoria shared her great find. Mine was a part of a vintage sewing supplies lot. $45 for it and some cool buttons, trims, labels and other stuff.

Ruby! has been remade. My first My Double Deluxe form from eBay was bought as-is and arrived in less than stellar condition, but I made it work. However, I ruined everything when I put the cover on.

Now, I have a brand new form and the Fabulous Fit System. I was smart enough this time to ask for a 3/4 cover (I ordered the large set). I've been eyeing the Fabulous Fit pads for a couple of years; they are usually $127. I saw an ad in the most recent Threads where they were on sale for $69 (+$17 for shipping)!
If you are thinking about getting a dress form, please get these pads while they are on sale. This is so much easier than using batting and fluff.

Because I got the 3/4 type, I only got one cover. I probably could have used an XL. Since I haven't given up my dream of weight loss, I'm okay with the cover and Ruby being off by a couple of inches. I really, really wish I could figure out how to lengthen the CB and have it stay that way. I've tried taping it still slides back to the original length.

Dritz(R) My Double Deluxe Dressform (20405) - SmallDress Form System

I thought the pants seam board might be helpful when I graduate to pants. Picked this up for about the cost of a Starbucks run on (It's all about sacrifice).

I used this mini iron for the first time on a collar seam. Worked great. Then, I got the bright idea to press the seam allowances again. Well, by then, the iron had fully heated. Can you say melted ITY? Good thing this collar was for a muslin.

Clover Mini Iron II The Adapter

I cashed in some rewards points for this sleeve board.

There are just a few more things I'd like to have by the end of the year and I'll be satisfied with my pressing and fitting tools:

  • The book from the creators of Fabulous Fit -- I think Victoria has it, so I'll check in with her to see if she likes it first.

Fit Made Easy: CATCH 22" Dress Forms & Fitting Secrets Revealed

  • A new ironing board -- I want one that has a place for the steamer to sit. I'm kicking myself for not buying the Rowenta board from Williams-Sonoma years ago. They've been discontinued and the new brand is more expensive.  The one below is by Reliable.

Reliable C60 The Board Home Ironing Table

  • Last, but not least, the latest Threads is right on time. I'd like a press cloth wardrobe! I'm on the lookout for remnant worsted wool, cotton flannel and cotton canvas.